Buy Once, Cry Once

Photo (cc) by TeoJPG

My father, a constant remodeler and handyman, has always favored Craftsman tools. His vise grip got used pretty hard, especially in its last few years of life when Dad was working at an automobile factory.

One day the tool shuddered, sighed and broke — you can ask only so much of even a good vise grip.

Sears replaced it for free (store policy), and he’s been using it ever since.

“There’s an old saying with tools: ‘Buy once, cry once,'” Dad said. “Of course, that applies to just about everything in life.”

Some things you just shouldn’t cheap out on, like tools, or shoes. (Or condoms.)

That doesn’t mean paying top dollar, mind you. You can meet many needs through thrift stores, yard sales, The Freecycle Network, the clearance rack, and cash-back shopping sites like Mr. Rebates, Extrabux and Ebates.

A whole bunch of this year’s Christmas shopping was done with points I got from a pair of rewards credit cards and with Amazon gift cards from the Swagbucks program.

Although I like to joke that only amateurs pay retail, I also know there are times when you can’t help it — and that sometimes it’s absolutely worth it.

Examples? So glad you asked

Footwear. I have plantar fasciitis. While I can’t say for sure that it’s because of buying cheap shoes as an adult, I can state that ultimately opting for decent footwear, orthotic inserts and a program of gentle stretches keeps the pain at bay.

Vehicles. Maybe you like a flashy car as much as you like head-turning clothing. Do think about reliability, though, lest you spend a lot of time driving a loaner car while your flashy wheels languish on the mechanic’s lift. Myself, I have three criteria for autos: high MPG, easy to parallel park, and too boring to steal. Your own mileage may vary.

Insurance. Think you don’t need it? Maybe you’re right. Maybe you’ll never be sick a day in your life. Or you could, say, fall down a friend’s steps and wind up in the emergency room. If you can possibly afford health care coverage, get it. (And if not, see “Can’t afford health insurance? Your options.”)

Clothing. For some people it’s an outward statement of personality. For me, it’s to cover the outward parts. I don’t much care about style, so I can get away with yard sales and thrift stores for 90% of my wardrobe. If you like to shop, use a price comparison website such as PriceGrabber.com or FatWallet.com.

Housing. A “good” neighborhood means different things to different homeowners, but here’s what it means to me: conveniently located, safe, relatively close to natural features as well as man-made ones and, most of all, within my price range. (It’s a moot point right now, since my new roommate already owns the joint.) Don’t overextend yourself and remember, the “perfect” place will come along again.

Food. Some of the healthiest foods are actually pretty cheap: dry beans, cornmeal, potatoes, carrots, lentils, hard squash, yams and rice. You can cut the price further by checking restaurant supply stores, “manager’s special” meat, bakery outlets, ethnic markets and, yep, the dollar store. That last may give you flashbacks of contaminated-food scares, but it’s possible to buy, say, rice that was grown in South Carolina and jars of pickled vegetables from Italy. Oh, and be sure to check the health food or bulk-buy sections in supermarkets: I recently bought extra-thick rolled oats for 59 cents a pound in Fred Meyer’s health food section.

Got it? Care for it

A bit of vigilance ensures optimum value for the dollars spent:

Eat well and get enough exercise and you’ll likely reduce both short- and long-term medical costs.

Garden tools left out in the rain will rust.

A spaghetti sauce stain should come out if you treat it promptly.

A friend of mine faithfully follows the manufacturer’s suggestions for her Acura, which she’s been driving for 17 years in Alaska, and it still purrs when it starts up. I wish I could say the same for myself. Despite eating a lot of lentils and vegetables, I make funny noises when I get out of a deep chair.

Readers: What are your “don’t cheap out” categories?

More stories on DonnaFreedman.com:

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze
7 Kitchen Gadgets That Make Healthy Cooking a Breeze

These small appliances and cooking aids make healthy eating easy — and they’re all available on Amazon.

2 Costly Rewards Credit Card Mistakes — and How to Fix Them
2 Costly Rewards Credit Card Mistakes — and How to Fix Them

If you commit either of these credit card sins, you are likely losing money every time you use a card. Here’s how to easily right this wrong.

19 Things You Should Never Buy at a Grocery Store
19 Things You Should Never Buy at a Grocery Store

These household necessities are overpriced at the grocery store. Get them cheaper at these places instead.

7 Things I Never Buy at Costco
7 Things I Never Buy at Costco

A bulk buy isn’t always the best buy. Here’s where I shop for these items instead of a warehouse club.

Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams
Beware These 5 Common Work-From-Home Scams

You can spot scammers and con artists with a little know-how.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon
9 Mistakes Everyone Makes When Shopping on Amazon

Are you losing money due to any of these missteps?

7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021
7 Changes Coming to Social Security and Medicare in 2021

Recently, both Social Security and Medicare made some major announcements about benefits for 2021.

Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?
Can a Divorced Widow Claim Her First Husband’s Social Security Benefits?

The rules are complicated when it comes to eligibility for survivors benefits.

Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?
Can a Twice-Divorced Woman Claim Social Security Survivors Benefits?

Understanding survivors benefits rules is the key to getting the most from your benefit.

These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation
These Are the 10 Worst Cars for Depreciation

Two types of vehicles are especially likely to see steep plunges in value.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s
10 Things I Always Buy at Trader Joe’s

From snacks to sweets to side dishes, stock your cart with these time-tested favorites on your next TJ’s run.

Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk
Longer Trips to This Type of Store May Raise Coronavirus Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends exiting these stores within 30 minutes.

5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021
5 Ways Social Security Will Change in 2021

These adjustments will affect both workers and retirees in the new year.

11 ‘Disposable’ Items You Should Be Reusing
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores
8 Things You Should Buy at Restaurant Supply Stores

You don’t have to be a chef or a restaurant owner to shop here.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

There are easy high-paying majors available in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required. We’re here to help you find easy degrees that pay well.

Stop Buying These 19 Things Online
Stop Buying These 19 Things Online

The internet has changed how we shop. But for some things, you’re still better off buying the old-fashioned way.

Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early
Cut These 11 Expenses Now If You Hope to Retire Early

Like the idea of financial independence? Part of the FIRE equation is cutting costs.

27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free
27 Things You Should Never Pay For — and How to Get Them for Free

When you know the tricks, you can save big on all kinds of useful things that others pay for.

4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021
4 Tax Credits That Will Be More Generous in 2021

If you are eligible for these tax breaks, they will slash your federal income tax bill — dollar for dollar.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Food Supply

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing emergency food supply. Is your pantry well-prepared for emergencies? Knowing what to stock up on for emergencies can be a difficult task and we’re here to help.

15 Things You Can Get for Free in December
15 Things You Can Get for Free in December

December is here, which means it’s your last chance to take advantage of fabulous freebies in 2020.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.