When a cheapskate drops cash on something, you know it’s worthwhile. After a brief hiatus in the series of posts that explore what seriously frugal folks will spend good money on—and when cheap is the way to go—here’s another entry, from Gary Foreman, editor of The Dollar Stretcher.com.
WORTH SPENDING GOOD MONEY ON
1. Tools. Specifically those that are needed for my job or that are used frequently at home. Nothing worse than having an inferior tool break at a critical time. And, in this case there’s a reason that some tools are cheaper than others.
2. Cars. I admit that I’m a car lover, but that’s not the reason. By spending a little more when I buy, I get a car (if used) that’s more reliable and will need fewer repairs. I’m also willing to pay a little more for a car that has the options that I want. That way I won’t be tempted to replace it in a few years to get the options that I don’t have on my current ride. In both cases, spending a little now will save me more later.
3. Dress clothing. Fortunately I don’t have to dress up too often. So a good quality suit or sport jacket can last me for years. Buying a timeless style and good quality makes sense. It’s also a good motivator to keep me from gaining weight so I can still wear the clothes already in my closet!
4. Education. In almost any form. For myself and for my kids. College, continuing education, books that can help my career, anything that helps me learn more about myself, my work and the world around me. This might not be true for everyone, but if you look at life as an adventure, you’ll want to keep asking questions and looking for answers.
5. Memories. The truth is I’m sentimental. So spending a little to make, record or remind me of good times is worthwhile to me. Hard to put a pricetag on a good memory.
WHEN CHEAP IS THE WAY TO GO
1. Anything disposable. If you’re going to use it once or twice and then trash it you don’t need quality. Throwing away the fewest dollars seems to make a lot of sense.
2. Generic foods. Frankly, I don’t care which brand of instant oatmeal I eat. The cheapest is just as good as the name brand. There are many grocery items where the generic is a great way to save some money. No need to pay for name brands’ marketing efforts.
3. Utility bills. I can’t see spending any more than necessary for utilities. It seems silly to let lights burn needlessly or air-conditioning escape to the outside. I don’t know if the power company has an award for their best consumer, but even if they did, I don’t want it.
4. Play clothes. For daily living I just want practical. I don’t need the latest styles or designers. Clothes for work and play should be functional. So I look for good quality and the lowest price I can find.
5. Status items. Fancy watches, club memberships or having the latest toy really don’t interest me. Spending to get others to think better of you seems like a foolish activity.
Check out the rest of the series, with other money-savvy consumers weighing in on what products they’ll shell out serious cash for, and when they go strictly by the cheapest price.