There are many points in life where spending less money on something is a good idea, because you don’t get any benefit out of the more expensive variant. And yet, some people take this idea to the extreme, and always look for the cheapest option for absolutely everything in their lives. That’s not a very good approach for some specific types of purchases though, and it can lead to many problems in the long run.
Learning to recognize which things are appropriate to cheap out on and which aren’t is an important part of developing solid personal finance management skills. There are various details that you’ll have to consider here though, and it’s not always a straightforward decision.
Insurance is one of those things that many people like to cheap out on with the wishful thinking that they’re never going to need it anyway. Which is strange, because when you consider statistics and people’s attitude to them, it should be the exact opposite. 1 in 77 deaths in the US were caused by car crashes several years ago, while the odds of winning the lottery are a fraction of a single percent. And yet, guess which one people consider a somewhat likely possibility, while completely ignoring the chance that the other could happen to them?
Spending a little more on your insurance might seem like wasting your money, but when one day you run into a situation where you need to cash in on that insurance policy, you’re absolutely not going to see that money as a waste.
Car, apartment, house – there are some big-ticket purchases that you should not only take your time to research carefully, but you should also try to invest as much as possible into. These are assets that will not deprecate that much over time, and in some cases – like real estate – they might even gain additional value if they’re maintained properly. With that in mind, you should make sure that you’re getting the best option available right from the start.
If you have to, take out a loan. This is one of the moments in life where a loan is not only an appropriate solution to a financial problem, it’s the preferred one. As long as you take your time to research the loan you’re taking out and ensure that you’re getting the best deal on the market, the rest should come together by itself.
Home security is something you only need to set up once – minus the monthly fees of the security company you may have chosen – and that, combined with its general importance in your life, makes it a viable candidate for something that you should splurge a little on. Remember, a burglary accident only needs to happen once to turn your life upside down, and after that, installing a security system will be a bit late anyway.
Make sure to get the latest models with all the bells and whistles, and pay attention to any ongoing maintenance costs that you may need to prepare yourself for as well. Don’t underestimate the importance of having a good home security setup, because it’s going to matter a lot for your overall peace of mind in the long run.
Having something repaired can cost a lot of money if you want the job done right. But in the end, cheaper options exist too – if you don’t mind completely replacing the product shortly afterwards. Handymen value the quality of their work, and you should too, because they’re the ones saving you from an even bigger potential expense (if you have to completely replace whatever is broken).
This means that you should never dispute the quote you receive, even if it seems ridiculous. As the old anecdote about the ship engineer goes, “the bill was $10,000 for screwing one bolt, because it cost you $1 for me to screw the bolt, and $9,999 for knowing which bolt needed screwing in the first place”. Don’t insult someone by implying that you could have done the same with a few YouTube tutorials.
Having children is wonderful and very engaging, but you’re going to want to unwind and relax on your own from time to time. And in those cases, you have plenty of options for professional childcare services on the market. Make sure that you hire someone competent though, and pay them whatever they’re asking. Because you’re quickly going to find out that the number of people available out there who actually know how to look after a child properly, and have the patience for it, is not as great as you might think. And there’s a good reason most of them charge so much for their services – they know what they’re worth.