This morning I read an article on Yahoo Finance titled 12 Times Being Cheap is Totally Worth It. The author shares 12 examples of items where you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get good quality. I’m all for saving money at the supermarket whenever possible, and I also love shopping at Costco because there are so many great deals to be had.
Below I have listed each of the 12 examples along with some thoughts of my own.
Shampoo. I don’t put much thought into shampoo but my wife swears it pays to spend a little extra. I’m fine with using whatever is on sale or shopping at the dollar store.
Produce. The article mentions that frozen fruits and vegetables are generally cheaper than fresh, though I would caution that isn’t necessarily true. There’s a farmer’s market nearby where I often stop for fresh fruits and veggies and the price can’t be beat. But we also keep some frozen vegetables on hand, especially during the winter when it is harder to find them fresh. I think we have some frozen corn in the freezer right now as well as some berries and mixed fruit. We like to use those in place of ice when making smoothies.
Prescriptions. I always ask the pharmacist for the generic version of prescriptions because they are just as effective for a fraction of the cost. The same goes for over the counter pain killers and cough syrup. Why pay more just for a name?
Water. Bottled water is a total rip-off, but it is something I’m guilty of buying from time to time. I know filters work great and all but the convenience of grabbing a cold bottle of water out of the fridge on my way out the door is something I appreciate.
Contact Lens Solution. I don’t wear glasses or contacts so I don’t have much opinion on this one.
Tools. As a do it yourselfer, I don’t completely agree on this one. While it’s usually not necessarily to spend top dollar on tools, you don’t want to go too cheap or you’ll end up with something that doesn’t work. I’d say I usually buy mid-ranged tools…they may not have all the bells and whistles but they have enough of them and I’m confident they’ll last for a while.
Coffee. Umm, no. My wife and I are both coffee-lovers and the generic brands just don’t cut it in our house. I’d rather spend a few extra bucks and grab a bag of Starbucks when it goes on sale. I NEED my morning cup of coffee!
Cell Phone Plans. We have a family plan through Sprint and I’m happy with that. I spend more than the author of the article does but it’s not the most expensive plan either.
Toothpaste. I don’t have any brand loyalty when it comes to toothpaste. We buy whatever is on sale and with coupons you should never have to pay full price for a tube of toothpaste.
Pantry Staples. We almost always buy the generic version of items like cereal, rice, and canned goods…with a few exceptions. Anything but Hellman’s mayonnaise is gross to me. And as an avid griller I like to try different barbecue sauces…the cheap stuff usually isn’t very good.
Toilet Paper. Completely agree with the article…Scott’s toilet paper is horrible, but the store brand is usually just fine.
Wine. My wife and I both enjoy drinking wine and there is definitely a difference in quality as price increases. We usually shop in the $9 to $12 range for a 750ml bottle and I find that’s a nice balance between quality and price. The cheaper stuff is usually not very good.
In the end, it’s all about trade-offs and balance. I’m more than willing to shop smart and save some money on most items so I can afford to spend a little bit extra on a few items that are more important to me.