I like the dollar store as much as the next guy. Some things are just better bought super-cheap. Napkins and plastic cutlery are a couple of good examples.
Most of us want to use our money wisely, but that doesn’t mean always buying the cheapest version of everything. Sometimes, the cheapest thing that you can buy will cost you more in the long run. There are times where it makes more sense to invest some extra and buy a higher quality item that will last longer and add more value to your life.
For example, I have only one brand of shirt that I buy for work. They cost $38.99 each, and they’re worth every penny to me. They’re made of a thick, high-quality material that lasts, and they’re comfortable and fit me well. Sure, I could buy a 3-pack of shirts from Wal-Mart, but the expensive ones offer me better value for my money, even though they cost significantly more.
Before making a decision to purchase something, it’s important to consider how much value it will add to your life. Will you use it often? Will having the high-quality version make life easier or save you time? How long will it last?
The point is, there are some things that are worth spending more money on. What you value will be different from me, but this list represents some things that I have found to be worth spending good money on, and I think most people would agree.
Items that are worth spending good money on!
We all use our cell phones all the time. Waiting to meet a friend, before bed, GPSing your way to pick up a Craigslist,
while driving… The point is, your phone is going to get a lot of use. It’s a camera, an email device, a GPS and more. It’s worth getting a good one.
Buying a good phone doesn’t mean that you have to spend $1000+ on the most expensive model though. I like to buy the previous year’s model for a discount. The technology doesn’t usually change too much from year to year.
Tools of the trade
A few weeks ago I was getting a haircut and chatting with the barber. I was shocked when she told me that her scissors cost more than $200. She went on to tell me about the differences in the quality of the steel and the hinge, how much longer they stay sharp for and how much longer you can expect a good set to last. The point is, all she does is cut hair, so having the a more expensive, quality tool to do the job is a no-brainer for her.
Whether you’re a mechanic, a chef or a plumber, it’s worth spending good money on high-quality tools.
A high quality mattress
Most of us spend a quarter to a third of our life sleeping, so it’s absolutely critical to have a good mattress to do it on. I’ll admit that I find it really hard to spend good money on a quality mattress. However, a few years ago, we got our hands on a high-quality, name brand bed and as a lifelong insomniac, it’s changed how I sleep. I find that I get better rest on a good bed and when I’m away, I look forward to coming home to my own bed.
A while back I got an expensive pair of shoes as a Christmas gift. I normally would never have bought such a thing for myself, but man am I glad I have them now. A good pair of shoes can not only last years, but they tend to be a lot more comfortable.
Rather than buying 5 sets of shoes that might last 6 months, I now find myself spending $200+ on higher quality leather shoes that will stand the test of time.
Eating out is often the first thing to go when budgeting. My wife and I only eat out maybe once every two months these days. But when we do, we go to nicer restaurants. I figure instead of spending $40 four times a month, I’d rather spend $80 once every four to six weeks and get a better meal and service.
I think we’ve recaptured eating out as an experience in itself, rather than something we do just to skip the dishes.
I think everybody who drives a vehicle should have a dash cam. A cheap model can be purchased on Amazon for $30-40, and a good one is around $100. I have had dash cams in both of our cars for just under a year now and it’s come in handy more than once.
Police stops, accidents, vandalism…there are a lot of situations where a good dash cam can protect you. Last year I picked up this one and the picture is crystal clear. It’s the cheapest insurance you can buy.
As a blogger, I do a lot of writing. In years past, I’ve suffered with cheapo laptops that have clunky keys and junk screens. Earlier this year when my old $500 laptop died, I decided to treat myself to the experience of shopping for a combination of the features I really wanted, and overall value, rather than focusing exclusively on price like I usually do.
I ended up spending around $1400 (CAD) on an Asus Zenbook and I absolutely friggen love it. It’s got an amazing screen, nice feel to the keys and all of the features I wanted. The real value has been that I’m excited to use it, so I tend to spend more time working on my blog and other things that matter to me.
A good slow cooker
Straight up, every family needs a good-quality slow cooker. There are literally thousands of meals that you can make with a slow cooker, and a good one can last you for generations. We use ours a couple of times per week and wouldn’t give it up, cupboard space be damned!
Another great thing about slow cookers (or crock pots) is that you can prepare freezer meals in advance for an easy dinner when you need it. We put all of our ingredients into one of those big Ziploc bags and toss it in the freezer. When you’re ready for an easy dinner just throw it in the crock pot and forget about it. Boom, fast dinner.
A good set of headphones can make a huge difference in how much you enjoy music and podcasts. Good headphones not only deliver crisp, clear sound and hard-hitting bass, but they tend to filter out more ambient noise than cheapo models. Earlier this year I tried out transcription as a side hustle, and found that a good set of headphones can literally make or break your success.
Some things to look for in a good set of headphones:
- Wireless capability
A nice office chair
If you sit for any portion of the day, you need a good chair. What makes a good chair varies by individual, but some good features to look for are:
- High-quality materials
- Correct height for your body
I’ve found that you can usually get a good chair for $100-150, especially if you can wait for a sale.
For the last two years, I worked in an office, and I can not tell you how amazing it was having a standing desk. Being able to transition whenever you feel the need can completely change the way you feel at the end of a long day. Standing allows you to do a variety of stretches that help keep you flexible as well.
Here are some features to look for in a good standing desk:
- Options for desktop finish
- Preset height buttons
- Powerful (usually dual) motors
I used to feel like a bit of a fraud when I talked about being frugal or cheap or whatever. What I have realized is that sometimes the thing that will cost you the least amount of money over time is not the cheapest item. Even when you value frugality, cheaper isn’t always better.
It gets even more complicated when you start adding in the value of your personal enjoyment. The reality is, very few people choose the cheapest version of absolutely everything, We’re all constantly making decisions about value and the most important thing is to make sure that we’re using our limited resources to add the most value possible to our lives.
Question for you:
What do you spend (relatively) big money on?