What is the best strategy for spending money?

We rented an apartment for about 5 years and last year moved into out first home. When renting, it seemd that we had a decent amount of disposable income and spent money accordingly. ie. if we saw something we desired or needed, we would buy the ‘better’ quality item with the idea that we are going to be more satisfied with the item than if we bought the most economical version.

Now that we own a house, we have a paltry ‘disposable’ income and the frivolous purchases are few and far between. However, there are a number of items that must be replaced, which is the reason for my question. Items such as faucets, fixtures, roof(!), etc…

Should one
a) buy the most economical items until such time as the more appropriate (or desired) item can be afforded?
(AKA don’t spend more than you can afford)
b) purchase the items that are better with the idea that one needs to purchase the item only the once?
(AKA if you’re going to do it, do it right)

It has always been my experience that you get what you pay for, at least in most cases. However, that said, sometimes an item that costs less is actually better. Shop around. I wouldn’t “buy cheap” now, only to replace it with a like item 2 years from now. I’d go with “b”.

There is no way to answer this question with just A or B. There are many variables. Basically you would divide to cost of purchase and ownership by the amount of service you get from the item (measured in time or other units) and obtain the cost per unit. That would be a first start, you could consider other factors.

I bought a used toaster for $2 ten years ago and it still works fine.

Do you think your income will increase soon enough that if you employ a short-term fix, you’ll be able to make up for it later? If so, I’d suggest doing cheap now with the understanding that it will need replacing again fairly soon.

If you believe you won’t have any more disposable income than you do now, then you’d probably be better off doing the job once and doing it right.

However, for stuff like the roof, where the major part of the expense is labor and the “health” of your entire house depends on it, don’t even think about cheaping out.

You want to own this house? Then don’t be cheap on anything you buy for it. Buy the better floor, roof, rug, fixtures, paint, etc.

Skip all warranties on all appliances. ALL of them.

If you don’t like something, and you want to replace it, wait until you can afford the best replacement.

You will also begin to realize that your home (via mortgage interest and other deductions) has some power in getting you a nice income tax deduction, so some home projects can be financed with the refund.

Buying the better item is a philosophy, and it pays off. Make a rule of it. You can buy things that last 50% longer, look 50% better, and yet cost 15% more. Look at roofs, for example. You don’t need to double your outlay to double the quality of the roof. And, since it’s a part of your home, it’s an investment. And paint…Boy, for just few bucks more, you can buy the best paint that’ll go on much easier, last longer, look better, resist stains and allow you to enjoy your home that much more. For a few bucks! People still buy the cheap paint, or cheap brushes! Why!?

And what’s more important than the shelter for you and your family?

Don’t be cheap. Cheapness begets cheapness. It all goes towards making your house more maintenance free. Cheap stuff requires more maintenance than good stuff, costs more in the long run and requires more maintenance. :slight_smile:

…and if you do decide to spend the extra money to get quality, save your receipts and information, so if you decide to sell your house in the near future it will help on re-sale.

I bought a 41-year-old house 1.5 years ago. One of the reasons I bought it was because at the time of purchase, it had full documentation on it’s new roof, gutters, water heater, furnace and air conditioner, garbage disposal, built-in microwave, etc.

Don’t confuse cheap with inexpensive. You mentioned faucets, for example, so I’ll go with that: you can probably spend from under $50 to over $200 on a faucet. The least expensive ones are not necessarily low quality, either; for example, Home Depot has their own brand of faucets that are reasonably priced and are made of solid brass. Don’t let price alone be the judge; examine all the items you’re looking to buy to get an idea of the quality. Some items cost less because they have fewer features or are less fancy, not because they’re lowe quality. If you have no other source of info, check Consumer Reports; they’re not the greatest, but if you don’t know anything about a particular item you need, it’s better than no information at all. And check yard sales for good quality stuff at low prices.

And lastly, get on Usenet (ask someone how, or check out discussions on http://www.deja.com) and go to the newsgroups misc.consumers and misc.consumers.house. There are scores of people there that love to help out on all sorts of home and home-related purchasing questions. They can also point you to FAQs on related items.

Surprised that no-one has mentioned this one .

Why pay purchase taxes and high depriciation prices if you can get an item second hand ?
People are conned into thinking that they should buy new, all kinds of advertising tricks are used such as being cutting edge, choice and self-esteem.

It is largely a load of bollocks, get round to car boot sales(car trunk sales in the US?)
There you can get all those little bits and bobs that would normally cost you a small fortune.
No-one visiting your home is going to ask you if everything is second hand, to them it just looks like stuff - similar to stuff they have in their homes.

It is only a matter of psychology, a good secondhand item can often be of far better quality than a cheap new item, let others take the hit for the new.

This is really more a question of opinion than fact, so I’ll bump it on over to the IMHO forum.