For example, a great pair of sunglasses which i paid a bargain for, but if they get lost or broken, I'll have to pay a lot to get as good a pair.

EDIT: I'm looking for the word that describes the current state of the sunglasses (from the example), not one that describes the initial purchase. Also, it could be something I found and didn't buy.

  • You might have been upsold a loss leader. Suppose you used to wear cheap supermarket sunglasses, but your optician knows you'd never get your prescription glasses from anyone except him because there's no local competition. He might sell you your first pair of photosensitive (Reactolite) prescription glasses for the same price as the supermarket rubbish, knowing you'll replace them more often now (at the full price in future), because now you'll wear (and scratch) them more. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 12:47
  • This is not, and the answers will not, be an idiom. Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 14:49
  • Replacement costs can be expensive, if not prohibitive.
    – user97231
    Commented Jun 27 at 6:01

5 Answers 5


You could as well use steal.

From Dictionary.com:

  1. Informal. something acquired at a cost far below its real value; bargain:

This dress is a steal at $40.


The OP was asking for an idiom which

describes the current state of the sunglasses (from the example), not one that describes the initial purchase.

So it's not so much that it was cheap to purchase, but that it would be relatively expensive to replace.

To me, that speaks of an item which was once cheap and ubiquitous, but is now rare and hard to find, commanding a premium due to scarcity. A few examples:

  • A popular soda brand alters its flavor; disappointed consumers pay a premium for the remaining stock of the old formula
  • A legal product becomes illegal, for example a slightly-too-dangerous toy
  • The newer versions of a product are cheaper and flimsier than the old ones

In such a case I might say

A decorative object or toy which was produced for a limited time may become a collector's item, in some cases prized more for its rarity than its intrinsic worth.

Further from the example of the sunglasses, media, such as music, books, and especially movies which were unappreciated at the time of release may become a cult classic

  • This just what was asked for. The current item could not be replaced easily or might even be impossible to replace.
    – Elliot
    Commented Jun 27 at 1:29

I would say "you got your original glasses for a bargain"

Bargain [bahr-guh n] /noun

  1. an advantageous purchase, especially one acquired at less than the usual cost.

Source: Dictionary.com The sale offered bargains galore.

  • 2
    Perhaps emphasise this by saying a real bargain ;-)
    – Dan
    Commented Jun 27, 2017 at 13:01

a sweet deal

a business or financial deal in which you get an advantage, pay a  low price etc

Usage: I got a sweet deal on the car.

source: Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

  • Just "deal" alone is also used for the same thing.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 19:42

I've looked for such a word (or short phrase) in the past and not found one. That probably means there isn't one in typical British English.

There are some terms which might help you though:

  • "Replacement cost"/"replacement value" as in "it might have been cheap but it has a high replacement value"
  • "Worth a lot to me". Note that this includes sentimental value.

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