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Which Expensive Items Are Actually Worth The Splurge?

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Items Worth The Splurge

Frugality is about saving money. I love saving money! But “cheap” isn’t always synonymous with “best.” 

Case in point: I once tried to buy “discount” leg wax in a fit of frugality. And you know what? I got a beautiful chemical burn for my trouble. 

Sometimes you have to fork up a little more cash to get a better product. And, if you play your cards right, this approach actually saves you more money in the long term.

Think about it this way: I used to spend $15 once or twice a year on work shoes from Walmart. I was a broke college student and it was what I could afford. These shoes would break down after 6 months of daily wear, so I had to keep buying new shoes. 

The thing is, a few years later I was able to afford $50 shoes from DSW. I didn’t have to replace these suckers every few months because they were built better. After doing the math, I realized it cost me more money to replace cheap products than to invest in something great from the start. 

I know it’s hard to invest in a high-cost product if you’re trying to get by. There’s nothing wrong with buying the cheapest thing if it’s what you can afford. But if you’re able to pony up a little more money, these 8 purchases are worth the splurge. 

1. Luggage

Average cost: $100 – $250

My broke-self bought some $20 luggage before. I’ve never seen anything come out so shredded and battle-torn from the airport conveyor belt. 

Whether you travel occasionally or all the time, you have to get a decent set of luggage. Or at least one really good suitcase. 

Don’t get a bag that’s too small in the name of saving money. Try to buy a bag that’s big enough for your stuff and that you can tote around. 

I know this one stings, but you’ll only need to buy luggage a few times over your life. Make it a smart purchase. 

2. Coats

Average cost: $250

When I turned 18, I was woefully naive about how much things cost. When I needed a warm jacket for a December trip to San Francisco, I had major sticker shock. 

A high-quality jacket costs hundreds of dollars. I could have opted for my ratty Jansport hoodie, but I knew California’s coastal winds would make me change my tune.

I splurged on an Arcteryx jacket and I still have it to this day. It keeps me warm and dry, and I shouldn’t need to buy a new coat for years. 

3. Clothes

Average cost: $20+

Let me tell you a story about my Hanes socks. 

White socks are a staple in my daily wardrobe. Heck, there are some days where I won’t even wear shoes. 

I love skidding around the house in my socks, which means I often wear holes in my cheap Hanes socks. Not only do I have to tolerate holey socks, but I have to keep reordering them throughout the year. 

My husband, meanwhile, invested $30 for some SmartWool socks. They’ve lasted over 5 years.

This applies to nearly any item of clothing. When you invest in high-quality clothes made from sturdy materials, they last a long time. Whether it’s a shirt, shoes, pants, socks, or underwear, nicer options usually last longer. 

P.S. You don’t have to buy a ton of pricey clothes at once. Buy a few pieces here and there to slowly replace your wardrobe over time.

4. Knives

Average cost: $50 – $200

I used to think my husband was crazy. He insisted on buying an expensive Shinko paring knife. 

At the time, I was using my parents’ 25-year-old set of unsharpened CutRite knives. But once I sliced an onion with the awesome Shinko knife, I could never go back. 

If you cook a lot at home and enjoy doing fancy things for dinnertime, a nice chef’s knife goes a long way. 

These are definitely a luxury, but as long as you sharpen the knives and care for them, they can last decades. 

5. Mattresses

Average cost: $1,000+

I’ve limped by with a $100 memory foam mattress cover on a free-to-me bed I got from my parents. But it wasn’t until I shopped for a nice mattress at Tempurpedic that I realized fancy mattresses are where it’s at. 

Tempurpedic is crazy-expensive and a lot of people can’t afford it. But there are plenty of high-end mattresses out there that cost less. 

If you can fork up the cash, a high-quality mattress pays dividends in less back pain and a better quality of sleep. 

6. Organic food

Average cost: $100 / week

The costs really depend on what you’re buying and where you live, but organic food has been one of my best splurges. 

First of all, I’m a huge foodie. Can my family tell the difference between a Walmart chicken breast and an organic Whole Foods chicken breast? Actually, yes. I think organic food tastes better, but that’s my opinion. 

I’m not a doctor, but research indicates there can be health benefits to eating organic foods. I’ve started eating a lot of organic food after consulting my doctor, and I’m happy I made the switch. 

Keep in mind that you don’t have to buy everything organic if you can’t afford it. If you’re on a budget, prioritize buying organic  “dirty dozen” produce and get everything else conventional.

7. Roomba

Average cost: $200 – $500

I’m talking about my Roomba here, but this can apply to any household appliance that saves you time, like a Keurig or an Instant Pot. 

Depending on your situation, a splurge like this can save time or hassle. I almost cried tears of joy once I realized our Roomba meant I didn’t need to sweep every day. 

And guess what? 

I used the time I would have spent sweeping on the important stuff, like my side hustle. If you have the cash and need more time, it’s okay to splurge on tech that makes life a little easier. 

8. Safety equipment

Average cost: $50+

You can’t put a price on your well-being. If you’re buying any item you depend on for food, shelter, health, or overall survival, please buy the nicer option. 

This applies to everything from:

  • Solar batteries
  • Generators
  • Fire blankets
  • Helmets
  • Emergency flares
  • Medical kits

You don’t want to cheap out here, get into a sticky situation, and find yourself with bad gear. Take the extra step and stay safe with high-quality safety gear. 

The bottom line

Frugality isn’t about not spending money. It’s about spending money on what’s important to you. 

I’ve spent $600 on a Litter-Robot, $20 on a pair of socks, and $200 on a Roomba. A lot of people would say that isn’t frugal, and that’s okay. It’s frugal to me, because these expenses came with a long-term tradeoff. 

If you have the extra cash, you stand to save more money in the long haul with these 8 purchases. Invest in a few nice items to spend your money where it matters.

Contributor’s opinions are their own. Always do your own due diligence before investing.

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Written by Makenzi Wood

Kenzi is a writer obsessed with frugal living. She's a reformed shopaholic who's now happily debt-free and working towards FIRE.

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