Money saving tip #5-Cheap does not always mean economical.
Consumer Reports is one of my favorite resources when it comes to buying things. Anything! We still go with the traditional paper magazine, but you can sign up for a yearly subscription to the web page if you want. The last issue did a taste test of coffees and with the coffee experts who did the tastings, they decided that Eight O'clock coffee was the best tasting. The other good thing is that it is less expensive than many other brands.
Then there's diapers, where you do get what you pay for. If you buy Pampers, which are pricier than most, you do get the best leak coverage. I bought Pampers, because after my son leaked through Luvs and I had to do clothing changes, bedding changes and/or get him back to sleep, I decided less hassle for more expense was the way to go.
Consumer Reports is good at breaking down all the characteristics you might need to know about each product. Cars go over road noise, reliability, comfort inside the cabin, and power. They weigh this all against the price and make recommendations according to that. They also have a service to help you know the invoice price of cars so that you can negotiate the price well. We did well with our last Honda Accord, getting just barely above invoice price.*
But just because something is cheap, doesn't mean it will save you money in the long run. If laundry detergent is cheap, but doesn't get your clothes clean, well, then you have to wash them again. Two times in the wash is not saving you money. If you use cheap dish detergent or rinse agent and half your dishes come out spotty and with food stuck to them and you have to wash again, you aren't saving money. If you buy off brands of canned goods or cereal and your kids won't eat it because it tastes yucky, you aren't saving money when you throw it out.
It is a balancing act to saving money and buying items that will get used by your family. Thinking through big purchases like computers, cars, and TVs will help you get the best bang for your buck. You might have to pay for it to get the best item, but in the long run, when it lasts you longer than the cheaper competitor, then you're doing pretty swell. And the satisfaction of getting a good product at a good price goes a long way.
*When we went car shopping, I fully intended to check out both Accord and Camry. The salesman at the Honda dealership must have been pretty desperate, because while I kept saying, "Well, I really want to go to the Toyota dealer and check out the Camrys just to be sure," he kept shoving numbers at us that kept getting smaller and smaller, until finally we couldn't say no. It was pretty funny. This was five years ago and the Accord has yet to have been a problem (knock wood). It also doesn't hurt that the Accord only needs its oil changed every 5,000 miles.
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