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, and Part IV from previous days.) Up today, Christina Brown, a stay-at-home mother of three who lives in the woods of northern Minnesota and writes Northern Cheapskate, a frugal-living blog dedicated to freebies, coupons and money-saving ideas.
WORTH SPENDING GOOD MONEY ON
1. Printing Supplies. I’ve done the refill cartridges and the dollar store mailing labels. And then I’ve spent hours trying to fix my printer because of it. I always buy the HP ink and name brand supplies for my printer. It saves a lot of hassle, and the quality is just better.
2. Cheerios. I have to have the real deal. I will search high and low for a coupon, but if I can’t find one, I will not go the cheap route. When I was a kid, a friend of mine always had Oat-o’s. I still gag just thinking about them.
3) Haircuts. I have tried cutting my family’s hair (even tried grooming the dog), but this is just not a skill area for me. And since my husband does a lot of public speaking, a professional haircut is worth the money. This is one area where I like to pamper myself and my family.
4) Kraft Mac and Cheese. One of my family’s favorite foods. To stray from the blue box would be a crime in our house. It’s the cheesiest!
5) Pet care.* I believe that my pets are part of the family, and I’m willing to stretch my budget to make sure they’re properly cared for. If you’re not willing to budget for the expenses of proper care for a pet, you shouldn’t have one.
* I should also state the obvious by adding health care to this list. I’m willing to spend whatever it takes to keep my family members healthy, too!
WHEN CHEAP IS THE WAY TO GO
1. Toilet Paper. Obviously there is some really awful toilet paper out there. But the majority of it is pretty average, and pretty cheap. When you think about what happens to toilet paper, does it make sense to spend a lot of money on it?
2. Socks. I buy cheap socks in men’s sizes. Men’s socks are cheaper than women’s, and my husband and I can share them.
3. Deodorant. I have abandoned brand loyalty long ago. I often use free deodorant samples I’ve requested or deodorant I’ve gotten for free or nearly free using coupons.
4. Shaving Cream. I love the cheap brands. I wish Walmart still made it’s Equate shaving cream… that was great stuff.
5. Over-the-Counter Medications. Ibuprofen is ibuprofen is ibuprofen. You don’t need to pay double the price because the product is in a fancy package. I always buy generic over-the-counter medications. It is one way you can save a lot of money.