There’s nothing wrong with being frugal, but the smart man buys once, the fool buys twice. Meaning, if you buy cheap, that product will fail on you and you’ll just have to buy it again. The smart guy buys quality products once and they last forever. In short, there are things in this life that you don’t want to cheap out on. In the long run, paying what seems like a bargain price for some of the following items will only end up costing you more.
If you’re gonna get something permanently etched on your person… if you’re going to bleed for your commitment to say, the visualization of your favorite Foreigner album cover, then don’t you think you should pay for a quality artist? Until laser tattoo removal is perfected, that ink is forever. Put in the time for exhaustive research on best artists in your area and then pay them the money they deserve.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Permanent shame, and uncomfortable looks from your parents around the dinner table during major holidays.
2. Mattresses As they say, never skimp on what separates you from the ground—that includes tires, shoes, and mattresses—especially mattresses. A great mattress can and probably will cost you well into the thousands, but they’ll last longer and you’ll know where that money went when you wake up after an unfettered night’s sleep.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Countless nights of restless sleep, grouchiness (due to restless sleep), and back pain like you couldn’t believe. Poor sleeping habits are actually incredibly bad for your health.
3. Toilet Paper Have you ever had to make an emergency pit stop at a gas station to use the bathroom? How about a bathroom at a fast food restaurant? School restroom? What do these places have in common? Coarse, one-ply toilet paper with the grit of an ultra-fine sandpaper. Life’s too short–spend the extra 25 cents per roll on the three-ply cushy stuff.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: A rash with the scorching intensity of a thousand burning suns.
4. Cuts of Meat Having people over for dinner? Get thee to a butcher. Save the cube steak for Monday night and serve your guests a cut that’s good enough to hide any culinary errors you might make. Ask the butcher a bunch of questions—he’ll suggest the perfect cut to match your occasion and grilling ability.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Future dinner party guests, and a lot of flavor.
5. Condoms It’s crass and people don’t like talking about it, but it’s life. The regular brands of condoms supplied at dollar store (in California) go by the names of Trustex and Fantasies. Do you really want to put your trust in a product that has the word “trust” in the brand name?
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Mommy and Daddy’s little surprise bundle of fun.
6. Chef-grade Knives See above. Have you bought a choice cut of meat? It deserves a good knife—they can actually enhance your steak. Here’s the thing though: there are lots of chefs’ knives out there and they all have different functions. Ask as legit chef for recommendations that align with your needs, or just our article on what knives chefs prefer.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Your steak or, worse, your finger.
7. A Proper Haircut Yes, it grows back, but you’re an adult. I’m not advocating a $200 shearing by the guy who cut Clinton’s hair on Air Force One, but finding a worthwhile hairstylist who can give you a cut to compliment the shape of your face (as well as something that’s easy to style at a moment’s notice) makes all the difference in the world.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Bad photos that live on in social-media infamy, potential gain of unflattering nickname
8. Clothes Quality lasts, the cheap stuff will last a season. That said, there’s nothing wrong with the cheap stuff when it serves the situation. If you’ve taken a walk through H&M or Old Navy, you’ll probably find a few quirky seasonal items meant for vacations or weekends. Buy them; they’re never going to be family heirlooms—they’re inexpensive and you’ll get a season out of them. Quality clothes will cost more though–a lot more, but you’ll have them forever.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: After a few washes, shapes become tweaked, colors fade, hems start to fringe. You’ll just end up buying more clothes—more clothes, more money.
9. Wine and Fine Alcohol You’re a grown-up now so right off the bat, eliminate any liquor that also has a corresponding slushie flavor. Next, pick your poison and buy a bottle of the good stuff. You’re saving money by mixing a drink at home, and you’ll be able to tell the difference when it goes down oh-so-smooth, especially with wine.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Hangovers: high-grade wines and liquors use high-grade ingredients and better distillery methods. This means, the product you’re putting in your body has less impurities in it.
10. A Costco Membership An annual Executive membership is going to put you back $110, but it’s a small price to pay for long-term savings on above-average products (not to mentioned cheaper gasoline, and prescriptions). You’re buying in bulk so if you crunch the numbers, that membership fee can pay for itself immediately.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Your other option is to pay more money for less in quantities.
11. A Multipurpose Suit Your suit doesn’t have to be from Savile Row, but those late-night local-cable commercials promising you a suit, tie, shirt and maybe a date for $80? Not good. Make sure when you guy the suit, it’s from a place that offers fittings and alterations. An expensive will take a nice chunk out of your annual wardrobe budget, but it should last you a lifetime. Tip: Buy one in solid, neutral colors—stay away from silly trends and patterns.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: The job you want, the woman you want, constant fear you’ll need more deodorant to get through the day.
12. Four-Star Hotel Rooms A roadside motor lodge is great for crazy family road trips, but if you’re taking your sweetheart away for the weekend, the room that you made due with when traveling with your stinky college buddies will not fly. Remember, a fancy hotel doesn’t have to break your budget, look for online deals. Bonus tip: Active Costco membership holders get access to the company’s discount travel service. See, that Costco card’s already saving you a bundle.
Long-term cost if you go with the “bargain” option: Knowing, all weekend, that when she says she’s “fine,” she’s not.
Photo credit: Rishad Daroowala via Flickr