spend_to_save

It’s an old business cliche: you have to spend money to make money. It means that investing in high quality products and people is the best way to make sure that your business succeeds (and helps you recoup those investments). The same can also be said of personal wealth.

Early in 2012, John Cheese published an article in Cracked.com titled “The 5 Stupidest Habits You Develop Growing Up Poor”. One of the primary themes running through the article is continuously buying the cheaper versions of things because that’s what you’re used to, creating a bad and self-fulfilling cycle.  See, when you buy things that are of low quality (because they’re cheaper); they tend to break easily or, in the case of food, spoil more quickly. This requires you to buy replacements more frequently and that eats up the meager amounts of money you manage to save, and forces you to continue to buy cheap stuff because you never manage to save up enough for something of quality.

If you truly want to have a solid and financially stable life, though, there are some things upon which you shouldn’t skimp:

Electronic Gadgets

Buying a new $30 Blu Ray player every four months because the cheap one you bought keeps breaking is actually dumber than buying a solid, high quality, $150 player that lasts four years…especially since now, if your Blu Ray player goes bust, you can easily watch Netflix or Hulu on your computer (heck even YouTube plays movies now) while you save up for a new machine. You can also shop for deals online that will help you get that same player at a better price.

Blu Ray players aren’t the only devices worth paying more for. When it comes to electronics, whether you’re buying the higher quality Plantronics headset from Headsets Direct (your wife will thank you for not making her be privy to all of your gaming buddies’ chatter) over the cheaper alternative or buying the “generic” smart phone offered by your cellular provider over one from Samsung or Apple you definitely get what you paid for. Saving up is the way to go.

Cookware

That $5 sauce pan you buy at Target is going to melt in the dishwasher next month. That $45 cast iron or enamel sauce pan you bought from the designer cookware store? That’s going to hold up long enough to become a family heirloom. When it comes to cookware, quality costs and it costs for a reason. Good quality cookware will last literally for generations. Think about it: you can spend $50 on a cast iron frying pan now and still be using that frying pan in 20 years or you can spend $15 on a non-stick frying pan that will need to be replaced in nine months.

Appliances

This can be tricky because it can take a really long time to save up for a quality appliance. Still, buying the programmable thermostat now (and having it professionally installed) will save more than you spent in the long run. The same is true of a refrigerator or washing machine. This great article in More Magazine has a list of similar appliances upon which you should not skimp.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule: clothing—if made well, can be purchased at thrift shops. Furniture—the best made furniture is older and can be tracked down at thrift and vintage shops.

Still, when in doubt—spend more for high quality now. You can save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years.