10 Things Worth Paying More For
Is it really wise to pinch pennies in every area? Is it smart to hoard your money without ever putting it to work for you? I'm not talking about investments or risky stock-market schemes. I'm simply addressing the realistic question of whether or not there are situations where you should loosen the grip on your wallet. After all, fiat currency (our money) isn't really worth anything in and of itself. We want it — money, that is — because of what we can obtain with it: Property, health, insurance, or whatever else you can think of.
So when is it right and sensible to give in and pay for something instead of being "frugal"?
1. Nice Hotel Rooms
Traveling is stressful enough without having to deal with a cheap hotel and the discomfort that goes along with it. The difference between an "economy" stay and the higher-rate rooms are fairly significant. Nicer hotels offer bigger spaces, more comfortable furnishings, and more dining options, and they are generally well worth the extra money you pay. You'll also be more likely to land a pool, gym, and complimentary breakfast when you wake up. (See also: 6 Ways a More Expensive Hotel Room Can Save You Money)
2. A New Computer
How long have you been putting up with the PC that got handed down to you in college or the old clunker your kids have nearly destroyed but that you still use when you're at home?
Most computers have a shelf life of about seven years under the best of circumstances. And computers that are over four years old can cost more in repairs and employee productivity than they're worth. The reason is that updated software and operating systems put higher performance demands on computer hardware, which means slowness is going to happen almost regardless of how well you take care of your machine. Poor treatment just seals the deal quicker. Laptops and desktops are more affordable now, so there's no reason to labor with an old machine.
3. Tips and Gratuities
It never really feels good to have to give a tip when you're out to eat, getting your car washed, or letting someone carry your bags to your hotel room.
But if you're willing to pay for these things in the first place, it's important to understand that a decent tip (usually 15% to 20%) is considered to be part of the cost and a necessary contribution on your part.
For example, it's one of the primary differences between going out to eat and eating at home. You're paying both for your food and your server. You wouldn't ask to cheat the menu price, so don't cheat your server just because they're counting on your integrity.
4. Decent Shoes
Shoes undergo a lot of wear and tear, so a cheap pair that gets used a lot won't last long before it needs to be replaced.
Whether it's for running, office work, or hiking, investing money in a good pair of shoes is smart since it'll likely save you from having to buy the same cheap pair several times.
5. A More Professional Wardrobe
It's not to say that you shouldn't look for deals when you go to buy new clothing. In fact, they're usually easy to find. And because there are so many ways to get cheap clothing, there's no need to put up with old tattered pieces that might not fit properly and don't present well.
If needed, spending money on a good wardrobe is well worth the expense since it boosts your confidence and can help to establish your professionalism. Whether it's fair or not, people make judgments based, in part, on what you're wearing.
6. Home Improvement (Labor)
If you're going to have work done on your home, a DIY project with which you're experienced and comfortable is a good way to save money. However, once you get into areas that you're not familiar with, whether it's framing, electrical, structural, or whatever you're not sure of, it's wise to pay for professional help. You can check sites like Angie's List to find highly rated private contractors. If you do, chances are good that you'll just have to pay someone again to come fix it. (See also: 10 DIY Jobs Homeowners Should Avoid)
7. Air Conditioning
Drawing the blinds and not using the stove can help keep things a few degrees cooler in the summer, but without either central air conditioning or window units running, your house is probably going to hover around 80 degrees during the day.
The cost to keep that temperature down is worth not having to sweat out the whole summer. Maybe you just really like the house to be that warm, in which case, more power to you. But if the heat makes you miserable, spring for the solution that's an easy two-figure expense.
8. A Well-Stocked Refrigerator and Pantry
Of course you have to buy food, but what about buying more of it?
Don't hold back at the grocery store because cooking and eating at home as opposed to going out to eat or buying fast food is significantly cheaper. Having a well-stocked kitchen with all of your favorites will cost more at the grocery store, but it will enable and motivate you to eat at home more often.
9. Business-Related Expenses
If you have the opportunity to spend money on something that will help benefit you as an employee or a business owner, it's a good idea to take the plunge, especially since those expenses are tax deductible.
10. High-Speed Internet
Your internet service provider will offer you several different speed and pricing packages. The fast connections will be more expensive, but they're worth it compared to the slower, low-priced options.
Those faster speeds are often the only ones that can handle video streaming, which is done intentionally by Internet providers to funnel you into the more expensive plan. It's frustrating, but if you're going to pay for Internet, you may as well give in and pay the extra cost to get something useable and practical. Plus, you'll be able to stop paying for cable.
You also can keep calling back for promotional deals.
Sometimes It Pays to Pay
There's a balance to be struck between frugality and spending money where it does you the most good.
While you should always pursue good value, there are times when that value is going to be more expensive but still worth the cost. It's a fine line, but going too far in either direction can cause you financial difficulty.
Do you have other suggestions for things tha twe need to give in and for? Let me know in the comments below.