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20 Items You Should Never Save Money On!

20 Items You Should Never Save Money On!
Written by Oana Schneider

Putting a few bucks aside while shopping is, no doubt, every buyer’s dream. But is it always ok to go for the cheapest price? The experience of many of those who are trying to save some money by buying cheap items shows that lowest prices are not always a good deal.

Sometimes low-priced items come in hand in hand with low quality, bad taste, bad packaging, or simply zero buyer satisfaction. We all agree that for a certain category of products quality is, indeed, something you should pay attention to.  Here’s why we have prepared you an extensive list of items for which you should think twice before going for the lowest price, if you want your money’s worth!

20 Items You Should Never Save Money On

Haircuts

Don’t be stingy with your haircut, unless you want to spend your mornings avoiding the mirrors and your days lacking self-confidence because you don’t feel comfortable with your look. Same advice applies to other beauty or cosmetic treatments. We’re not saying to go for the most expensive offers, but it’s safest to make sure you get them done right. It’s your body, after all.

Powdered Food

Just like instant soup, something just doesn’t feel right about powdered milk or eggs.  Everybody knows that nothing inside those powdered food packages is natural. 

Agreed, they might win you over very cheap prices, but the health damage you do to yourself while ingesting synthetic flavored, low on nutrients so called “foods” will make you spend more eventually on health care and pills. So what’s the point? You’re not really saving a dime; on the contrary, you waste your money on self-harm.

Your Retirement Fund

Seizing the day may sound like a lot of fun, but don’t forget to pay yourself first, by putting money aside for a savings cushion that will benefit your greatly later on.  Failing to do so will only decrease your financial independence in a time you will no longer be able to provide for yourself, thus increasing your dependency upon friends, family, or government. You certainly deserve more than that!

Also, get guarantees that the risk of your retirement fund does not rest entirely on your shoulders.  Discuss the issue with your employer and make sure that your partner is saving, too.

Education

In a more and more specialized labor market, the need for higher education is also on the rise. Lifelong learning is no longer a luxury, but almost a necessity if you want to keep the pace with technological changes and with other ever changing variables in the society. This is why cutting expenses on education for you or your kids is not really an option if you’re after trying to save some money.

Either we speak about college education, a PhD in engineering or simply language classes or training in manicure techniques, education is vital for your future development and will have a great impact on your career prospects. Choose the best offers, but do not neglect it – it will definitely pay off someday!

Health Care

Even if it’s not a material asset, your health is one of the most valuable goods and you should treasure it as such. Make sure you don’t neglect routine check-ups and prescribed medication for financial reasons, because otherwise you will risk that your condition (if you have one, of course) gets worse, which implies far more costly investments. Don’t put a price on your health for the sake of a few extra bucks – it’s simply not worth it!

Insurance Policies

Well, this one is tricky, because you have to make a careful evaluation of your risks prior to purchasing insurance. If you have a car, think of policies that will refund your loss in case of accident; if your house is located in an area endangered by natural hazards; keep that in mind when signing a contract. Sometimes anti-theft and fire insurance aren’t enough.

Last but not least, don’t forget about travel and health insurances for you and your loved ones. Everybody wishes not to used them, but it feels safer to have your back covered. They could really make a difference during critical situations, so… you should have it. Just in case.  As my mother always says, better safe than sorry!

Holidays to less familiar destinations

An African safari or a trip to Peru sound like great holiday plans, but if you’ve never been to your destination before and if you’re not really sure they speak your language(s) over there, it is better to have everything very carefully arranged, in order not to encounter unexpected surprises. And more often than not, this comes with a price.  Work with a trustworthy travel agency and ask for professional counseling – sometimes there’s no other solution than paying what it takes if you don’t want to have your long-expected holiday ruined by unpredictable things.

Laundry

Happy shopper, happy life!

Happy shopper, happy life!

Ok, this one barely needs any further explanation. There are people, though, who still think they are saving money if they are doing their laundry less often than regular. I’m not sure you want to be part of that category, do you?

Safety – for you and those around you

Not much lecturing on this one, either, since it is normal to take care of your safety – or of your close ones’. If you feel there is a burglary risk in your area, invest your money in some efficient door locks or alarm systems. Don’t go stingy either when it comes to the fire insulation of your house or, if you have children, when buying kids-friendly pieces of furniture that will prevent dangerous accidents. Your life is really the last thing you should save money on!

Leisure activities

Most of the advice teaching you how to save money agrees upon one point: money spent on fun are a waste. Well, we’d say you have to think twice before taking drastic measures. Psychologists insist not to radically cut costs there – well, at least not at first. Instead, you should first consider those things in your life you don’t care so much about.

The explanation is simple: suddenly abandoning the things you enjoy doing will make you unhappy. See if you can replace them with cheaper alternatives (for example, jogging or swimming are a good substitute for expensive fitness sessions).

What you really care about

If you really care about something, don’t give it up for the sake of saving money. This will lead to a sense of personal dissatisfaction and can get really frustrating. Consequently, if you’re cutting down expenses, keep in mind to always start with the less important things and work from there, in order to make saving money as painless as it can be.

Personal Care and Hygiene Products

There’s not much to argue, except for very basic common sense arguments, against neglecting your personal care. Hygiene products are definitely not a thing to save money on.  Make sure you only buy medically certified items and pay attention to the content of toxic or allergenic ingredients, especially if you are sensitive from this point of view.

Cleaning Items

If you have taken a look at the Health and Hygiene Products categories above, you are aware of the importance of not getting stingy on cleaning items. Of course, you don’t need fifty different products in order to keep your household clean, but if you choose to purchase only the basic cleaning solutions, make sure they are efficient enough.

Comfy Clothes and Shoes

You don’t want to walk around in uncomfortable clothes or shoes, even if you thought they were a real bargain when you bought them. If they don’t make you feel good, the few bucks you spent on them are already a waste, not an economy. In some cases, they may even cause allergic reactions (think of synthetic underwear, for example) or other health problems.

Gadgets

We know that smart phone are must-haves these days, but buying a $20 one is very likely to disappoint you on so many levels. When it comes to gadgets, don’t go for the most expensive in their class, but also try to avoid no-name cheap substitutes. It is safer.

Holiday treats

Shopping cart!

Shopping cart!

Hey, Christmas is here only once a year. It’s fine not to waste money, but you should give yourself a treat and enjoy the holiday spirit with your loved ones!

Gifts for Important People in Your Life

Saving money on gifts may seem like a good idea, but it really depends on how much you care for the success of your present. Of course, affection is not measurable in dollars or euros, but don’t get too cheap either if you don’t want to make a bad impression.

Wine

Some people do think that it’s better to go without wine than trying a cheap one. And for some reason we tend to agree.

Furniture Items

Furniture is one of the big investments in your household and you don’t want to get it wrong. Low prices often come with more or less visible inconveniences that you will have to live with for the years to come. You want your furniture not only to look good, but also to feel comfortable with, so make sure decent quality standards come first!

Chocolate

…There really is some bad chocolate out there! Beware, if you don’t want to be left with a bad taste.

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

21 Comments

  • Where do I begin? I have learned from years of experimenting that scrimping on items to save a little money may cost you more in the long run. As a matter of fact, I am experiencing it right now. I recently went to the grocery store, armed with my coupons and I had planned purchasing my usual dish detergent. I also picked up a very lessor priced one, just to have another in the house. Well, when I got to the register I realized that I hadn’t read the coupon correctly, it said save on two and I had only one. Well, I begrudgingly had to put the named brand dish detergent back and purchased the lessor priced one. Well, I can’t wait to get back to the store, this dish detergent stinks! It doesn’t sud, I have used almost triple the amount because of that.
    And gifts for people that are important to you, of course you want the best for them. I purchase plenty of good quality gifts, though, just when they’re on sale. This article is great. I can’t wait to read some of the other comments and reply.

  • The haircut thing is more true than most people realize. If you spend $9.99 on a haircut, then you’re going to get a very basic cut with a lack of style. I spend about $25 on my haircuts every five weeks, and they’re so much better than anything I ever paid less money for. Skimping on the haircut cost is a small mistake with noticeable results.

    • I mean I guess it’s just up to the person and how much they care about their hairstyle?
      I know a few people that really don’t seem to have a haircut at all, haha. I mean, some people are just not very keen about their looks.

      I get my haircuts at a local place that’s privately owned and we know the owner, now we don’t get discounts but she’s really good at what she does.

    • Sooooo true! And another cost issue with haircuts is that if you go too rarely, you lack that repertoire with your hairdresser, and chances go up that you’ll get a bad haircut. (It’s less likely at more established salons, thankfully.) Then there’s the cost of going to get it fixed, and it all goes downhill from there. It’s why I tend to actually set aside a haircut budget rather than viewing it as some treat to use leftover money with.

      • Thankfully, not everybody needs to save money that drastically. But for those who are on a really tight budget, YouTube provides enough DIY videos for any kind of haircut. Feeling adventurous? 🙂

  • I disagree about the cheap wine. There are many under-$20 bottles of wine that are great. You don’t need to spend more than $50 to get a decent bottle of wine, though you’ll certainly get a better product as the price increases.

    You’re going to get a decent wine if you look around at reviews, but like many things – the more you spend the better overall product you’ll receive. That being said, there are definitely diminishing returns.

    • When it comes to taste, I’d have to disagree completely with you. More expensive wines do come with better and more diverse flavors. They’re all going to contain the same amounts of alcohol, but serious wine lovers know the difference between a $10 bottle and a $100 bottle of wine. The average person might not care as much about these differences, but someone that drinks wine regularly isn’t going to settle for something inexpensive and flavorless.

  • I totally agree you don’t want to be saving money on doing laundry less *frequently*, but you can save money on the actual *doing* part. There are lots of ‘recipes’ out there for making your own detergent, if you’re feeling particularly pioneer-y. Failing that, washing in cold water (with the appropriate detergent, of course) can save money on heating the water, too.

  • I feel most comfortable with a short crew cut style, so I actually don’t need to spend much on haircuts to look good. I also completely agree with the traveling. I’ve had the misfortune of joining a group tour around Asia. I skimped out on the money, and ended up with a guide speaking a language I don’t understand. Always do your research, and remember that it’s a balance between integrity and price.

  • to be honest, i actually disagree with this article, I believe in saving money wherever possible — and it can be done. You really just have to make sure that you are not sacrificing quality for price.

  • One area I think you might have added is it is never a good idea to scrimp on car care. I know it is expensive to keep a car on the road, but there are so many things that can be done that can help to save you from a large bill down the road. First thing is get the car washed, people do not seem to understand how road dirt and grime contributes to safety and mechanical problems. Get a goo windshield washing solution, one that will not freeze in cold weather. Most important pay the little extra for better oil when you get an oil change, synthetic maybe cheaper but it is a reconstituted oil, it thins faster and in an older car this can be bad news.

    I think that laundry and cleaning supply boils down to what you are doing. You can add borax to a lesser detergent and the result will be fine, you can use vinegar and water to wash windows, but even I prefer Windex. You do not need the most expensive floor cleaning products or cleansers, find a brand that works for you and use it. I often wonder about things like Swiffer’s, are they worth the convenience? It all boils down to what you feel makes for a clean and fresh home.

  • I’m definitely guilty of scrimping and saving on my auto insurance policy. I should have full coverage, but honestly it’s so expensive! I save $50 a month by using the bare minimum… and I’ve never been in an accident! Yet.

  • There are definitely ways to cut down on your laundry and cleaning spend – but it often means hunting around for reductions and bulk deals. I have heard that some people use vinegar as an effective cleaning product and I would be interested to find out more about that. The one thing I never skimp on is dish washing liquid. I find that I have to use more of the cheaper brands in order to get a good lather going. It seems like a false economy to me.

  • My mom, after her usual hairdresser retired, made the mistake of going to the cheap salon down the street. Bad, bad thought! It cost her just a few bucks, but the result made her and her boyfriend wince.

    I think US is a crazy country. Healthcare should be free, not something you feel like you need to splurge on or whatever. And knowledge/education should not come with a bill!

  • I totally agree with others that while you don’t want to cut down on laundry costs by doing it less frequently, there are ways to cut costs on the actual *doing* part. A way I don’t think anyone has mentioned yet is by buying a drying rack and using that instead of a dryer. This will literally cut your laundry costs by a third or more depending on how you do your laundry.

    I also agree with the commenter that said there are some good cheap wines out there if you are willing to look. Also, you can cut down on wine costs by simply drinking less.

    Otherwise I think this list is awesome and a nice reality check!

  • I agree that there are certain things that you shouldn’t try to scrimp and save on, however you need to be able to work out whether things are at a higher price because they are worth it, or because you are paying for a certain brand name. Take insurance for example. Some companies are better known and charge more, and others aren’t as well known, but charge less. But with things like that, you simply need to read through the terms and conditions of what you’re signing up for, and if everything is covered in the cheaper policies then go for it. You shouldn’t pay more just for the sake of paying more for things. However it is a good idea to check out reviews for companies, just to make sure that other people have had a positive experience with them in the past.

  • I agree with all these points except for the furniture. I wouldn’t buy the cheapest possible, but at the same time I wouldn’t get anything much more above functional. I bought both very expensive and cheap pieces over 10 years ago – today they are both equally used, stained, out dated, and ready to be pitched. The difference is some I only paid a few hundred for and others I paid thousands. Furniture styles change and get dated, and your style changes too. I wouldn’t recommend skimping on cheap stuff, but it’s a waste of money to go all out.

  • These lists just get better anytime I read the next. This is truth. Some people will save in so many ways, they’re hurting themselves, even when they have the money to not need the savings. Then they proceed and waste said savings on stuff they don’t need! Thanks for the list. I’ll put this to good use.

  • Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

    When it comes to gaining more knowledge through furthering your education then you shouldn’t be frugal on that. Get the best of what you can find so as to gain more value.

  • I have this rule that I apply whenever I think about what to do with my money: I ask myself if this is a need or a want? Stuff like nutritious food, life insurance, retirement funds, and education are very important not only for me but for the whole family as well. These things are part of my needs category. Other things, particularly luxuries are all in my want category. Everything in my needs category, I’ve decided, must be given the most leeway when it comes to finances as much as possible. The wants on the other hand, could go either way–if I had money to spare I would spend it. If not, I wouldn’t skimp it–I would just outright avoid it.

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