What Will a Cheapskate Spend Good Money On? Part VI

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Even a cheapskate has to spend money sometimes. I’ve asked various frugal folks—bloggers, writers, money-saving and consumer experts—to compile personal, totally subjective lists of the products, services, experiences, and other “things” they’re willing to shell out good money on. Because if a cheapskate is willing to drop cash on something, you know it’s worthwhile.

I’ve also asked people to name some of the things they refuse to spend money on, or that they buy based strictly on the cheapest price, because it’s also important to know when it’s OK—smart, even—to skimp out. (Check out the series’ Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V from previous days.) Up today, The Ultimate Cheapskate, Jeff Yeager.


1. Spring bulbs. Planting bulbs that flower in the spring (e.g. tulips, daffodils, etc.) can be a real pain the old amaryllis, so to speak. There’s a big difference between higher priced bulbs and discounted ones in terms of how many flowers they produce and how many seasons they’ll last. Think about that as you’re hacking away at the hard clay soil in your yard this fall, and put a little extra money into what you stick in the ground.

2. Bontrager Bicycle Tires. If you’re a serious commuting cyclist or long distance rider, what extra money you spend on Bontrager Kevlar-coated tires will be rewarded many fold by what time you don’t spend on a skanky roadside trying to patch a flat.

3. Dewalt Power Tools. Doing home repair and remodeling projects yourself can save you big money, and most aren’t that difficult. But having good tools is essential. Plus, the more you spend on the tools, the guiltier you’ll feel about not gettin’ ‘er done.

4. Steel Reserve Lager. This is about getting more by spending less. Steel Reserve is about half the price and twice the taste (not to mention alcohol content) as brands like Bud and Miller. Just remember that this bargain-brew packs a wallop, so drink half as much, which brings the PPB (“Price Per Buzz”) down to about 25 percent of the competition.

5. Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Don’t settle for a substitute, at least when you’re making my mom’s famous cheese cake. BTW, the crust is also genuine Zwieback Toast (aka “teething toast”), not graham crackers like everyone else uses. Send a SASE, along with a check for $1,000, and I’ll gladly send you the recipe.