10 things worth spending more on

By glblguy

Photo by: basictheory

This is a guest post by Bob who blogs about personal finance at ChristianPF.com. If you enjoy this post, make sure you head over and subscribe via RSS.

I was thinking about how I have spent a whole lot more money on certain items only to find out that they are just a little bit better than the cheaper alternatives. And on the other hand there have been things I have spent just a bit more money on and they were a whole lot better than the cheaper alternatives. When you look at buying decisions this way, it can dramatically change how and what you buy.

Let me first say this is my list of things that I have found to be worth spending more money on. Everyone will have a different priority list of what is most important to them. But maybe this will generate some ideas for you. Here goes…

1. A Mac.

I know that this may rub some of the PC people the wrong way, but I just switched to Mac about a month ago and I just can’t believe what I was missing out on. The overall simplicity has saved me countless hours of time and frustration that was a regular event with my PC.

2. Quality food.

I am not necessarily talking about $100 meals prepared by French chefs, but rather food that will benefit your health rather than harm it. Organic food is great, but even just eating fruits and vegetables rather than hyper-processed stuff that once resembled food. There are consequences to our actions and decades of eating fast food 5 days a week is not likely to yield a good result.

3. A Honda.

Or Toyota. They are more expensive than a lot of cars on the market on the front end, but looking at the big picture you will end up saving money in the end. Consumer Reports says that the Honda Civic has the overall lowest total cost of ownership. This figure includes everything from sticker price, insurance, repairs, to resale value. After it all is calculated the Civic was the cheapest to own. But if you just look at the sticker price, you will find that there are a lot of cheaper cars out there.

4. Medical expenses.

Eating better is my attempt to prevent these from occurring, but when I am in the hospital I want the best Doc I can find working on me. It is amazing how little money seems to matter when you are in pain.

5. Looseleaf Tea

If you have always drank bag tea and never tried looseleaf do yourself a favor – find a Teavana near you and get some Rooibos Vanilla. You can thank me later.

6. Nice dress shoes.

(Disclaimer: I am a guy, I have no idea if this is true for ladies) Working in an office environment for most of my career, I have come to appreciate high-quality dress shoes. You can spend a couple hundred on a nice pair of shoes that can last you decades. You may need to replace the soles every few years, but if you take care of them they will last. The conservative business style hasn’t changed much over the last 50 years – I anticipate it to stay that way. (Tip: to save money, check what the Ebay sellers are selling them at. I have found some great bargains on Ebay.)

7. Potting soil.

I planted a balcony garden this year and I have always heard this from gardeners and it is true. Get good potting soil, it will make a tremendous amount of difference.

8. A wallet.

Like my dress shoes I like to keep my wallets for a long time. They get broken in so nicely and get contoured to fit just perfectly to your body. But if you don’t get a nice leather one, they probably won’t make it that long. I actually just retired my old wallet that I had for about 12 years. My wife bought me a new one from Coach – isn’t she sweet?

9. A bed.

We took all of our wedding money and bought a nice King sized bed. I am convinced that it was and will remain one of our best buying decisions of our marriage. You spend 1/3 of your life in it – it ought to be nice!

10. Chocolate.

I prefer to minimize my indulgences, but to make them really good. Quality over quantity is the key here. I like the darkest dark chocolate you can find. It is so strong that you can’t really overindulge like you can with milk chocolate. And the added bonus is that Dark Chocolate actually has health benefits!

What about you? What do you think is worth spending more on?

27 Responses (including trackbacks) to “10 things worth spending more on”

  1. mannequin Says:

    Oh you are SO SO right about a Mac. I switched 4 years ago when my child who was 6 was so frustrated with my having to reinstall Windows constantly that he was beginning to get frustrated with technology.
    Once I switched, I was elated! I found myself actually having time to do things on the computer instead of working ON the computer. I was able to use the time I had previously spent fixing plug n pray problems, finding “lost” files and the BSOD.
    The initial investment of a Mac and all of it’s included software far outweighs the “benefits” of Microsoft.
    and…Steve rocks.

  2. Llama Money Says:

    1. Nah. I’ve been a PC user since my teenage days, and don’t experience any frustration of any kind since the advent of Windows XP. ( Vista too. ) It just works, the way it’s supposed to, day in and day out. Macs are pretty for sure, but I don’t “get” them.
    2. So true. It costs, but worth every penny.
    3. I have two Hondas in my driveway, need I say more?
    4. I hate spending money on docs, but I want to be healthy, so sure.
    5. Not a tea guy
    6. Yes, yes, and yes. Speaking of which, I need to go out and splurge on some nice shoes. Mine are ancient and falling apart.
    7. Will have to try
    8. Disagree. But then again, I keep my wallet in my front pocket. I’m not aware of any really high quality, super slim front -pocket wallets. The only ones I can find are very cheap, on Ebay.
    9. YES. A nice bed & matress will save your marriage. Repeat after me- King Size.
    10. I have a soft spot for Godiva. So does my wife. Mmmmm $3 mini candy bar….

    Good list, even if I don’t agree with every one.

  3. "Mo" Money Says:

    Good list. Being frugal does not mean being cheap!

  4. Kathryn Says:

    I love the list. It matches my own pretty well except for the bed … when my husband and I first got together we only had a twin mattress on the floor. Most of our 32 year marriage we have slept on a Full-sized mattress. Recently we moved up to a Queen-sized bed … it has way too much room for us. We prefer to sleep close together and snuggle at night. I guess we just got used to being close.

  5. castocreations (hzk) Says:

    For me, as a small business owner, it is worth it to spend more on quality expenses. While that means my prices will be slightly higher, it also means that my quality is better than other people’s who may skimp on the supplies.

    And we also don’t skimp on our cable TV. We’re total TV junkies and it is on ALL the time. =)

  6. Mrs. Micah Says:

    I want a Civic next time around. :) Our car is good, but I’m a big Civic fan. The only thing is that I’d prefer a stick but a) I’m terrible at driving stick and b) we live in DC, so the traffic isn’t right for one. Maybe someday on the stick. I’ve tried a hybrid once and it was a great ride. :)

    Like you, I’m a dark (or darker, I can do semi-sweet) chocolate girl (ok, you’re a boy). Milk chocolate just isn’t worth eating. Or the calories.

  7. Sally Villarreal Says:

    You inspired a post of my own:

    My top 10 are yarn, air conditioning, health insurance, high speed internet, Ibuprofen gel caps, prescription medication, TV Dinners for lunch, comfortable shoes, feminine hygiene products and sunscreen.

  8. ChristianPF Says:

    -Sorry to take so long to respond, I have been at my sister-in-laws wedding all day. It has been a long day, thank God I have my KING size bed to come home to ;)

    It is interesting about #9, I find that people are usually on polar opposites with the bed issue. I am with Llama and will never do anything less than a king, even though my wife and I weigh about 275 pounds COMBINED. And then I have run into couples who weigh about 500 pounds combined that love sleeping on a full together so they can be close. I know it is just personal preference, but it is intriguing how different people can be on the issue…

  9. Elizabeth Gage Says:

    Good list. Let me put in a wee plug for the Mazda Protege (now Mazda 3) even though in general they got high, but not top, marks from Consumer Reports. I got a 98 Protege used with 8,000 miles on it in 1999. It now has 208,000 miles and has NEVER failed to start or keep going. It gets 31 mpg total (I have a 90-mile round trip commute… sorry, can’t find a job in my town). I have replaced tires, 1 battery, windshield wiper blades and front wheel bearings. Other than that I neglect oil changes and all that other stuff although I keep promising to reform. And it just keeps on tickin’
    My other comment is on the shoe issue. It’s worth it for women, too, although the fashion issue makes life more complicated. But I would definitely recommend spending more on the shoes for a quality look and economising on the rest. I have found amazing, well-made and stylish bargains at Old Navy and Target.

  10. Jane Says:

    I switched to well made boots for my main work shoe. In general I don’t wear a skirt to work, and I spend a lot of time on my feet and I find that my black boots stay nicer longer than shoes. (and I don’t have to worry about what color socks/stockings etc I am wearing.) I also can move fast (i.e. running to catch that connecting flight when you only had a 30 minute layover and your first flight is 15 minutes late) when I need to and not have to worry about them falling off or whatever. I also have never owned anything personally other than a MAC and love to curse the PC(s) I have to use at work.

  11. ChristianPF Says:

    if I would have made a list of 11, I think cowboy boots would have been it… I just discovered the joys of cowboy boots (but I am still a city-slicker) last year – they as well can last decades and even are heirlooms in some families.

  12. Scott Says:

    A big YES to #1 and #3. I have a PC and a Mac and use my MAC for everything. I also love our Toyota Prius. It’s been the best vehicle we have ever owned. The only thing needed, have been tires and oil changes. A wonderful vehicle!

  13. tiffanie Says:

    extra virgin olive oil…i used it in cooking almost every day and it has much better flavor than the cheap vegetable oils. also, skin care products…i will pay high dollar for items that have proven to work on my temperamental skin. and good chocolate :)

  14. Frugal Vet Tech Says:

    Food, dog food (you get what you pay for), shoes, bed sheets, and toothpaste (and more). We’re finally to a point financially where we don’t *have* to buy the cheapest we can, so we generally go for longevity and usability. With food, we could spend less on groceries every month, but we’d be eating fewer fruits, veggies, and other healthy food. As this post says: sometimes it’s worth paying more. That being said, I do still use coupons and take advantage of sales as much as possible :)

  15. Claire Says:

    Definitely food. I don’t even want to think about what happens to the insides of people that eat processed foods three times a day their whole lives. Cooking from scratch is so much better for you, and once you’ve stocked your cupboard with good quality staples it is much cheaper too; it doesn’t have to be expensive, especially if you shop at your local farmers market for fresh produce.

  16. Ms. Penny Pincher Says:

    1. A definite YES. We switched to Macs about 6 years ago and would never go back to a PC. We now have an iMac, Powerbook, MacBook Pro, Mac Mini and a couple of ipods in our “Apple Family”.
    2. Yes, we shop at a farmer’s market to try and get the best produce.
    3. Another emphatic YES. We have a 1996 Toyota Celica that hasn’t missed a beat.
    4. We have national healthcare here in Australia. As an American, I personally think it’s sad that you have to pay more to get better treatment there. I think all treatment should be equal as well as affordable.
    5. I don’t drink tea.
    6. YES, I spend 7 hours a day on my feet so I definitely need comfortable shoes.
    7. Another yes. We bought cheap potting soil once and it was infested with fungus gnats…never again!
    8. Nope.
    9. A most definite YES again. Our king-size bed was one of our best purchases ever.
    10. I don’t have expensive taste in chocolate nor do I like really cheap chocolate.

  17. ChristianPF Says:

    I am noticing a lot of people agreeing with #1 – GLBL, you ready to make the leap yet?

  18. FFB Says:

    Sounds like once you go Mac you don’t go back. They certainly look nice but the cost! Still. I’ll have to consider one when m laptop finally goes (or before hopefully). I drive a Toyota Corolla foe the reasons you list as well as the fact that it has a good re-sell value.

    For dress shoes – what do you consider a good brand? I beat mine up but I hate spending a lot on them.

    I totally agree on food. You are what you eat and you should enjoy it too. To that I would add it’s worth spending a little extra on quality beer. That’s just my own personal vice!

  19. Justin Says:

    #1 Nah, I don’t need to be using that interface, my Windows machines run just fine for years at a time.
    #2 Yes. Yes and Yes. You save yourself more in the long run I feel, too. Less illness, less disease.
    #3 I had a 94 Civic that did over 270000 miles before I was rear ended and it was totaled. I loved that car. I took over my wife’s ’93 Nissan Sentra in 05, had it til the summer of 06 when the AC quit and it would cost way too much to replace, sold it to a friend for his niece as a first car and it’s still running strong. I replaced it with an 07 Toyota Matrix, and love it. Whereas my wife’s Chevy is a POS.
    #5 I would have to say good coffee, not folger’s for sure, is well worth the extra.
    #8 I have a nice leather slimline wallet in my front pocket. My posture thanks me.
    #9 Yes. King Size. However beds don’t last forever…

  20. sir jorge of culver Says:

    i disagree on the mac front. As a web developer, i just can’t advice that for everyone.

  21. glblguy Says:

    @ChristianPF – Oh, I’m there…I’d love to have one, just can’t afford it right now. Plus I can use my computer from work, so it’s basically free. Someday…

  22. Sarah Says:

    Coffee! I cannot drink the cheap stuff.

    But I do mix good coffee with cheaper kind and it lasts longer. :-)

  23. justin Says:

    @sarah: Ick, mixing good coffee with bad just makes good coffee bad…

  24. Zee Says:

    I’d have to say clothing: I buy good quality clothing in classic styles as the foundation of my work wardrobe. I hate to shop, so buying items that last me a long while eliminates my need to allocate a lot of my budget towards clothes or go out and buy things constantly.

    I try to buy good quality clothes when they’re on sale, which usually means timing my purchases whenever the stores have sales or switch their lines of clothing with the seasons.

  25. Rich Says:

    Nice list and I completely agree with most of it. Regarding the cars I would like to add the Mazda3 to that list as well. Much nicer looking than the Corolla, a nice alternative to the Civic, rather sporty, handling is excellent, interior is near the best for its class, price seems almost too low for what you’re getting … oh and it gets very good mileage. Ranked #7 on your list which beats out the Corolla by the way. Cheers. :)

  26. Cinnamon Vogue Says:

    Actually the new triangular pyramid tea bags offer virtually the same brewing conditions as loose leaf tea. You don’t have to buy loose tea for better quality. Yes traditional tea bags had limited space inside, which meant lower grade teas, often referred to as tea dust were in these teas bag to make it steep better. This meant you got a quick cup with lower quality.

    The pyramid tea bags changed all that in one stroke. Pyramid bags are made from nylon strands that are woven into a small net-like mesh, creating holes in the bag much larger than conventional paper bags. These larger holes allow for water to come in contact with more of the tea’s surface area, thus releasing more essential oils and character into the cup. It also allows for much higher quality larger leaf tea to be inserted into the tea bag.

    The pyramid triangular structure of these bags provides space for the tea to move around easily. When you add hot water to the tea bag, the general tendency is for the leaves to move around in a circular pattern as they heat and then cool down. That means the teabag now duplicates what happens in a teapot or infuser with loose leaf teas. Some would say the pyramid tea is even better than loose leaf tea because it offers convenience, an exact dose of tea, saves time and the effort and cost of washing up a tea pot or infuser.