3 Things I Won’t Be Cheap About

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I can't be cheap about some things. Namely, my kids' safety, healthcare and even quality clothes. While I love being frugal, sometimes you have to pay up.

I’m in huge favor of being frugal, shopping around, and getting the best prices on things. However, there are many things I refuse to be cheap about. My husband and I both have safe cars, my kids have extremely safe car seats, and we live in a safe area that costs a lot more than other parts of New Jersey. Can you see a theme here?

As you can see, we’re completely obsessed with paying higher prices for our family to be safe, and we’ve always been this way, even when we were finding an apartment just for us (and our dog) when we lived out of the country. I believe it pays to spend more on these things and save money for said purchases by spending less on cheap cell phone plans and the like so we can have the necessary funds to be able to do so.

So, even though I love getting a deal, here are three things that I won’t go cheap on aside from our housing costs:

Baby Safety Items


Experienced parents will know this but I just recently learned that if you are in a car accident, you are supposed to buy new carseats even if the ones you’re using were not harmed in any way.

Sometimes car insurance from Geico will cover this and then you are left with your old ones. The problem comes in when dishonest people turn around and try to sell those old carseats on Craigslist. I am actually selling both of my infant carseats on Craigslist right now, and of course there are no issues with them. However, buyers wouldn’t have any way of knowing that.

So, if you want to get used baby stuff, especially safety items like carseats, get them from a family member or friend you trust and not a stranger.



There are certainly ways to save on appliances from buying floor models to keeping appliances that arrived dented and asking for a discount. It’s fine to buy basic models without all the bells and whistles, but I probably would not buy one from a garage sale if I didn’t know the owners.

People sometimes try to fix appliances on their own without calling in the professionals and that can lead to more issues and damages. I personally feel like it’s worth it to get them from reputable places so that if you do experience an issue, you can always call the store to get the proper repairs.



My husband and I just went through the process of hiring a part time nanny. I have tried several different things over the past year from having a mother’s helper in the afternoons to working all weekend at Starbucks while my husband watched the kids. All of these things still left me exhausted and unhappy with my work/life balance, so now we have an amazing person come twice a week during the day so I can make phone calls and act like I have a real job.

I can't be cheap about some things. Namely, my kids' safety, healthcare and even quality clothes. While I love being frugal, sometimes you have to pay up.

We spent weeks interviewing and trying to find the right person. We came close to hiring one person and then cancelled at the last minute due to a bad gut feeling I had. Eventually, we found the right person and paired with a gym daycare that I can use every day if I want, I feel like I have a lot more hours to work. Childcare is not cheap, and while I could hire the 13 year old down the street to watch my kids, I much prefer to have our well-educated, competent, and experienced nanny to take care of my two adorable tiny humans.

My husband has also taught me to pay a little more for quality clothes, winter items, and even better health care. (There’s a reason I chose not to have my kids in the Caribbean where I used to live!) It’s all been a process but even though I like to save, I’m much more willing to spend on quality when it makes sense to do so.


What are some things you refuse to be cheap about? What do you think about spending more on appliances, clothes  or day care? What are you content to pay less for?

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Catherine Alford is the go to personal finance expert for parents who want to better their finances and take on a more active financial role in their families.


  • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

    We also prioritize spending on health and safety–it’s just not worth it to risk those things in the name of saving a few bucks. And, spending on quality items also really makes sense in some categories for the long run.

    My favorite approach there is to buy high quality used items–they’re much less expensive than new, but will last a lot longer than cheap stuff. I think it’s all about figuring out what your spending priorities are and then just aligning your purchasing. Sounds like you’ve got a great system for doing that!

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way says:

    I really don’t care if I spend money on appliances and I say that it’s really worth to invest. Last year, I just gave my mom a new washing machine because her old washing machine was damage already.

  • Mrs. 1500 says:

    Growing up, my parents bought almost everything used. We shopped at garage sales, and my mom was one of those crazy coupon ladies you read the story about in the paper where she bought 6 train-car loads of groceries for a nickel.

    But the two things she never bought generic were toilet paper and tissues, which is a tradition I continue.

    Also, Mr. 1500 and I do a lot of biking. I paid $1,300 for my current bike, which was already on a steep discount because it is a smaller size. In comparison, my first car cost $1,500. This bike is 14 years old, and has more than 5,000 miles on it. (I was pregnant twice during those 14 years so several saw no action.)

    Great post, Cat. I completely agree with the baby safety stuff. They are so little and so vulnerable. It just isn’t worth saving $20 for a cheaper car seat.

  • Kalie says:

    I agree on the car seats, crib, and baby gate. We bought those new. For clothes, I like to get high quality items at the thrift store whenever I can.

    The bottom line is, frugality isn’t about buying the cheapest thing possible. In addition to favoring quality items that will last, the frugal person thinks about what is worth spending money on, rather than mindlessly doing what others around them do or what ads tell them to. People get into trouble when they think everything is worth it.

  • Mrs. Maroon says:

    I agree with you on the baby safety gear… so not worth it to save a dollar or two.

    One household item I refuse to skimp on is dish soap. Dishes are not clean if I don’t have a good lather of suds. The cheap soap takes four times as much soap to get the same suds. I know it’s bizarre but we all have our thing.

  • Carole says:

    My husband always bought modest, new cars and kept them for years. He also paid to have the oil changed. He thought it was worth it. He was a farmer and knew about machinery

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach says:

    That makes sense, especially when it involves your kids. I don’t spend money on cheap processed food. It may cost more upfront, but it saves money on healthcare down the road.

  • David says:

    My list would include ski equipment and winter clothing. I use these things on the job all winter and I need them to be reliable. Most outdoor gear falls in this category. With my side hustle as a Registered Maine Guide and whitewater paddling instructor an equipment failure could put my clients in serious danger and place me in a role as rescuer that I hope never happens.

  • Rachel says:

    So I have learned that I will pay a little more for really good customer service. Insurance for example, at this point I would be willing to pay a few dollars more per month on car insurance to know I have support should I need it.
    I am also willing to buy good cell phone cases to protect my investment. For example the break proof etc ones.
    And I am paying the extra money to have a reliable safe car.
    My husband also prefers the better coffee, but he uses far less of the good stuff, so I think that one actually evens out.
    However I use cheap cleaning products (vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide depending on what’s needed)
    I make my own dishwasher detergent.
    And I am not brand specific so I can buy the sale.
    I also am willing to skimp on home decor.

    • Cat says:

      I am with you on the cell phone cases. That’s a really good example. I need to get on the cleaning product train!

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    I refuse to go cheap about healthcare. I know it costs me an arm and a leg every time I take my son to the doctor, but I would rather spend the money and know that he’s okay than take chances to save a buck.

  • Abigail @ipickuppennies says:

    Shoes. I work from home, so I don’t need dress shoes or anything. But I need shoes with good support. So no more trips to Payless.

    I’d say hair, but I’m really happy with the job my local beauty school does. Thirty bucks gets me a color and a cut. That said, I do pay for quality products. Maybe drugstore stuff would work just as well, but these are the ones I feel work best for me.

    I’ve been told to always buy quality clothing, so you’re not replacing it all the time. But a) I have a hard time telling the difference and b) The stuff I spend more on seems to wear out at exactly the same rate.

  • catherine says:

    Beds- mattress/sheets. Carseat for kiddo, certain foods we enjoy but aren’t cheap too.

  • Laura says:

    I always spend more on things I know will last a long time, which makes it cheaper in the long run. I will never buy another Windows PC computer, for example. They go bad after a couple years but Macs last a decade and keep running like new. I also spent the money on a Vitamix blender rather than wear out two or three cheap ones every year.

    • David says:

      I haven’t been impressed with Apple’s durability. I have owned two iMacs and they both died after 3.5-4 years. Repairing either of them would have cost almost as much as replacing it with a new Apple. I bought my first PC three years ago and the hardware hasn’t given me any trouble. The Geek Squad service plan has taken care of any malware and software issues. I wouldn’t expect much from an inexpensive WalMart PC but a mid price or better PC should last as long as anything from Apple.
      If you’re going through 2-3 blenders a year I wouldn’t buy a Vitamix. It’s a good product but it’s consumer grade. I would go to a restaurant supplier and buy a commercial blender.

  • Mik says:

    If financial advisors are worth their fees then why are they still working and needing you to invest ???

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