Financial Resource Center

Money Management

Six Items to Never Cheap Out On

by Alisa Cohn / January 8th, 2021

When you're trying to save money, you might buy the generic or the lowest-priced item in order to slash your spending. While being thrifty is generally a good idea, spending more on certain items will save you money and stress in the long run. Here are a few purchases you should never go cheap on:

1. Mattresses — A good night's sleep is crucial to your health and well-being. If you're still sleeping on a mattress you've had for more than 10 years, it's time to start saving for a new bed. A new mattress is expensive, but it's also an investment in your quality of life. Definitely don't buy a used mattress—it carries the risk of bed bugs and other contaminations. 

2. Insurance — Whether it's car insurance, health insurance, or homeowners insurance, pay a little more for better protection. For instance, if you're driving a "new to you" car that isn't paid off, don’t go cheap and only get liability coverage. Shop around to get the best rate for better coverage, including collision and comprehensive coverage. This will protect you financially in case you’re in an accident. 

3. Clothing — There's no reason to spend $100 on a shirt that only will be in style for one season, but when it comes to a professional wardrobe, quality clothing is worth the money. Choose classic pieces that can be worn year-round and for many seasons. Buy well-made clothing and once in a while, mix it up with a lower-priced, but trendy top. 

4. Cars — While it doesn’t make sense to buy a new sports car if you have a bus budget, don’t skimp on your vehicle. Buying a dirt-cheap clunker in constant need of repair will likely end up costing you as much or more as a buying well-maintained used car. 

5. Food —We all crave junk food once in a while, but make sure you don’t spend most of your food budget on it. Buy fresh, good quality, unprocessed food to make healthy meals. Junk food consists of empty calories that can also be bad for your health. 

6. Contributions to yourself — Tennessee Williams once said that, "You can be young without money, but you can't be old without it." Since living solely off Social Security can be difficult, work toward building up your savings to insure you can retire comfortably.  Save at least 10% of your paycheck in a 401(k) or other retirement fund. Also, create an Emergency Fund to protect you from big unexpected expenses or loss of income. Try to save enough to cover 3-6 months of living expenses.


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