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When cheaping out costs you more

When cheaping out costs you more
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Joel Larsgaard |
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I have a checkered past with cheaping out. I bought some discount beer the other day. It had a beautiful red clearance sticker on it and I was smitten. It turns out that it wasn’t even worth the insanely cheap price of $5 for a twelve pack. It tasted like old shoes! Speaking of shoes, I cheaped out on some shoes for my wife recently. I bought the lowest price running shoes that Asics makes. It turns out that there’s a big difference between the $36 variety and the $110 kind. Apparently it sucks to run in shoes that feel like cardboard!

Have you ever made the “cheap out” mistake with clothes? A hideous Christmas sweater at a 70% off discount? Yes, please. But once you got that item home it turned out that the only thing you liked about it was the price. Most of us have been lured in by a bargain only to realize that it sat in the back of our closet for a lengthy period of time. Four spring cleanings later it ends up in the giveaway bag.

As you know, I’m all about generics and store brands. But there are even times where trying to save at the grocery store has ended up costing me more in the end. Buying meat that’s marked down and on its last leg. I swear I’m going to use it but I just can’t bring myself to cook something that smells like that. So I toss it out. Every version of Cheerios tastes the same so I’m obviously cool with the cheap stuff there. But don’t try to pull one over on me with soda. The cheap brand version of Coke always tastes a little bit funky to me. I just can’t bring myself to drink it.

So here’s the deal. Let’s learn from our cheapster mistakes. If you know that good running shoes are crucial to your training, then bite the bullet (after taking the proper cost saving measures of course). Just to let you know, I got the nice running shoes for my wife at a killer price. If you use your computer all the time for work and writing, don’t get one with a ten inch screen and awful reviews just because of its sub $200 price tag. It will only end up costing you more when you get fed up with tiny display and sub-par features.

I’m obviously not an advocate for spending money when it is uncalled for. I am, however, making the case that even us frugal folks need to get beyond looking at solely the cheapest option. I’ve mentioned before, I use my phone a lot. A flip phone just doesn’t meet my needs. Even though it might save me some dough in the short run it would cost me majorly in my productivity level. That’s a trade off that just wouldn’t make sense for me. I’m making it a goal to think more fully about my purchases in the future so that I don’t repeat the same cheapster mistakes of the past.

What are some cheapo purchases you’ve made that ended up costing you more in the end? What items have you found are worth the extra money in order to ensure that you actually use them and don’t waste more money in the end?

Check out more money saving tips from Joel on his blog or follow him on Twitter.