Purchases You Shouldn't Skimp on in 2017
Updated March 05, 2020

9 Purchases You Definitely Shouldn’t Skimp On

Save on Bills

Money Done Right does not accept sponsorships to promote particular products or services. However, we may receive a commission if you purchase or sign up through links on this page. Here's more information about how we make money.

Once you have committed to purchasing something, you should buy the highest quality that fits your needs and your budget.

Although this rule is really true for any purchase, there are a few purchases that you should prioritize when it comes to getting quality.  This is because spending the extra dollars on the cream of the crop for these products and services will greatly enhance both your health and your finances in the long-run.

If you decide that you need to make one or more of the purchases below but do not have the cash on hand, we recommend you check out our article on Over 100 Ways to Make Extra Money, and you should have enough extra cash to make the purchase in no time.

Purchases You Shouldn’t Skimp On Because Your Health Is Important

A healthy life is a wealthy life.  It doesn’t matter how much money you have; if you do not have your health, your quality of life will be very poor.  Unfortunately these days many of us are guilty of putting our acquisition of money over our acquisition of health.  And the more frugal among us may even be tempted to buy poor quality when it comes to the items below, even though in the long run that decision will be detrimental not only to our health, but also our wealth.

So take a close look at the items below and think about whether or not investing in higher-quality versions of these products or services than those you currently use will benefit you in the long run.

Notice that the first two have to do with sleep.  Consider the fact that we spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping, and that the quality of our sleep drastically affects the other 2/3 for better or for worse.  So clearly getting a good night’s rest is very important!

The problem is that modern day culture is at war with sleep, and as a result, we don’t value it nearly as much as we should.  Sleep is when our brain and the rest of our body recovers from the stresses of the day.  Sleep is when we heal ourselves!  Did you know that current studies show that getting enough sleep is also associated with maintaining a healthy body weight?  It’s true!

But we’ve been bamboozled into thinking that sleep is not nearly as important as maximizing productivity and output, that another hour of work is worth more than another hour of sleep.  I know that I am guilty of this.  Not only have I sacrificed countless hours of sleep for my job — sometimes even working all night to finish a project — but oftentimes I voluntarily skimp on sleep to finish personal projects or side hustles.

In fact, I’m writing this article well past my bedtime, and in 10 minutes I will need to force myself to shut my laptop down and finish this post tomorrow.  And not only do we put working ahead of sleep, but we also lie in our beds, staring at electronic devices, which hampers our sleep!  Although these are habits that we can change, the quality of your sleep also depends on what you sleep on.

1. Pillows

So if you aren’t getting top-notch sleep or wake up with a stiff neck from time to time, it’s time to treat yourself to luxurious, perfect-for you pillows.  The difference between a crappy generic pillow and one that is perfectly suited to you is quite drastic.  Here are some tips on buying pillows.

All pillows are not created equal.

Pillows are not people.  Pillows are pillows.  And pillows are definitely not all the same inside.  Different pillows are stuffed with different kinds of material.  Some pillows, known as “natural fill,” are filled with down feathers.  These pillows give a soft, “cloud-like” feel.  Memory foam pillows, on the other hand, are thicker and firmer.

Pillows aren’t just for heads.

Did you know that most sleep experts recommend that if you sleep on your side, you should have a pillow between your knees when you sleep to reduce stress on your hips and lower back?  And if you sleep on your back, you should have a  pillow underneath your kneecaps to support your back’s natural curve?  It’s true!

Know how you like it.

As a general rule, side sleepers tend toward thicker pillows and back sleepers toward thinner pillows, though there are exceptions.  And if you sleep on your stomach, you really shouldn’t be doing that because doing so flattens out your spine’s natural curvature, which is just asking for back problems!

This is the stuff right here

Caroline and I both prefer firm pillows, and we’re getting the best sleep of our lives after picking up these Supreme Comfort Pillows as well as taking nightly cups of our beloved Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea.

If you prefer soft pillows, these Memory Foam Pillows are the best-selling pillows on Amazon store with over 13,000 reviews!

If you’re not sure where to start when looking for a new pillow, just take a few minutes to browse around Amazon’s Bedding Best Sellers by clicking here.  Your sleep — and your health — is worth it!

2. Mattresses

The pillow’s bigger and more angular cousin, mattresses are definitely something you shouldn’t skimp on for the same reason that you shouldn’t skimp on pillows: sleep is very, very important.

Buying a high-quality mattress will give you better sleep, which will truly benefit your health and deep enjoyment of life.

Here are some tips on buying an excellent mattress:

Know what you’re looking for.

There are actually several different kinds of mattresses, so be sure that you do your research on all of them.

The old-fashioned inner-spring mattress can suit almost anyone’s needs, but they don’t last that long.  Memory foam mattresses are on the pricey side, but they sure feel amazing.  Keep in mind that they also retain heat, so keep this in mind.  Hybrid mattresses are something like a combination of inner-spring and memory foam mattresses.  And finally air mattresses, while very expensive, allow you to adjust the firmness to just what you’re looking for.

Be aware of your “comfort period.”

Make sure your mattress dealer has an adequate return policy, typically called a “comfort period,” of at least 30 days, and don’t be afraid to use it.

Take your time.

This is an important purchase.  Your mattress is the object that you will be spending the most time with, so mentally prepare yourself to devote a good amount of time to doing your research and making the right purchase.

3. Food

This one was hard for me to because cheap food is available everywhere.  But I had to stop and consider the effect that buying all this cheap food was having on my health and in the long run my wealth!

By eating right now, I can avoid expensive medical bills in the future that would more than eliminate the amount of money I “saved” by buying lower-quality food earlier in life.

But you don’t have to break the bank in order to eat healthy foods.  Here are some tips for eating in a way that’s good for your health and your bank account.

Cook more.

Yes, you can eat healthily eating out at restaurants — but you will pay for it dearly!  There are of course healthy, wholesome meals you can eat at restaurants, but you can make the same dishes for a fraction of the cost by buying the ingredients yourself and cooking at home.

If you’d like some pointers around the kitchen, click here to get an exclusive Money Done Right discount on a cooking course through Udemy.

Plan your meals.

If cooking healthy food at home sounds appealing to you, the most efficient and cost-effective way to do so is to plan your meals.

By thinking ahead of time exactly what you want to eat, you can determine exactly how much you need to buy so that nothing goes to waste.

Use technology to save money.

Whenever you go to the grocery store, use a cash back app like Ibotta to get money back on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

So far, we’ve made $347.89 with Ibotta, all from pushing a few buttons on our phones and snapping pictures of our store receipts!  And keep in mind that we do not have children and are only shopping for two, so if you have kids, you’ll get even more cash back!  Click here to get a $10 welcome bonus on the Ibotta app!  If you would like to learn more about Ibotta, click here to read our Ibotta Review.
Ibotta Review 8.13.17Ibotta Review August 2017

4. Skin Care Products

Despite having flawless skin in her teens, Caroline started breaking out in her mid-20s.  This had an effect on her confidence levels, which affected her career.  However, once she started investing in quality skin care products, her skin cleared up, and her confidence levels returned.  She has also inspired me to take on a skin care regimen myself!

Curious as to what particular skincare regimen Caroline used to clear up her complexion?  It’s the 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine from SoKo Glam.  And no, you don’t have to be Korean for it to do wonders for your skin!

Here are three reasons why you should invest in quality skin care products.

Appearances matter.

In the real world, appearances matter.  Did you know that, on average, taller, fitter men earn more than shorter men?  And, on average, slender women earn more than heavier women?  Whether or not there is causation here is unknown, but the correlation is interesting.

This obviously isn’t fair.  People should be evaluated based on their performance, not on their appearance.  But unfortunately although we may not want appearances to matter as much as they do, that doesn’t change a thing.

We can either complain about the way things are, or we can do all we can to put our best face forward.

Skin cancer is a thing.

Did you know that skin cancer is by far the most common kind of cancer and that it kills almost 10,000 Americans every year?  It is also one of the most preventable cancers; simple, easy precautionary measures are all it takes.  You remember the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”  Well, in this case, prevention can literally be measured in ounces of sunscreen.

So 15 minutes before sun exposure, be sure to apply a sunscreen recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.  And be sure to reapply every 2 hours, after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, and immediately after towel drying.

Taking care of your skin just feels good.

I look forward to washing my face and going through my skin care regimen.  It’s true!  It feels amazing to wash the grime off of my face with a water-based cleanser, follow it up with an exfoliator, toner, facial mist, and some other serums and moisturizers that Caroline knows more about than I do, and then go to sleep with a fresh, smooth face.  I feel so pampered!

5. Oral Care

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to ignore your teeth.  You’re in a rush in the morning, or you get home late dead tired, so you only brush and neglect to floss.  Or even worse, you don’t even brush!

But ask any older person with chronic tooth and gum pain what that’s like.  They would gladly have traded in those few minutes they didn’t spend taking care of their mouths every day to be free from the pain and suffering that they are currently going through.

And even in the here and now, you will spare yourself the lost time and money on getting cavities filled.  Oh, and your love life will drastically improve as well!  Nothing kills romance like nasty breath.  ?

So without further ado, here are three ways to improve your dental hygiene.

Figure out what floss works best for you.

Everyone’s teeth spacing is different, so what works for someone else may not work for you.  I know I personally had to experiment with several different brands of floss before I finally settled on the floss I affectionately call “the grey Glide”.  Caroline, on the other hand, prefers “the blue Glide.”

Consider using an electric toothbrush.

For Christmas last year, Caroline bought both of us Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrushes, and they’ve been life-changing!  A few years ago my dentist recommended that I start using an electric toothbrush, but I never got around to buying one.  Boy am I glad I have one now!  My teeth just feel so much cleaner after using an electric toothbrush over a manual one.

Don’t forget about your tongue.

Caroline also introduced me to the world of tongue cleaners.  See, for years I thought that giving my tongue a quick few seconds of scraping with my toothbrush would do the trick.  Nope!  Did you know that most of the bacteria responsible for bad breath are found on your tongue?  It’s true.  And by using a tongue cleaner, you can scrape them off far better than you could by just using the bristles on your toothbrush.


6. Shoes

Poorly-made shoes not only look shoddy, but they also contribute to back and joint problems. Think about it: your little feet and ankles support all of you!  Give them some support!

Here are some things to remember the next time you go shoe shopping.

Shoes aren’t meant for multitasking.

Although multitasking is typically viewed as something to be proud of, modern research is actually showing that multitasking is inefficient and not good for our brains.  As it turns out, shoes are very similar to our brains in this respect!

Although it may mean more money spent up-front, it will pay off for you in the long run by purchasing different shoes for different activities.

I used to do all of my physical activities in one pair of all-around athletic shoes.  But once I started doing my walking in walking shoes, my running in running shoes, and my basketball in basketball shoes, I have become a far better walker, runner, and basketball player.  And not only that, I will spend less money in the long run on shoes because the only activities I’m doing in my shoes are those that they were crafted to do.

Click here to learn how you can get paid to exercise.

Remember that your feet are unique.

Just because your friend tells you that the new pair of shoes they bought feel amazing on their feet, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will feel amazing on yours.  Your feet are just as unique as your fingerprints!  There are shoe fitting stores that can help you analyze your foot shape and how you walk to make sure that you know what you should look for in a shoe.  I would recommend seeing if there are any of these stores in your area so you can get your feet analyzed.

When it comes to dress shoes, don’t balk at a $500 or so price tag.

I don’t own many articles of attire that cost multiple three figures, but my dress shoes are one of them.  Not only do they give off a top-notch first impression, but they are also much more comfortable than a $50 pair of dress shoes.  So go ahead.  Do your research and splurge a little bit on your fanciest footwear.

Purchases You Shouldn’t Skimp On Because They Will Make You Richer

7. Professional Attire

I’m all about passive income, side hustles, and entrepreneurship.  But here’s the deal, readers.  Unless you come from money, you are going to need to work a normal job in order to 1) fund your passive income sources as early as possible in life, 2) pay the bills because typically side hustles don’t generate enough cash to do so, and 3) provide a cash cushion when you do eventually leave your job and start your own business.

So while you have a normal job, you might as well make the most of it.  To me, this basically means making as much money my job while I still have it.  If you’d like to learn how I increased my salary as a young employee, check out my article How I Increased My Salary by $100,000 in My 20s.

And a part of advancing in the modern workplace is “dressing for success” as they say.  If you’re not sure exactly what this looks like today, I recommend that you check out our exclusive Money Done Right discount on Kimberly Law’s online course Dressing to Win in the Workplace.  Kimberly is a Certified Image Professional who helps both men and women look their best in the workplace.

In case you don’t have time to watch the full course, here are some quick tips on dressing for success.

Make sure your clothes fit.

Obvious, right?  But you’d be surprised how many folks I’ve seen in a professional setting whose clothes simply don’t fit.  They would have looked 10x better and more professional if they simply figured out the size of dress, jacket, or shirt that flatters them the most.

Don’t try to look sexy.

You’re dressing for success, not love.  Showing off your voluptuous figure or rippling muscles can wait until afterhours.  You shouldn’t go out of the way to hide what you’ve got, but you shouldn’t be flaunting it.

?Understand what’s expected in your workplace.

An investment bank in New York City will have different standards than a tech firm in San Francisco.  Look around at what people in your workplace wear, and don’t deviate too much from the norm.  If you do deviate, err on the side of conservatism.

8. Professional Services

If you are an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be a jack of all trades.  There are some things in your business that you shouldn’t be doing yourself!  (Be sure to read Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth for more on this topic.)

You need to spend more time managing and delegating and less time doing things that others will be much more efficient at doing than you will be due to their education, training, and experience.  You save both time and money in the long run.

The two examples that are universal to pretty much any business are attorneys and CPAs.  Having a good attorney and CPA can save you thousands of dollars in lawsuits and taxes.  And there’s one more kind of professional who you may not have considered so far but from whom you could benefit greatly.

Attorney

When it comes to the law, you really don’t know what you don’t know.  That’s why you need to consult with someone who does know what they do know.  No matter what your business is, I recommend that you get a few recommendations for attorneys in your state from others in your field and see if they will give you a free initial consultation.

I’ll give you an example from personal experience.  See, this blog used to be called millennialmoneyclub.com.  Little did I know that another blogger already had the trademark for the phrase “millennial money.”  After I spoke with an attorney about the situation, I was convinced that I should change the blog’s name to moneydoneright.com, and the rest is history!

CPA

Disclaimer: I am a CPA!  Yes, it’s true.  But I’m not being biased when I tell you that every small business needs a CPA.  You wouldn’t believe how many business owners I’ve consulted with whose books and taxes are a complete disaster.

It’s nearly always the same story.  The business owner, trying to save money, would keep the books and do the tax returns himself or herself.  These tasks would consume countless hours of their time doing something they’re not trained for!  And in the vast majority of the time, they do these tasks incorrectly, missing out on thousands of dollars of opportunity.

So don’t let that be you.  If you have a small business, reach out to a CPA who specializes in working with business owners in your industry.

Mentor

Coaching has been invaluable in my business.  When I launched my tax and accounting business, I hired a coach.  When I started this blog, I hired a coach. And the returns on these investments have been greater than any other investment I’ve ever made!

There is much to learn from those who have gone down the path before you.  They can tell you what rabbit trails and potholes to avoid, and they can likewise tell you where the golden opportunities are.  So consider reaching out to a reputable coach in your industry to educate, guide, and evaluate your current business model.

9. Insurance

Insurance is one of those things that you don’t know

Auto insurance.

Like health insurance, car insurance is a must if you own a vehicle.  Not only is it required by law, but it can save your skin from financial disaster.  As someone who recently got into a pretty bad car accident, I know this first hand.
Car Insurance Done Right

Health insurance.

If you don’t have health insurance, you’re playing with fire.  All it takes is one accident to ruin your financial future if you’re not insured.  So learn about your options and make sure you have the insurance coverage that’s right for you.

Life insurance.

As Millennials, we’re young.  We don’t like to think about death and dying.  But something to consider is that life insurance is much, much more affordable the younger and healthier you are when you purchase it.  If you are a non-smoker with few or no pre-existing conditions, a substantial life insurance policy can be very inexpensive.

Nia Simone McLeod

Nia Simone McLeod is a personal finance researcher and writer for Money Done Right. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University, she started her writing career by going freelance and producing content for clients on a variety of different topics including personal finance. When she’s not tapping away at her laptop, she’s either curating her next great Spotify playlist or stuffing her face at the local ramen shop. Nia currently resides in Richmond, Virginia.

Back to top  

6 Comments

You forgot to mention all-natural latex mattresses. They can last 20 years, are hypoallergenic, sleep cool and are extremely comfortable. Many are very pricey, but there are some well-made ones available for less than $1,000. I just bought a queen for $750 and LOVE it.

I learned the pillow lesson the hard way. To save money, I bought a cheap IKEA pillow, which quickly became all deformed. Still, I would kind of fold it up and continue using it. I started to get neck pain in the mornings. Finally, one day it was so bad that I had to go to the doctor. Not only did I spend money on the doctor, but I wound up buying an expensive pillow. Lesson learned, and no more neck pain.

Never thought of mattresses or pillows, but now that you mentioned it, you are so right! My dad, as well as my husband, are big fans of getting “the best”, especially with shoes and electronics, and I have experienced it myself: it’s so much better to spend a little more and have something that will last a long while, then buy the cheapest version and have to buy another one next month.

The first three I never skimp on hehe the rest, let’s just say I am getting there 🙂 I love how you bring out the importances of each though, this post definitely makes me want to reconsider how I live my life.

I will admit, I was truly prepared to scoff at your list, but you made some very strong points! Sleep, shoes, and food are near the top of my list, so buying the best I can afford makes sense. Thanks for being so persuasive on the rest of the list as well.

I agree with everything on this post. I think splurging a little on the things that will make you more confident on yourself and will make you feel better is a good investment. Specially I would say a good mattress and good shoes. (Although I do spend a lot of money on skincare and beauty products haha). Thank you for sharing the information, it was a really useful post. 😀

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published.