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. 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.
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.