Five things that are worth buying cheap

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There are some things that it really pays to spend extra money on; houses, beds, and bicycles. But there are some things that we buy that are simply money drains. Here are five purchases where it pays to be cheap.

  1. Car. A depreciating asset, you lose money the minute you drive it off the lot. And then they continue to depreciate. I buy cheap, used cars with about 30,000 miles on them. I try to pay no more than $12,000 or so and I still think that is too much. My next car will be a hybrid of some sort with gas mileage 50 MPG or more. If I need a van for a trip, I will rent it.

  2. Higher education. Unless you are going to Harvard or one of the big name schools, it really doesn't matter. Most of us can get a great education at our local state schools for a whole lot less money. Especially for a general liberal arts degree, it doesn't make sense to be $100,000 or more in debt to get that bachelors. Save your money for the masters or professional school.

  3. Household products. Save a fortune every year by buying all household products in bulk. Cleaning supplies, detergents, bathroom products, paper goods and kitchen staples can be bought cheaply at one of the large stores. Stock up for 1-3 months at a time to save money and gas.

  4. Children's clothes. Kids grow so fast, especially when they are little. Take hand me downs, shop thrift shops and buy at cheaper stores like Target and Kohls. You will find high quality at reasonable prices. As they get older and want nicer clothes, have them earn a part of the cost so they appreciate the value.

  5. Hotel rooms. I travel all over the country for speaking engagements and all the hotel rooms look the same. Unless it is a five-star hotel at over $500 per night, I rarely notice a difference between expensive and cheap rooms. When traveling on your own dime, look for the cheap rooms and spend the extra money on a nice dinner out.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. Join her for her new webinar on relationships. For info see: Webinar

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