This is a post from Money Beagle as part of the Yakezie blog swap. This week, we are all answering the question: “What are things you never go cheap on and why?” You can see my post on the same topic at his blog.
Hi, Narrow Bridge readers. I’m Money Beagle, a personal finance blog with a ‘bark’ that focuses on my everyday experiences and thoughts on topics like shopping, coupons, debt, retirement, and the economy. Eric and I are ‘swapping’ blogs today. When shopping, there are things where it’s OK to buy the cheapest alternative out there and not get burned, then there are things where you don’t want to buy the cheapest version.
This is a list of seven items that I don’t buy on the cheap. And why.
Note: I do always look for value in the items below. I’ll shop around. I’ll check for discounts or rebates. So, make sure you always do that!
- Car Tires – We have purchased most of our tires at Discount Tire, as they’ve established a good, trustworthy relationship with us over the years. I will usually find out what tires are rated to last a certain mileage, and will base my decision off that. The cheapest sets will have a guarantee with low mileage, typically around 15-20K, but some of the ‘better’ tires will be guaranteed for 40K or more. If I’m planning on keeping the car for a long time, it makes better sense to pay 50% more for tires that will last 100% longer (and if they wear out faster, Discount will pro-rate the difference into a new set).
- Outdoor Equipment – When we moved into our house in 2007, we needed just about everything for keeping the lawn trim and neat. Consumer Reports and online reviews steered me toward products that cost a little more, but were designed to last. I got a lawn mower, edger, trimmer, leaf blower, hedge trimmer, and other assorted items. I did have to replace one (the string trimmer), but considering that was the lowest price item out of all of them, so far I’m glad I spent a little extra.
- Computers – I bought my last desktop computer in 2004 or 2005. It’s been that long that I can’t even remember. At that time, the ‘cheap’ computers were from companies like eMachines or Acer. I have always bought Dell or HP products, and I’ve never once had a computer that completely stopped working. I’ve always made the decision to retire them gracefully, and I believe that’s largely because I paid a little more up front (for the record, the desktop computer mentioned above is still chugging along!)
- Peanut Butter – It’s name brand or nothing for me. Every time I’ve tried a store brand peanut butter, it fails completely. Jif or Skippy are the only ways to go, and I’m willing to pay a little extra for them!
- Diapers and Baby Wipes – We get Pampers diapers and Huggies wipes. There are generic brands and lower-priced name brands available, but we’ve never had luck otherwise. Generic or lower-rated brand name diapers have either given our kids rashes or been prone to leaking. Store brand wipes either tended to smear things around too much or were over/under moistened.
- Breakfast Cereal – Most generic breakfast cereal we’ve tried has not tasted the same as the name brand stuff. The one time I did find a store version that I liked, it turned out that it had over 25% more sugar (no wonder it tasted good!) so we’ve decided to stick with brand names, and look for coupons and sales to stock up with.
- Our house – We bought our house back in 2007. When we looked, we found a couple of homes that met our needs and were a lower cost per square foot. But, there were problems with each of them. Some neighborhoods had concerns we didn’t like. Some had decor or other problems which could have resulted in higher costs. We decided to pay a bit more per square foot to get a house that was move-in-ready and met just about every single one of our needs.