Save or splurge? Know when to buy the expensive option

Although saving money is important, sometimes it pays to spend more. Here’s a look at when it’s smart to save and when it’s wiser to splurge on several products and services.

Vehicles: Save
Never opt for the expensive option when it comes to a car or truck. This is not an investment as vehicles loose their value almost instantly after purchase. Instead, look for used deals. You can get a pre-owned certified car or truck for the piece of mind that it’s protected. Look for a model that is one to two years old with up to 20,000 miles for a big savings compared to the new car price. Check out sites like TrueCar to figure out the fair market value on new and used car in your area, which you can use as a leverage when haggling.

New Home: Splurge
Sometimes spending more for a home that has it all and doesn’t need any updates or additions gives you more time to enjoy time with your family. Just make sure it’s in a good neighborhood and school district so it retains it’s resell value and can make you money in the long run. Ultimately, a home is an investment that should grow in value and you want to make sure it has all the features and is in a location that suits you and your family. However, if you are shopping around for a starter home, go for the cheaper option assuming you don’t plan to stay there long. A cheaper home will cost you less initially for the downpayment and closing cost fees, but you may have to spend more on repairs and updates.

Appliances: Save
When it comes to household appliances for the kitchen and laundry room, don’t pay more for looks and design. Though you may opt to spend a little more to get stainless steal appliances, read up on reviews because you may be able to get a great working appliance for your specific at a mid-range price. Just because some of the well known brands cost more doesn’t mean that they are better. When shopping around and comparing prices, check out for discount gift cards to popular appliance retailers like Lowes and Home Depot. You can typically score a gift card for less than face value to help you trim your total spending.

Medical or Dental Care: Splurge
I am picky when it comes to doctors and I rather spend more to see someone one I trust. However, when it comes to prescription medicine, I always ask if there are any generic alternatives available to help me reduce the total costs. I also purchase meds from the Costco Pharmacy that has shown to have cheaper prices on generic medicine than drugstore pharmacies. Don’t forget, the generic versions of over-the-counter medicine is a cheaper and just as effective and safe option, as regulated by the FDA so don’t splurge on the name brands. If you suspect an error on your bill or simply need help assessing it, check out CoPatient. They will review your bill and request money back for any errors.

Electronics: Save
When it comes to just about every electronic, I recommend saving as much as possible. Electronics like TVs, smartphones and tablets have rapid depreciation value. Considering that technology is constantly changing and getting better, you may decide to update your gadgets often. You can find great deals on older models, open box deals and floor samples to search around and speak with a sales associate who may be able to negotiate on price. However, don’t skimp on that large screen TV with the built in WiFi to save a $100 bucks if that’s a feature you really need. Paying a little more for the model that offers a bonus feature that you know you will use is okay. But, don’t get sold on the gimmicks either and never waste your money on an extended warranty!

Hotels: Splurge
Traveling offers you a lifetime of memories so this is one area where it’s okay to splurge. When it comes to hotels, I don’t necessarily look for the most expensive option, but I don’t like to skimp either. To me, a clean hotel with easy access to the sites I want to see is a worthwhile cost because it will make my trip that much better.  If I’m traveling far, I’d hate to get stuck at a less than stellar place that is dirty or feels unsafe. With that said, it’s easy to score savings when booking a room. Search for last minute hotel deals using the HotelTonight App, earn rewards by booking through so you can get free stays and negotiate with the hotel manager who may be able to give you a better rate or throw in a freebie like complimentary WiFi.

Home Furnishings: Save
Considering you spend approximately 50-hours each week in your bed, buying a good mattress for comfort and a good night sleep is important and you shouldn’t worry about the price on this purchase. However, other home furnishings like furniture should be sought used first. Look for cheap home decor without skimping on style at discount retailers like HomeGoods or even go garage sale hunting to discover other people unwanted treasures for the home.

How you spend your money all comes down to personal preference. Just make sure it falls within your budget. Where do you prefer to save and splurge?

Andrea Woroch

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who regularly contributes to leading national and regional news stories. She has appeared on NBC's Today Show, Dr. OZ, Good Morning America, FOX & Friends, MSNBC, CNN, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, and been quoted in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, Kiplinger Personal Finance, Better Homes & Garden and many others. Andrea also enjoys writing articles for various personal finance and lifestyle websites and blogs. Andrea is passionate about sharing ideas and tips to help you live on less without having to sacrifice. She says making a few small tweaks to daily and monthly spending is all you need to do to achieve your dreams within your means. Follow Andrea on Facebook and Twitter for daily savings tips and check back for new videos, magazine stories and blog posts all about saving money!

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