Big Ticket Household Items You Shouldn’t Cheap Out On

Budgeting for household items can get expensive, especially if you're just moving into a new home. Specifically, there are four particular items you shouldn't cheap out on. Find out what they are.This post is by our former staff writer, Daisy.

Many personal finance buffs preach frugality, which is great. Frugality is an important part of a well-rounded financial individual.

However, frugality does not always mean buying the cheapest item; it means making the best financial decision for yourself when faced with a purchasing decision.

The cheapest item is rarely the best financial decision.

See, cheap items usually don’t last for very long, causing you to spend money on the same item in the future, much sooner than you would have to if you purchased a quality item.

Sure, a quality item may cost 200% more than the cheap item, but if the item is actually good quality, it will last longer. It will require fewer repairs, costing you less in the long run.

Some furniture items (ie bar stools) you can cheap out on and it will be fine. If you don’t use the furniture item on a regular basis, or if it’s more for a decorative purpose, Ikea is a great shopping option.

However, for your health and for your wallet, there are some major items that you should not be cheaping out on:

Your Mattress

Your mattress has a lot to do with your ability to fall and stay asleep. I know that sounds really obvious, but it’s surprising how few people realize that some of their sleeping issues have to do with their mattress.

Splurge on your mattress, because it has a direct relation to your quality of life. Also, a bad mattress that isn’t right for your spine can cause back issues, which can be costly in chiropractic and massage therapy fees.

The Couch

Gone are the days that people spent more of their time off the couch than on it. Even if you are a reasonably active person, it’s likely that you log at least a couple of hours of couch time every day.

Because you use your couch so often, it should be comfortable and supportive. If you buy a good quality couch, it’s likely that it will last you for a long time.

Computer Desk & Chair

If you spend a lot of time on your computer, which many of us do, it’s crucial to have a good ergonomic setup. Your desk should be the right height for your body while you are sitting. It also needs to have proper placement of a keyboard tray and mouse.

Your computer chair needs to be able to support sitting marathons and provide comfort and posture support.


When I first moved out on my own, I bought the cheapest vacuum I could find. I didn’t have much money because I was a college student and I needed a vacuum because the basement suite I lived in had carpet.

The vacuum did a terrible job of sucking up the dust in the carpet. It did make it look clean, so for the first few months I couldn’t figure out why I had such bad allergies. It wasn’t even hay fever season.

I went to my doctor time and time again to get allergy medication. At one point, she asked whether or not I had carpet, and if so, what I was doing to get rid of dust.

I informed her that I had a vacuum that I did use on a regular basis, but she told me that it might not be enough unless it was a pretty good vacuum. I borrowed my mom’s more expensive (and better quality) model and found that my allergies cleared up almost right away.

Don’t cheap out on your vacuum. There are some great quality models for a decent price, so just make sure you are doing your research. If you buy your vacuum online, make sure to use one step checkout to speed the process up.

Frugality isn’t always about buying the cheapest model of something. You can get ahead by buying a better quality model (which is not to say you can’t find it on sale).

What have you splurged on around the house that has been worth it? Do you have certain items you’re willing to pay more for in order to get better quality? Let me know in the comments below!

Photo by: livarea Text added by: Lance Cothern

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  1. I do think that some things need to be of good quality, just as you mentioned. All our household equipment is of a good brand, even if it’s not cheap. Wasn’t the most expensive but the quality/price ratio was excellent.

    I don’t drive the cheapest car (chose a German make, that’s not expensive but still very reliable), I don’t buy the cheapest clothing. We like to buy stuff when we need it, so we don’t just buy 20 pairs of jeans to be cool. But all we buy is made of natural fibers and is of good quality. Again, not luxurious brands, but not the worst on the market either.

  2. I second the vacuum. Other things I like to “invest” or “splurge” on are quality clothes (forever 21 is the DEFINITION of disposable clothing) and running sneakers (I can’t afford the injuries from lack of support)

  3. I bought a really good (Herman Miller) desk chair used which save me about 3/4 of the retail. Worth every penny!

  4. To me there’s little difference from a $150 vacuum and a $500 Dyson vacuum. Would you consider a $150 cheap?

  5. Well, given that we sleep almost a third of our lives (sounds a lot), a really good mattress should definitely be on the list of those necessary items to splurge on!
    Additionally, a good office chair and desk…thats another area most of us spend lots of time and its only prudent to get something worthwhile…the benefits in the long run are worth every penny!

  6. Great tips. It is much smarter to spend big on quality products that will last you 5+ years, rather than end up spending the same amount (or more) of various cheaper items that don’t last or work properly.

  7. I just purchased an expensive computer table and computer chair. I used to own a cheap computer desk and I’m not really comfortable while using it. I spend 10-14 hours a day in front of my laptop that’s why I need to use a comfortable one.

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