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, and Part III from previous days.) Up today, Edgar Dworsky, founder and editor of Consumer World.
WORTH SPENDING GOOD MONEY ON
1. Deck Stain. Olympic Maximum deck, fence, and siding semi-transparent stain, with a five-year warranty (deck), and eight-year warranty (vertical surfaces). It is such a pain to preserve a pressure treated deck that I want to do it as infrequently as possible. This product really holds up. May only be available at Lowes and Sears. Best to buy when there is a $5 off a gallon promotion going on.
2. Schick Quattro Razor Blades. After using Mach3 Turbo for many years, I discovered that Schick Quattro blades last for months and are even superior to Gillette’s Fusion blades. I will generally only purchase them when on sale, with a coupon, and possibly a rebate.
3. Nathan’s Frankfurters. Since Hebrew National was sold to ConAgra, they no longer answer to a higher authority. Gone is the crunch, and garlicy spiciness that I remember from my childhood. Only Nathan’s remains as a truly authentic and delicious New York all beef hot dog. And when they are buy one, get one free, they somehow taste even better.
4. Cinch. Nothing cleans glass without streaking like Cinch. Windex, Schmindex, fooey.
WHEN CHEAP IS THE WAY TO GO
1. Toilet paper. My insensitive *ss can handle anything short of sandpaper. So, single-ply 1000 sheet rolls of whatever brand is in the two or three for $1 price range is fine with me.
2. Gasoline. Price is king, irrespective of brand names that make claims about the detergents they mix in. Preference is to buy at Stop & Shop (supermarket with gas pumps) because an additional 10 cents a gallon can be saved with qualifying store purchases (beyond the savings using their loyalty card), and my credit card rebates 3 percent of gas and supermarket purchases.
3. Anybody’s printer ink and toner, instead of brand name HP or Canon. I refill my HP laser cartridges with black toner powder by hand and inject my Canon cartridges with off-brand ink from little bottles. In both cases, what a mess, but oh the savings!
4. Ketchup, mayo, spicy brown mustard, apple juice, english muffins, potato chips, etc.: The least expensive brand is good enough. It may be blasphemy to not buy Hellmann’s or Heinz or Thomas’, but my palate is overruled by my wallet.