It never fails: you spend weeks deliberating on whether or not you should buy the cheap model or go for the extra security of the more expensive model. No matter which you choose, Murphy’s law comes sneaking up on you and you end up wishing you had purchased the other.
It’s not always easy to decide when it is best to cut corners and when it is best to spend a bit more. We’ve put together some valuable information on just what you should be spending a bit more on.
Just do the math. There are 24 hours in a day and most of us work 8 of those hours. Then there are another 8 hours spent before and after work and, on average, 8 hours of sleep a night. Typically, then, we spend around 30% of our lives in bed.
Because of that, the type of bed you’re sleeping on is very important. As themillennium.com site reported, “When determining whether to sacrifice comfort for cost and vice versa when decorating an apartment on a budget, your body will ultimately thank you in the long run when you choose comfort. You spend almost, if not more, a third of your day in your bed. It is important that it is comfortable and supportive. Waking up energized due to a stable box spring and cozy mattress is well worth the investment in the long haul.”
The mattress industry isn’t trying to con you – what you sleep on is important to your health and well-being. As the Huffington Post put it, “You might be tempted to blame your budget for continuing to doze on a less-than-ideal mattress, but considering just a little bit more shut-eye can help you lose weight, improve your memory and live longer, can you really put a price tag on good sleep?”
As you may have noticed, cheap shoes have a very short lifespan and buying a pair of used shoes? Well, Dr. Oz actually did a segment on his program dealing with the importance of having good shoes and problems with buying used shoes. He stated, “I believe you need a good mattress and a good pair of shoes – since you’re usually in one or the other. The problem is, those used shoes may have been great for the original owner, but they’ve conformed to his or her feet. They might not be great for you. Used shoes that don’t fit just right can lead to feet or leg pain and back problems. Feet are smarter than you think. First, they have the second highest concentration of nerve endings in your body. Because of this, feet can quickly assess hundreds of fit considerations: toe box too tight, toe box too loose, arch support too low, arch support too high. Your foot is like your thumbprint; each one is unique. Therefore, a great fitting shoe for your friend will not necessarily be a great fitting shoe for you.”
If you are sharing living quarters with roommates, then it’s not the best idea to spend extra money on kitchen appliances since they will ultimately experience more wear and tear from all the extra hands using them.
On the other hand, if you are on your own and are the one being responsible to care for them, then it’s a good idea to invest in higher end kitchen appliances. Particularly with the recent trend to save energy, it’s worth taking a look at energy saving refrigerators and dish washers that will not only last longer, but also help save you some money on your utility bills.
Smaller items such as coffee makers and toasters aren’t as subject to efficiency concerns, so don’t spend more than you need to on them. As apartmentguide.com points out, “Generally, you should spend a little more on appliances, but save on dishes and utensils. You’ll go through a lot of forks and spoons in your lifetime, and dishes often become casualties of the moving process.”
Dailyfinance.com added this important item stating, “Most storage-tank water heaters look alike on the outside. But sawing them open in our lab confirmed that paying a little more usually buys a better one.
Models that come with nine-to-12-year warranties tend to have larger heating elements, thicker insulation, and thicker or longer corrosion-fighting metal anodes. Having a longer warranty is also a good indication of better quality for tank less water heaters.
Most water heaters are sold on the basis of how many gallons they hold. But the first-hour rating for storage-tank water heaters and the gallons-per-minute rating on tank less models are more important because they tell you how much hot water the model can deliver during a set period. A pro can calculate how much you’ll need.”
Consumer Reports has a publication called Shop Smart that actually conducts lab-testing on products. Following are a few of the items that they recommend you should spend more money on, and why.
“The best top-loading washers start at $250, but paying roughly twice that amount or more will buy you a more efficient front-loading machine that usually does an even better job of cleaning your clothes. If you opt for a machine that costs less than $600, you’ll usually get poorer washing performance, reduced efficiency and less capacity.”
“LEDs can cost at least 10 times more than compact flourescents per bulb, but they contain no mercury and they last up to five times longer than CFLs and 50 times as long as incandescent. And they will more than make up for their cost in energy savings over the life of the bulb.
Shopping tips: Light bulb brightness is measured in lumens. When buying LEDs used in lamps and other light fixtures, look for at least 450 lumens if you’re replacing a 40-watt bulb; 800 lumens or more for a 60-watt bulb; and 1,600 lumens or higher for a 100-watt bulb. For floodlights, look for at least 10 times the watts of the incandescent you’re replacing.”
“If durability is key because you have a high-traffic kitchen, you might want to skip laminate, which can cost less than $600 for a small countertop. Shop Smart’s tests show it is easily scratched and can’t be repaired, though a cutting board can help you avoid knife damage. Quartz and granite cost a lot more, but they survived all of the spills, hot pots, knife attacks and more in tests. Shopping tips: Save by using ¾-inch-thick stone rather than the usual 1¼ inches. And get rounded edges; they cost more ($10 to $50 per linear foot), but they’re less likely to chip.”
“Although many lower-priced models have some perks once found only on the more expensive models, grills that run $400 and up usually offer more features that add convenience, such as an electronic igniter (for easier starts), coated-cast-iron or stainless-steel grates (for better searing and more even grilling temps) and higher-quality materials that should add to a grill’s longevity. Shopping tips: Burners are a grill’s most replaced part, Shop Smart notes, so look for ones made of high-quality stainless steel, cast iron or cast brass, which usually carry a 10-year or longer warranty.”
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