Are you frugal or just cheap?

Are you frugal or just cheap?

10 things you should never scrimp on


Monday, September 02, 2019

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WE all want to cut costs wherever we can; however, knowing where and when to squeeze and pinch your pennies is very important. It's quite OK, commendable even, to be frugal sometimes, but there are also other times when you should spare no expense, like with the goods and services below.


Cutting corners when it comes to your health is a common mistake that people make — from foregoing doctors' visits to sometimes opting to go the generic route. However, obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Anna-Kay Taylor Christmas said that you should reconsider going cheap on anything health-related.

“Some medications are more expensive than others, but sometimes doctors prescribe a specific brand formulation of a drug because it may work better than the generic in their experience, or for that particular patient. Also, for certain categories of drugs, there may be issues with severe side effects (like angioedema) that may be worse with the generic formulation,” Dr Taylor Christmas advised.

Also, the doctor said that for things like antibiotics, it's never a good idea to partially fill the prescription and not take the entire course because it increases the risk of an incompletely treated infection as well as the development of drug-resistant bacteria.

Personal care products

Spare no expenses on personal care products — deodorant, undergarments, toothpaste, a good quality toothbrush, sanitary napkins or tampons, shampoos and conditioners (be sure to choose one that is ideal for your hair texture), sunscreen, moisturisers and other skincare products.

“Personal care and hygiene are very important and so it is important that you don't cheap out on these. Our bodies and skin, in particular, are so sensitive and it is important that we choose quality products that will reduce the chances of breakouts, skin irritation, and damage to the hair or any other part of the body,” beautician Patrice Clarke recommends.

Mattress and bed frame

A good night's sleep is essential for optimal health. As such you are allowed to splurge on your mattress and bed as you will have them for years and at least you don't have to go to work with all parts of your body hurting because you would have slept comfortably. So make sure that whenever you go shopping for a bed, that you choose one that is high-quality, durable, supportive and comfortable.

Major appliances

Sure upfront the sight of the prices might sting a little, but when purchasing items such as a stove, refrigerator and washing machine you should consider these an investment. You want to buy a durable brand, and you want to make sure that these items also have insurance so that you can get them repaired and replaced should there be a fault.

“Newer model appliances will also help you to cut costs in another department — your electricity bill — since they have energy-saving features,” electrician Kemar Thompson advised.


There are several ways to save on money when you have a baby, but moms and experts agree that diapers are not the place to do it. Buying a good quality diaper is better for a number of reasons, such as: they absorb wetness better which reduces chances of a diaper rash, are made of better quality products which reduces the chances of irritating your baby's sensitive skin, and of course the clasps are more durable so they stay on, even when your baby is very active. With cheaper diapers, you use more because they absorb wetness poorly, you run the risk of getting a bad batch of an off-brand diaper, and they are often less comfortable for babies because of their texture and cut.


At a time when gas prices are high, it can be quite tempting to go for the cheaper alternative. But auto mechanic Roshane Holness says that when gas is too cheap it should raise red flags — it means that chances are the gas is untreated and it can damage the fuel pump, injectors, and your engine.

“Cheap gas causes chronic problems that can be deadly for your engine. While the good gas might be more expensive, it contains enhanced engine-cleaning additives that keep engines clean and free of harmful deposits,” Holness said.


Processed foods and fast foods might be convenient and sometimes less expensive than cooking a balanced meal. However, internist Dr Samantha Nicholson said that you should always opt for natural foods and fruits because processed foods and vegetable tend to be high in sodium, artificial sugars and preservatives that can contribute to chronic health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol.

Household cleaners

Most women strive to have clean, fresh-smelling homes and a lot of that depends on the products that we use to clean our houses. While some household products are expensive, buying generic products in bulk often does not give the same result.

“Good quality products will save you having to go over the same job over and over. Some generic products are harsh and can burn your hands and they also have a very strong suffocating fragrance that can be a real turn-off. So I just spend a little extra for a more effective job,” homemaker Maxine Taylor advised.

Toilet paper

Many of us go into the supermarket and grab one of the cheapest available options because they all do the same thing. However, cheaper toilet paper is usually single-ply and you will realise that you need to use much more than you would if you had gotten two or three-ply because they are made of less fibre and as such require more to get the job done. To reduce expenses, since toilet paper is a household must-have, consider buying it in bulk to save.


There are many things we can do to our houses to give it a facelift. One of the methods that can provide this almost instantly is a paint project. Handyman Victor Taffe said that when buying paint it is better to go for a better grade paint because it is more durable.

“Cheaper paints are often diluted with several solvents. With so many solvents in the paint you will need more of it, especially on a fresh wall to give it the ideal coat,” Taffe said.

He also notes that poorer quality paints are also easier to wash off and the sun tends to cause it to fade much quicker than those that are of a higher grade.

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