Bargains That Aren’t: When a Great Deal Costs You

| July 16, 2012 | 4 Comments

Bin with clothes insideAs a mom who needs to watch her budget, you don’t want to needlessly waste money. You’re probably interested in ways to save and get a bargain, and you might be a big fan of both coupons and the clearance rack. Sometimes, though, things that seem like a great deal can be anything but; not only might you be wasting your money on an inferior product, but you might also be wasting your time, between shopping for the item, attempting to use it, and having to go back to the store to buy what you really need. Here are a few things that you should think twice about buying, since they’re not likely to save you any money, and may end up costing more in the long run.

  • Cheap shampoo and bodywash. Going for the generic or dollar store brand may seem like the sensible thing to do when you’re talking about buying a product that’s going to end up going down the drain anyway, but cheapo products are likely to wreak havoc on your skin and hair. I tried a well-known brand of shampoo and conditioner that cost only a dollar or so at a discount store, and regretted it; my hair felt like straw for the rest of the month, until the shampoo was gone, because I was too cheap to go buy my regular brand until I’d used it up. The other problem is that you need to use more of a cheaper product in order to get the job done. When I use name-brand shower gel, for example, a nickel-sized dollop on a body pouf is plenty; with the cheaper brands, I need to use a much bigger-sized squirt. Spend a little extra on these products.
  • Discount laundry and dishwasher detergent. The same thing applies here: going for the most inexpensive brand is likely to leave your clothes looking dingy and your dishes less-than-clean. Since you’ll be rewashing, you’re just wasting your time and money. Also, since these products tend to include fillers that don’t rinse away as well,  you’re left with spots on your glasses and residue in your clothing, the latter of which can cause rashes and irritation on sensitive skin. Do yourself a favor and pony up the extra few bucks for the good stuff.
  • Batteries. Using dollar store batteries might make sense in a child’s toy that will likely only be played with for a few days anyway, but otherwise, you’ll be replacing them much too frequently to make any sort of financial sense. Definitely go for the name brand for things like smoke detectors and thermostats. To avoid frustration, don’t put the cheap batteries in your remote controls or cameras, either.
  • Clothing and shoes. We all want to get a bargain, and inexpensive clothing and shoes can seem like a boon, particularly when the kids are outgrowing them at lightning speed. While there’s no harm in buying cheaper jeans and tshirts, go for quality when it comes to items that you want to look nice over time. Cheaper items tend to wear out more quickly, necessitating more frequent replacement.

So, you may be wondering how to save money on these types of items, if buying the cheap brands doesn’t work. Look for coupons, of course, and combine them with sales. Since everything listed above can be stored for a period of time, stock up when you see a quality brand at a great price. One caveat: Batteries lose potency over time, so check expiration dates before you buy a stockpile; purchasing a bunch of soon-to-expire batteries is a sure-fire way to flush your money down the drain!

What are some items that you’re willing to spend more on, in order to save both money and time?

Comments (4)

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  1. Nena Sinclair says:

    Great advice and so true! I’ve learned the same lessons through experience.

  2. Renski says:

    Nice review – good tips

  3. Bee C. says:

    I totally agree–there are some things that are not worth skimping on!

  4. Thank you for the review. I agree that not all things are made equal.

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