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Last post Author Topic: Skimp or splurge?  (Read 20890 times)

zridling

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Skimp or splurge?
« on: August 01, 2008, 11:42:00 PM »
I figure I'm not the only one broke these days. However, where I can, I buy things gently used or buy high quality new merchandise. I try not to waste money on cheap crap. I'm not a millionaire; I'm not even a hundred-aire. but as this MSN article suggests, there are a few items you can selectively save on:

  • Mattress: SPLURGE. You sit, sleep and God knows what else on this item. Get a good one.
  • Wristwatch: SKIMP. The phone now doubles as a timepiece.
  • Kitchen knife: SPLURGE. One good kitchen knife is a time-saver and is safer.

Maybe you should think of it as "splurging." It's not irresponsible or decadent to buy a quality item that you can use for decades at a reasonable price. (Of course, just because a product is expensive doesn't mean it is high quality...) And remember, if an item is high quality, sometimes you can buy it used!

So my question is: In what things do you "invest" for the long term?
« Last Edit: August 03, 2008, 12:18:10 AM by zridling »

kartal

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2008, 12:07:43 AM »
-I invest my money in good quality food ( and stay away from drugs, medicine, shots, and supplements)
-I only buy things I absolutely need (When I buy if I can I try to stay away from plastic counterpats)
-I never use-used credit card (not using credit card will also force you to save money)

Those would be my suggestions to those who pursue happy and healthy life.



Shades

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2008, 12:33:58 AM »
The tip about the credit card is a golden one...I don't even have one anymore. :Thmbsup: And where I live everything can be done on foot as well. Shoppings, super markets, hardware stores, cinemas, bars, banks, restaurants, DVD rental places, parks, coffee houses, cybercafe's...all this within a mile or two. Currently I don't even have a car.

You can not believe what a relief this is ;D...or maybe you can imagine if you are on "other side of the fence".

kartal

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2008, 12:46:52 AM »
I do not have a car right now too. We use our bikes alot!

40hz

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2008, 01:05:58 AM »
A good ergonomically designed chair and desk light. Your back and neck are precious -and your eyesight is priceless. Can't ever be too kind to either.

The tip about the credit card is a golden one...I don't even have one anymore. :Thmbsup:

Actually, I have one card : Amex.

An Amex card keeps you honest since you have to pay off your entire balance at the end of the month. (Just don't take them up on any of their deferred payment options.) I try to use it for pretty much everything I'd use cash or write a check for. At the end of the month I do one electronic payment and I'm done.

The real value of running everything through Amex is that it provides you with detailed monthly and annual reports for all your purchases. These can then be imported into your personal finance application. Great for creating and monitoring your budget - and worth its weight in gold come tax time.

American Express doesn't charge interest for using their card. They do assess an annual fee. But if you avoid the "metal" cards and stick to the basic green one, it will only cost you $65 a year. Not exactly free, but IMHO that's reasonable for the amount of detailed information it can provide about your spending. And in my case, it pays for itself several times over in tax savings. 8)
« Last Edit: August 02, 2008, 01:09:26 AM by 40hz »

lanux128

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2008, 01:19:25 AM »
  • Mattress: SPLURGE. You sit, sleep and God knows what else on this item. Get a good one.
  • Wristwatch: SKIMP. The phone now doubles as a timepiece.
  • Kitchen knife: SPLURGE. One good kitchen knife is a time-saver and is safer.

i agree with all those and also proper shoes is another good investment. with my experience, bad footware could lead to a lot of problems (smelly feet is the least). :)

mouser

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2008, 07:22:56 AM »
Great idea for a thread.

Skimp: Wine, Computer Speakers
Splurge: Vacuum cleaner, Kitchen Table

ps. regarding zaine's advice to splurge on a kitchen knife, this Victorinox $20 kitchen knife was recommended by Cook's Illustrated and it rocks: http://www.amazon.co...Fibrox/dp/B000638D32

Josh

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2008, 07:36:56 AM »

cranioscopical

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2008, 08:22:03 AM »
Never skimp.

Always buy the best quality you can (that's best quality, not most expensive).

If you can't find satisfactory quality don't buy at all.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2008, 12:52:37 PM »
Hm...
Skimp (avoid really); Paying people for anything I can do myself; Home, Auto, or Appliance repairs. My dad taught me years ago to be (mostly) self sufficient e.g. I can fix damn near anything so I'm not shelling out $$$ to keep my stuff working.

Splurge: on any materials I need to do repairs - It needs to be fixed only once, correctly, and with out hassel.

Side note: I skimp on gas and only get regular for my (truck) Dodge Dakota which has a 5.9 (360ci) engine (avg 10mpg). But I splurge on (my baby) 1987 Harley Davidson FLHTP and get premium only. The scoot will go from 0 to 60 in under 4 sec... & still gets 50+ mpg ...Ya just gota love her... ;)

cranioscopical

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2008, 03:10:03 PM »
Here's one for lion-hearted males.

Try skimping by buying your wife a pair of rubber gloves and a bottle of dish soap instead of the pearls she wanted for her birthday.
Better be prepared to splurge on alternative accomodation though.

 :o


[Edit -- Still can't spell]

CWuestefeld

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2008, 06:08:25 PM »
Splurge on paint brushes. The amount of time you spend picking the hairs out when they fall from the cheap brushes just isn't worth it.

My wife is good enough to skimp on purses. I had a coworker who was saving her money for a $900 purse. There's no way that purse is 30x better in any concrete measurement compared to my wife's $30 purse.

In fact, anything vaguely related to clothing should be skimped on, IMHO.

Skimp (avoid really); Paying people for anything I can do myself; Home, Auto, or Appliance repairs. My dad taught me years ago to be (mostly) self sufficient e.g. I can fix damn near anything so I'm not shelling out $$$ to keep my stuff working.
Disagree. I think you're better off using that time to do what you do best. If you can earn more in that time, it'll pay for the worker (in economic circles this is known as the law of comparatitive advantage http://en.wikipedia....omparative_advantage)

Side note: I skimp on gas and only get regular for my (truck) Dodge Dakota which has a 5.9 (360ci) engine (avg 10mpg). But I splurge on (my baby) 1987 Harley Davidson FLHTP and get premium only. The scoot will go from 0 to 60 in under 4 sec... & still gets 50+ mpg ...Ya just gota love her...

If your truck uses regular 87-octane, then by all means use that. Using high-octane fuel in an engine that doesn't require it is absolutely a waste of money. However, if your car (like mine) wants high-octane, you'll get better performance (including better gas mileage) if you use it. You can generally use a lower-octane fuel because the engine management system will sense the early detonation that the low-octane allows, but it handles it by inhibiting any timing advance, which lowers the efficiency of the engine. Of course it depends on the numbers of your specific situation, but you're likely not saving any money this way.

Darwin

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2008, 07:25:02 PM »
In fact, anything vaguely related to clothing should be skimped on, IMHO.

Agreed! I'm all for skimpy clothing... did I say that out loud?
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Stoic Joker

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2008, 07:29:08 PM »
Skimp (avoid really); Paying people for anything I can do myself; Home, Auto, or Appliance repairs. My dad taught me years ago to be (mostly) self sufficient e.g. I can fix damn near anything so I'm not shelling out $$$ to keep my stuff working.
Disagree. I think you're better off using that time to do what you do best. If you can earn more in that time, it'll pay for the worker (in economic circles this is known as the law of comparatitive advantage http://en.wikipedia....omparative_advantage)
(hehe) The problem with that manner of construct is it only works well if you're sitting around a coffee table ... in the "Real World" when you're standing in line with an "Average Paycheck" suddenly paying some clown $300 dollars to change a light bulb sounds ... well ... a bit high (now doesn't it).

I once passed a car (on a motorcycle) by hitting a set of railroad tracks at 120mph behind it, I quite literally went over the car and landed in front of it. When asked why I pulled that particular stunt (by my father who was driving the car) my simple response was ... Because I can.

The only advantage to paying someone to do a job, is it doesn't require any skill on the part of the payee Just money). I have never been "rich", or ever "well off". I have always done well for the economically suppressed area I live in, but I have also found that knowing how to do things that most people seem to find mystical or too complex has profited me greatly in the proverbial "long run".

Sure there are tons of things that most people believe are dangerous, and a lot of them are ... if you lack the skill necessary to mitigate the danger by understanding the ramifications of all the various variables. I simply invested my time (from a very early age) in understanding how things work, so to me any type of machinery is like an old friend.

I do what I do because simply because I can.

Quote
Side note: I skimp on gas and only get regular for my (truck) Dodge Dakota which has a 5.9 (360ci) engine (avg 10mpg). But I splurge on (my baby) 1987 Harley Davidson FLHTP and get premium only. The scoot will go from 0 to 60 in under 4 sec... & still gets 50+ mpg ...Ya just gota love her...

If your truck uses regular 87-octane, then by all means use that. Using high-octane fuel in an engine that doesn't require it is absolutely a waste of money. However, if your car (like mine) wants high-octane, you'll get better performance (including better gas mileage) if you use it. You can generally use a lower-octane fuel because the engine management system will sense the early detonation that the low-octane allows, but it handles it by inhibiting any timing advance, which lowers the efficiency of the engine. Of course it depends on the numbers of your specific situation, but you're likely not saving any money this way.
This one I'll give you, because you are 100% correct. My truck was designed for high octane fuel...however when the monthly gas bill heads for the $200 mark concessions have to be made. This is why I pulled the old girl (my scoot) outa mothballs. I had tried altering my driving habits (in the truck) to conserve gas only to find I spent most of the time pissing myself off. On the bike, not only can I go back to traveling at a "brisk pace"... but I find over all I'm much calmer (as it's good to be home...).

ljbirns

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2008, 08:28:52 PM »
I have a $ 600.00 fishing reel on an $ 297.00 fishing rod which I use while wearing my $ 10.99 shorts and my $ 5.99 T- shirt and my $ 9.997 sneakers. I don't know about my underwear -  my wife buys it.

Lew
Lew

40hz

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2008, 10:52:55 PM »
I have a $ 600.00 fishing reel on an $ 297.00 fishing rod which I use while wearing my $ 10.99 shorts and my $ 5.99 T- shirt and my $ 9.997 sneakers. I don't know about my underwear -  my wife buys it.

Lew

You may have hit on a key insight here. A good part of the decision making process comes down to how you set your priorities.

When I was a starving University undergrad, I washed disposable plastic cups and utensils; and had folding lawn furniture in my "living room." I didn't have much money to allocate to anything other than food, books, tuition, and rent.

But I did have a high-end Ampeg amplifier and three superb electric basses to plug into it. That, and a decent sized record (as in vinyl) collection of rock, baroque, and early renaissance music.

It was the wisest investment of money I ever made for one simple reason - the trade-offs I chose made me happy. So I guess my answer to the opening question is that, whenever possible, I invest in things I believe will make me happy.

It's been a lot of days since I was at University. I still have the amp, the basses, and my record collection. I can't begin to quantify the amount of joy that "stuff" provided. And still does.


app103

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #16 on: August 03, 2008, 04:57:15 AM »
I think I need to write a book on how to shop, because I am the queen of frugality.

It's not about skimping or splurging...it's about quality, and when does it matter. Good quality doesn't have to cost more, and in fact, it can actually cost substantially less, if you know what you are doing. (rebates, coupons, specials, sales, clearance, etc)

Think about how many times you want to buy a particular item during the course of your lifetime, then decide if it would make sense to pay more for that better quality. Then try to get the item at a discount that would make it near the same cost (or less) as the cheaper quality item. Except in the case of consumables like food, aim to buy it only once, if possible. And don't impulse shop!

And sometimes it depends on who you are buying the item for and how destructive they are. You can control your own actions, and take better care of the things you buy, but you can't control other people.

It makes more sense to buy my husband the cheapest portable CD player as possible, and the headphones from a $1 store...since they aren't going to last very long no matter how much you pay for them. With as destructive as he is, the $50.00 one will last the same amount of time as a $3.99 one.You are better off in his case investing the extra money you save, on blank CD's and making copies of everything he wants to listen to so he won't be touching the originals, because he will play them once and destroy them.

It makes more sense to buy the highest quality portable CD player for myself, since I am not destructive, and it is likely to last till it's well beyond obsolete...as long as my husband never borrows it for a day.  :D

Consumables:

Milk: you don't need to pay an extra $0.50 for a gallon of the name brand stuff. The milk with the store brand label came from the same cows. And besides, paying more won't make you have to buy less. It will be gone in the same amount of time.

Toothpaste: If there is a brand that will allow you to keep your teeth longer, buy it...but get it on a good sale and stock up, since you plan on brushing your teeth for as long as you have them. And for bonus savings, grab the packages that come with the free toothbrush attached.

Cheese: There is stuff out there that costs less and looks like cheese, but the individually wrapped slices taste a lot like the plastic they are wrapped in. Make sure it actually says "cheese" on the package. Spend more for that one single word.

Household goods:

Drinking glasses: Buy tempered glass, heat & break resistant, and pay whatever you have to, to get them. It's safer and they will last long enough for your great-grandchildren to throw across the room and they still won't break.

Sheets: Don't ever buy anything with a thread count less than 200, and don't buy anything that doesn't list a thread count, since it's likely to be about 120 if it doesn't say. High thread count sheets get better with age, they soften with repeated washings and take on an almost velvet-like texture.

Cheap, low thread count sheets will get irritating fuzz balls on them, often before the first washing. They get worse with age. Most sheets with prints designed for children are very low thread count. Invest in better quality sheets that they won't "outgrow" and will last till they move out. The latest fad cartoon character sheets, you'll be lucky if they last as long as your kid's interest in the character, but a simple solid color high thread count sheet set will last through college, and possibly long enough for their children to sleep on them.

Furnature: Buy used, classic style, real wood...the older, the better, and preferably oak. Refinish it if necessary. Do not buy anything made of that sawdust crap that is sold in most stores today.

Light bulbs: If you get good quality light bulbs, you can often get more light with a lower wattage and they will last longer. The money you save after purchase will exceed the extra amount you paid for them.

Cookware: Even if the only thing you do is make pancakes on Sunday morning, invest in professional quality cookware and learn how to take proper care of it. The number of pancakes to cookware cost ratio will be much better, and you will actually make better pancakes.

Clothing:

You have to be careful with clothing, and pick a classic style rather than something trendy. Otherwise you run the risk of looking like an old fart in an out of style polyester suit from the 70's. Buy something that was in style 20 years ago and is still in style today. Chances are, it will still be in style 20 years from now.

Shoes: These are so important, because if your feet aren't happy, you will never be able to be happy, yourself. Get the best shoes you can get for your feet...well fitting, good construction, quality materials...but get a classic style that won't look funny on your feet in 10 or more years, and buy them cheaper by buying a discontinued style from last year, off the clearance rack. Protect the investment by identifying the area of the heels likely to end up worn out first, and attach heel protectors to them. Replace the protectors when they are wearing out so the heels of the shoes never get damaged. If the bottoms do wear out, before buying a new pair, find out if replacing the bottoms would be cheaper, first.

And never skimp on quality when it comes to children's shoes. If you do, you could be setting up your kids for a lifetime of foot problems. Growing feet need good shoes. So even if they will outgrow them in 3 months, get the good stuff.

Kids clothing: They only have to last till the kids outgrow them, maybe 2 kids if you have a younger one of the same gender. Remember that when you shop, and don't cave in to the requests of your kids for the expensive trendy designer stuff. As a parent, you are teaching them how to shop and buying the trendy stuff just because they won't shut up till you do, teaches them to not only keep whining and taking advantage of you, but you will also be teaching them to be bad shoppers, something that will haunt their wallets for the rest of their life.

Blue jeans: Why would you pay more to have someone else's name on your butt? Better off getting a pair where the company has a reputation for making things that last, than a designer that has a reputation for being trendy. Back in 80's, during the hayday of designer jeans, if you invested in a good pair of classically styled Levis at $20 rather than Sergio Valente at $75+, you would still be wearing them now and nobody would give you a funny look for it....and you would have paid much less for them.

Seriously, maybe I should write a book, because I really could go on & on & on.  ;D

icekin

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #17 on: August 03, 2008, 05:41:37 AM »
1. I agree with skimping on milk, it comes from the same cows. I also see no sense in buying skim/ lite milk by paying more, its better to eat well and work it out. Skim milk also tastes like water, but maybe that's just me.

2. I also avoid gym memberships and prefer running and have weights in my room, but a gym may be necessary if you are a body builder or professional athelete who needs to work out very specific muscle groups. When I was in school, my Phy Ed Coach taught us to make our own weights by filling large bottles or rice bags with sand. I used the coke bottles in particular, they had the perfect shape and grip to act as dumbells. And your muscles don't care what you use for weights as long as they are safe.

3. Pack your own Lunch; Its healthier too. I've fractured my left hand and had difficulty cooking for a few weeks and resorted to eating outside. My food budget shot up, along with my body mass.

I also believe that quality does not always mean high price. Army Surplus goods are a great example. I've bought my camping gear from there, including backpacks and tents and nearly 30% of the price I would have paid buying branded stuff such as Hi-Tec or Kathmandu. They were also far better designed and durable IMO.


Grorgy

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #18 on: August 03, 2008, 06:35:45 AM »
I really like my gym membership  :)  For me its money well spent, they provide a comprehensive service and plans tailored to you individually for your age and general health status, when I first started going I was approaching 50 and was just out of hospital and could hardly walk far enough to do the shopping.  So I think gym membership will be one of those that depend very much on your situation and needs.  They are also a great way for some to get a bit of social interaction, a friend of my mothers, he is now in his 80's wouldn't miss his days at the gym, loves every moment and is happier and fitter than he has been in years.

Skim milk, well, again thats a life style choice, and will depend on what you need.

If you can find what you need at Army surplus stores they have some great deals, I like them.

I tend to splurge on books, love books, and shoes, as app says, ya need happy feet  ;)

SKesselman

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2008, 11:14:04 PM »
The tip about the credit card is a golden one...I don't even have one anymore. :Thmbsup: ...

...You can not believe what a relief this is ;D...or maybe you can imagine if you are on "other side of the fence".

I can believe it, credit is a bad, bad thing in the wrong hands (mine)!!
I don't have it anymore either, & I do not miss it.
There is no ad, no offer, no promise that could make up for the black cloud of constant debt. Blech.
-Sarah

SKesselman

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2008, 11:27:01 PM »
...If you can't find satisfactory quality don't buy at all.

 :o Almost all "everyday items" are made poorly! The designs of some of these items are great, but...at least, in the US,
materials + workmanship = crap. I'd be interested to know just how you've managed to escape this  :P


-Sarah

SKesselman

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #21 on: August 03, 2008, 11:36:15 PM »

Skimp: Wine, Computer Speakers
Splurge: Vacuum cleaner, Kitchen Table


 :Thmbsup: Now, there's someone who knows how to live. :Thmbsup:
Did you just get a new vacuum cleaner, too???
-Sarah

Armando

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2008, 01:15:53 AM »
It's not about skimping or splurging...it's about quality, and when does it matter.

Right. Pretty much what I'm thinking, but splurging can have a flavor of its own. So does skimping.

Let's be vague.  Here are my 2 general rules:

Splurge : if necessary, when it helps me reach my goals and projects and is in line with my values**. And sometimes when I feel that I should go against my values, goals and projects, just for the pleasure of entropy, variety, surprise...


Skimp : anything that doesn't have any real incidence on my general happiness, or is not in line with my values, goals and projects (ie : spending more would not help achieving more or better, etc.). And sometimes... when I feel that I should go against my happiness values, goals and projects, just for the pleasure of entropy, etc.   :D


In most cases, splurge is probably -- ahem -- not essential (hence the term "splurge" -- which doesn't mean that I think it's "bad"... considering that "variety is the spice of life"... Splurge/skimp both have their place and can allow different phenomenons, realities, feelings to blossom...). Especially that humans seem adapt to any condition, whether good or bad (hedonic adaptation -- yes, some researchers will say it's not true, but... there seems to be massive evidence for it).

According to studies (for an easy book on the subject, see Sonja Lyubomirsky's The How of Happiness and of course all the studies on the subject...), the context (material possessions, where you live, etc.) accounts for only 10% of a persons' global happiness. 50% is genetic, and 40% is in the individual's "hands": voluntary cognitive (in the wide sense) and behavioral changes. So a big portion resides in one's attitude towards life (... in general : attitude towards relationships, individual activities and thoughts-emotions, external events...). Now isn't this encouraging?  :) (OK 50% is a pretty big number...  but so is 40!)



**Sometimes skimping means going against my values : buying stuff -- clothes, objects, services, whatever -- from a company that's not respecting human rights, that's not being ecologically sound, etc. So I'll splurge instead --> it's in line with my values and goals.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2008, 01:18:49 AM by Armando »

Nod5

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #23 on: August 04, 2008, 07:09:38 AM »
Nice topic!

Ergonomically fitting computer gear: SPLURGE. Let's face it, if you're reading this you probably spend a lot of time in front of a computer screen. Finding a mouse, keyboard, screen, table and chair that fits your body well is well worth investing money and time in. You don't have to get extremely specialized gear. It's a good step to just get a somewhat better version for each of the listed tool categories.

Kitchen knife: SKIMP. I see I'm going against the grain in this thread here. I use cheap knives from IKEA and an cheap knife sharpener from IKEA. If only the knives are sharp then I have never noticed a difference in performance between cheap and expensive knives.

Fred Nerd

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Re: Skimp or splurge?
« Reply #24 on: August 04, 2008, 07:55:09 AM »
SPLURGE ON MILK.....
Seriously, I live in a dairy area......I grew up on fresh milk from our house cow...
For starters, taste, I wouldn't feed home-brand milk to my dog, you might as well drink whitened water, and it would be healthier as well..... The cheaper milk comes from dairys with lower health standards; it is cheaper for them to filter and disinfect the dirty milk than to keep it clean from the start.
And they will uses as many chemicals as the law allows in the process. And this is a lot.

As an old dairy farmer said to me, "the milk you buy from a shop has been pasteurised, homogenised, and buggerised"

When I had the time I used to get it straight form the dairy, pay twice what he's getting, and I get the best milk you can get, at the cheapest price.