8 Things You Should Never Buy Cheap

items to never buy cheap

These days it’s starting to feel like everything is more expensive than it used to be. Gas prices are through the roof, inflation is going wild, and every dollar that you earn isn’t going nearly as far as it used to. 

Plus, if you’re a freelancer like me, you have to pay for all your own insurance. And then there’s that whole retirement thing that seems like a distant dream. It’s tough, man. 

So, I understand that when you’re shopping for certain products, you’re looking to save every penny possible. You’re scouring the internet comparing prices, trying to find the best deal. You’re even out here trying to find coupon codes to get your costs down every penny possible, even though they only work one-third of the time. I respect it. 

We here at Ideal are all about saving every dollar possible, so that you can save that money, invest that money, and, ultimately, start building toward a stable financial future. 

But, the cheapest item out there is not always the best purchase. And, if you buy certain items too cheap, it can end up costing you a bunch of money in the long run. Toilet paper? Yeah, go ahead and buy the cheapest stuff you can find if you don’t mind using single-ply.

But, when it comes to the items on this list, you want to make sure you get quality and not just a low price. These are 8 things that you should never buy cheap.

#1: Shoes

best shoes

To be clear, I’m not telling you to go out and buy a pair of Dolce & Gabbana sneakers for $1,000 bucks. But, I’m also not telling you to go on eBay and buy a pair of used Converse for $3 like I used to do. There is a happy medium here. 

I used to think, Oh, I can get these shoes for $5 or $10 and then I get get a few months use out of them. And, when they fall apart, then I can just get another cheap pair and still save a ton of money. And, that’s all sort of true, except when you factor in the effects of wearing terrible shoes for your entire life. 

You’re going to end up with knee problems, back problems, and all sorts of other medical issues that are going to have you spending thousands at the chiropractor. I know that I sound like somebody’s mom here, but it really is the truth. 

On top of that, the way you dress makes an impression on people. And you never know who’s going to become a potential client, boss, or coworker. If you’re walking around in raggedy old shoes all the time, people aren’t going to think you mean business. And that could mean missing out on great career opportunities. 

Spend $100 to $200 on shoes with some great arch support and good cushion for your feet that look fairly nice. It’s going to make a huge difference in the long run. 

#2: Paint

best paint brands

If these walls could talk, they’d tell you to stop buying discount paint brands. Anyone who has ever worked for a painting company or as an interior decorator will tell you that buying bargain paint is just an absolute waste of money. There are no two ways around it. 

You might be going through the aisles of the hardware store and comparing prices, thinking, Why would I buy this can when I can buy this other one for $50 cheaper? That cheaper paint is actually going to cost you more money in the long run. 

Why? Well, first of all, it’s going to take more paint to cover the area you need to cover. And, since a single coat probably won’t look the way you want it to with cheap paint, then you might just end up using literally twice as much paint. And that means you’ll be right back at the hardware store and the money you saved is already gone to another can of shitty paint. 

On top of that, you’re going to have to spend double the time. And that’s time that you could have been putting toward other productive projects. To make matters worse, cheap paint is probably going to deteriorate way faster over time. In some cases, premium paints will even last twice as long as less expensive paints. 

So, while a single can of cheap paint may be less money than a single can of premium paint, you’ll probably have to buy like four times as many cheap cans of paint to do the same job since you’ll need twice as many coats and it’ll last half as long. And that’s a whole lot more time you’ll spend applying paint when you could be doing other things. 

Do yourself a favor and buy the premium stuff the first time around and get the results you’re looking for.

#3: Tires

best tires

Listen, as a car guy at heart, I love a good set of tires with amazing grip that help my car navigate the twists and turns. But, tires are for much more than just having fun. A good set of tires is completely essential for keeping you safe on the road. And, if you buy a cheapo set of tires, they could put your life and the lives of whoever else is riding around in your car in danger. 

So, don’t buy cheap tires. There’s been a lot of controversy about allowing cheap Chinese tires into the U.S. market. While most “Made In China” tires are going to be just fine, if you’re buying ones on the lower end of the price spectrum, you should be aware that you’re taking a serious risk. 

According to Car and Driver, the low-cost Chinese tire company Ling Long received atrociously low scores on their ratings test, which means the lifespan of these tires is going to be a whole lot shorter than the lifespan of a nice set of Michelins. 

Plus, you’re putting yourself more at risk of your tires deflating from a puncture, of not being able to stop quick enough in the rain, or even of swerving off the road on a tight turn. 

Again, not all Chinese tires are bad. However, when it comes to the Chinese tire market, you definitely get what you pay for. So, if you find a set of tires that are a third of the price of every other tire out there, you’d better expect to get a third of the quality.

Side note: Apparently, cheap Chinese tires might have been the reason that a 40-mile-long convoy of Russian military got stalled up in Ukraine, so I guess we have that to thank them for. 

But for your own car, stay away.

#4: Kitchenware

best blenders

There’s a reason that there are still thousands of people out there who sell knives and other kitchenware door-to-door. It’s because people want to ensure the quality of their kitchenware before they buy it. And those people are 100% correct because buying low-quality kitchenware is a great way to waste money. 

Think about blenders. How many times have you seen a blender broken or broken a blender yourself? I’ve broken a few blenders myself. Why keep spending money on new ones when you put up the money initially for a nice Vitamix, which, if you didn’t know, is like the Lexus of blenders and will last you a lifetime. And then you’ll never have to spend money on another blender ever again. 

The same goes for pretty much all kitchenware, knives especially. Sure, you could go to a thrift store and buy a crappy secondhand knife. But the thing is that higher-quality knives stay sharper for longer because they’re made of better steel. 

And you want a knife to stay sharp because a dull knife might slip off of whatever it is that you’re cutting and go onto your finger. Plus, it’s just going to last longer. So, if you want a knife that’s going to last you a long time and one that isn’t going to send you to the hospital with a severed finger, spend the money upfront. 

The same goes for all kitchenware, from toasters to tongs to hand towels.

#5: Batteries

best batteries

Now, you may think that all batteries are created equal. I know I sure did until I read a very interesting article a couple years ago. But, in fact, some batteries contain a whole lot more energy than others do. 

You see, the energy in a battery is measured in joules. And, in a study conducted by tech magazine Wired, they found that, while batteries from Duracell contained about 9,400 joules and batteries from Energizer contained about 10,800 joules, batteries from Dollar General contained a pitiful 3,000 joules. That’s nearly a fourth of the energy that’s in an Energizer battery.

So, unless those Dollar General batteries are a quarter of the price of the Energizer batteries, don’t get them. And, even if they are a quarter of the price, consider that you’re going to have to drive to Dollar General four times as much. I don’t think anyone wants to do that just for batteries. 

Plus, what if some sick new movie gets dropped on Netflix and you can’t watch it because you bought Dollar General batteries and your remote doesn’t work. That would be a tragedy. 

#6: Lightbulbs

best lightbulbs

I can’t understand for the life of me how a lightbulb works. They’re just making metal really hot? I don’t know. But, what I do know is that some lightbulbs work better than others and that can make a big difference when deciding what kind of lightbulbs you want to purchase. 

Naturally, the average consumer would look at an aisle of lightbulbs, not understand that there’s any difference between them, and then just buy the cheapest bulb they can find, which would be an incandescent bulb that’s gonna cost you like $1.

However, if you don’t read home improvement magazines or watch The Today Show, which I’m guessing most of you don’t, then you probably wouldn’t know that those LED light bulbs that cost a little more are actually a way better deal. 

Yes, they might cost you three or four times more money upfront than the cheap incandescent bulb, but that LED bulb is going to last you around 25 times longer. 

According to lightbulb industry statistics, incandescent bulbs will last around 1,000 hours, while LED bulbs will last around 25,000 hours. I don’t think I need to do the math for you on this one. LED bulbs are a way better deal. And, personally, I like the light they produce better too.

#7: Mattresses

best mattress

According to PubMed, we spend about one-third of our lives sleeping or attempting to do so. Well, get yourself a good high-quality mattress and I can guarantee you’ll do more sleeping and less attempting. 

And, when you’re spending such a large portion of your life doing one activity (like sleeping), doesn’t it make sense to spend a little extra money to make sure you’re doing it well? 

I’m not saying you have to get one of the multi-thousand-dollar Tempur-Pedic California Kings, although those do look pretty amazing. But, you definitely should not cheap out on your mattress because sleeping on a crappy mattress every night is going to mean that you’re not sleeping as well, that you’re not able to be as productive, that you’re getting more stressed out, that you’re not as happy, and that your body doesn’t feel as good as it could. 

And, while those things don’t translate directly to dollar signs, you’re going to find it harder to perform at your job if you aren’t sleeping well, which could mean you get fired or miss out on a promotion. 

You also may have to start paying medical professionals like chiropractors or physical therapists to help you realign your back after years of sleeping on a shitty mattress. You see? If you want to be successful, getting enough sleep is of the utmost importance. Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos seem to think so. 

So, get a good mattress and take your first step toward success. If you have a couple hundred dollars to spare, I’d highly recommend checking out the company Nectar. They make some of the best mattresses on the market for super reasonable prices.

#8: Condoms

best condoms

In the heat of the moment, you’re probably not too worried about what brand of condom you’re using. But, if you can have a little foresight and make sure that your drawer is stashed with high-quality condoms instead of cheaply made ones, it could save you from a pretty tough situation. 

Some condoms are made with low-quality manufacturing standards or, in simpler terms, they’re way more likely to break when you use them. And, while these kinds of condoms may cost you less money from the store, isn’t it worth spending a few extra dollars to reduce your chance of having an unwanted pregnancy or an STD? 

Unwanted pregnancies are, you know, unwanted and they can really put a strain on people’s lives. And I think we can all agree that no one wants an STD. 

So, do the smart thing and buy the top-shelf condoms. I’m talking about the Trojans, the Durexes, the mainstream brands that we can all rely on. 

Trust me, if you’re cheap condom breaks and it leads to something bad, you’re going to wish you spent those few extra dollars.

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