I do a ridiculous amount of research before buying almost anything. My favorite purchases are things that:
- Last a really long time.
- Save money by cutting down costs in an alternate category.
- Markedly improve our overall quality of life.
Here are the best purchases I’ve made (I do not make money from this blog or receive any compensation for linking to these companies):
High Quality Shoes & Boots: We live in New York City and we don’t have a car so we walk everywhere. The fella and I each have a pair of Carolina Boots for the winter and we love them. We’ve had the same pairs for years and they’re in fantastic shape. Cheap shoes are a false economy and spending a little more up front for high quality leather shoes can save you money in the long run. If you need athletic shoes check out discount stores that carry name brand sneakers. I never pay full price for athletic shoes!
High Quality Winter Gear: Coats from your standard cheap clothing stores (H&M, Forever 21, Target, Old Navy, etc.) are flimsy and not very warm. About 4 years ago the fella and I purchased Columbia brand winter coats from Sierra Trading Post. It’s a great site for high quality outdoor and cold weather gear (it’s like a discount version of REI). They have lots of sales on top of their already discounted prices and there’s almost always an additional coupon code. I can honestly say that having a decent coat changed how I feel about enduring winter.
Bedding: Cheap sheets, comforters, and pillows just don’t last the way their more expensive counterparts do. I bought a nice set a couple of years ago from The Company Store (on sale) and they’re still going strong. January is one of the best times to buy quality linens at deep discounts because of all the white sales!
Essential Furniture: If you’re just starting out and you have no furniture buying just a few key pieces can make a big difference. For probably 4 years the fella and I didn’t have a bed frame or a decent couch. We bought both (on sale) and it drastically improved our overall quality of life. I always research furniture purchases, don’t pay full price for anything, and only purchase if there’s a great return policy.
Pantry Items: Bulk pantry items pay for themselves. If you’re starting from scratch I recommend stocking up on non-perishable food & home items: spices, beans, rice, pasta, tomato puree, toilet paper, ketchup, toothpaste, razors, etc. If you have more to spend start stocking your freezer with bulk meat and frozen vegetables. You can also freeze fresh vegetables yourself when they’re cheap and in season. If you shop carefully and plan well your pantry should actually lower your weekly shopping budget and help you save money.
Household Storage Solutions: If you don’t have much to spend little things like under bed storage containers, metal shelving units, glass food containers, and reusable food storage (like pyrex with matching lids) can make a big difference. Storage solutions are great because they make other frugal activities easier and they’re relatively affordable. I love anything Pyrex and really don’t use any other brand. It’s oven-safe and it lasts forever.
My Food Saver: I love my food saver! I can’t believe I put off purchasing one for so long. I freeze fresh summer produce when it’s cheap so we can eat it during the winter. I also freeze bulk meat in easy to access servings. However, a food saver is only valuable if you use it regularly. For me it’s worthwhile but it might not be right for everyone.
Our Costco Membership: We don’t pay for amazon prime or cable but we do pay for a Costco membership. For some reason I used to think that bulk shopping only made sense for huge families, but we save thousands of dollars a year thanks to our Costco membership.
What are your favorite frugal purchases? Feel free to share your recommendations in the comments!