Things You Should Not Go Cheap On

I like to save money. Actually, I hate SPENDING money. But I know there are things you should not go cheap on. When I was in college I made decent wage working full-time, but did everything I could not to spend. Anytime I bought something I thought to myself something like “That’s $15…one hour of work after taxes…” I would think about how much time I had spent in order to buy that. For a while that made me kind of cheap.

Today I still consider myself frugal, but certainly more lax. I have an idea of what to save on, and what to spend a little more on. But there are some purchases that you shouldn’t be aiming to go cheap on.  Think of these as life investments that are worth the extra cash.


An old roommate and close friend of mine told me something his dad taught him. “You spend 2/3’s of your life on your feet and on your back. Don’t try to save on shoes and a bed.” Within a week I went to buy the best bed of my life.

I had spent the previous 5 years sleeping on a futon. As soon as I slept on this bed I realized what a huge mistake that had been. I really think I lost of year of my life sleeping on that crappy futon. Back pain, lack of sleep. STRESS. I will never go short on spending on a bed again.

I’m not personally opposed to buying a used mattress, although I know many people who are. If you choose to go that route, buy something less than a year old and still firm. Find out if they have been using a bed protector underneath the sheet. If not, gross. Don’t buy it.


In particular, active shoes. Shoes that you run in. Shoes that you’re going to stand-up all day in. Don’t buy shoes that look great but hurt the muscles and tendons in your feet. Dress sharp, but also think of it as dressing “healthy.” People take medication for pain and joint support. Concerning your feet, do whatever you can to prevent having to go down that road.

Don’t blow money on big brands just for the sake of it. Sales people can be helpful. But many don’t fully know what they’re talking about. And they certainly don’t know your body. You do. So do some research online before you go out shoe shopping. We each have foot structure. Go to an authoritative source to find out what’s best for you.

Verify the talent first…

Untalented X-Men


If you’re committing some of your skin to become art for the rest of your life, pay for a masterpiece. Find the absolute best artist out there to design exactly what you want. Hopefully that is the person that will actually be inking you. Don’t go cheap. Find the best referrals; see their finished product on a real human being. And be willing to pay top dollar for something you’ll carry with you into old age.

This is permanent! This is one of those things you should not go cheap on.


Pay for the better health insurance plan your employer offers. Because if you do end up going to the hospital, that 10% difference you were paying for may end up saving your $1,000s.

Take the time to understand your medical insurance options. There’s a big difference between HMOs, PPOs, and EPOs. You don’t need a doctorate to understand your medical insurance. Speak to your insurance provider and ask if they have a Patient Advocate that can help navigate the intricacies and nuances of your insurance and finances.

If you’ve been injured, see your doctor about it. Push him to find out what’s really wrong. If they suggest physical therapy, do it. Working on those little muscles are more important than you know.


I’m not suggesting you buy everything name brand. Eating healthy isn’t actually expensive. Fruits? Vegetables? That stuff isn’t expensive. Nevertheless, when you’re walking down the aisles don’t automatically buy one product over another simply because it’s cheaper. Take a look at the ingredients, sugar, and saturated fat. The product that has less sugar, saturated fat and crazy words for ingredients may be the way to go. You can also check out the glycemic index of numerous food products to get a better idea of how your body will use that energy.

Check out your local farmer’s market for great prices while supporting local farmers.

Don’t be a tightwad-Know the things you should not go cheap on

I ruptured my ankle almost 4 years ago. I wish I had paid whatever it cost to get the care I needed then. I’m still dealing with the pain and how it slows me down. Don’t wait. Pay for the right care as soon as you need it.

That’s not to mention buying better running shoes at a more frequent rate would have helped my feet, knees and back over the years. And a great bed as well would have helped me focus better in the office. Don’t be cheap when it comes to stuff that will give you more energy and help you get more out of life. Investing in good products can be a great investment in your life.

(Take a look at more thoughts on things you should not go cheap on at my friend Jon Elder’s


  1. I hadn’t thought of a tattoo as an item not to skimp on. I have 3 tattoos but haven’t gotten a new one in 12 years. Luckily I found an artist who was half the price of the commercial place, but just as talented.

    • Todd Mayfield says

      Yes! I hadn’t thought of it either until a close friend of mine finally got the tattoo he had been dreaming of for years. He told the artist that he would pay him to make a tattoo that he would want to win first place in a contest. He ended up being very pleased with it.

      It sounds like you found a guy that’s talented and also the right price.

  2. Awesome article, keep up the good work!

  3. Robert @ The College Investor says

    I would agree on never skimping on a mattress. A good nights sleep is so important.

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