Some areas where it pays to spend a little more
Okay, a little shorter post today with the holiday weekend and all. I do not want to make anyone think too hard but I was reminded recently that “frugal” does not always mean “cheaper”. My wife and I sometimes review some of the purchases that we have made over our lives where we spent little money, but wish we had spent a little more.
My wife and I will have been married for eight years in July and we are on our fourth vacuum. One of the vacuums was given to us, but we spent an average of $60 on the other three – and most likely we will be buying another in a year or two. I often wish we had gone out and gotten the best vacuum that we could afford when we were first married. We certainly could have purchased a $150 or $200 model. I am confident that had we done so, we would still be using that vacuum today and it probably would last another ten years. Now we are in a life situation where we cannot spend that much. Until our financial situation improves, we will have to buy cheap.
This is many times the case with appliances, my Grandmother is still using the blender that was given to her at her wedding – over 60 years ago. My dad used a shop vac on his cars for over twenty-five years. Sometimes quality is worth a couple extra bucks.
Growing up, my mother used a ringer-washer, both the hand-crank and the electric kind. I remember watching her feed cloth diaper after cloth diaper through that think until her hands were cracked and bleeding from the water. We all remember the day that my dad brought home a Maytag automatic washing machine. He saved up his money and purchased one of the best available. That washer was used virtually ever day for almost thirty years. Five kids will push any appliance to the limit. My father could have paid twice as much for that washer and gotten his money’s worth.
Once again, my father is one of the most frugal people I know. He supported our family on a miniscule salary for most of our lives, but when he bought, he bought quality. When I was home a couple of weeks ago, I realized that my mother is still using the cutlery set that my dad purchased for her when I was six years old.
I have found that it does not pay to get cheap shoes. Many times in my life, I have thought I could get away with buying the off-brand, but soon realized that it was a mistake. I once had a pair of off-brand shoes in which the insole completely disintigrated in a matter of days. Most cheap shoes do not fit right – I have had some that have even caused health problems like shin splints, hip soreness and back problems. Shop the sales, try to get money off, but I recommend good shoes – even if they costs a few more bucks.
Mattresses and pillows
Just before my wife and I were married, I knew we needed a mattress and box spring set so I searched through the classifieds and perused the ads until I found the most inexpensive queen mattress and box spring set that I could find. What a dumb thing to do! About three years into our marriage, I knew I had made a mistake. The next time we get a new mattress (hopefully soon), we are going to get a good one.
Our pillows were also an area where we thought we could get away cheap. We just went down to the nearest big box store and got the cheapest pillow possible. I think our first pair cost $7. We are slow learners so now we are on our fourth set of pillows, but we have purposed to get a good set next time.
A few weeks back, my wife posted a dozen frugal wedding ideas and in one of them, she mentioned that there are ways to reduce wedding photo costs, but you should never sacrifice wedding photo quality. They are the one thing from your wedding that you will look at for years to come. If you have to pay a little extra to get good quality in this category – do it.
This is the one life event where I think couples should splurge. This is a great time in your life to try new things together and live in luxury – don’t finance your honeymoon, don’t spend money just because, but for goodness’ sake, have some fun! There will be many chances in the future for you to practice financial self-discipline. Yes, there are common sense ways to reduce costs on your honeymoon, but spend what you need to spend in order to do once-in-a-lifetime things.
So often we think only in the moment, and we do not make purchases with an eye toward the future. This is not necessarily frugal – sometimes it is just plain cheap. My wife and I are still trying to develop the habit of purchasing quality, not just looking for instant gratification. We often wish that when we had more disposable income earlier in our marriage, we had take more time to purchase quality. Ironically, we usually end ups spending the same money if not more over time – for junk.
Are there any other items where you think it pays to spend a little more?
Photo by: brent