This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please read my disclosure for more details(Last Updated On: April 27, 2018)
I admit, I am a pretty frugal person. I always try to shop around and buy the cheapest alternative available. However, there are 5 things that I recommend NOT saving money on. Why? Because investing in these 5 items will actually save you money in the long run.
When it comes to electronics, I believe in investing in the best quality. Electronics play such a huge part in our lives today. My entire job as a blogger and researcher depends on having a high-quality laptop.
A few years ago, I made the horrible mistake of buying a cheap $300 notebook. It was a nightmare. The bloody thing was super slow and always heated up if I had multiple programs running. Finally, after a few months, I decided to ditch the old machine and upgrade to a MacBook.
I’m pretty happy with my Mac. I’ve had it since 2011 and it’s still kicking around.
Cost per month: There’s a great lesson to be learned here. I spent $300 on a crappy notebook that lasted me only 3 months. I later spent $1,500 on a MacBook that has lasted me over 7 years (and counting)! That makes my cost per month around $18/month for my MacBook vs. $100/month for my cheap notebook.
2. Winter clothing
Growing up in Toronto and now living in Lausanne (Switzerland), I’m pretty used to cold weather. Over the years, I’ve learned that it’s worth the pretty penny to invest in heavy-duty garments that ACTUALLY keep you warm. Trust me, you’ll be thanking me for this later! When the temperatures dip to Arctic levels, going outside won’t feel quite as awful.
I bought a Canada Goose Trillium Parka a few years ago and it’s still keeping me warm today. I admit, $800 on a winter jacket is definitely not a small purchase. However, I’ve worn this jacket for 5 years and I think it’s a classic and timeless piece that I can wear for another few more years.
What’s more, the company offers a lifetime guarantee on its products. My jacket still looks relatively new. Not to mention, it’s super stylish and I always get compliments when I wear mine.
I can’t leave the door without my jacket, and it keeps me warm up until -25°C (or -13°F). Overall, I would recommend Canada Goose to anyone who lives in cold climates.
Cost per year: I’ve had my jacket for 5 years already, so the cost is $160/year. I’d say that’s a steal compared to paying $100 for a fashionable jacket that doesn’t really keep you warm and that you’ll have to ditch a year later.
I highly recommend buying a cashmere scarf. I splurged and bought a Burberry cashmere scarf and I am SO glad I did. The scarf is beautiful, soft, and keeps me extremely warm. I’ve had the scarf for almost a decade but it’s still timeless and looks like new.
Cost per year: When I bought the scarf, it was only $300 (10 years ago). That makes its cost per use $30/year.
Lastly, I would recommend buying heavy-duty mittens. I have a pair of Black Diamond Mercury Mitts. I admit, they’re not the sexiest mittens out there, but they can endure temperatures up to -29°C (-20°F).
These mittens are perfect for those suffering from Reynaud’s or those who have poor circulation overall. They are especially great for doing some shovelling on those chilly, winter mornings. I use these mittens whenever I go skiing, and they have literally changed my ski experience for the better.
Cost per year: I’ve had these mittens for around 4 years, making their cost $27.50/year. They are still in superb condition and I expect to get another few years of wear out of them.
3. Health insurance
When buying health insurance, I recommend that you shop around and read all the terms and conditions before settling on one. I never cheap out on insurance because you never know what may happen.
When I do buy insurance, I also don’t just settle for the most basic plan. I usually upgrade to a premium plan if I know that I’ll make use of the plan.
For example, I am currently on a student insurance plan. The basic plan is around 90 Swiss Francs a month (1 Swiss Franc = 1.05 US Dollars) and includes a 200 franc deductible. With this plan, I’d have to pay the first 200 francs out of my pocket before I see any reimbursement.
On the premium plan, I pay only 3 francs more per month (so 36 Francs more annually) and I avoid that 200-franc deductible altogether. That means that, as long as I visit the doctor once, I will be better off on a premium plan.
Annual savings: I save 164 francs per year provided that I visit the doctor at least once!
4. Fresh food
I am a firm believer of investing in my body. If you don’t start investing in your body now, then it will only get more expensive as you age.
When given the choice, I will pay extra for the organic or local option available at the grocery store. By keeping my health in tip-top shape, I’ll avoid the hefty medical fees that come with a poor diet. I also try to avoid eating processed food.
Annual savings: By keeping your body in good shape, you can prevent many diseases and save thousands of dollars in medical fees.
5. Quality housing
I believe in living in a place that makes me happy, and often that comes with a higher price tag. As I mentioned in a previous post, I currently live 5 minutes from the lake in my own newly-constructed studio apartment. It’s true that I’m paying a lot higher in rent than the average student, but I am willing to pay an extra few hundred per month for a place that meets my criteria.
During my housing search, I was looking for a place that met 3 key criteria: privacy, great amenities, and convenience/location.
Privacy: Renting apartments as an individual can get really expensive, so renting a studio is a nice compromise. I pay 900/month for my studio apartment. This is the mid-way between renting a room in a shared apartment (600/month) and a 1-bedroom apartment (1,500-2,000/month). I do not mind paying an extra 300 a month to have my own kitchen and bathroom.
Great amenities: My building is new so everything is in tip-top shape. I don’t have to worry about leaky faucets or appliances not working. Having this peace of mind is well worth the extra rent I pay.
Convenience/location: Lastly, my building has a bus stop right next door. I can get to my school within 15 minutes and the city center within 30 minutes. I am pretty content with the length of my commute.
When looking for housing, I highly advise finding a place that meets all your criteria and is within your budget. Paying a little premium for something that you really love is well worth the money!
Monthly savings: If I move to an apartment that is 30 minutes further away from my school, I could save 100 francs a month. But that would mean adding 1 hour to my daily commute, which is 20 extra hours per month. Is 20 hours of my time really worth an extra 100 francs?
If money is tight, it’s often easiest to just buy the cheapest alternative possible. However, there are several situations where buying a more expensive option actually works out cheaper in the end. There are 5 things that I would never compromise quality for price. They are: electronics, winter clothing, health insurance, fresh food, and quality housing.
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