When The Cheapest Deal Isn’t The Best
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Everybody loves a good deal. Especially in harsh economic times like these. But sometimes a so-called deal really isn’t, and paying the higher price is actually better. If you’ve embarked on a frugal lifestyle, meaning that you’re prioritising spending on the things that are important to you as against things that aren’t, you may be wondering how to make that determination. What are the things that you should cut back on, things you can afford to buy at a cheaper price? Before you go tossing that generic window cleaner into your supermarket cart because it costs less than the brand-name one you’re used to, stop and think about what it is that you’re trading for a bargain. In the case of the window cleaner, no-name brand cleaners often leave unsightly streaks that branded ones won’t. Instead of saving money, you might only end up spending more by purchasing multiple cheaper items rather than purchasing one high-quality item from the start. Remember that thing that our grandparents used to say about being penny-wise but pound-foolish?

There are a few everyday things you should try not to skimp on.

Oral care: Always remember that your health is your wealth. When most people will visit a doctor for semi-regular check-ups and more or less follow up on monthly medication, so many will forego a visit to the dentist. Unless they have a toothache that defies and resists Orajel. But tooth decay is sometimes hidden, and losing all your teeth in the long term can be an expensive endeavour when you have to spend loads of money on repairing the problem.

Insurance: There are people who think they are young and healthy and can defer health insurance for when they get older. But a quality health insurance policy is necessary as it acts as a hedge against sudden emergencies and not just tooth emergencies, either. If the plan offered by your company is thin, consider supplementing it. It cannot be overstated that a healthy you is the best asset you have in meeting your financial goals.

Pillows and mattresses: These may seem negligible in the scheme of things. But hold on, that’s where you would be wrong. During sleep, the body recharges and recovers from the stresses of the day, and when you consider that one-third of our lives are spent sleeping, doesn’t it make sense that the tools that aid in this function be of the very best quality? Our ability to rejuvenate does in fact affect the other two-thirds of our lives. Also, scientists are increasingly seeing the linkages between sleep and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Don’t skimp on a quality pillow and mattress that helps our bodies to heal through restful sleep.

Eyeglasses: Drug store readers have come a long way from your grandparents’. And while they are convenient and cheaper — the cost of prescription glasses are prohibitive these days — it’s important to remember cheaper glasses don’t offer the same quality and protection as prescription glasses do. Especially when the root of your eye problem is a complex medical issue brought on by a medical condition like diabetes which will require at least annual tests in order to determine what’s going on with your eyes.

Bras: Ladies, it must be said. A correct-fitting bra that provides support is essential. Inexpensive bras lose their form easily, fall apart quickly and negatively affect your posture, putting you at a distinct disadvantage especially in the highly visual world of business where you want to be taken seriously. With weight gain or loss your bra size will change. It is important to employ the services of a professional bra-fitter who can be found in the lingerie sections of better department stores. Be warned, though: Quality underwear is not cheap.

Toilet paper: While your office might provide cheap one-ply tissue as a cost-cutting measure, you don’t need to do that in your personal home space, not even in the guest bathroom. Cheap toilet paper is just like throwing money down the drain. Like, literally. It may cost less, but you’ll run out of it faster and have to restock quicker, and that’s not saving anybody anything. Trust and believe, this is one product that needs to be high-performing.

Wedding photographer: Brides have been known to complain that weddings are like a money pit they might as well throw their money into. It can take years for a couple to recover financially. But while there are areas that you can save money when planning your nuptials, a top-drawer photographer is not one. These precious memories are meant to last a lifetime; don’t trust them to your cousin’s co-worker’s brother who just started a messenger-shoe repair-photo service. You get what you pay for. Preserve your sanity; nobody wants headless photos on their special day.

Bottom Line

The everyday lifestyle decisions you make concerning spending will often have long-term effects. Be mindful of what these long-term effects are for every dollar you spend. Don’t run down bargains when it comes on to taking care of yourself to the detriment of your future well-being. Sometimes, cheaper simply isn’t better. With money, it pays to have a long-term mentality that will help you remain in good financial standing not just now but further down the road.

Lamar Harris, vice-president, wealth management, NCB Capital Markets<strong id="strong-12">RLA</strong>

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