Cutting back on these items may end up costing you more.
From Food to Toilet Paper: 12 Life Necessities You Should Never Skimp on
Ever hear the expression, “penny wise and pound foolish”? It means you focused too much on the price, and not enough on the cost.
While overspending is a much bigger problem in this country, underspending can also cost you — and in some cases, it can even cost you your life.
Here are the top items you should never skimp on. Honestly, if you ignore this advice — about, say, toilet paper or paint — you might experience some personal discomfort. But when it comes to tires and sunscreen, your health is on the line.
Buying cheaper paint will save you money up front, but when you spread it on your walls, you'll notice it doesn't cover well. You'll end up needing another coat or two, which means you didn't save a dime.
Sherwin-Williams, Benjamin Moore, and other high-quality paints are actually worth the cost if you're covering walls you plan to look at a lot.
Tip: Look for 30-40 percent off sales at Sherwin-Williams during Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Veteran's Day and other holidays.
Buying cheap shoes may seem like a bargain, but your feet may disagree. Take time to find the right fitting shoes and pay extra for quality. This especially applies to running shoes.
Buying a pair of knock-off running shoes may seem like a bargain, but over time, they won't stand up to the damage of running on paved roads.
A good pair of running shoes can set you back $100 or more. But $20 shoes might not last you in the long run — especially if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, back pain, and knee problems.
Tip: Watch for sales and use rewards programs to save on shoes. All people are different. One running shoe may work great for someone you know, but not the same for you. Go to a specialty running shoe store and try on a few.
3. Car maintenance
Ignoring your mechanic's recommendation to replace a part as vital to your vehicle as the timing belt, you can find yourself broken down, stranded on the side of the road one day. Not only will you be stuck, but you'll pay extra for a tow truck to pick you up.
Tip: Regular oil changes every 3,000 miles or 10,000 with the synthetic stuff will keep your car's engine strong.
4. HVAC maintenance
Keep up with yearly tune-ups to your furnace. Living in a cold climate, your furnace will keep you nice and toasty throughout those frigid winter months. But by not keeping up with the routine maintenance, you risk your furnace going on the fritz while in the middle of a snowstorm.
Tip: Don't wait to repair or replace expensive appliances when you're at the mercy of a repair company. Purchase a new furnace in the spring or summer and the A/C unit in the winter when prices are lower. To keep up with maintenance, you can buy an annual plan that includes two tune-ups for as low as $139 through Home Depot.
5. Pet food
You may think you're getting a bargain for a large bag of pet food for cheap. You'll think again when that food puts your pet's health at risk.
Cheaper pet food is similar to junk food for people. A poor diet will increase your chances of health problems that will lead to expensive veterinary bills down the road.
Tip: Check pet store and manufacturer's websites to compare prices.
6. Healthy human food
Similar to the previous slide, eating ramen noodles long enough can cut your food budget down, but can also harm your health just as drastically over time. Fresh fruits and vegetables aren't as expensive as you may think. It's best off to eat a healthy diet to avoid expensive medical bills.
Tip: Buy fresh vegetables you can use in more than one dish. Also, bagged fruits such as oranges or apples are generally priced lower than when you buy individually.
Those round rubber tubes are the only part of your vehicle that actually touches the road.
Even if you own a used car, it's still worth it to slap on new tires when needed. Taking the risk of driving around with used tires puts your life at risk, too.
There is no way to tell if a used tire was previously driven overloaded, or underinflated, with air. It's also difficult to tell if the tire was mishandled, damaged, or improperly repaired. All of these situations put you in danger while driving.
Tip: Pay attention to the tread on your tire, and use a penny to check how much tire is left. If you place a penny in the tread with Abe Lincoln's head facing down, the tire tread should cover his full head. If his head is uncovered by tread, you need new tires.
Going against most other pieces of advice here, cheaper sunscreen often works better. But you need to do some digging to find the right bottle at the store.
You can't always rely on the sun protection factor (SPF) number on the bottle. Though the higher number often means the better protection, you can't completely rely on it. That number measures protection from ultraviolet B radiation.
Tip: Look for "broad spectrum" sunscreen that covers both ultraviolet B and A rays. Luckily, these aren't always the most expensive in the grocery store. Also, Look for the cream kind of sunscreen, not the spray one. Most of the spray stuff just ends up dispersing out into the air.
9. Renter's insurance
You may not own your apartment, but you probably own your stuff in the apartment.
Paying an extra $150-$300 a year will protect you in the off chance of a damage from a fire, natural disaster or even theft.
Tip: Your landlord isn't going to cover those costs for you. It wouldn't hurt to protect yourself.
10. Safety gear
You should never try to cut costs when it comes to you or your family's safety. Your kids may outgrow their bike helmets, elbow and knee pads — but that doesn't mean you shouldn't pay for their safety.
Tip: Taking the cheap route on a bicycle helmet or other safety gear for your kids or yourself can lead to injuries as well as medical bills. Places like Amazon offer a variety of options at a variety of prices. Cleveland Clinic has some tips on what to look for.
You spend one-third of your day sleeping on it, and a good night's sleep can keep you rested and energized to tackle your crazy work week. You're recommended to buy a new one of these every eight years, so don't cheap out and make it count.
Tip: The best time to shop for a mattress is during the holidays when all the furniture stores run sales. Labor Day, Memorial Day and Fourth of July are some of the best times to go mattress hunting.
12. Toilet paper
You may not notice a difference — it's just toilet paper. The bargain brands often only provide single-ply toilet paper, compared to two, or even three-ply toilet paper. The single-ply stuff will run out quicker, leading you to run out to the store for more, quicker.
Tip: One of the easiest ways to save money on name-brand toilet paper is to clip coupons. Check out Debt.com's coupon section. There is definitely one for toilet paper.
This article was originally published on Debt.com.
Published by Debt.com, LLC