brand name en-US When to Buy Brand Names: Sometimes, the Splurge Is Worth It <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-to-buy-brand-names-sometimes-the-splurge-is-worth-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/6151997495_5d04073063_z.jpeg" alt="So many headphones" title="So many headphones" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Two of the earliest articles I wrote for Wise Bread, <a href="">Losing the Store Brand Stigma</a> and <a href="">Why There&rsquo;s No Reason Not to Buy Store Brand Baby Formula</a> are ones for which I still receive positive emails and comments. In these tough economic times, it&rsquo;s good to know that there are cheaper options out there that are still just as good as the name-brand products.</p> <p>However, as important as it is to save money when you can, it&rsquo;s also just as important to spend your money wisely. And that means buying products that will do what they claim to do, last a long time, and give you years of trouble-free service. Not only that, but you also want products that are safe and reliable.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why I am writing an article that advises you to spend more money on certain products. That old saying &ldquo;buy cheap, buy twice&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t always true, but sometimes, it&rsquo;s bang on. Not only that, but sometimes buying cheap products with unfamiliar names could actually put you in real danger.</p> <p>Here, then, are the top eight things you should always choose brand names over store brands or inferior brands. (See also: <a href="">Quality Over Price: 15 Items to&nbsp;Spend More On</a>)</p> <p><img width="263" height="350" src="/files/fruganomics/u921/table_saw.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Tools</h2> <p>The kind of tools you buy for home improvements can make a huge difference to the outcome of the project. There&rsquo;s a reason the tradesmen you hire are all working with brand names like Makita, DeWalt, Bosch, and Milwaukee. These brands are made with strict quality controls, use excellent materials, and are built to last. It&rsquo;s the reason you rarely see any of these up for sale on Craigslist &mdash; they&rsquo;re just too reliable.</p> <p>Of course, you can opt for the cheaper brands, like Black &amp; Decker or Ryobi, and you&rsquo;ll still get good results, but the longevity or consistency won&rsquo;t be as good. When you decide to buy cheap, non-brand tools at flea markets and dollar stores, that&rsquo;s when you may be throwing your money away. These <a href="">cheap tools</a> are not engineered as well and will not last as long.</p> <p>Do yourself a favor &mdash; when it comes to tools, <a href="">buy the brand best you can afford.</a> Look at what the tradesmen working around the neighborhood are using, and jot it down. It might be more expensive than you dreamt of paying, but work it out. Over the course of 10-15 years, how much use will you get out of that power tool or lawn mower? And if you can&rsquo;t afford a good brand, look into renting tools for the job you're doing. When it comes to <a href="">DIY</a>, you really don&rsquo;t want to trust your home and garden to tools of inferior quality.</p> <h2>Kitchen Equipment</h2> <p>Again, tools of the trade need to be tools you can rely on. And in the kitchen, those tools can cost some serious money. Now, no one is suggesting you go out and spend $2,400 on an 11-piece Shun knife set, that&rsquo;s probably way more knife than you&rsquo;ll ever need. Professional chefs use those, but they&rsquo;re cooking 12 hours a day or more.</p> <p>However, it&rsquo;s also not a good idea to go out and buy a <a href="">cheap $29.99 knife set that features 14+ knives</a>. At just over $2 a knife, you really will be getting garbage. Brands like J.A Henckels and W├╝sthoff, that specialize in knives for the industry, also do quality knife sets under for $200.</p> <p>The same principles go for any other kitchen utensils, appliances, and equipment. Get a KitchenAid mixer over something cheap and cheerful. Splurge on a good-quality blender, not one under $20. Always look at the reviews, and bear in mind that old phrase &ldquo;for the price&hellip;&rdquo; It means nothing really. For the price, a newspaper is a great blanket on cold winters nights. Know what I mean?</p> <h2>Beauty Products</h2> <p>Your skin, your hair, your nails, your teeth, your body &mdash; they all deserve better than the cheapest crud money can buy. So, next time you&rsquo;re in the market for soap, shampoo, cosmetics (and brushes), skin creams, oils, balms, or anything else that&rsquo;s going on, or in, your body, look carefully at the brands you&rsquo;re buying. A nasty rash from a cream purchased at the dollar store is not going to make you feel good about the few bucks you saved. And I always thought places like MAC cosmetics were a rip off. But after seeing how long they last, and the results hey garner on my wife, I have to say, MAC is well worth it.</p> <h2>Electronics</h2> <p>I bought a pair of headphones from the dollar store once. The sound quality was appalling, and they crackled if I moved in a certain way (no doubt due to a dry soldering joint). They lasted about two days before I threw them in the trash. In the past, I&rsquo;ve bought cheap cameras, personal stereos, VCRs, and all sorts of other electronic gadgets. And I have learned my lesson. If you&rsquo;re going to buy headphones, spring for a good pair. Even $5 Sony headphones, despite the brand name, will not have great audio. You need to invest in good quality <a href=",2817,2324370,00.asp">headphones</a>, like BOSE, Klipsch, Velodyne, or Sennhesiner. And we're only talking $20 or $30 more for good sound. On Blu-Ray players, avoid those ones under $100. They&rsquo;ll give you problems, or won't have the features you need these days. It doesn't cost a lot more to go up in quality, even those <a href="">priced between $100 and $200</a> offer great features. If you can afford it, opt for the higher-end range of the well-known brands, like LG and Samsung, rather than their bargain-basement models. And less popular brands, like Oppo, offer excellent quality for the slightly higher price.&nbsp; Speaking of electronics&hellip;</p> <p><img width="605" height="454" src="/files/fruganomics/u921/ikea_batteries.jpg" alt="" /></p> <h2>Batteries</h2> <p>You&rsquo;ll find amazing deals on batteries; even Ikea is getting in on it with AA 10-packs costing just $1.99. I guarantee, you&rsquo;ll be replacing those batteries quite quickly. They will work, but they just don&rsquo;t have the juice of the bigger brands like Duracell Ultra Power or Energizer Ultimate Lithium. Yes, they cost more, but they last way longer and you won&rsquo;t be inconvenienced by having them run out when you need them most. (<a href="">See this Wired article for a detailed analysis.</a>)</p> <h2>Footwear</h2> <p>There&rsquo;s a time and a place for cheap footwear. It&rsquo;s flip-flops. That&rsquo;s about it. Go ahead &mdash; get yourself a pair for a buck, and they&rsquo;ll do the job. But if you really value your posture and your health, <a href="">footwear is not the place to cut corners</a>. If you&rsquo;re going hiking, you need good quality hiking boots, not a $20 pair from Payless. If you&rsquo;re a runner, splash out on some professional-grade running shoes. They&rsquo;ll probably cost over $100, but this is your health we&rsquo;re talking about. If you need work boots, pay more for quality boots with reinforced steel toe caps, support shanks, and electrical hazard protection. When you look at the cost of shoes and boots, you can usually get a very good pair for under $200. And they will last, support you in all the right places, and be beneficial to your health. Now, there are limits of course. At some point, the money you spend is not just paying for quality materials and craftsmanship, and it just goes towards a designer&rsquo;s mansion. If you want to spend $38,000 on a pair of Testonis or Manolo Blahniks, go ahead. That&rsquo;s just nuts if you ask me.</p> <h2>Sporting and Exercise Equipment</h2> <p>You won&rsquo;t get a good game of tennis using a heavy, low-end racquet. You won&rsquo;t feel the benefit of a cheap pair of ice-skates or a budget treadmill. Once again, if you&rsquo;re playing a sport or trying to get fit, the non-name brands or lower-tier brands just won&rsquo;t cut the mustard. You need to spend a little more on good quality brands to make your workout effective or raise your game to a significant level. Ironically, the stars earning millions of dollars get the very best equipment for free, but at the same time, using some $12.99 tennis racquet that weighs a few pounds isn&rsquo;t going to make the game fun for you. Spend the money when and where you can, and you&rsquo;ll get more out of it.</p> <p><a href="/files/fruganomics/u921/man_with_tent.jpg"><img width="605" height="403" src="/files/fruganomics/u921/man_with_tent.jpg" alt="" /></a></p> <h2>Camping, Hiking, and Other &quot;Extreme&quot; Gear</h2> <p>If you plan on camping in the mountains in winter, you really don&rsquo;t want to rely on that $20 sleeping bag you got from Walmart. It may look the same as the $500 Marmot sleeping bag, but you&rsquo;ll discover the difference when the temperature drops and you&rsquo;re an ice cube shivering with regret. Your tent also needs to be good quality, and if you&rsquo;re hiking, your gear needs to pass muster. If you plan on doing a little rock climbing, you don&rsquo;t want to entrust your life to cheap and shoddy &ldquo;knock off&rdquo; brands. This is not just a bit of fun; it&rsquo;s your life. So, when you&rsquo;re off into the wilderness, take the biggest and best brand names your budget can afford. That advice does not come from me by the way, as I don&rsquo;t camp. It comes from several of my good friends here in Colorado who do it every weekend, and they swear by their expensive brand names. They&rsquo;d rather eat ramen for a week and buy a good one than entrust their lives to cheap trash.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">5 Ways to Get Discounted Designer Shoes Without Using eBay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Want Stylish Shoes That Last for Years? Try Frye</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Stuff We Love: 49 Different Looks From One Pair of Mohop Sandals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Stuff We Love: Comfortable, Stylish Clarks Dress Shoes for Men</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Confessions of an eBay Shoe Addict</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping brand name cheap tools pay more for quality shoes Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:00:42 +0000 Paul Michael 952233 at Why Spending a Little More on a Brand Name can Pay Off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-spending-a-little-more-on-a-brand-name-can-pay-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/warranty.JPG" alt="waranty" title="warranty" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">I have always been a fan of buying the less expensive generic version of whatever it is I am in the market for. Running shoes, clothing, electronics, prescription drugs, you name it. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And in many cases, the generic version is just as good and saves a ton of money. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">There are a few cases that I have discovered, though, in which it pays to spend a little more at the outset. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I owned a pair of brand name running shoes that had a great little feature which was an alternative to laces, and I was loved them. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">However after a few months, the lace-alternative mechanism stopped working, and the shoes were rendered all but useless. Since the shoes were well used by that point though, I didn&#39;t even consider the fact that it could be covered under warranty. A friend who was visiting and worked in an athletic shop asked me how I liked the shoes. Needless to say I gave him a piece of mind about the company and their crappy shoes!</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&quot;Well, just return them,&quot; he said. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&quot;I&#39;ve moved all over the country. I&#39;m thousands of miles away from the store I went to, and I don&#39;t have a receipt anyway,&quot; I replied hopelessly. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&quot;That&#39;s okay,&quot; he said. &quot;Just take them into our store. We carry that brand, so we can ship the shoes back to the carrier for you, and they&#39;ll replace them for free. You&#39;ll just have to pay for the shipping since you didn&#39;t buy them at my store originally.&quot; </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Done! A month later, I was wearing the brand new, next-generation of the shoe for the paltry $12 in shipping. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">I&#39;m pretty sure the generic brand version of those shoes wouldn&#39;t have held to that level of service. In fact, I might have gone through two to three pairs of the same shoes in the time it took me to wear in the brand name shoes I still own. And when I calculate the cost at the end of the day, I actually saved money with the brand name shoes. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">That experience opened the doors for me to a world of brand name warranties. You don&#39;t always need to fill out a silly card or register by internet a lot of the time; you simply need to own the product. If it fails, you take it to a store that carries it and politely explain your problem and ask if there is a way they can help you. Alternately, circumvent the store entirely and go straight to the manufacturer. Again for the cost of shipping, you&#39;re likely to end up with a brand new replacement. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Most warranties specify that they will only cover manufacturer&#39;s defects, which is reasonable. But if you look hard you can even find a few items the manufacturer claims are indestructible, for which even wear &amp; tear is covered. And even if the warranty policy states manufacturer defects only, I would challenge you to spend the small amount of time required to see if you can get a replacement anyway. If it can save you the cost of replacing that item, it`s worth at least asking. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Here are just a few brand names I&#39;ve had experience with that will honour returns and replace damaged (and even just plain worn) goods: </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="" target="_blank">R.M. Williams</a> - The Australian boot company. If any part of the boot wears for any reason, they will repair or replace the item.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="" target="_blank">Oakley</a> - For sunglasses. Friends of mine have had luck with getting broken frames replaced without question. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="" target="_blank">Tilley</a> - Specializes in upscale travel wear, and their real specialty is the Tilley Hat - indestructible. So if any of their items wear, just return them. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="" target="_blank">North Face</a> - This is the company that replaced my running shoes. Not only that, but a friend of mine had a North Face jacket with a lifetime warranty, and I`ve read stories about others who have received brand new next-generation jackets (to the tune of $500 or more) for the cost of shipping. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="" target="_blank">Arcteryx</a> - Another outdoor gear outfitter, with extremely high quality (and high cost) items. I don`t personally have any Arcteryx swag, but others who own it say the warranty is honourable. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">And for Canadians, items purchased at <a href="" target="_blank">Mountain Equipment Co-op</a> (they ship internationally by the way) are almost always returnable. I have returned punctured water bladders, ripped pants, and defective watches without as much as a blink of an eye from customer service. I don&#39;t even need a receipt, since they have my purchasing history in their computer.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">All this is not to say I am a brand name junkie. I couldn&#39;t care less about designer labels, and you&#39;ll never catch me carrying a $500 (or even $100) designer purse. I choose my brands carefully, based on functionality, price, and customer service.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">So if you are debating whether or not that brand name item will truly last longer than the generic alternative, consider the warranties available. You may get a lifetime of use out of the initially more expensive item if you play your cards right. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">4 Warranties That Aren&#039;t Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">When to Buy Brand Names: Sometimes, the Splurge Is Worth It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Impulse Shopping: A Controllable Handicap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Start Investing Today: Acorns Lets You Invest Your Change While You Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">The 5 Best Self-Tanners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping brand name return policies warranties Wed, 31 Oct 2007 19:14:20 +0000 Nora Dunn 1342 at