Sometimes it’s better to spend the money and not be frugal.
I totally believe in being responsible financially. I’m a complete Dave Ramsey fanatic, and I love encouraging people to get out of debt and start building wealth–so that we have more resources that we can then bless others with (because that’s what it’s all about).
But at the same time, there are some things that aren’t worth scrimping on, for one of two reasons:
- Either because scrimping now means you’ll pay more later;
- Or because spending a little extra will make such a tremendous difference in your life.
Now I also believe that some things are just never worth the money. Buying beverages, for instance, is always a waste, and it’s so much better to invest in high quality hot and cold beverage containers and take your own along, or just order water at restaurants. In fact, buying beverages in the grocery store isn’t really worth it, either. Juice has too much sugar in it, and pop is bad for you. Drink water or milk or make your own iced teas.
Restaurants aren’t worth it, either. They tend to be super expensive, the food isn’t healthy, and it’s cheaper to buy a ready-made meal at a grocery store if you need to and then enjoy eating in.
Vacations are also overrated. My kids had just as much fun with a week at a Christian Family Camp as they did getting on a plane and going somewhere interesting and staying in expensive hotels.
And we have never in our lives bought a new car. We always buy used and let someone else pay for the depreciation!
So I completely agree that we certainly need to watch what we spend!
But over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that certain things aren’t worth scrimping on, and are worth the money. See if you’re with me!
3 Areas Where Quality Matters–and Frugality Can Cost You in the Long Run:
1. High Quality Kids’ Beds & Bedding
We bought our kids way too many beds–a total of seven between the two of them. We had toddler beds and then we had bunk beds and then we bought the single beds with those drawers underneath. I think they’re made of particle board–is that the right term?
Anyway, the toddler beds were a waste of money. We could have moved them directly into single beds and saved that expense. But the particle board beds were just really poor quality. We thought we were getting something that was made well, but every single one of them broke after a few years. And we have girls! I can’t imagine what would happen to beds if we had had boys!
(Although, to be fair, the girls did have a lot of hugging contests on the bed like this one):
Once Rebecca was about 15 and her second particle bed broke, we decided that we would just buy a decent bed. So we found an extremely simple bed that was real wood, with thick slats. Pretty much indestructible. Once Katie’s bed broke a year or two later we bought her a wooden one, too.
It went with Katie to school.
It will stand the test of time. And I firmly believe that if we had just bought those wooden beds when the girls were toddlers, they would still be here, indestructible. No more particle board beds! The wooden ones weren’t even that much more expensive–maybe $120 more than the particle board beds. We would have made that back many times over.
Speaking of beds, about six years ago we splurged and bought high quality duvets and pillows. I cannot believe how much better I sleep! And again, they’ve outlasted all the comforters that we ever bought by far. Instead of constantly replacing comforters, we simply have good duvets that last. I think that’s worth it.
2. Good Shoes
I’m not one of those people who has 40 pairs of shoes. I’d actually rather have 10 that fit well and that are really high quality.
When the girls were 13 I started them on a clothing allowance. They got a certain amount of money every year, and they had to pay for their clothes out of that money. I still remember one shopping trip with Katie when she was 14. There were these gorgeous, really well-made Italian sandals for $110. Katie wanted them, but $110 was a lot of money. I convinced her to buy them because they were such a good investment.
Here she is wearing them on her 18th birthday trip:
The insoles wore out this year on her nineteenth birthday, after wearing them everyday every summer for five years, but you can get the insoles replaced at a shoe repair place for about $20. So she’s going to pay for that. These are awesome shoes.
I have a pair of leather ankle boots that I love. They’re my go-to boots for spring and fall. I even wear them when I speak!
I bought them two years ago, and they’ve held up so well. But last spring the heels wore out. So I spent $20 to get the heels replaced, and voila–brand new boots!
I’d rather spend $120 on a pair of good shoes that lasts years then $30 on a bunch of shoes that don’t last and aren’t as comfortable.
3. Five Good Looking Outfits
It is less expensive to buy fewer outfits that you will actually wear and that you feel great in than to buy dozens of items from discount racks that you end up hating and that make you feel frumpy.
I cannot stress this enough.
When women feel pretty, we’re more confident in the rest of our lives. We’re more confident sexually, we’re more confident with our husbands, we’re even better able to meet our goals.
But many of us feel guilty spending any money on ourselves, so we buy cheap clothes that don’t fit well and we end up feeling ugly. Go through my series on fighting the frump from a few years back and see why good quality clothes are worth it! Don’t go overboard, but buy a few outfits that will get you through the week. And then mix & match and feel great, instead of living in clothes that make you feel ugly.
3 Areas Where Time is of the Essence–and Sometimes It’s Worth Paying Extra to Get More Time
4. Food In a Pinch
How many times do you order pizza because you have no time to cook and you don’t know what to make anyway? Or maybe you get takeout on the way home (or even head to a restaurant with your family) because you didn’t have time to grocery shop?
I could tell you to make better meal plans and I could tell you to get more organized, but let’s face it: sometimes life just happens. And I think it’s important to have contingency plans, knowing that life can never be perfect.
Instead of ordering pizza, for instance, could you buy some healthy ready-made dinners and put them in the freezer, to use only in the case of emergency? I did this when the kids were little, and it saved me many nights!
5. Food Delivery
This one’s not for everybody, but it’s a GREAT idea for some people. Let me tell you about Chef’s Plate, a Canadian company that will send you all the ingredients you need to make a fresh, healthy home-cooked meal, with the recipe and all the instructions. It’s actually really cool! They contacted me to ask if I’d be interested, but since I’m on the road on a speaking tour, I asked them to send two sample meals to my daughter Rebecca and her husband Connor.
Every week you can choose from 7 recipes (for the 2-person plan) or 4 recipes (for the family plan). The meals run about $10.95 per person, which is cheaper than a restaurant. It arrives at your door in a refrigerated package, and then you just cook it when you want to. All the instructions are there!
The kids ordered grilled dijon chicken and steak fajitas. Rebecca said they tasted amazing! And it was super easy.
Rebecca has a friend who is a busy entrepreneur who has used Chef’s Plate for years. He got tired of eating out at restaurants, and was worried about his health with all the restaurant food, so he went to Chef’s Plate. They do the shopping, the thinking for you, and send you the meals by mail–you just have to cook. But the recipes are always super fast ones!
Again, it’s not for everyone, but I can definitely see the benefits of this if you’re a two-income family and time is your most precious resource. I know when the kids were little we ate out far too many times because I was just too busy to cook. If I had just admitted it to myself and said, “I know we’re going to go to a restaurant once a week anyway” and gotten Chef’s Plate instead, I would have ended up saving us some money and eating better.
Chef’s Plate is available in most regions of Canada, and if you sign up using the code #TOLOVEHONORANDVACUUM, you’ll get 3 plate credits off of your first order (which is awesome!).
Check it out here!
Not in Canada? There are likely similar services near you.
6. House Cleaning Service
My life got so much easier when I finally hired a housekeeper last year and stopped trying to do it all myself! If a housekeeper won’t break the bank, then sometimes it’s worth hiring out those jobs that take a lot of our time, so that we have more time for our families or just to have some down time. The same goes for lawn cutting services, snow shovelling services, or even mending clothes. If you’re chronically busy and chronically exhausted and you do have some extra money, then blessing someone who really needs the income can definitely be worth it.
So there you go–six areas where I definitely would invest extra money, while continuing to be responsible and frugal in other areas of your life. Now I’d love to know–do you agree with me? Or what would you add to the list?