What Items Aren’t Worth Cheaping Out On?

What Items Aren’t Worth Cheaping Out On?

There’s a point when frugality simply isn’t worth it. Sometimes, when you’re trying to save money, you’ll grab the cheapest possible version of a product, only to realise a few days later it doesn’t work properly or just plain falls apart. Here are some items that are worth the little bit of extra cash.

In this case, we’re not really looking at big budget items like televisions, computers or cars. We’re more interested in the cheap stuff — things you buy as house brand items or at the $2 shop only to realise that
for a couple of bucks more you could have bought something that actually works.

Kitchen Knives


Using a cheap kitchen knife is about as effective as just ripping apart whatever you’re cutting. In the case of knives, there’s a huge difference between a $5 knife and a $50 (or higher) one. You don’t necessarily need to go super high-end if you don’t cook a lot, but one or two good knives in the kitchen make cooking a lot more enjoyable.

Nail Clippers


The design of nail clippers may seem similar whatever the cost, but a pair of 9 cent nail clippers don’t work that well. In fact, they’re about as effective as children’s safety scissors. It’s worth it to take the step up to that pricier pair of clippers.

Toilet Paper


It doesn’t really matter what brand of toilet paper you upgrade to because pretty much everything is better than the cheap stuff. Unless you’re a fan of wiping up with thin sheets of printer paper, splurge a little on a decent roll of toilet paper and you’ll live a happier life.



If you’ve ever stayed at a cheap hotel, you know what a cheap bath towel feels like. You might as well be drying yourself off with a six-year-old sock. You don’t even need to spend that much money to get a decent set of towels — just take a step up from the cheapest bath towel.

Garbage Bags


In a perfect world, all garbage bags would be considered equal, but the cheap bags are always complete junk. They rip apart, the ties don’t work, and they’re somehow never quite the size they’re advertised to be. It’s definitely worth the extra buck or two to get garbage bags that will actually contain your rubbish.

What items would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments.


  • “only to realise a few days later it doesn’t properly or just plain falls apart.”

    Much like your sentence doesn’t properly!

  • I’ve never had any problems with dirt cheap nail clippers. Towels and knives I’d agree with. I’d add a good quality mattress to the list, and for IT nerds, a good quality desk chair is also pretty essential. I find the cheap ones last maybe 2 years before the gas lift fails or the seat cushion squishes down to a pancake with a butt imprint in it.

    • I’m not sure where you even get “expensive” nail clippers from…. I’ve had to buy, maybe 2 ever, and both times there’s literally only been 1 pair in the store…

  • I intentionally use a milder steel, read “cheaper stainless” Carving knife, because it is very easy and very quick, to get a razor sharp edge… As for garbage bags… I use “Glad degradable plus” because I care..! 🙂

    • it s best to use carbon steel, not stainless, they get so much sharper as the grain is smaller and are extremely easy to sharpen, one pass (on other a other knife) before cooking and they are razor.I love LOVE my Chinese vegetable slicer (CKK KF1303, $30 but better than my Shun)

    • Electric Razor? I received a double edged safety razor as a gift – haven’t looked back!

      • Manly straight razor for me 🙂 much closer shave than I ever got from an electric.

        Only using disposable blades, I haven’t graduated to a crafted razor yet

        • See I went from always using a proper razor to now only wanting to use disposables, they are just so much sharper and more comfortable on your skin, doesn’t pull hairs like 5 blade razors do and can shave in 1/3 of the time.

          Actual expensive razors are the biggest ripoff on this planet and provide nothing to humanity as an invention, electric ones are useful for “manscaping” and keeping sideburns in line.

  • Computer Power Supplies, and computer mother boards.

    The two most important factors in your computer’s stability and longevity, and again and again, people persist in buying crap 🙁

    • This. Failure of either of these reasonably cheap components can mess with your very expensive graphics card and CPU. Getting a decent power supply and to a lesser extent motherboard is like insurance for the rest of your components.

  • shifting spanners.. the cheap ones don’t stay in position and burr your bolts and nuts, not to mention skinning your knuckles. Same applies to jewellers screwdrivers

  • I forked over big money ($50) for a good umbrella after having so many cheapo brollies break in a slight breeze.

    • +1
      First moving out of home I was busted arse and bought a cheap-as-chips brolly. Hopped off the bus on a squally day, clicked the extend button; it unfolded but the canopy part detached and continued high into the air and out of sight. Me left standing there holding the handle. Onlookers were far more amused than I was.

  • Although with kitchen knives, i bought a cheap $50 set of ceramic knives about 6 months ago and have stayed as sharp as when i took them out of the packaging with 6 months of heavy kitchen duties.

    For the fishermen out there, hooks are something not to cheap out on, i bought a set of cheap hooks and everyone of them bent or snapped.

  • I might get in trouble for suggesting this one: computer printer refills. In my experience the generic refilled laser printer toner cartridges have around half the capacity of original ones despite only being 20-30% cheaper than the OEM ones, as well as causing more streaks and patches.

  • The counter of this, you don’t need an expensive car. You don’t need a new car. Second hand and affordable, 5-10 years old is fine. Getting an older car knocks off a substantial amount of the show room price. Most cars don’t tend to change much year to year either, so you may as well let some other sucker eat the majority of the depreciation.

    However, I would recommend avoiding the budget model in a line up. For example, my own Ford Falcon AU Forte. The Futura and above was good, the Forte I got doesn’t have power windows, cruise control, clock, litres/100Km read out, CD player. Obviously clock/CD player was fixed with a decent stereo, but the rest or not cheap to fix. It would cost me more to add the rest than to trade in for a Futura. I would recommend the medium trim level or above in any particular model.

    • Depends on what you want to do with your car, what level of refinement and build quality you’re willing to put up with, and of course features (including safety).

  • Your mattress.

    You’ll be on it 6-10 hours a day until you have to replace it. It will materially affect the quality of your sleep, and therefore the quality of EVERY OTHER aspect of your life.

    Chocolate. If you’re going to add extra calories to your diet, make every one count.

    Computer mouse and keyboard. These are items that define your interaction with your computer and which you will be using for hundreds of hours. That doesn’t mean that you have to get one that’s top of the line, but make sure you get ones that are comfortable to use.

    Flipside: Your phone. Phone consumerism is getting silly these days.

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!