Everyone likes to save money, but sometimes buying cheap or eliminating necessary expenses altogether can cost you in the long run. Some things are so important to your health and safety that it isn’t wise or cost effective to look for the cheapest option – or skip altogether.

Don’t cut these from your budget no matter how broke you are:

  • Health and dental care – Regular checkups can help prevent smaller problems from morphing into major issues. Neglecting your teeth can cause severe damage in the long term. Using old medications to treat yourself can be dangerous.
  • Tenant’s insurance – Covers your household goods if you are a renter. Likewise, if you own a condo your personal belongings are not covered in the building insurance you pay for as part of your condo fee. For a low cost you will be protected if you experience a fire or flooding, or your belongings are stolen.

Paying more upfront for a quality item that lasts longer makes good financial sense. I’m not suggesting you buy top-of-the-line for everything, but for things you use every day, buy the best you can afford.

  • Shoes – Cheap shoes that are worn a lot won’t last long and will have to be replaced often. You spend a lot of time on your feet so you should be comfortable – or your feet and back will pay.
  • Cookware and knives that you use every day. Cheap pots will warp and not cook evenly and are harder to clean. Inexpensive knives dull quickly.  Yes, you can sharpen them, but most people will use a dull knife for far too long, resulting in hands cramping and tiring quickly, and the risk of serious cuts.
  • Paint – It may seem like a bargain, but cheaper paint is usually of lower quality and more watery. It will give you terrible coverage and you will have to do multiple coats and may need to paint more often. This not only negates the cost saving, it requires more time and labour.

Don’t go too long before replacing these items:

  • Mattress – Few things are as vital as a good night’s rest. If you find yourself waking up not feeling rested and with body aches, it’s probably time to start looking for a new mattress. The best mattresses should leave you feeling refreshed and happy when you wake up. A good mattress can also lead to improved memory, lower blood pressure, and reduced stress.
  • Car maintenance – I was told by a mechanic that a lot of car problems could be avoided by simply doing regular oil changes. Keep your vehicle in top operating condition with the manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance.
  • Tires – I’ll admit I drove on seriously worn tires one winter. Needless to say, this has a big impact on your car’s safety. It’s not worth the risk to save a bit of money.

Don’t think you can scrimp in these areas:

  • Insurance – Insurance companies can vary widely in their costs, and it pays to shop around. But don’t just buy the lowest premium. Make sure you have the coverage you need. You don’t want to find out your policy won’t cover a claim when you need it the most.
  • Household DIY – If you are experienced and comfortable with doing the work, it’s a good way to save money. However, if you are going to have work done – whether renovating or repairs – sometimes it’s wise to pay for professional help right from the start rather than be forced to get someone in to fix a problem that you have caused yourself with your inexperience.

Final thoughts

Bargain hunting and being frugal are part of the way of life for many of us. Being economical is generally wise. However, shelling out a little extra cash will save you aggravation, time, or money in the future.

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