Which purchases are worth the splurge?
Boats, name-brand clothing, iPhones — the list of luxury products available to consumers is endless. But which ones are worth their salt?
Defining “worth” is a deeply personal exercise. Some items deliver great performance and are unarguably worth their price tag. Others are more about feelings, connection and experience.
While it’s not always necessary to splurge, there are many products and services that are not only higher in quality but will also save you in the long run.
Better service, lower cost
There is nothing better than finding a product or service that costs less and performs better than the old options.
For example, cable has become synonymous with continually rising rates, not to mention the taxes. Those who own a “smart” TV or a streaming device can replace cable with monthly subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime and Disney+.
Streaming services offer a personalized experience, provide significantly more content for less money, and are always there when users want them.
When it comes to finding better goods for less, Amazon Prime is a top contender. For a small monthly fee, consumers can skip the shipping costs or set up monthly auto ship, get free music, e-books and video content, and get discounts at Whole Foods.
Warehouse memberships are another great value. Costco and Sam’s Club typically offer products for less money by selling them in larger quantities, plus the added perks of travel agents, car discounts, free shipping and more.
Better quality, better life
Admittedly, saving $3 on a box of 4,000 crackers doesn’t always seem like a home run. But sometimes, avoiding the lowest-cost option will hit it out of the park.
Paying up for products that improve quality of life can pay off in the long run. One example is a great mattress and pillow. Scientists continue to attribute orthopedic issues, stress, high cholesterol and many other ailments to quality of sleep.
More than ever, it’s apparent that a higher-priced and better-built mattress can lead to improved sleep and health, superior performance at work, lower stress levels and better quality of life.
Other worthwhile purchases include electric toothbrushes and quality running shoes. As an upgrade from the humble manual toothbrush, an inexpensive electric toothbrush can prevent many unpleasant and expensive trips to the dentist.
A good pair of running shoes will last longer than a cheap pair, saving money on replacements. It will also prevent injuries.
Finding the “best” option for the money can pay dividends over a lifetime of use. For consumers who cook every night, top-quality cookware and knives are a sound purchase and should never need to be replaced.
A kitchen stocked with a few high-end tools will yield better results, less cleanup, less clutter and a happier dining experience. They can even make healthy cooking easier and save money on eating out. For instance, one study showed that consumers who cook at home eat more vegetables.
Beyond material goods, experiences can be worth spending more on. Taking time for self-care can relieve stress and boost quality of life. Massages, manicures and facials can alleviate pressure points and built-up tension. Once considered “luxury” services for the elite, they have become mainstream self-care measures.
Money spent on a vacation is well spent; new experiences in a relaxing setting can help you rest and recharge. Simple but effective self-care plays a vital role in better all-around wellness, leading to higher earnings and lower healthcare costs later.
Get what you pay for or more
What about those really expensive items? What is “expensive”? Typically, it’s simply viewed as “costing a lot of money.” However, economists define it as a price that makes consumers feel they are paying too much for what they are getting in return.
When consumers think they are getting what they paid for, then it’s a fair trade. They get a bargain when they feel they are getting more than what they paid for. Further, it can be more affordable in the long run to buy a quality product once than to buy a cheap product repeatedly.
Investing in better products and experiences is a good decision for those who have the means. A financial planner or adviser is yet another worthwhile investment, not only saving clients the amount of their fee, but turning that investment into a long-term dividend and maximizing buying power.
Working with a financial planner can help them understand what they value and take the first step toward investing in products and services that are worth their price.
© 2020 The Kiplinger Washington Editors, Inc. Distributed by TCA, LLC.