What's the difference between "frugal" and "cheap?"
While there are many ways to answer this question, here's one popular response: cheap people look for the cheapest option, while frugal people search for the overall best value.
In fact, there are times when you might save more money in the long run by purchasing something more expensive upfront. Here are six reasons why it might be smarter to spend on a pricier item or service than the cheapest option.
6 Purchases Where It Makes Sense to Pay More
6 Purchases Where It Makes Sense to Pay More
When it comes to items you use on a regular basis, sometimes it's worth shelling out a little more to buy a better-quality product that will last longer.
If you spend a lot of time on your feet, investing in a pair of high-quality shoes is much smarter than grabbing a cheap pair that will wear out in a matter of weeks.
If you live in an area that gets socked with snow in the winter, investing in a mid-range snowblower makes more sense than buying the clearance model with the one-star reviews.
Think not just in terms of price, but also how much value you'll get for that price.
Spending a little more each month to get better insurance coverage could save you hundreds, if not thousands, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to make a claim on that coverage.
Opting for regular car maintenance and preventative health care can save you from costly bills down the line if you neglect to keep things in good working order.
Fixing something right, rather than doing the bare minimum to keep it running (or, worse, paying a handyman with less-than-great credentials) is much smarter than doing shoddy work that will only result in a much worse (read: more expensive) repair bill later.
Sometimes it's worth spending a little time to save a little money -- like cooking at home rather than paying twice as much to get a pre-made meal. But sometimes, working too hard to save a buck wastes more time than it's really worth.
We've all heard stories about those extreme savers who spend an hour making their own laundry detergent, refill their condiment bottles with packets from fast food restaurants or spend an entire afternoon driving from store to store all across town for one or two items that are on sale. (Trust me, I speak from experience –- I once wasted an hour of my life to save $3.60.)
When it comes to extremes like this, you need to ask yourself if your time investment is really worth the return you're getting. Spending hours of your life to save a few cents here or there is probably not worth it.
There's no doubt a dollar-menu fast food burger is cheaper than making a healthy meal from scratch. But the money you're saving is probably not worth the risk you're taking when it comes to your health.
Failing to take proper care of yourself could wind up costing you more down the line in terms of doctor's bills, medication and (let's not forget) pain and suffering. So don't feel guilty about springing for healthy food, medical care and other items that help you live a longer, healthier life. Don't skimp on your health.
DIYing can save you tons of money-if you know how to do it yourself properly. If you don't, you could wind up doing more harm than good.
If you don't know a hammer from a hacksaw, it's probably not a wise idea to try to fix that plumbing problem. If you're all thumbs, cutting your own hair is probably not the best way to save some money. Sometimes it's better to leave a job to the professionals; know where your own strengths and weaknesses lie and be mindful of them.
A life of deprivation never helped anyone stay motivated to reach a goal. Just like dieters need to allow themselves a small, healthy treat now and then to keep their spirits up, savers need to grant themselves some small splurges or else they risk becoming so miserable they commit a big splurge out of frustration.
Identify the inexpensive treats that give you a big boost. Yours may be grabbing a fancy coffee, subscribing to your favorite guilty-pleasure magazine or keeping a fresh bouquet of flowers in the house. These are little expenses that can give you a big payoff, especially when you're working hard to save money across the board.
Paula Pant quit her office job in 2008, traveled to 32 countries and became a successful real estate investor. Her blog Afford Anything is the groundswell of a rebellion against standard, tired old financial advice that says you should skip lattes and chain yourself to a desk for 40 years. Afford Anything is dedicated to crushing limits, creating riches and maximizing life.