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Nov 8, 2012

Socks and other things I'm not willing to skimp on



Readers, if you've been following me a while, you know that I'm something of a tightwad.  I hate to spend more than I have to and will only purchase something brand new if I have no other reasonable choice.

But like many tightwads — perhaps, one might argue, by virtue of being a tightwad — I am willing to cough up the dough for certain things that are important to me.

There aren't many of these, of course, but there are a few.



When it comes to pets — a terrible investment, second only to children — you can really only skimp so much.  Cheap food will only compromise their health which can lead to higher costs down the line.  Chihuahuas don't need fancy wardrobes but they do need warm coats.  And obviously, when pets get really sick, they need to go to the vet.

High quality food is important for us humans too, and if I can afford it, I'll buy local and organic.  Belonging to a CSA takes care of this for half the year and also ends up being cheaper than shopping at stores like Whole Foods.

Car rentals are another splurge.  We don't own a car, so if we need to go anywhere we can't get to on a train easily (or legally with our dogs), we rent a car.  It's not cheap, but there's no good alternative, and it allows us to get out of Dodge from time to time.

Mental health services, while not a current expense (thankfully) are something I consider an invaluable investment — much greater than higher education.   How you feel about yourself determines how you experience the world and hugely impacts your relationships with others.  Sometimes you need to cough up the cash for an emotional tune-up!

Finally, while I sew almost everything I wear, from underwear to outerwear, I'm not about to knit my own socks (not that I know how).  And I've found from experience that trying to save money on socks — or anything footwear related come to think of it — is a mistake of the penny-wise/pound-foolish variety.

I bought socks today and let me tell you, prices are high.  I'm talking good quality socks — these Wigwam socks happen to be made in the USA from a blend of wool, nylon, and a little lycra. I tend to wear socks around the house instead of slippers — it's drafty here in the winter — so they need to be sturdy.  I know there are people who still darn socks with holes in them but that is a skill I have never learned.  When my socks get holey, I toss them.  (I know some of you are probably stuffing pillows with them or unraveling the yarn and making sweaters.)



While these socks cost more than $10 a pair, they were a lot less than some of the socks I saw which cost more than $20, especially "technical" socks designed for specific sports.  I guess you could say mine are hiking socks, but to me they're just thick, warm socks.



Oddly (and happily), one of the pairs I bought today rang up at 50% off, though nothing was marked on the item, nor on the store's website.  I suspect it was simply an error in my favor.  It's generally hard to find socks on sale since they don't really go out of style.  So instead of spending more than $25 on two pairs of socks, I spent about $20.  Hey, you only have two feet and some people don't even have that.  Mine take a lot of abuse so I try to treat them well.  It's not like I'm splurging on pedicures or reflexology or anything — not that there's anything wrong with that.

In closing, readers — especially the self-proclaimed tightwads among you — are there things you're willing to pony up the extra cash for even though you know there are cheaper options, either because 1) the more expensive option lasts longer so is more economical in the long run, 2) there's no cheaper alternative, 3) your tightwad ways have earned you the right to splurge on something you care a lot about?

What are you willing to pay top dollar for, even though it irks you and/or surprises those who know you as a penny-pincher?

Jump in — before prices go up!

65 comments:

  1. I suppose there are some things that are "get what you pay for" items, but I don't believe socks are among them. I have found that socks don't last! Ever! No matter how expensive. Maybe I'm just really hard on socks. But I do think they lasted longer back in the day. I hope your new socks keep your toes wuddly for many years to come, though!
    (wuddly = warm+cuddly - my son's word)

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  2. Shoes! I always pay for high-quality comfortable shoes. They need to be leather (sorry if I offend) because those are the only ones that don't give my feet trouble. Tights are also another splurge. I wear them almost exclusively in the cool/cold months, so long-wearing, fun colour/pattern tights are a must.

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  3. I think I've been spending too much time on Facebook - this is the second (or third?) time I've been the first to comment on one of your posts! I'm not stalking you, honest.

    The only thing I can think of at the moment that I'm paying a premium for is my piano lessons. But they are worth it.

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  4. I spoke too soon about being first ...

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  5. well fitting bras, although that's proabbly not a concern for you :-)

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  6. It's surprising how much my list matches yours - pets, food (theirs and mine) I do not skimp on. I do grow as many of my own fruits & vegies as I can in order to ensure good quality and freshness. My version of mental health services is spiritual/self help workshops retreats :).

    And socks and shoes - I learned long ago that cheap shoes were NOT worth it. When I discovered Smartwool socks my feet went to heaven! (I wait for sales & then splurge)

    ETA: ACK! When did you add the dreaded word verification? Sorry if you got spammed so much you felt the need :(

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    1. It was getting really bad, unfortunately. I hate to have to use it.

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    2. Sorry Peter :(. A pox on them.

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  7. Wine. I won't buy cheap wine anymore. I can feel it the next day and I can certainly taste it. And generic dish soap. You have to use twice as much. Other than that I am a tightwad all the way. It irks me to no end when ppl spend a ton on groceries bc they think they have to shop at a pricy store to get edible food. I shop at a local store instead of the gigantic flagship wegmans nearby. I swear, sometimes wegmans will see a demographic coming and just charge the crap out of stuff. These people don't realize you can shop at a local butcher and get a better cut of meat and better local produce from farm stands (which you can't swing a dead cat at without hitting one).

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  8. I've become a hard milled soap devotee.

    Yep, I'm soapticular.

    I think the added cost is balanced by the longer lasting bar (it all equals out in the end), but also because the tub is easier to clean, less soap scum.

    To further my point, and preference, the hard milled soaps come in some delightful formulations (Dead Sea mud) and fragrance combinations (almond/oatmeal). They possess a softness in scent, not that over-the-top synthetic scream of what clean is supposed to smell like.

    Hard milled soap, everybody. Expensive, but I'm worth it.




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  9. The only thing I would pay full price for is a mattress. Of course I will look for a sale, but a top of the line mattress was instrumental in regaining my health. I am biased. I really do buy everything else on sale.

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  10. I will probably be pilloried, but I don't want to sew my own jeans, and there is ONE brand that fits PERFECTLY, is comfortable, lasts, and it's expensive. OH WELL. I love good denim.

    Other than that, food and vet care. I believe in quality vet care enough that I actually donate to the "needy family" fund at my vet's, because we're fortunate to be able to afford the care our cats have needed in the last two years (cancer and poison; we're all survivors here, though).

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  11. Bread, chocolate, and shoes...especially for my kid (she rolls in on her ankles and only pricey, highly engineered shoes like those by New Balance keep her feet in the proper position). Poor quality chocolate and bread, meanwhile, are not worth the calories.

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    1. Have you tried proper orthotics (the kind made from an actual mold of the foot, not the Dr Scholls nonsense)? I have severe pronation (worst my orthopedist has seen in years) and even sneakers can’t hold my ankles (and therefore the rest of my legs) in the proper place but with orthotics I can wear/walk in some dress shoes without pain. They can be pricey if insurance doesn’t cover them but incredibly worth it.

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  12. Couldn't agree more about socks - especially when you have a family with oversized feet. Not only are you looking for comfort, style and durability, but you need to add in "truth in sizing" : so many times I have bought king size socks only to discover that they are not OR they shrink in the first wash. Here in Australia I've found that locally made wool blend socks are usually the way to go- more $$$ but in the long run better value.

    Oh- and really good chocolate is worth any amount of money!

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  13. Two things that will make you (OK, me) feel poor even if you're not -- cheap toilet paper and cheap towels. I won't discuss the t.p. (let's just say "Charmin Ultra" and leave it at that), but today's towels -- even the higher-end, not inexpensive models from such places as BB&B or Macy's -- fall apart (along the edges, have you noticed this?) in just a few months of reasonable, nothing crazy use. A string pulls out, and it's all over. They start to look ratty, and thinner, and eventually, they're serving as drop cloths.

    In comparison, the everyday towels my mom bought nowhere fancy (most likely Sears), back in the early 70s, are as luxuriously thick, absorbant and fully intact as they've ever been. She gave them to me, and now I have them stowed in the guest closet. We can't bring our selves to let go of things so well-made and perfectly preserved, despite the fact that they haven't matched the decor of anywhere she or I has lived since the late 70s.

    The only reasonably priced towels of comparably good quality I've had since came from Eddie Bauer. I bought 2 of them in 1992 (and even had them monogrammed because they were, for me, very expensive), with credit from a returned gift (an ill-fitting but beautiful and high-quality cashmere sweater).

    A stack of soft, thick towels and soft, 2-ply t.p. (both in white) can make you feel rich even when you're living hand-to-mouth and eating ramen noodles.

    Other than those, while I know the difference between a quality item and a bargain brand, sometimes it just really doesn't matter. Especially when what you're buying is a trendy, non-essential, non-classic.

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  14. I tend to spend more for leather shoes that are good quality, I knit my own socks, but do spend more per sock than many simply because the good yarn isn't cheap. I also spent a lot on my spinning wheel, sewing and knitting supplies, but considering they're what keep me sane I think it's a worthy investment.

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  15. Oooh... Wig Wams ARE good socks. I'm with you on spending my money on those. We bought Smartwools for a while, and they don't hold up as well.

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    1. Hmmmm.....one of my Smartwools (which I DO love for utter comfort) did develop a worn spot after 2 years.....maybe I need to look into the Wig Wams....

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  16. Travel is my extravagance. Of course, it helps that we live in a semi-exotic place to start with (although believe me, Abu Dhabi is a hell of a lot more Milwaukee-with-sand than Sex and the City 2 ever let on), but the heat and craziness also make it more important than ever to get away.

    Hotels don't have to be fancy (although that's nice, now and then), but they have to be clean, firm-mattressed, and quiet. Sometimes that costs. Restaurants don't need a Michelin star every night, but once in a while, you're foolish not to try something wonderful. And - and this is the one that drives me mad watching others - if you've come halfway 'round the world, don't stand around dithering whether it's really worth the ticket to see Topkapi Palace, the observation deck of the Eiffel Tower, or some special exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum.

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  17. I'd rather put money for good replacement parts into my '95 Corolla (with 200,000 miles) or my '04 Sienna (with 100,000) because they are paid for and I know they are well-taken care of.

    I also believe in spending the extra money on things that will prevent frustration in the long run - including good food. If I'm going to keep a few extra pounds, it might as well come from the tasty stuff!

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  18. Shoes. Because I have the time, I buy most of the girls' shoes. And I don't do Payless or discount stores. I have favorite brands because of the high quality of them for kids' shoes--Pediped and Stride Rite. I'm talking American Podiatric Medical Association approved, leather, comfortable shoes. I buy Stride Rite and Pediped and rarely venture from those brands. Cheap shoes can cause problems with developing feet. They don't last well, and you end up buying twice as many pairs to last out whatever size your kid is in. My favorite brands for shoes can retail for as much as $80/pair, and they have multiple pairs of shoes. (My thinking is that they need Sunday shoes, black and white--I prefer Stride Rite classic mary janes for those, sandals (two pairs usually because we have a long sandal season in Georgia), sneakers and boots. I usually throw some casual mary janes in with the mix, too.)

    I also don't pay retail. Instead, I tend to get said shoes off parents who bought them ahead of time and then they were only worn once or twice or never worn at all. My girls have shoes in sizes they haven't grown into yet and I add more in bigger sizes to their collection as I find them on ebay.

    And my shoes are something I can't scrimp on, because they have to be custom made to handle the swelling in my legs and feet.

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  19. Hmmm I'm with most of you: I'll pay for good food, a top quality mattress, pet care, good quality shoes, but I will not pay outrageous prices for breakfast cereal. I buy oats and nuts and fruit make my own muesli.

    p.s word verification drives me crazy!!! can you take it off please please!

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  20. Like another poster said, I do not skimp on dish soap, it must be Dawn brand for me. Another thing is sheets for the bed, particularly the fitted sheet. Cheap ones just will not stay snug around the mattress for me. I once bought some of those cheap, satiny sheets. Yuck!

    Name brand batteries are also worth it to me. If the power goes out and you need batteries for your flashlight you're going to cure those Dollar Tree ones when they don't work. Splurge on the good ones.

    Lastly, I guess would be pots and pans. A super cheap skillet or a crappy saucepan drives me nuts. I always try to buy them on sale, but I am willing to splurge a little for a good skillet, saucepan, or the like. Luckily, a good piece of cookware should last a really long time.

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  21. pets, food, haircut (i sit in the chair and my friend cuts my hair with a backdrop of his beautiful garden..., pedicure, symphony/theatre seats, and this blog, of course...

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  22. I'm a huge tightwad but the only thing I splurged on recently was this new gravity feed steam iron: http://www.allbrands.com/categories/365/11174-sapporo-sp-527-sp95-gravity-feed-water-bottle-stea . I thought that the splurge would benefit me in the long run. Although, I haven't used the iron yet.

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  23. I splurge on the vet. If I'm worried about a pet we go to the vet. If the vet says the pet is OK, that is money well spent. A mental health cost, I guess.

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  24. Food, car tyres and haircut are the things that immediately spring to mind.

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  25. I'm drumming into my sons the fact that cheap shoes & cheap perfume are a waste of money.
    Clearly, most people agree on the footwear front. As for the perfume...for his 16th birthday, I bought my eldest a bottle of Chanel Allure Sport in an effort to wean him from the dread Lynx (don't know if you have that brand in the US - over-scented deodorant & trust me, it's vile!) Now 20, he buys it himself & tells me how many compliments he gets on his signature scent. Point made with him, 2 more to go.

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    1. Mother of the Year!!!

      Keep on (please!).

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  26. Ha ha, too funny- it was only this morning that I was boring my workmates about a brilliant pair of socks that I bought a while ago! I'm glad someone else gets it :)

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  27. The hubster is a sock snob too because his feet go BAAAAD in anything but wool or cotton. I am a free range chicken and eggs and pork and bacon person, because the sheep and cattle in this country have a pretty good life, but the chickens and pigs I feel we need to watch out for, even here.
    And a leather, quality shoe person too because I have GINORMOUS feet, that go baaad in anything but leather, so it's rare I get away with less than $200 for a pair. Doesn't stop me buying them tho :-/

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  28. i'm willing to splurge on mountain boots (crampons and similar stuff that keep me safe up in the mountains) if you go cheap there, you can loose your foot.. socks are another storry, my grandma knit the best socks in the world..
    and, i have weakness for really soft multilayer toilet paper, i'm always willing to splurge on that..
    with all the other things - i gonna sew it, diy it, grew it, cook it, bake it, make it, fix it myself

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  29. Shoes would be the first thing to spring to mind with me. Money was very tight when the kids were small but I always paid the money for Clark's shoes for them (even though my eldest acted as if the size measurer was some kind of foot guillotine each time she was fitted).

    Socks I knit for myself so darning is something I do as I had put the effort into making them.

    Materials for knitting and sewing have to be natural; knitting with acrylic makes my skin crawl..... I do upcycle but am still willing to drive across the country once a year for a fabric sale and stock up.

    And I must have been the last person in Ireland to get a smartphone when the Samsung Galaxy 2 finally became free on my priceplan........the week the Galaxy 3 came out!

    So, yes I am a tightwad........but with exceptions.

    :-)

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  30. It kills me to pay $3 for dish washing gloves that get a hole in the index finger on the third use. The staining gloves at the hardware store (orange- Playtex)same brand- last more than four months and only cost twice as much. Hey, everyone has their thing.

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  31. Cooking utensils, pins and shoes - those can easily be bought too cheap. A cheap knife will dull so fast and you end up with sore wrists and cut fingers.

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  32. Great cooking knives are so worth it, especially if you cook from scratch most nights. I spent almost 30 years before discovering - talk about life changing!
    It seems to me this post is talking about frugality rather than being a cheapskate. My Dad lived by this concept. Better to spend more up front for a quality item that will last longer, perform better and involve less repairs (but worth repairing).

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  33. I don't know that I am frugal but also I am not a spender. Now my sweetie is extremely frugal and will pinch the quarters til the eagle screams. He does a lot of comparison shopping until he finds exactly what he is looking for in the price he is willing to pay.

    For me, when I go shopping, I know exactly what I want, what I am willing to pay and if the color/size/whatever isn't available, I come home empty handed.

    I don't do a lot of garage sale and flea market shopping. I don't know why because the few times I did, I found great stuff. I guess because you have to just be browsing and I don't do that. I'm like a dart, know what I want and headed for the target and target only.

    Although sweetie is a browser. He likes to find a bargain unexpectedly.

    I spend money on shoes, luggage (I have 3 matching pieces that on clearance were around $500 and worth EVERY penny!), winter gear (have to for survival where I work). My boots were like $95 but comfort rated to -40 F. My parkas were around $150 each but comfort rated to -35 F. I have mittens and hat that were $200 each. But they are instant heat when you put them on. (Please don't judge, they are fur. But it is different in AK. The natives that made them also ate them. They use all of the animal.) Blankets and bed sheets are important to me too. Again, part of survival.

    I dropped some money on my computer five years ago. I bought a Mac book Pro. It's served me well traipsing all over the country and is often checked into the luggage hold where it is freezing, and is still running like a champ. On village flights, you are required by law to check everything. I am looking to replace it this year with another.


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    1. Holy crap, I'd like to know where I can buy a $150 parka that's just as good as a $700 parka! For heaven's sake, the CDN dollar is routinely HIGHER than yours, so why is our stuff still 4 times the price??? My boyfriend's new ice fishing boots are rated for -25 celcius (-13F) and they were $200. My mind is just boggled by this...

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    2. Wow, Alexus! I'm sorry to hear that! I got my parkas at Lands End and my boots were Sorel's. I know that was the price on the parka, but I double checked the boots. They were $136 with shipping. Sorry. Should have looked again . . .

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  34. It's definitely bed sheets for me. I also spend on good quality chicken from a Whole Foodsy-type place near the house. But I'm not a tight-wad, probably to my detriment. I also like to buy new books. I can't stand used books, for the most part. I love books so much and do keep most of what I buy. It's pet pleasure of mind to caress and smell a new book!

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  35. Please of MINE, not mind. Sheesh!

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  36. Eyeglasses!! I don't buy much make-up or jewelry so my glasses are my fashion statement. I want anti-reflective coating, lightweight lenses, and scratch protection. This is my face and eyes. I spare no expense!

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  37. Work shoes and things I buy every 5-10 years, like a parka.

    I have no compunctions about spending over $100 for shoes that will last 2 or 3 years and are comfortable for hours on end.

    Living in northern Ontario and being a human chihuahua, I need a decent parka. My last one was on sale for $300 because the new owners of Woods cancelled their outerwear line. 8 years later, I gotta shell out $700 for something comparable. Thankfully, my parents are willing to go halvesies with me.

    Other things I spent a fortune on but won't need to again for a long time: a $500 digital camera, a $500 sewing machine, and $500 Burberry eyeglasses.

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  38. I spend on my hobbies. I view sewing, knitting, baking, running, etc. as an investment in myself, which IMHO is the best kind.

    Btw I'm with you when it comes to socks, shoes and food! But my most expensive socks are the ones I knit myself. I suppose my love of cashmere yarn is to blame.

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  39. I'm a bit of a cheapskate when it comes to eating out, meaning that I'd rather pack my own (cheap!) lunch for a school day or trip than pay for canteen food. I rarely spend over 20 euros when eating out, which is easy because most of my friends are on a strict budget as well and we know loads of places with cheap good food. I go for quality foods but since I'm a vegetarian my food isn't that expensive (vegetables and cans of beans are cheap here).

    Things I do splurge on:
    Hair and skincare. I have very sensitive skin and most of the cheaper brands do more bad than good. I spend twelve euros on a bottle of shower gel, but I'll be comfortable in my own skin after showering.
    Bras. I've had cheap bras that fit me reasonably well, but most of the time it's about finding a brand that fits you well rather than a size, and the brand I found is on the pricy side.
    Shoes. I'm through with fifteen-euro shoes. never again. I'd rather have two pairs I can wear all day than ten crappy shoes that only last a few months.
    Books/music. I can't help it, I love physical books, and I feel too guilty to download music since my favourite bands really need all te support they can get.
    I do tend to spend a bit more on fabric than what my classmates would spend on clothes, but this is the same thing as the shoes: i'd rather have two dresses that fit well and are of great quality than ten cheap H&M ones that don't hold up.

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  40. I, too, agree with your list. Quality pet food makes the animals pooop less and the poop smells less (anyone who has indoor cats knows exactly what I'm talking about, heh). Of course, local and organic foods which I'm growing myself but visit the local farmers market when I can.

    But, most importantly, tea - I always buy the quality tea. Lipton and other cheaper brands now taste like mud to me.

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  41. Another frugal shopper who will spend a bit (sometimes quite a bit!) more on certain items.

    Shoes (very finicky feet), sewing notions, food (within reason--seasonal produce is great about 9 months of the year), skin care (every bit as sensitive and finicky as the feet!), linens (bedding & bath), eye exams, contact lenses and one good pair of eyeglasses, and maintaining my 2003 Toyota Corolla (paid cash for it new, has 55,000 miles--I plan to keep it at least five more years, barring serious accidents(fingers crossed to avoid that!)).

    Most of these items--except for food!--are periodic purchases and some can be planned around sales. It's very difficult to find shoes that my feet find acceptable on sale, though.

    Something I did not include, since I doubt I'll need to replace anything soon is kitchen ware--cutlery, pots & pans, food storage containers and such. I agree with those who say quality makes a big difference in food preparation!

    It seems that we're a pretty frugal group!

    Taja

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  42. What kind of coats for your chihuahuas? My dog is freezing in the coat I bought him.

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    1. Ours are horse blanket-style: a very sturdy nylon shell with a thick fleece lining. It buckles so it doesn't get pulled over their heads (which one of them hates).

      Very much like this:

      http://www.doversaddlery.com/dog-turnout-blanket/p/X1-5407/

      Very sturdy too.

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  43. I also love the good socks and won't skimp. recently I dropped some $$ on a bunch of new socks for the season down at Century 21. I have big feet and the selection in the ladies department is usally very unappetizing, but the mens section is a different story I got several pairs of fine italian wool socks in happy colors. Most of them ended up under or around $10 a pair so I feel like a winner.

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  44. I pay more to get me and my girls wool peacoats from Lands End. Very warm and last a long time. The cheaper coats from Old Navy aren't 100% wool and aren't nearly as warm.

    Also we spend on Ugg boots. I am in New England and hate frozen feet Ugg boots will keep feet warm to about 5 below 0 because they have mylar in the soles bouncing body heat back up. To me that's worth paying for.

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  45. I'm with Jilly Be, Smartwool socks are my weakness. That and organic white wine. Oh and a nice bottle of port.

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  46. Just darn your socks, you will feel better about yourself. Use an old-fashioned lightbulb or discarded doorknob for a darning egg. Most vintage sewing books have instructions.

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  47. Great topic. Really good walking boots, with terrific treds, for ice/snow. Great haircuts, and colour. Having waxing done, all year round, not just for summer swimming. Needed mads. Cathie, in Quebec And pets and their excellent care. Helping strays....

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  48. Birkenstocks. Worth the money.

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  49. pet care, organic milk, local gulf coast shrimp, my Clark's wallabee shoes, soap and moisturizer, alpaca knitting yarn, beeswax candles, safety equipment (no cheap helmets),tea, a good food processor, membership to AAA, fitness classes with people who know what they are doing so you don't end up injured.

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  50. Chocolate. And medical insurance. AAA Plus. A luxury car rental when I'm forced to travel, because small cars wreak havoc on my back. And a standby generator so I don't ever have to be miserable for the better part of a week again. Frugality has its virtues, but some things are a must.

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  51. Organic milk. The first time I bought it I could immediately tell the difference. And I don't buy the generic brands of it either.

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  52. I'm with you on paying for good socks. I love mostly-wool socks sold as hiking socks - thick, comfy, warm, and breathe well. I've found that two brands that wear the best for me are Thorlo and REI. Both last really well, and the latter is a moderate price for the quality. (Wigwam is decent in terms of lasting, too.) Smart wool socks feel lovely when they're new, but seem to develop super-thin spots super fast - so disappointing. Check REI (on-line, especially the outlet) for sales on hiking socks - I've sometimes managed to get serious bargains that way. (I really wish I'd bought more of the pink Thorlos on clearance a few years ago!)

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  53. Shoes. Good shoes are so important. And if they're cute, that's a bonus. I have wide feet with high arches, so it's hard to find any shoes that fit which are cheap, anyway. I also don't skimp on my kids' shoes.

    Skincare and sun block. I'm all about keeping the wrinkles at bay and I just don't buy drugstore skincare products. Clinique City Block every day keeps the skin cancer and wrinkles away. It's also why people never guess that I'm 40. I also try to by body washes and shampoos that don't have sulfates or parabens or phthalates, and often that means I'm spending twice as much or more for it. It may cost more but given the fact that those things have been shown to cause problems in animals, I don't want my kids being exposed to that.

    Produce. We belong to a CSA and when the season ends we buy at the Farmer's Market as long as it's open. Then I try to buy from the local market that sources food locally whenever possible, and I try to buy organic.

    Haircuts. I don't skimp on the price of a good cut and color, and I only frequent Aveda salons because I believe in their philosophy and commitment to the environment. Yes, a cut and highlights will set me back about $135, but I can make it last 2 months and I feel better about myself if my hair looks good and you can't put a price on that.

    Pet food and health care. I'm lucky to have a sturdy little Westie that doesn't mind the cold and who doesn't have health problems, but I like to make sure she gets her teeth cleaned once every 12-18 months, simply because good oral health helps prevent other health problems and that's like saving money.

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    1. Now, I'm a firm believer in choice, and i think if you are happy with your hair from aveda, that's wonderful and i wouldn't try to talk you out of it. The only thing i will mention is their marketing is somewhat deceptive, i.e. an aerosol hairspray that is carbon neutral not because it's ok for the environment, but because they purchase green energy credits. Or telling people that their color is low peroxide (like 3, 6 percent? I asked on the phone) when it's similar to everyone else. Or the laundry list of chemicals in their products.the color line I use just added a green line and an ammonia free color; i scrutinize those in much the same way. When a company advertises from a moral high ground, i feel they are earning the scrutiny and should be willing to put their money where their mouth is. For the record, the shampoo and condish i use at home and occasionally at work is called segal's solutions. They are actually based in Richmond, a suburb of Vancouver and seem to pride themselves most on their hair loss products, rather than the fact that they make shampoo that works without using a ton of garbage. I knew it could be done! It never strips my color, either. (which is Elumen, peroxide and ammonia free, doesn't lift or cover grey but makes your hair shiny and has about six or seven ingredients total) anyways this wasn't intended to snark, aveda has some great business practices and had truly been a green innovator in the industry. On topic, i vowed to never skimp on laundry soap or the love of my lIfe, midi the pitbull. Acana grasslands (no more farts!) salmon oil and recovery for her joints (she is eleven).

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  54. I'm with you on the good socks. I buy wool blend sport socks from Sierra Trading Post, if they have closeouts on good ones. I pay full price at REI if I have to.

    I stock up on good tights and dress and lighter weight socks at the Nordstrom Anniv. sale every summer.

    I buy American made shoes (New Balance, Munro American and SAS) and they last long enough to justify the expense.

    I've resoled by 25 year old hiking shoes from the country formerly called Czechoslovakia and my bicycle shoes from Italy. They were expensive, but I never want to have a miserable outdoor vacation due to equipment failure.

    Oh, and I have a 2 Berninas, a Janome, and a Pfaff (2 sewing machines and 2 sergers). I don't skimp on sewing and knitting stuff. My crafting and sewing time is too valuable.

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  55. I saw a mediator for a re-fi on my house armed with a list of my expenses. The first thing she says is that my current mortgage company would not appreciate the amount of money I spend on food every month. Now, I'm 6", 150, we're not talking about food quantity here, we're talking quality. No fancy butchers, no Whole Foods, as a matter of fact, I go to several stores, farmers market, to find the best prices. The food I put in my body has to be quality. That and as you said, pet care are two things I refuse to skimp on. Needless to say, my mortgage company turned me down, but at 52 all my health numbers are Great!

    Ron b.

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