Everyday Items that Pay for Themselves (Over and Over Again)

Why pay for something that will be replaced in a few short months because it breaks, goes “out of fashion”, or no longer has the same functionality? I don’t play that game. I like to know that what I purchase has some form of longevity but also that it pays for itself. I may need to make a larger up-front investment but in the end it’s well worth it.

Here are some of the items I’d recommend:

E-Learning Platform Subscription

I would place this item as essential on the list no matter what area of life you’re from because education will always set you free. Platforms like Lynda.com have subscription options to their full library of courses; with a bit of time invested you can learn an immense range of topics that will help you grow as a person and develop a skillset that can be brought to your career.

Electronic Cigarettes

Millions of American smoke and that won’t really change but we can decide how we gain our nicotine and curb the rising costs. Electronic cigs have become wildly popular because they do not contain the harsh chemicals found in tobacco production. Once you’re set up with a decent vape (say $50-$100) and an e-juice you really enjoy (I prefer Small Batch vape juice because I like to rotate flavors), you’re cutting a $5-$10 a day expense to maybe $1-$2. Plus, you’ll feel better, you won’t stink, and smell/taste will come back.

High-End Computer

Building a high-end computer for work, gaming, and education is a fantastic choice to invest your money that saves in the long run. An upfront investment of about $800-$1,200 will give you the computing power you need for well over 5+ years. Consider the number of topics you’ll learn, people you connect with, entertainment you’ll explore, and work you’ll accomplish with a proper machine. Continue to offset long-term costs by setting aside a bit of money each year and make incremental upgrades.

Certified, Pre-Owned Vehicles

The moment you leave the lot is the moment your vehicle starts to depreciate in value. Remove yourself from the endless loop of having the latest and greatest – especially with vehicles – so you can keep your finances on track. A certified, pre-owned vehicle will ensure the vehicle has been well-maintained and documented, cost well within a budget, and provides the same functionality (getting from point A to B). You may not have incentives and finance options but the upfront cost well makes up for it if you can forgo the flash and bells & whistles of the latest model.

Quality Attire (BIFL-Type)

Quality materials, respected brands, and guarantees should be balanced into the purchase of your clothes. You can expect items to range from $30-$100 but when they last for many years, you see the value vs continually purchasing low-quality wares that fade, fray, and deteriorate. My suggestion is to hop over to the Buy It For Life sub-Reddit before making a big decision in this area.

Online Streaming Services (and Steam)

Netflix is a big winner in this regard because you’re no longer compelled to purchase DVD/BluRay sets of your favorites shows and movies. Hulu is a close contender since you have thousands of hours of entertainment. Amazon Prime goes in there because of the entertainment value but also the savings you’ll gain from the free shipping throughout the year. One other thing to mention (in tandem with the whole computer thing from above) is to use Steam for PC gaming since there are regular sales on games. The cost of subscribing for a year, up-front, isn’t too high – you’ll certainly see the value as the year goes on.

Slow Cooking & Stocking

An item I recommend to each of my friends has been a slow cooker. You really can’t do any wrong with a slow cooker because you simply set it and forget it; then you’re back home and food is ready! The number of recipes you can try with a slow cooker is astounding – they’ve always came out great. Combine this with stocking your pantry at the start of the month and you’ll easily cut your food bill in half. I went from spending nearly $250 a month (for two people) down to $100 on some months because of the change in how things were cooked and that I had everything for the recipes in stock.

Times are tough and every penny counts. It may seem hard to pull the trigger on investing in something up-front but when you weigh the long-term benefits you really get to see that it’s worth the choice.

What items/services have you invested into which paid for themselves (and more) in the long run?

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