Realizing that price and quality don’t always equate is one of the most liberating feelings in the world. Companies try to get you to buy more expensive versions of products when the baseline model will do, and it hits you right where it hurts: your wallet.
That being said, there are plenty of places where you actually do get what you pay for, and your quality of life is taking an unnecessary hit. It may be worth adjusting your budget (just a little bit!) to allow for upgrades in a few areas:
A Great Pillow
You sleep on it every night, but you probably haven’t given it a second thought in years. At this point, it may almost be completely flattened from years of use. But why do you keep putting off a pillow upgrade or spending $10 on new pillows every couple of years? It’s probably because you don’t view pillows as a “fun” purchase. If you can save some money on the boring stuff, you can save up for that next vacation or fancy new watch you’ve been eying.
But think about it this way—how do you feel the day after a poor night’s sleep? It most likely affects your entire day and keeps you from running at 100%. And that nagging neck pain? That could also very well be due to sleeping on a poor pillow. Consider this: 84% of people who upgraded their pillow reported less frequent neck pain. Upgrade your pillow and your body will thank you.
Supportive Running Shoes
You’re living an active lifestyle, but your shoes didn’t get the memo. If you’re reaching for the same pair of ratty old shoes that you’ve been using for years to mow the lawn, it’s seriously time for an upgrade. Besides holding back your mile time, your running shoes may actually be leaving you at risk for a multitude of injuries. Running is a high-impact sport, and you need shoes that will help cushion the blows to keep you out on the treadmill.
Affordable running shoes are probably cheaper than you think, too. You don’t have to go out and spend a couple hundred dollars to get a high quality running shoe when plenty of affordable options exist. As an added bonus, why not get something that upgrades your style at the same time? Killing two birds with one stone is certainly frugal and absolutely worth the extra $20.
If you listen to music every day, you need a good pair of headphones—there’s no two ways about it. There’s no sense in listening to your favorite music in terrible quality day in and day out. Besides the enjoyment you’ll undoubtedly get from the increase in sound quality, you may be hurting your eardrums.
The shrill, loud sound emanating from low-quality headphones certainly has the potential to damage your ears, especially on higher volumes. Plus, a lot of cheap headphone don’t fit in your ear well and cause unnecessary pain in that way, too. Next time you’re at the store, splurge a little on some $100 headphones and hear the difference.
An Electric Toothbrush
Out of all of the items on this list, an electric toothbrush is probably the least exciting and flashy item. But there’s a reason your dentist keeps nagging you to spend good money on one: it’s much, much better for your oral health. In just 3 months, electric toothbrushes reduce plaque by 21% and gingivitis by 11%.
Electric toothbrushes are key to proper dental hygiene, so that means it’s time to throw out your old manual toothbrush and upgrade. A lot of electric toothbrushes are loaded with features including timers and different vibration settings, too! While it won’t have you running home to brush your teeth every day, it will leave your mouth in much better shape.
High-Quality Stainless Steel Knives
If you cook with any regularity, stainless steel knives will absolutely change your life. Try chopping onions with a dull blade—I’ll give you hint: it’s not going to be very fun! Sharp knives make everything from cutting steak to dicing tomatoes significantly easier. When cutting softer, more delicate items, dull blade will have trouble puncturing the skin cleanly and will leave you with a battered mess. A sharp blade will eliminate this problem by slicing through the outer surface more easily, making those bent, jagged, and messy cuts a thing of the past. For those concerned with presentation, nice knives are even more important.
Besides the obvious usage benefits, stainless steel knives are one of the better investment you can make from a financial perspective. Knives undergo a lot of pressure on a regular basis, so poorly-constructed knives will fall apart very quickly. On top of physical construction, knives are very prone to rust. That’s where the stainless steel comes in, allowing you to use your knives for years without replacement.