At this point, we’ve all heard about bargain shopping in the recession—the budget buys, the sample sales, and the deals we can’t wait to see pop up. But what about the things that never make it to the sale rack? Are we just supposed to do without?
In short answer: No. At least not according to “experts” like personal shopper and stylist Jill Markiewicz, who tells Forbes that “buying a few expensive pieces that you truly want” can actually save you more money in the long run than picking up “a bunch of discounted items” at sample sales all over town.
Of course, Markiewicz’s ideas of necessary buys included Hermès bags and $115,000 Porsche Panameras, which don’t really fly for those of us living on Planet Earth.
So what types of purchases are worth splurging on and paying full price, even during a tight economy? As they say, you get what you pay for, and some areas can’t be scrimped on, no matter what kind of economy we’re living in. Here are a few of them:
Shoes: As Isaac Mizrahi says, “It all starts with the shoes.” If there’s one area of your wardrobe to splurge on, make it your shoes. Taking the time to find a pair that fit well and look polished will save you money on sole inserts and podiatry appointments in the long run, we promise.
Being jobless is bad enough, don’t make it worse by adding back pain from an aging mattress to the mix.
Mattresses: When it comes time to buy a new mattress, are you really planning on waiting until the one you like goes on sale? Being jobless in the recession is bad enough as it is, don’t make it worse by adding back pain from an aging mattress to the mix.
Cosmetics and Skin Care: Sure, there’s lots of ways to find bargains in the beauty aisle—but are any of these items what you that products you really want? Shopping for discount cosmetics and skin care can be a risky game, since not all products may work the same on your face, and if your plan is to hold out until your favorite blush goes on sale, you could be waiting a while. In general, you’re better off paying full price for the brands you trust when you need them, rather than going a month with pale cheeks while you wait for the next sale at Sephora.
Groceries: You can try to collect coupons and scrimp on name brands all you want. But when it comes to groceries, the truth is that most stores in your neighborhood are probably priced just about the same, and any money you save at the discount store across town will probably be eaten up in the transportation cost it took to get there. And while organic food almost always costs more, it tastes fresher and makes you feel better too—which sort of justifies the price.
Winter Coats: A good winter coat can last years, which means going ahead and paying full price for a quality jacket—whatever season it may be—will end up costing much less in the long term than skimping and buying a cheaper coat that’ll fall apart after one year. You’ll no doubt be warmer in a nice coat, too, which may come in handy if the job market doesn’t improve and you’re still waiting in the unemployment line come December.
Chefs Knives and Kitchen Tools: Like coats, kitchen tools that come from quality companies are likely to last much longer than those that come from discount brands, which means that when you find an item that you like in your price range, you should pounce whether there’s a sale going on or not. Plus, the fancy cutlery may give you more incentive to eat at home, thus saving you even more money on the cost of dining out.