Household Items: Save or Splurge?

Domestic CEO asks a panel of QDT experts about when should you save, and when should you spend, when it comes to buying household items.
Save or splurge? It’s a question we find ourselves asking often, especially about household items. It’s hard to know if spending the extra money on an item is worth it.

So to help you make your buying decisions, I assembled a panel of Quick and Dirty Tips hosts to help answer the question of when to spend and when to save when it comes to purchasing things for your home. Giving their advice today are:

-Cheryl Butler, Mighty Mommy. This mom of 8 gives practical advice, tips, and tricks to help you add more balance, perspective, and fun into your family’s busy life!

-Eric Escobar, Tech Talker. This computer expert and hacker helps his listeners leverage technology to be a useful and accessible tool for all aspects of life.

-Kara Rota, Clever Cookstr. This foodie gives us a peek inside the kitchens of the world's best chefs!.


When to Save

The experts recommend pinching pennies on these items:
erin williamson // Flickr
Dining Room Sets

Mighty Mommy recommends saving on dining room sets, because busy families tend to eat at kitchen island counters. Dining rooms only get used a few times a year, or for homework, so save money on that purchase
Carissa Rogers // Flickr

Tech Talker recommends getting phones that are a year or two old, instead of the ones that are brand new to the market. Getting a refurbished phone on will save you lots of money, and will provide you a phone that is just as reliable as a new-fangled phone.
maaco // Flickr
Digital Cameras

Tech Talker also recommends saving on digital cameras -if your cell phone has the right capabilities. As long as your phone’s camera takes over 8 megapixels photos, and has 1080p for video with at least 30 frames per second, you can save on buying a separate digital camera, because your phone’s camera is probably better.
mallix // Flickr
Non-Stick Pans

Non-stick pans need to be replaced as soon as the coating starts to flake, so they are not going to last a lifetime. For this reason, Clever Cookstr recommends getting a cheaper set of pans. You’ll likely go through a few sets in your lifetime, so you can focus on getting just the pieces that you need for your current cooking habits.
Sarah Sphar // Flickr
Smaller Kitchen Tools

Digital scales, prep bowls, tongs, graters, and other smaller items are pretty similar from brand to brand. There’s not a lot of difference between the cheap ones and the expensive ones, so as long as they fit your needs and are dishwasher safe, this is a great place to save.

Now it’s time for the fun part!


When to Splurge

Where do these experts recommend spending the extra money?
Anthony Georgeff // Flickr

You probably won’t be surprised to know that Clever Cookstr recommends splurging on the ingredients she cooks with. Good produce, quality meats, and other ingredients are what make a meal, so spend a little extra on those.
Didriks // Flickr

In Kara’s words, “One great chef’s knife, if you take care of it, will last you a long time.” She recommends searching around to find the one that feels just right for you.
Nik Stanbridge // Flickr
Cast Iron or Stainless Steel Cookware

Cast iron and stainless steel cookware are investment pieces. Both can last a long time, if you take care of them, so it makes sense to get a better set that will last even longer.
bcmom // Flickr
Larger Items to Support Your Cooking Habits

If you make a lot of smoothies, it could make sense to invest in blender with a high horse power motor to power through the ice and ingredients. If you make a lot of stews and hot dishes, a quality Dutch oven may be a good purchase for you. All in all, if your cooking habits show that you are going to use an item on a regular basis, it is a good idea to invest in one that will consistently give you the results you want.
Dennis Skley // Flickr
Back Up Service

Without hesitation, Tech Talker recommends investing in a good backup service for all your digital files. These services can be programmed to set it and forget it, and will protect your digital files, including photos, resumes, and other important documents.

One service he recommends is Crash Plan, but you can also get extra space through Google Drive or Dropbox. If you’re still hesitant on saving to the cloud, Tech Talker tries to put those fears to rest by letting us know it’s easier for him to break into your house than it is to break into Google or other online storage services. I’m not sure that calms my fears, but it does motivate me to move my files!
Calgary Reviews // Flickr
Digital Cameras

Now this may seem like a contradiction to what Tech Talker already said, but if your phone doesn’t have the specs he stated earlier, then he recommends getting a good digital camera to capture all those memories. In other words, if you swear by your flip phone, you should be investing money into a better digital camera.
Ted Fu // Flickr

With 10 people in her house, there’s nothing worse for Mighty Mommy than being cranky because of a poor night’s sleep. Cheryl and her family even invest in better quality mattresses for their kids, to make sure they last for years. That way, even if all her monkeys are jumping on the bed, there won’t be any mattress coils poking anyone in the back the next night.
1015 / J.L. McVay // Flickr

Since most families use the same stroller for many years, investing in a higher quality stroller is Mighty Mommy’s final recommendation on where to splurge. If you have one child, you will appreciate that the wheels stay on and all the parts keep moving. And when you’re able to use that same stroller for a second child, you’ll know it was well worth the price.
If you haven’t yet checked out their shows, make sure to click on over to visit Mighty Mommy, Tech Talker, and Clever Cookstr.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home! Share your save or splurge thoughts with me on Facebook and Twitter.

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2 of 5 comments
  • M M on May 08, 2023

    And what if you can't splurge on beds? Or just don't want to spend the money?

    There are ways to get incredible beds free or for very little money if you are willing to do some work.

    I buy all my beds, including mattresses, off NextDoor, Craig's list, etc. Many people give them away, or practically give them away, because they are moving, downsizing, etc.

    Look for quality... don't jump at the first thing you see.

    1. I've been buying sleep number mattresses and bases using resale sites for years. As long as they still hold air and the pumps/remote controls work properly, there's no reason to purchase these new. The bases and the mattresses come apart completely and a king or queen set will fit in a small car... making them very convenient to pick up. I take the covers to the laundromat and wash/dry them in a commercial washing machine. I use bleach, so they are completely disinfected, and they come out beautifully. I lay the "insides" foam pieces on my deck, sprinkle baking soda and spray them with vinegar. After sitting... I hose them down and let them dry completely for a few days in the sun. I put them all back together and have a $2000 bed for just a few hundred dollars.
    2. We once bought 3 month old twin XLG mattresses for a California Split King unit was looking to set up. I these these advertised, asked the owner to take a picture of the tags for me. I then looked the mattresses up online, and they currently sell for $1600 each. The owner had bought them because he had a bad back and needed really good mattresses for him and his wife. They were also using split adjustable bases. However, after he had back surgery and they were too hard for him and he needed a softer mattress. They had always been enclosed in a protective bag and were completely clean. We paid $400 for the set. This was for an Airbnb and I have had guests inquiring where they can buy those mattresses, they had such a great night's sleep. The adjustable bed bases were also free... and from two different owners. A California split king bed is simply two Xlg bed bases pushed together and used with two XLG twin mattresses and one headboard. The bases weren't identical, they each had ugly floral patterns. I covered each with a bottom sheet to cover the patterns. With mattresses on top and with luxury bedding, no one has ever noticed.
    3. Yet another bed I bought for our Airbnb was a handmade daybed with pop up trundle. The owner was about 80 years old and downsizing. He and his son had made the bed together and it was crafted beautifully... VERY heavy and sturdy and a beast to move... so he was practically giving it away for $200 including the two decent mattresses (were in protective covers) that his grandkids slept on during visits... so very lightly used.
    4. Another time, I was furnishing an Airbnb and put together the most amazing bed - turned out stunning.
    • I got a free very high-quality queen mattress from an owner that was moving. It was sweat stained. I covered it in baking soda and vinegar for a few days and then power washed every bit of it and let it dry completely in the sun for several days on my porch. It came 100% clean and has been the best mattress.
    • For the above queen mattress, I got a free hardwood carved bed with ornate headboard, footboard, and side rails. It was dark brown, and missing a few parts of carving, and one side rail was slightly split. I repaired the split, glued on any missing pieces I had of the carvings, and then painted the entire bed with white chalk paint. It turned into a statement piece and the guests love the cottage like look of the bed.
    • For the same queen bed, I got a free adjustable base from a woman that was moving and couldn't handle the bulk and sheer weight of the base. She just needed it removed.
    • I even got the thick mattress pad cover and a set of $200 designer sheets for about $20 each. I paired them with a wonderful quilt I already had, lots of great pillows and a throw. Its a luxurious bed. I put a lot of effort into assembling the bed from all the donors... but it came out terrific. The Airbnb guests love sitting up in bed, reading, watching TV in comfort and luxury.

    If you need help moving the beds... just put inquiry on Nextdoor... there are plenty of people with trailers happy to go pick treasures up for you.

    These experiences have taught me to NEVER splurge on beds... too many people have to get rid of the beds THEY splurged on. ;-) Save the earth and save your wallet! Give these beds a second useful life.

  • Tom69754122 Tom69754122 on Oct 06, 2023

    I'm skeptical about used upholstered things like sofas & mattresses.