When Is It Worth Spending a Little More Money For a Better Product?

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Sometimes it pays to spend more. But many people who are in a money saving mindset approach purchases with just one thing in mind: cost. However, you shouldn’t just be asking “how much is this?” Rather, you should be determining the item’s value and whether it will pay off in the long run. These purchases often cost more initially, but have the ability to eventually save you a lot of cash. Ready to start saving? Here are seven purchases that can save you a bundle.

1. Bike or Transit Pass

This is a great and viable option if you’re a city dweller. Think about it: if you get rid of your car, you’ll save thousands each year on insurance, car payments, repairs, and gas. It even trickles down to something as small as the car washes you get. Cutting out these expenses will amount to substantial savings. How much exactly? AAA estimates that it costs $9,122 per year to own and operate a sedan.

While the idea of bidding adieu to your car may seem scary, there are plenty of great replacements. For instance, replacing your car with a bike or transit pass is a great way to ensure you can still get around. If you’re running errands for the afternoon, U.S. News & World Report suggests looking into Zipcar, which lets you rent a car for a short period of time. Uber and Lyft are also great resources. You just download the handy app and let them know you need a ride.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

2. Energy-Efficient Products

Replacing your appliances with energy-efficient products is guaranteed to save you cash in the long run. Not only will these appliances reduce your utility bills, but you’ll also be eligible for tax credits and rebates. Looking to start small? Brad’s Deals writes that you can save about $50 per year on your electric bill just by replacing 15 of your light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. The efficient light bulbs also give off 75 percent less heat than regular ones, meaning your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard to keep the house cool.

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Source: Thinkstock

3. Smart Power Strip

A smart power strip doesn’t cost much to begin with (anticipate spending about $35), and can help you save money on your electric bill. It’s especially useful if you use a desktop computer at home, per The Simple Dollar. The strip functions similar to a switch, so when your main unit powers off, you’re reducing phantom electricity, which prevents your gadgets from drawing power when they’re not in use. Anticipate it taking about 60 days to break even on the power strip. After that, it’s all savings.

Man uses an Apple iPhone in Tokyo, Japan on July 16, 2014

Atsushi Tomura/ Getty Images

4. Smartphone

We’re extremely reliant on our cellphones, yet many don’t realize the true cost savings of having one. Investopedia writes that a refurbished iPhone 3GS has a total two-year cost of $1,800, but can save phone owners up to $2,000.

How? It’s all about the everyday products included with a smartphone. It acts as a music player, GPS, watch, calculator, portable DVD player, camera, camcorder, and of course a phone. That means you no longer have to purchase any of those items, which could easily run you close to $2,000.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

5. Crock-pot

Yes, this handy little cooker, which has the ability to make food taste delicious and your kitchen smell delightful, can also save you cash. The weekdays can get hectic. Sometimes, you’re just too busy or too tired to make dinner after a long, hard day. As a result, many turn to takeout, a habit that can quickly wreak havoc on a budget. Additionally, if you have your takeout delivered, the costs are even higher.

That’s where the crockpot can help out. U.S. News & World Report recommends throwing a few ingredients in before leaving for work, ensuring you’ll return home to a fresh, hot meal.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

6. Programmable Thermostat

“You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat,” according to Energy.gov.

Saving money with a programmable thermostat is simple. For example, in the winter, you can set your heat a little lower while you’re sleeping, since you’ve got cozy pajamas and a blanket to keep you warm. Simply program your thermostat to start warming up just before your alarm goes off. Curious about how much you can save over time? A programmable thermostat review estimates that it can save families an average of $300 to $400 a year on energy costs.

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

7. Quality cooking supplies

Good cooking supplies are worth every penny. A cheap pan is difficult to clean, doesn’t cook your food properly, and its coating may even start to peel. Meanwhile, pricier, higher quality cooking items won’t need to be replaced nearly as often, and you’ll get much better results when you’re whipping something up.

If you have a well-stocked kitchen, there’s also a good chance you’ll rely less on takeout. Brad’s Deals writes that a Visa survey showed the average American spends $946 annually just on eating lunch out twice a week. Now imagine how much more it costs to order takeout for a family dinner. Having the proper tools to cook your own delicious meals is much better for your wallet.

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