Expensive things that end up cheaper

bry84March 20, 2007

I was talking to a friend about money savings and mentioned that I buy large and quite expensive bottles of dermalogica face wash. She was surprised anyone would spend that on a face wash, but as I pointed out the bottle lasts about a year, it is unusually economical in use, and it's the only thing I use because it's very effective too. Anyway, it turned out my final expense was much less per month than what she was spending on several cheaper products, and they weren't even working that well for her anyway.

I've been trying a few more expensive things recently only to discover that they do often last much longer and also work much better. Not just cosmetics or household chemicals, also certain foods and many other items. I've recently found that more expensive coffee is stronger and thus needs a much smaller quantity in the cup, which means the nicer tasting better quality coffee is price comparative to the cheaper brands.

Anyway, what expensive things do you buy that are worth it because they're either far better and/or much cheaper in the long term?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When my old 'supermarket' shampoo was discontinued about 3 years ago, I had to find a new one that I wasn't allergic to. Tried an organic brand--runs about $7 for a small bottle. Not only can I use it without breaking out or wheezing, but my hair is so much healthier now.

A while back, was diagnosed with heel spurs and plantar fasciitis. After a couple of months of meds and exercises, I was finally feeling back to normal. My Pod. recommended that I wear only Clarks, White Mountain or New Balance shoes--all much more expensive than I ever bought before (although, she was pretty impressed and satisfied by the cheapo $15 sneakers I had on at my first appt--said they were actually doing what I needed for my feet). Anyway, I bit the bullet and bought several pairs of the brands she recommended (and claimed them as a medical expense on my taxes, since I had a prescription form for them!) Anyway, they're heaven to wear--especially the Clarks. And the first pair I bought, that I wear a lot still looks brand new after a year and a half. Definitely worth the money.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2007 at 11:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For cheap shoes that don't hurt your feet try the Crocs knock-offs. Only $5-10/pr. I got mine at Payless.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 1:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh, probably way too many things:

- shaving cream. I shave with a double-edged razor, brush, and a mug. None of them were "cheap" initially (well, the mug was), though double-edged razor blades are far cheaper than almost anyone's plastic cartridge (which isn't recyclable like my blades, either). A tub of shaving cream can cost $15, but it will last a year or so and is much better for my skin than the canned glop.
- shampoo and moisturizers, as noted by others.
- tires. Cheap tires just aren't as good as more expensive tires. There are some brands with what I believe is a higher "bang for the buck" ratio. But more-expensive tires handle heat and speed better and usually feature better technology to make the ride quieter and smoother. I don't know as it works out cheaper in the long run, but they certainly are more pleasurable to use.
- chocolate. A little bit of good European dark chocolate will leave me more far more satisfied than an entire Hershey Bar. More healthful, too.
- ditto for ice cream (almost any flavor).
- good bed linens and towels don't need replacement as often as cheaper fabric blends or poorly-sewn items.
- paint. Cheap paint does not go on as well, cover as well, or last as long as more expensive paint. I'm sure there is a point of diminishing returns here, as the prices for some designer-label texture finishes are astronomical. But cheap paint is just ... cheap.
- tools. The quality should match up to the intended use -- you don't need a Dewalt 18V cordless drill if you have to make holes two or three times a year. But cheap tools are almost always disappointing and sometimes even dangerous.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 10:06AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to respectfully disagree about knock-off Crocs. The first pair I bought were Target knock-offs, and they killed my feet...material was too hard or something. I now have 4 pairs of real Crocs, and they feel like I'm barefoot. If I'd bought the real thing in the first place, I wouldn't have been out the $8.99 that the first pair cost.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 11:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well made jeans for the kids. They outgrow them before they wear out. Cheap jeans have the knees blown out in a couple of months at my house.

Bedding plants. I will only buy from the local mom and pop nurseries. No big box store plants and mine do very well.

Services--our mechanic costs more than the local chain lube, but he saves us down the road with great personal service.

For the house, I purchase the best quality in my budget. We live hard in this house, so I try and get what will last the longest.

But, I'd rather have a Hershey's bar than expensive chocolate.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would have to say clothes for me. Buying a better quality of clothes saves me money in the long run. The clothes fit better and last longer. They don't "pill up" or shrink in the washer or dryer. I'm not replacing them as fast as I would if I bought cheaper or lesser quality. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 5:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I buy used cars.

Sometimes from a mechanic/body shop owner who's a long-time friend, sometimes on the street.

I want a mechanic who's knowledgeable, and has loyalty to me, to check out vehicles that I may consider buying when I need the next one.

Back in '97 I bought a '90 Dodge Colt, 1.5 litre engine, standard tranny, that sipped gas, with 87,000 mi., mechanic said I should scrap it 7.5 years later, at just over 200,000 mi. Cost me $2,600. or so to buy, prob. $4,000. - 5,000. repairs.

When I ask a new car sales person whether he can give me 100,000 mi. for about $6,000. ...

... most of them look at me, snort, and walk away.

Enjoy your week, making your dollars work harder.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 21, 2007 at 6:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Re: the shoes--after what I went through, there is no way on this earth I'd ever go against my podiatrist's advice and wear anything but what she suggested. There were several reasons why she recommended those brands (not just the PF and HS's, but also based on the fact that my feet are a bit unusually configured and most other brands simply don't fit me properly). It would not be a savings for me to buy a knock off footware product, and then have to spend months getting X-rays, prescriptions and treatment for the resulting foot conditions that would spawn

I'm going to add another item to the list. Know everyone doesn't agree with this one, but buying a good quality car NEW. I don't like to buy someone else's problems, nor buy a car that may have been run into the ground by someone who knew they weren't going to keep it more than a few years, so neglected regular, necessary maintenance. Our last car was 18 years old when we traded it in. In all that time, it had only 3 repairs of any significance (and one was the air-conditioning system, which wasn't technically speaking, a necessity anyway.) When we did trade it in, it was still running beautifully--thanks to DH keeping everything in the care maintained. But the seats were wearing, the body was starting to need a little work, and I fell in love with the FJ Cruiser. So we figured it was time to let the old gal go. But considering how little we put into that car for acutal repairs, I'd say it didn't owe us anything. You can't always count on a used car being that reliable, I've found.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I also have foot problems and I bought a pair of Riekers for work. Spending all that money on a pair of shoes seemed like a big extravagance, but wow, what a difference! I do quite a bit of quilting and was buying these crappy scissors I use to trim thread at 5 bucks a pop. They lasted a few months and fell apart. I found a pair of Ginghers on sale (and parlayed a coupon) for 20 bucks. Still work great 5 years later. Finally bought a quality vacuum (still works like new 6 years later.) Knives, pots and pans, soldering iron and a few other hand tools. I figure I can buy something of decent quality that lasts a long time or cheap crap that I have to keep replacing. (I hate to shop, so that's another bonus:) Cheaper in the long run and keeps more stuff out of the land fills to boot.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 5:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I remember years ago in a "home ec' class the teacher said frozen potatoes were really a bargain because they save so much work. Have you ever made French fries from scratch? You buy the potatoes, wash them ,peel them, cut them up,then soak them in water, then you cook them in oil, and the best cooking method requires two cookings. Well. isn't it easier to buy a bag of frozen fries, throw them on a baking sheet and put it in a hot oven? I do a lot of my dinner prep by going to the salad bar. last night I even got dessert there, cut up fresh strawberries and blueberries. It's my favorite part of the grocery store.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 8:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with the shampoo and clothing. I used to buy cheapo shirts and they would only last one season and the neck would stretch out so I decided not to do that anymore. At least the cheap ones make nice rags!

I want to add furniture to the list though. Just because when my husband and I were funiture shopping most of the stuff was poor quality. it took us a while untill we found something we liked that was of good construction. Hopefully it will last us forever. The cheap stuff we bought in college is falling apart. However just because furniture is expensive doesn't make it good quality! That is for sure! We seem to do most of our furniture shopping at amish places now. Their stuff is really solid.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Furniture - and you don't have to buy it new. Just get really excellent quality used as well.
Paint - cheap paint = more coats.
Good chocolate - agree
Beer & wine - cheap beer/wine = hangover. shop sales though.
Carpet - cheap carpet sheds

NOT clothes - as soon as I get a decent piece of clothing, I ruin it somehow - every time! Exception -- coats. Although with cheap clothes you have to buy a size larger than usual because the cheap clothes shrink more than the expensive ones.

NOT plants - most of mine have been bargain plants. Excp. my rose bushes.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Klimkm, I totally forgot to mention used furniture!

I TOTALLY agree with that. All the furniture I inherited is SO nice! It is made so much better. They are not antiques, they are just built maybe 30 or 40 years ago.
I had a couch in college from the 50's. It had a steel frame. I redid the fabric when we bought a house. Then we got bored of it and gave it away to a friend. it is still going strong!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 4:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I totally agree with everyone about shoes! I've worked in orthopedics and podiatry for 15 years and without exception my docs say "but the best." Foot surgery is 1000 times more expensive than good shoes. Birkenstock, Ecco, New Balance, Asics, Clarks,...there are plenty to choose from that are excellent supportive shoes and you would never be sorry.

I'm a Birkenstock girl. I LOVE them. I have about 7 pair--every one of them purchased on eBay for 25 to 40% of their retail price. Once you know your size, it's easy to shop them. My last pair was a pair of $150 shoes that I paid $26 for, including shipping. They had a scratch on the leather so they couldn't be sold as "new." Such a deal. I love eBay...LOL

    Bookmark   March 24, 2007 at 7:58AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Expensive soap that has glycerine. Better quality, don't need to use as much, and they also smell nice afterwards.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2007 at 10:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Posted by sudiepav: I have to respectfully disagree about knock-off Crocs. The first pair I bought were Target knock-offs.

Well, the ones I recommended were the ones from *Payless*. I do not have any experience with the knock-offs from Target, although I do have a friend who bought the knock-offs from Target, and we compared mine and hers, and we concluded that the Target ones were made from harder plastic that did not seem as 'spring-y'.

She was happy with hers though, but I did not think she was realizing the full benefit of the type of shoe, with the Target ones.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 10:53AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I buy according to budget. I will say my expensive sewing machine (for us it was expensive) has more than paid for itself. I went with a higher priced model and have never looked back. My regular machine was purchased in 1979 and my serger in l988....both still running strong and in frequent use.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 8:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is all so true! My parents raised me to buy good quality when it mattered. They said that even if it was more expensive, in the long run it would last for years, and they were totally right.

My problem now is that I am having trouble finding "good quality" anything: clothes, furnishings, and cars. It seems like even the traditionally expensive brands don't hold up as well any more. I've bought really nice brand name clothes that have pilled in a single month! It makes me crazy!

Are the rest of you having similar troubles finding well-made products?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2007 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Are the rest of you having similar troubles finding well-made products?

A key is to do some research. The companies making quality products change over the years. Someone who last bought a TV years ago, when brands like RCA and GE and Magnavox were king, would be surprised to find those names to be mere nameplates now, with the quality products nowadays coming from brands like Panasonic and Samsung (brands which were jokes when GE/RCA/Magnavox were top-of-the-line). It's the same for brands like Sunbeam, Westinghouse, and Polaroid -- just names, all of them.

Ditto for companies which try to reach into new (usually lower-priced) markets. KitchenAid devolved from being the household version of commercial-grade Hobart appliances to being fancy Whirlpool. Levi Strauss' "Signature" brand of jeans (sold in big-box discount stores) does not offer the same construction as their regular lines of jeans (which, of course, cost significantly more).

What I find is that by keeping my ear to the ground and being willing to pay more than a rock-bottom price, there is quality out there. I am vigilant, though, in not buying the same brand out of habit, because I've seen too many of them cheapen themselves to sell more or to meet investor demand.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 11:13AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Regarding finding quality items, it's harder now. The best way to avoid bad items that don't work so great or last so long as you might hope is to research something in detail. The good news is when you're rarely replacing things this shouldn't be a major time commitment.

Too many people just walk in to a shop and buy something, anything, whatever they find that looks nice. It's no surprise they get a bad deal. I've known people buy the same brand two or three times in a row despite having been unhappy with it the first time around, and the second! Shopping wisely takes some effort.

Anyway, the best way to find the truth is to ask people who should know something about it. People who work in the industry you're buying from are the best. I don't mean salespeople, they're just out on the shop floor with whatever products got ordered. I mean people like repair men and those who work in smaller independent appliance stores. I'm talking about a specific type of store, it's hard to explain it, but I'm sure anyone who has visited one knows what I mean. The type of place where they have years of knowledge and genuine enthusiasm for their products. Ok, so these places tend to be more expensive than the big bland chain stores, but you get a lot more for your extra money and it does pay in the end. You don't save much through buying the wrong item and having it break too soon, no matter how cheap it was.

Also talk to other people. Their experiences are very informative. You'll probably start to notice the same names coming up again and again, and people having much the same views on them too.

Magazine reviews and buying guides are good too.

I spend a lot of time on a big purchase, and often a lot more money than many seemingly comparative items cost, but then again I don't buy a lot of things because they last a very long time. That makes it more than worth it, and I believe the end cost to me is much less too.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 3:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just want to chime in here re the shoes. I also have problems with my feet. My Blue Cross will pay $150 every second calendar year for certain shoes. They pay for Birks, Danskos, New Balance and MPT. For some reason I cant wear the Danskos but I wish I could they have so many cute styles. However, I recently bought a pair of Aravon. I hope they will be comfortable. They are made by New Balance. I also can wear Crocs but I wear the original ones, not knockoffs. Also Clarks, they are a wonderful shoe. I do buy them too and have worn them for years.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2007 at 8:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Shoes- buy what fits and DO NOT buy the cheapest model available. I've found New Balance to be good fitting and moderately well-built with a wide toe area and quite a few widths available. I try to get 2 years out of a pair of court/walking shoes (worn almost every day) before the soles are totally gone. I try to buy them on clearance online. I know which models fit my foot well.

For boots, Danner is a great choice for fit and they are still made in the USA. When the soles wear out, they can be replaced. Danner discloses the last number for their boots to allow a consumer to know if different models fit the same. I wish all shoe manufactures did this. Red Wing is similar to Danner, but I find the fit not as good for my feet (to narrow in the toes). You can pay $200 for a good pair of boots that last 3-4 years before needing resoling ($50-$100) or pay $50-$100 for disposable boot that last 1-2 years and then get tossed out.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 6:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"Ditto for companies which try to reach into new (usually lower-priced) markets. KitchenAid devolved from being the household version of commercial-grade Hobart appliances to being fancy Whirlpool. Levi Strauss' "Signature" brand of jeans (sold in big-box discount stores) does not offer the same construction as their regular lines of jeans (which, of course, cost significantly more)."

Just so you know: When one buys a "name brand" item in a big box store, it may not be made by the brand, and although there are some standards it adheres to, it may not be the "name brand" regular standards but the "Big Box" standards. That way it can be manufactured to come it under a certain price point. The DeWalt drill from the big box is likely not the same quality as the very similar model at a local store.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 3:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A number of companies are having their cheaper lines made for them by other companies. I would avoid these items, they cost more than generic no-name items, but are in fact generic no-name items under the label. Customers would be justified for feeling a little deceived over this.

Regardless if it's right or not, we buy brands because we believe they have certain standards of manufacture. However, I know that quite recently (the late 1990s) a number of video players on the market were the same model with a different front panel. They also had very different prices and marketing behind them. One company with no name was selling them as budget models, while another somewhat established name was selling them as fairly expensive items with a big emphasis on quality and features.

Another example is the contact lens company who were making and selling long lasting lenses, but then decided to break in to the disposable market by simply packaging their existing lenses as disposables. They went to court and were fined for it, but I'm sure many equally dubious business tactics do not break the law and thus continue with consumers oblivious.

Similarly, a friend of mine used to work at a chocolate factory where the exact same chocolates would go in to both store brand boxes and expensive luxury brand boxes.

It's yet another case of consumers beware, all is not what it seems. I feel it's fair to say we no longer buy items, we're buying advertising and branding with items attached. Many of today's 'consumer choices' are simply deciding how you want the same mass produced items packaged and branded - and how much you want to pay for them.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 5:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You don't necessarily ...

... get what you pay for.

Or thought you did!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 6:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"You always pay for what you get. Sometimes you get what you pay for."

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 10:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some good comments here. And it bears repeating that just because it's cheap, does NOT necessarily mean it's bad and conversely, just because it's expensive does NOT necessarily mean it's good. I've come to despise the cliche about getting what you pay for. Sometimes you pay little and get a lot. Sometimes you pay a lot and get a little. Sometimes you get lucky.

My cousin is a painter and I learned from him a long time ago that the theory about the huge differences in paint is a lot of myth. If you apply the paint correctly, there's little difference. I've found this to be true. He told me some of the differences are that the more expensive paints are made to be applied by amateurs and incorrectly so they take steps to cover for it. After buying paint priced at 2 gal for $5 (white only - it was barn trim paint) it was some of the best paint I've ever had. Lasted longer than the "premium" paints used before. Not surprised though since "theoretically" a barn paint would hopefully be a little tougher. Course I had to pay much more for the trim paint!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, quit shopping for price, rather shop for value. That philosophy has served me well. Couple examples: I have limited needs when it comes to a dryer. But I was able to spend $50 more and get a far, far better dryer than originally intended. Having researched dryers I knew the good from the bad. I'm comfortable that I got a far better value, even though the cheaper one would likely have served my needs more than adequately. However at a picnic last summer, I needed a knife to cut a watermelon. I could have bought a $75 Henckel's knife, but opted for the $1 "dollar store" special! It served its need as well as the expensive one and gave far better value.

This is a good thread and I hope I'm not arguing syntax. Don't intend to. But I'm bothered by terms like "expensive" and "cheap". They're such relative terms. As illustrated by many examples here, sometimes spending $10 gets far more value than spending $5. Sometimes spending $5 can cost you $10 more down the road too. To me, the latter is much more expensive. If I can go back to my mantra, value. But to really enjoy the benefits of it, you need to stay informed. That's what's great about these forums. Great exchange of info and education.

Keep being savvy shoppers folks! Happy springtime to all!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 2:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A good quality knife, properly cared for, will last a lifetime. However, it would be silly to buy one just to cut up a watermelon at a picnic:)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2007 at 6:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Different people have different views of "value".

And we get a variety of viewpoints here.

I figure that it's a pretty unfortunate day when I can't learn something.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to agree about buying good knives; I have two sets of steak knives, one was about $10 for 6, the others are Henckles which were on sale at $30 for 4. The set of 6 we are tossing out one by one because the blades are coming out of their handles and starting to rust. The Henckles look and work like they are brand new.

I won't skimp on sheets or toilet paper.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 1:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Quality can also be had by purchasing USED. I've bought very nice, year-or-two old cars used, letting the original owner take the big depreciation that comes with driving a new vehicle off the dealer's lot. I've bought gently-used, high-end appliances (dryer, dishwasher, and fridge) for far less than a lower-quality new one.

I've been replacing my aging kitchen appliances of late. So many folks in my area are "upgrading" to stainless steel appliances and ridding themselves of their virtually new white ones. I recently paid $200 for a 9-month-old dishwasher (installed in a weekend home), a quiet Energy Star model that retailed for more than $500.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 5:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Clothes washing detergent, when shopping we would always buy the cheapest brand there was. Then I got a free sample of a more expensive brand, after reading the directions I realised that the full dose was much less than the cheap brand. Not only that was the fact that for a front loader the dose was cut to 1 quarter, meaning 4 washes per full dose. The box does 80 loads for me and only costs about $3 more than the old brand which I got less than 20 loads from.

I agree with shoes, while my kids feet were growing so quick I bought mainly cheap shoes. My son is very hard on his shoes and lately I've bought him more expensive shoes, they have lasted very well. Usually he goes through the tops within weeks, then the soles fall off, he's worn the new pair for months and no problems.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 9:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know this isn't truly a "shoe" thread, but I have to pipe in. I'm a devotee of Ariat shoes. They originally made only equestrian footwear but now have a lot of clogs, mules and even cute sandals. I LOVE these shoes and they last forever. Check ebay for deals -- they retail for $100+ in most places.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 8:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I knew I recognized that name and couldn't place from where. Then I realized they made my daughter's paddock boots. She said that they are very warm and comfortable and she will outgrow them before she wears them out, which is nice in this day and age:)

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 7:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i agree for sure on the laundry detergent and paint. with detergent, theres a brand here, i forget the name, but it is 2.99 and will do 60 loads. we bought tide once for 5.99, got at least 80 loads and the clothes were MUCH cleaner. after that i was willing to spend the extra!

and we have def learned our lesson with paint and the rollers/brushes used to put it on. cheap rollers make more work!

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 10:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Xantippe, Steve o and Bry84, good points about finding quality.

I have to figure out what to do about replacing a leaking tap. We're in drought and have water restrictions so I have to do it soon. When I was a kid my dad would've replaced the washer. We can't find a way in to do that and the manufacturer's tech assistance line said even if we do the thing may be so siezed up that it may be impossible anyway. Given the cost of getting a plumber out it seems worth it to get an expensive new tap set with a decent warranty. Do we pay for a plumber to try to replace the washer. Do we resign ourselves to getting new taps. Should we change the bathroom to match.

If we get new taps the choice seems to be cheap with a pathetic warranty and apparently the risk that spare parts will be unavailable even during the warranty period, or expensive with a range of warranties from pretty good to really impressive. The best are mixers but our basin has three holes for a spout and two taps. So would it be worth changing the basin. Could we just change the top. There doesn't seem to be a cheap fix (replace washer yourself) or a reasonable fix (pay for a plumber to install a reasonably reliable mid-priced brand).

As in so many things these days it's hard to find a reasonable mid-priced option. And as Xantippe said, not all the expensive brands are that good any more. As Bry84 said, we're not buying items but branding and advertising. So I need to try to find out which expensive tapware is really worth it. In the meantime, my tap is still dripping which is wasting water and costing me money. All I know is, once this is fixed I don't want to be calling the plumber back out anytime soon!

Oops, sorry about the rant. It's just so frustrating.

As for other products, we feel it's worth it to pay more for kitchen knives, paint, shampoo, shoes, sheets, towels, yeah quite a few things.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 4:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You don't say which tap needs replacing. I can tell you that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a faucet which will last a long time (probably longer than you care to look at it). If you avoid the big-box home-improvement store loss leaders, there are some quality faucets by companies like Moen and Delta which will last for years and, in some cases, are backed by lifetime warranties. In kitchens, for example, you need to spend at least US$100 to avoid the junk, but really don't have to spend more than US$150-200 for a very-good-quality faucet; you can spend more if you want a fancy finish or style, but what you'll buy at that price point will last for years.

As for the multiple-hole question, many faucets are built big enough to cover three holes, if they exist, or you can buy adapter plates (in different finishes) which cover the holes and fit the faucet you purchased. That should give you a slightly wider range of choices and will not require you to replace the basin at this time.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I find quality, name-brand clothing for cheap at Goodwill, thrift stores, and Ebay. They wear much better than the cheap clothing and last longer, too.

We buy older, used appliances when we can, too. We paid $50 for the older Kenmore washer and dryer (from the 80's) and they have lasted 5 years now without a problem! That was $50 for the PAIR, not each! The last 3 new washers we bought only lasted 4-5 years each and we paid full price for them! The older models just seem to be made better and can be bought for a steal of a price as people update their appliances. The older ones are easier and cheaper to fix, too...more basic parts.

We also buy used, reliable cars and let the original owners bite the depreciation bullet. We pay cash for our cars and get them serviced regularly by our reliable mechanic.

We like to buy our furniture at estate auctions and yard sales. If you know what to look for in quality construction, you can get excellent, well-made furniture that will last longer than you will!

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 11:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hello macbirch,

I haven't quite decided how much enthusiasm you have for fixing your current taps, or whether you've pretty well decided that it's time for new.

It seems to me not a heavy duty problem to turn the water off, open up the cover of the tap and find out what may be wrong and whether you may be able to fix it.

If the seat is warped, jagged or whatever to have become rough, you'll need a reamer to grind off the rough stuff and make the seat smooth again, but that's not a big job. If you ask around among friends, you may be able to find one. Or get one at a plumbing supply place.

If you've acted on my suggestion to write down all of your friends names from way back when, with phone and email, it would be easy to send an email to all the ones who live nearby to look for one to borrow ... but you can't take the gasoline to drive too far (plus second trip to return it) ... unless you'd like an excuse to visit that friend, anyway.

That's in the off chance that you may need a reamer - quite often all that you need is a washer that fits at the bottom of the control shaft, held in place with a screw (which may have corroded). If corroded, probably treat with some WD-40 before trying to move it.

About a half dollar ... plus about an hour's work, maybe.

I hope that you have an enjoyable autumn weekend.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   April 19, 2007 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks Steve. I keep forgetting my location shows up on GW but not THS. I'm in Australia. I was a bit hopeful about Moen as it sounded vaguely familiar and when I went to their site there was a location finder where you could specify country, but the only country listed was the US. I must make some enquiries about adapter plates. We can't be the only people who want to change tapware without doing a major renovation. The mixers have the better warranties, that's for sure. Best I've found here is fifteen years for a European brand.

Hi Joyful. Enthusiasm for a do-it-yourself job rapidly diminished after we turned the water off and couldn't access the washer even with phone assistance from the company. (Part of the problem is it's not really the original manufacturer, just a conglomeration of takeovers.) DS is tired of hearing me muttering about the good old days when "dad could've fixed this in no time". Online research turned up a NZ company newsletter that talked about the "drive to stamp out unfixable tapware". Interesting reading. We'll probably get the plumber to change the washing machine taps too. Only replaced them a couple of years ago and one is quite wobbly. They weren't cheap imports so that's disappointing.

Loretta, I remember someone on tv saying it's really worth it to get good furniture because it'll last and it works out to be quite economical to just replace the fabric when necessary.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 4:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I didn't mean to hijack the thread with my tale of tap woe. It's just so frustrating, and teenage DS keeps asking why we didn't buy decent taps in the first place. He knows what DH is like with money, which often does cost us more in the long run.

Actually the taps in this house weren't the cheapest. In our first house thirty years ago we had the real cheap ones with plastic handles. Sometimes the plastic handles cracked but changing the handle wasn't too hard and changing the washer was no trouble at all.

Is the quality of cheap things worse than it used to be?

    Bookmark   April 21, 2007 at 3:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

About 4 years ago, when I took my Canadian Dollar to the bank to exchange into some U.S. money while preparing for a trip to that country ...

... they'd give me about 69 cents U.S. for it.

A couple of weeks ago, my Canadian Dollar would buy about 95 cents U.S., now it's about 93 cents.

That's something else that was expensive ...

... and recently has become quite a lot cheaper.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   August 15, 2007 at 7:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with the paint comment. I use Benjamin Moore for everything. I had used paint from one of the home superstores, and it didn't look or go on as well as Benjamin Moore. We also don't buy cheap beer, but don't go overboard either. While I like expensive chocolate, M&M's or a Milky Way does it for me too.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2007 at 7:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a pair of jeans that I bought at Old Navy at least 8 yrs ago, if not more. They're heavy weight, DENIM, jeans. They have a real zipper in them, and pockets that you can actually fit your hands into.

Now all you can find there are jeans made of a paper thin, denim-like material. They're all some form of low rise, ultra low rise, etc. Pockets are so small you can't fit anything into them.

The old jeans are one of my favorites. I bet a newer pair from there wouldn't last half as long as these have.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 1:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made a chocolate cake today, and I used the Phillips electric mixer my mother bought. I don't know the exact age, but a good guess would be late 60s early 70s. Certainly older than the mid 70s as it has the old style electric plug. Not only has it worked perfectly for well over 30 years of extensive use, but when the plastic bowl broke a few years ago I telephoned the company to order a replacement and they sent me one free of charge. This item is about three decades out of warranty, and I wasn't even the original buyer, and it was my fault the bowl broke anyway, but they still did their best to help. Conversely, I know companies who will do nothing of any use for customers who bought far bigger and more expensive items from them just weeks ago.

If I've learnt anything from my good and bad consumer experiences, it's that it's always best to buy products from companies you know and trust at stores you enjoy shopping at. I don't care if the initial cost is more, it's worth it. However, I often find that the price difference is not so significant anyway. An extra £40 when you're spending over £250 isn't such a big deal.

But I do like trying new things, I often go to shops I haven't been to before and sometimes buy brands I don't have personal experience with yet, but I tend to only buy smaller less expensive items at first. Always try them out before parting with large amounts of money for big items. Also, if I expect it to be a shop where I'm going to be spending lots more money, I'll invent a random customer enquiry about my item after buying it to see how well they deal with it. I've had experiences with shops that love you when you're buying and ignore you when your item is faulty out the box or you need help with something. These are not good shops to buy big costly items, so it's important to find out who is who before you spend anything significant.

I'm always amazed how many people will think nothing of walking in to a shop they have never been to before and buying big items like a £800 oven or £300 TV set from a brand they have never heard of before.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2007 at 4:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Speaking of mixers, I received a really nice "reworked" mixer as a wedding gift some years ago. This was one of those big, stand mixers, and it mixes up bread dough, cookie dough, runs a meat grinder...the works! It was purchased for me at a huge trades day, and it's gone 20 years and still working great. I also received an antique Singer sewing machine, same deal. All this just to point out sometimes it can be a great idea to get something made before "planned obscelesence" became the words manufacturers live by. I wish I could find an old can opener, because I've been through about six in that same time. And I've bought both more and less expensive electric can openers during that time. I finally gave up and just spent $6 on a good hand crank, which has lasted already longer than any of the electric models.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2007 at 1:31AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Three-four years ago, we needed a new washing machine. Once at the store, the sales man asked how he could help. My reply - "I want a washing machine that has the largest size tub and one that will last at least 15 years, just like my mom had". His reply - None of them will last 15 years, important features change and you'll want to upgrade". We ended up buying one with the large tub and which is of a reputable brand; however I wasn't happy about his comments re the thing not lasting at least 15 years.

Fast forward about 2 months - we see a trickle of water on our basement floor. Out comes the repairman for a housecall. He takes the metal box off. Low and behold, the guts of the machine are basically all plastic. To me, plastic in a machine that's vibrating with each use does not equate to sturdy.

Expensive things that end up cheaper....not washing machines!

    Bookmark   August 29, 2007 at 6:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Face and body soaps: agreed! I'm a Dermologica convert as well, and for other soap and hair products my trick is to scour the Ross and Marshall's stores every now and then. They usually have great high-end products at a decent price. Though still more expensive than your cheapest options, they definitely last longer and do a really good job!

Regarding appliances, I would always consider what is going into energy costs before writing off that used appliance as a good deal. For example, water is expensive where I live, so a top-load washer is going to cost me more on my bills than a front-load; same water concerns go for the dishwasher as well. It seems you can also have energy star rating for not a whole lot of $$ as well. I guess it's one of those things where you have to think about what you're paying up front AND what you're going to keep on paying for those years down the road that you own the appliance.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 9:32AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

i just bought a new washing machine, i have four kids so i do a ton of laundry bought the whirlpool duet FF set. all my appliances are top of the line as i use them and want to enjoy them. my mini van was bought at an auction its an 03 chevy venture bought it last year with 52000km's on it for $6000.00, i dont believe in spending 35000.00 on something my kids are going to grind fries in the seat with. i love walmart sales for shoes and clothes for me and the kids. i will say that i am a runner so i have very good expensive running shoes but i only buy 1 pair a year, im not willing to ruin my knees and hips for cheap running shoes. we dont smoke, drink only a little bit, no cable or satelite tv, i buy laundry and cleaning supplies in brand name as i find that you use less and they smell better. their is lots of good generic stuff out their and you learn which brands are the best after a while. i love to go to auctions i get lots of great dishes for my house ( i find the ones from the 50's and earlier are way better then the ones nowadays) all my caseroule dishes are from the 50's. so its all a matter of choices.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 11:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I think something at is really worth the money at the time is a college education. Totally worth it for your kids and yourself even though you do pay through the nose for it.

Ditto for vocational classes.

Buying a house in the best neighborhood you can afford. Once I lived in a cheap and dangerous place ::shudder::. Never again! My car got stolen - TWICE, and I was scared of my neighbors. :-( What was I thinking?

Not racking up major credit card debt. My sister did this, and it cost her more to pay it off with a refinance than if she would just stop spending her money on frivolous things like......... sorry, but shoes are coming to my mind right now. hehe.

I always think my 401k is expensive, but I know I have to retire sometime......


    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 7:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, I had been buying nothing but dermalogica for some time now, but recently tried avon (can you buy their stuff in America?) and have been very impressed with the results. For me, it works as good as dermalogica. That's a big statement when you consider the price difference.

The avon shampoo is a favourite item of mine as it's really concentrated and a bottle lasts about three times as long as anything else I've used of the same size.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 4:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'll "echo" the comments about plantar fasciatis and shoes. I was headed toward surgery when someone pointed me to good brands. Ecco sandals feel as if they're made for my foot. No more PF . . . I don't care how much they cost: I wear them 90% of the time.

Another product that's worth the money is Nioxin Scalp Therapy. Pricy, but I have no more breaking or splitting hair, and my hair in general is healthier than it's ever been. I both perm and color, which has always been a problem till I started the Nioxin. It's worth every penny and more.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 10:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

I believe Avon has the planet covered, right down to the Brazilian rain forests.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2007 at 8:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My Dad used to say "Poor folks can't afford anything cheap- buy the best you can afford, even if it's used."

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 10:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like to buy Select-A-Size paper towels, Bounty preferred. One rarely needs more than a half a sheet anyway!

I also like Scott bath tissue because since we all know that only WOMEN know HOW to change the roll, it lasts a long time between when I must do that chore!!!

    Bookmark   September 29, 2007 at 5:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I guess the rest of you aren't old enough, but I think a good mattress is a good investment! Try sleeping on a cheap one- you'll know what I mean.

Other things that have paid off- good tools. I bought a lot of professional power tools in the 70's- still have all of them.
As has been mentioned- good shoes! I'm on my feet 10 hours a day, and plantar fasciitis is no fun.
Antiques- we've furnished our whole house with them over the years- every one a bargain. They just keep going up in value.
We've had good luch with quality appliances, too. Our KitchenAid mixer, and Robotcoupe processor have been on the job 25 years now.
Now days, it's a lot easier to shop wisely. There are many reviews available on-line, and sometimes surprisingly cheap products last well, and surprisingly expensive ones don't.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 11:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is a good thread. My expensive thing that ends up cheaper is Logics by Matrix, the best styling spray. It smells great and lasts forever. The original cost is a shocker, but it lasts longer than several cans of cheap spray.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"buy the best. cry once."

found that gem in a fortune cookie back in college.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2007 at 9:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I needed a new air filter for the lawn mower. Went to HomeDepot yesterday and the thing cost $10.99! I said to myself I'll wait and see if I can find a better deal.
I stopped by Fleet&Farm on the way home from work and found the OEM (Briggs&Stratton) filter for $4.99. The generic replacement filter cost twice as much at HomeDepot.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 11:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Facial care products! The ones you buy at Wal-Mart, Target, etc...Just don't hold up as well as the more expensive facial care you buy at dept stores. At least for me, anyway.

Food - I have tried store brands and been disappointed.
Good tools
Quality furniture and appliances
Pest Control Chemicals
Perfume (knock off, cheap brands smell cheap and fly away)
Carpet (cheap carpet gets matted up too fast)
Laundry soap

    Bookmark   October 25, 2007 at 5:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stocks of U.S. (or foreign-based corporations bought in the New York stock market via ADRs) by non-U.S. people some time ago.

About 5 years ago when I traded Cdn$1.00 for U.S. money ... I got about 65 cents. So it cost me $1.50 to buy US$1.00.

Over recent years, the exchange rate on Cdn Dollars has risen, rather quickly in the past year or so - about 15 cents.

When I look at the values based in U.S. Dollars, the stocks have mainly developed reasonabe growth: some of the foreign ones appear to have grown even better.

BUT ... when I exchange that value into Cdn Dollars, now that Cdn$1.00 buys only US$0.97 ... their value doesn't look quite so nice - like over a 40% reduction in value!

Which is somewhat mitigaterd by some of the foreign stocks, for some of their exchange rates have risen in relation to the U.S. Dollar as well, so that means that their value now, when quoted in U.S. Dollars, looks higher that has actually happened, when one considers the value in their national currency.

U.S. folks who bought quality Canadian stocks a few years ago, have seen those values in Canadian dollars rise nicely ...

... and they've gained another 40% or so if they should choose to liquidate now and exchange back into U.S. currency.

But they'd best be careful where they do it, for usually around here it costs something like 1% or less, but a recent Canadian immigrant to the U.S., on receiving a cheque as a bequest from a deceased relative, found that some major agencies in her area wanted 10% or even more to exchange it.

So - she sent it back to Calgary, where she'd lived previously, and they did it for peanuts.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I bought a pair of kitchen shears in 1989 at one of those home parties that sell really expensive cookware. I paid $50 for the shears and they are still working great. I use them every day for something or other.

My Bosch Universal Kitchen Machine. I bought mine used about 20 years ago. We make 5 loaves of bread every week in it and the blender gets almost daily use.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 6:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My MIL always bought the best. the best house (small house in a good neighborhood), the best appliances, the best furniture, and she MAINTAINED it. After she died, her house sold in one day for top dollar.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2007 at 1:06PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
hail damage
is it necessary to have hail damage insurance in MN...
kitchen sink size???
What is the best size for a kitchen sink? I am thinking...
Saving money when using an air condiioner or dehumidifier
This will actually save you money only if you pay for...
I would like to start checking out coupons to save...
alameda/zone 8
Need Ideas-Extra Space/Supplemental Income
My wife and I recently had twins which upped our kid...
Sponsored Products
Violeta Maroc Candleholder Set
$39.99 | zulily
Sky Blue Glass Free Standing Round Toilet Brush Holder
Dobby Face Cloth - LEAF
$16.00 | Horchow
Baroque Tripod Side Table
$199.99 | Dot & Bo
Apple Pendant
IBISS Single Edge Lit Flood Light by Tech Lighting
$284.00 | Lumens
Fresca Torino 48" White Modern Bathroom Vanity with 2 Side Cabinets & Integrated
Modern Bathroom
Luxury Down Mattress Pad
$199.00 | FRONTGATE
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™