I have confessed several times that I’m a junker. It extends way beyond decorating my home. If I can avoid a retail store, any retail store, I will. I honestly think I’m allergic to buying new stuff, and spending more than $30 on anything makes me cranky. But, and there’s always a but, some things I won’t Scrooge on because I’m needing a quality item, which sometimes costs more.
When Quality Beats Scroogality
When I have to make a major purchase, I want to make sure to spend my hard earned, well-loved money on something that lasts longer than fresh chocolate donuts in a breakroom.
So when does quality outrank my frugal instincts? When I expect a superior performance. I assume all can-openers will open cans, so I’m happy with whatever as long as my thumb survives the experience. But having to buy three vacuums in one year is ridiculous. It sucks….or in this case, they didn’t!
For the items that I listed, it’s important that I buy the best quality I can afford. Why, because quality lasts longer and gives you the biggest bang for your buck. Since these are my workhorses, they damn well better bang!
Buying quality prevents me from having to replace them so often I end up spending more money than if I’d bought the more expensive one in the first place. And BTW, quality doesn’t always have to mean more money. It just means better compared to others.
My Top 7 Picks
- Linens – I bet that one surprised you! NOT. I’m obsessed with linens and have written several posts about them, like; What The Sheet, Don’t Throw In The Towel and Linen Lessons. Good quality lines are softer, stronger and prettier than their cheaper counterparts. Towels, tablecloths, wash cloths, sheets, duvets, bed pads…… I will buy these used, no problem, but I still expect to pay more for them.
- Knives – When cooking there is nothing more frustrating than having to saw a tomato. I want a clean, smooth cut! I’ve bought some awesome knives at Estate Sales over the years, but I have to tell you I love my cheap Miracle Blades too! As for my other knives, buying used doesn’t bother me as long as the blade is high carbon stainless steel and has a comfortable grip. These knives can be easily sharpened.
- Cookware – 13 years ago, I did a tremendous amount of research to find out what pots and pans to buy. I ended up with a set of Stainless Steel with an inner aluminum core and have never looked back. And then there’s my love of cast iron you can find in my post Never Be A Castaway.
- Vacuum Cleaner – A vacuum should last many, many years, a cheap one might last one. It depends on what you’re asking it do. Pets, open windows, kids, husbands, and life are murder on the carpet. I have a friend that bought a Dyson for $50 at a garage sale, I haven’t been fortunate enough to trip over one, but when I do, everyone will know it! And I might start talking to my friend again.
- Large & Small Kitchen Appliances – Ovens, Fridges, Dishwashers, Microwaves, Crockpots, Grills, Mixers…..they need to last. No way do I want to spend over $100 on something just for the privilege of cleaning up the spaghetti sauce it spewed everywhere during a temper tantrum. I have bought several small appliances used; waffle makers, toasters, dehydrators, hand mixers. I don’t use these often enough that I’m bummed when my $5 purchase finally bites the dust.
- Tools – I need them to be dependable and working. Electric drills, saws, rotary, sanders, pneumatic staple guns. You don’t want to be present during the meltdown that occurs when a staple gun continuously jams during its second use. Not pretty. Depending on the tool, it’s condition and brand, I also buy these used. I have many tools I purchased at estate and garage sales.
- Upholstered Furniture – Sofas, chairs, and beds. My first sofa taught me a lesson Within three months, a wooden back support detached and busted through the fabric, the springs stopped springing, and I kept playing Find Waldo with one of the feet. And don’t get me started on cheap beds! I’m hesitant about buying used upholstered furniture because of wear and tear I can’t see as well as things like bedbugs…..shudder!
How Do You Trip Over Quality
Well, you don’t. It’s all about research. Other than the knives I mentioned I didn’t recommend any brands. Because what works for me and my needs may not work for you and yours. So Google it! Ask, “what’s the best….” to find comparisons and read the posts from reliable sites like Good Housekeeping, Simple Living or Consumer Reports.
They usually have a link for each model that will take you somewhere like Amazon. Once on that site, read buyers comments!! I get some of the best advice from buyers on Amazon. They’ve bought it, used it and don’t have any skin in the game, so they’ll tell it as they see it.
Most of the items I mentioned above with the exception of linens and knives I prefer to buy new. Consequently, if I’m not happy, I can return it. It’s happened. Because again, what I’m using it for, may not be what others care about. But if I can find my same set of pots and pans used, I’ll snatch them up due to the fact that I trust that brand and those pots.
Quality is in the eye of the user, so it doesn’t alway mean the most expensive. Running out and buying the most expensive one doesn’t mean it’s going to outperform or outlive other brands. It just means it was the most expensive. Look at it this way, while your brother might be dating beautiful high maintenance girls doesn’t mean he’s found quality. What’s wrong with a pretty girl that has a job and a functioning wardrobe? HUH!?! See what I mean? Quality is in the eye of the user. He’s happy, she’s happy, and the family has a backup plan.
Look at it this way, while your brother/son/friend might be dating beautiful high maintenance girls with shiny fast attachments doesn’t mean he’s found quality. What’s wrong with a pretty girl that has a job and a functioning wardrobe? HUH!?! See what I mean? But since he’s only dating, he’s doing his research, comparison shopping if you will. For now, he’s happy, and the family has a backup plan to slap him back into reality if he looks close to committing.
This is my list of things that I’m willing to pay more for in order to get the best I can. What’s on your list that didn’t make mine? But don’t say chocolate….that’s a given!