…besides toilet paper?
Tea and coffee. And sauces. Anything that goes a long way and there is a big difference between the cheap stuff and the good stuff.
Art supplies. I need certain materials for my art, and there’s no way to skimp on them.
And yeah, toilet paper.
Good walking shoes. I don’t need foot problems!
A nutritious diet.
Food and drink. My one Achilles heel for impulse purchases. If I, or who I’m with like it, I buy it. I don’t give a damn what it costs.
Events or excursions.
Never understood the fascination with expensive toilet paper. There is very definitely a diminishing return that kicks in. We buy stuff that is a third the price of the market leader with no appreciable difference in the ability to wipe an arse.
Anyhow, I take a great pride in being frugal and I can’t think of any area into which I wouldn’t apply that thinking.
Perhaps the only things I don’t skimp on are insurance and maintenance (for the car, for holidays, for the house etc.). We get the best policies and the best people to make sure our frugally purchased items run properly. There are some sauces and condiments that I prefer but anything else is fair game.
Definitely good walking shoes.
Dawn dishwashing detergent.
Not sure I should mention this, since civilized people would never skimp on it, but: Beer.
Mine’s a weird one: technology. I’ve found that I have pretty much leveled out as far as what I need to do - I won’t need a crapload more processing power or drive space. So rather than buying a $500 Best Buy laptop every couple of years to get faster hardware, I bought a Thinkpad P-series (their workstation model) on sale, and it will last me 5 or 6 years easily in terms of my technical demands and reliability/durability.
Same with my phone. I went with a iPhone Xs Max, and I expect to get 5 years out of it minimum. I used my last iPad for seven years.
I know I should do for shoes, but I don’t. And I wish I had for this office chair I sit in all day, and will for next time. Right now, though, those are cheapo.
The only thing I can think of right now that I do pay a premium for is my internet connection. We had a really crappy cheap one for so long (out of my control, under the landlord’s name) but as soon as I could do it myself I splashed out, and do not regret it after a massive improvement in reliability, speed, and signal strength.
For me frugal doesn’t necessarily mean buying the cheap stuff. Usually I have to be able to justify the purchase to myself to start. Do I really need a smart phone? Do I really need the latest and greatest Samsung galaxy 32 imperial conqueror version phone? Its a balance between need and want for somethings. I buy the best auto I can afford, one with a good record for reliability etc, because a little extra up front can save more later. I expect my stuff to last a long time and stand up to heavy use and sometimes even abuse. Toilet paper, yeah I might skimp a bit, but not to the point of buying john Wayne paper. Shoes I don’t usually buy the most expensive because anymore cost doesn’t equate to quality ime. So quality first then cost if I cqn afford to do it that way
I’m not frugal at all, but I consciously do not skimp on vacations.
I don’t buy cheap shoes, and thanks to my husband’s advice and experience, we don’t buy cheap tools.
For example, at one point in my life, I’d grab the cheapest screwdrivers I could find - it’s just a screwdriver, right? Except the cheapies are easily distorted if you’re trying to unscrew something particularly tight. Buying good quality from the start is lots cheaper than buying multiple cheap replacements, plus you don’t have the added irritant of not being able to finish a job because of your crappy tools.
I’m also fanatical about having our vehicles go in for service every 5000 miles. Our mechanic inspects them every time and he’s caught small things that could have become expensive or dangerous issues had we not tended to them. Better a brake job than an insurance deductible and resulting premium increase!
I live in a small apartment when I could almost easily afford a McMansion; I bought the cheapest car available until my Prius a couple years ago; and I pre-load before a concert so I don’t have to spend $30 on drinks; but so help me Dog, I will never spend another night trying to sleep in a Motel 6 again if I can help it.
I’m really frugal, in that I have very low income yet always money in the bank. But when I think of the question at hand, I do not skimp on almost anything. I rarely buy the most expensive option, but almost never the cheap one, either. I have quality food, shoes, clothes, kitchenware, workshop tools, computers, binos, musical instruments etc. I use them well, sometimes in the range of decades.
What I do is hunt for deals, second-hand and others. I save thousands each year doing this. It’s not a chore, more like a pleasure of “playing the system” well.
Life it too short for crappy chocolate, I say. I don’t purchase so much I can’t manage the high quality stuff.
Also tropical fruit. I eat it through our long, cold, winter. Pineapple. Mango, berries, grapes, dragon fruit, etc, etc. It’s my indulgence and I totally think it’s worth it.
In most other things we are very frugal, never owned a new car, most of our furniture is second hand or found, we buy a lot of clothing second hand, hunt for cheap airfares and stay in small hotels, when we travel, etc.
Peanut Butter. For most groceries, I’ll settle for generic or the store brand, but my peanut butter has to be Jif.
Mayonnaise and CornDogs. Yep, that’s me. Last of the High Rollers.
I spend bread on bread. Quality name brand real whole wheat stuff.