Save or Splurge? 7 Items That Are Worth The Extra Money (And 2 That Aren't) - Get Out of Debt, Save More Money, and Retire Early | Scott Alan Turner

Save or Splurge? 7 Items That Are Worth The Extra Money (And 2 That Aren’t)

By Scott Alan Turner

Aug 17

I a saw a TV segment once of a guy who lived on $0. Ultra cheap. The camera man showed him hanging up used paper towels on a clothesline to dry out and be reused.

That was not my vision of financial freedom. Not my vision of anything, except a guy with a miserable life if you have to spend your time washing paper towels.

Sometimes spending some extra money can save you time, money, or gain you comfort, or save you in the long run. There are a lot of little things that make a big difference in the quality of your life.

What are some things you should consider paying extra for?

1. Cookware – pots, pans, knives

When we got married, a lot of high-quality cookware was on our gift registry. We didn’t get much of it as gifts, so we bought what we needed ourselves. Bonus – when you create a gift registry you often get a 10% or more discount on the items you didn’t get from stores like Macy’s.

If you like cooking and do it often, paying for cookware that will last a long time can help you be a more efficient cook. Check for products that include a lifetime warranty. One of the knives we bought started to rust, so we shipped it back to the manufacturer for a free replacement.

Yes, quality costs more but if you get a warranty, you’ll never have to buy a replacement.

If you can’t yet afford higher priced kitchen items, buy them one at a time.

2. Coffeemaker

Do you think paying $200 for a Nespresso machine is too much? If a pod costs $1 for coffee and you compare that to a $5 coffee on your way to work, the payback is pretty quick. The expensive coffee maker will pay off in the long run.

Higher-priced coffeemakers generally have better water filtration systems and higher boiling points, which make the coffee better for you and better tasting. – Homesessive reports

3. Toilet paper

When you go to a restaurant, rest stop, or the airport and are forced to use the cheap, harsh toilet paper – you notice don’t you?

Your fanny (and mine!) deserves the best. If you really wanted to go cheap, you’d go outside and rake up the leaves and grass clippings. Spring for some high-quality toilet paper.

You can find great deals buying in bulk at the warehouse clubs. Make sure to shop around – Amazon often does not have the best prices on toilet paper.

4. Shoes

A high-quality pair of sneakers and shoes can last a lot longer than buying cheaper ones you have to replace every six months. This is especially true of sneakers if you exercise or walk around a lot.

That doesn’t mean springing $250 for the latest Air Jordans for your kids. But a good brand of sneakers for your kids will likely to do better than the $15 special at Walmart.

I owned a pair of Doc Martins ($100) that I wore for two years in college and another eight years after graduating. They were dressy enough to wear to work every day at my corporate job.

5. Food

You might save money now by eating packaged, processed, canned, and frozen foods. But you will pay later when health issues catch up to you due to excessive weight, clogged arteries, or diabetes. Higher priced good quality food is cheaper in the long run than doctor’s visits and hospital time. Not to mention you’ll have more energy and feel better.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Butter over margarine
  • Olive oil over vegetable oil (or Crisco)
  • Whole wheat over enriched white flour
  • Fresh produce over canned
  • Pure honey and maple syrup over high-fructose corn syrup
  • All natural peanut butter over Jif/Skippy

Be wary of the labels like all-natural and whole grains. Those are marketing terms that make you think something is healthy. The easy way to know if something is good for you or not is to read the ingredient list. If you can pronounce all the ingredients and it doesn’t read like a who’s who of chemistry textbook you’re in good shape.

6. Office chair

Do you have back problems? Maybe you’ve heard sitting is the new cancer. Sitting at a desk for long periods can be very strenuous on your lower back.

A good chair goes a long way to keeping you comfortable and pain-free at work.

My wedding present from Katie was a $750 Aeron office chair. I sat in that chair 8-15 hours a day working for nine years until I switched to my stand-up desk. That comes out to about a fraction of a penny per hour to help prevent his back from hurting (I have back problems).

7. Cat food

Your cats deserve the best.

Not the dog, just let them clean up the floor to supplement their diet (only works if you have toddlers).

What’s missing on this list?

Mattresses

You can find great mattresses for cheap at Walmart and Costco. So you’re not splurging. There are great quality and comfortable mattresses for $300-$400 depending on what size you need. You’re only splurging if you fall for the marketing hype that a $800+ mattress will give you a better night’s sleep.

Costco has great $400 memory foam mattresses from NovaForm that are just as comfortable as a $2,000 Tempurpedic.

Sheets

If you wear pajamas to bed, what percent of your body actually touches the sheets? The answer is not much. If you want to splurge on something, buy an expensive pillow case, so your face is comfortable.

We get our sheets at Bed, Bath & Beyond using one of the 20% off coupons.

The nice thing is BB&B will replace the sheets if something goes wrong. I was rolling over one night, and my elbow ripped a hole right through the fitted sheet. Katie brought it back and got a free replacement.

Sometimes, quality and comfort matter. If you’ve got the buffer in your budget, you can save money in the long run by spending extra now. Check out online reviews of products before you buy, and don’t be afraid to return something if you don’t like it. If you use common sense and spend a reasonable amount of money on stuff, you’ll come out ahead.