When your budget is stretched thin and you typically have more month left than money, it’s definitely a good idea to look for bargains whenever possible. However, while it is important to be frugal, you must also be wise about what you are buying. In some cases, spending less will ultimately mean paying more—especially if what you are buying is poorly made.
For example, the following items are definitely worth spending more on now, so you can save more later:
Buying new tires often involves a serious case of sticker shock, especially when you need to replace all four at once. But this is definitely a product that is worth investing in. Inexpensive tires are more likely to vibrate, wear down faster and perform poorly in bad weather, and you will probably quickly regret saving $25 or $50 per tire when you are sliding all over the road with your precious family in the car. Fortunately, it is possible to find affordable prices on quality name brand tires; for example, TireBuyer.com sells reliable brands like Michelin that will meet your specific performance needs and not cause your already-stretched budget to break.
Your laptop is another product that is worth investing in. Sure, you can find plenty of cheap laptops but they tend to be less durable, take forever to download videos and games and come with a low-quality battery that will die within a few hours. As Digital Trends notes, it is rare to find a laptop for less than $600 that offers more than six hours of battery life. Fortunately, if you up your budget by $200, you can find plenty of basic laptops that have around 10 hours of battery life, a decent sized and efficient processor and can handle anything you want to do or watch with ease.
Clothing—At Least Some of It
It's pretty easy to find really inexpensive clothing that is surprisingly comfy like T-shirts, shorts and jammie bottoms. But as LifeHacker notes, quality clothes that cost a bit more will definitely last longer and they tend to be more comfortable than their bargain companions. The key is to find a happy medium between expensive and quality clothing that is exceptionally durable versus over the top spendy haute couture items and really cheap stuff that will get holes in it after two washings. In other words, instead of a bargain bin $3 T-shirt or a $100 fancypants top from some boutique, aim for $25 for a really nice T-shirt that looks terrific, is made from all natural fibers and will last for seasons to come.
You can find all sorts of kitchen goodies in the dollar store and yes, they will do the job—for a meal or two. But why spend $1 for a set of chintzy pot holders that might burn your hands when a few more dollars will get you a really nice set of oven-safe mitts that can handle your hot tins of muffins with ease? The same goes for cheap-but-cheesy spatulas, silverware, frying pans and cookie sheets. If you enjoy cooking and are in your kitchen frequently, it’s well worth investing in heavy-duty cookware—think T-Fal or Calphalon— and sturdy cookie sheets that won’t rust after one washing.