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eight Instances When It Pays to Be a Cheapskate

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Nobody wants to be called a curmudgeon. But sometimes it makes financial sense to buy a cheaper option if you can.

A high price doesn’t necessarily make something better.

Inexpensive items often meet your needs as well. Or the higher quality option may not be worth the extra money. In other cases there is little or no difference in quality between the most expensive and cheapest versions of products.

What follows are examples of times when it is smart to be cheap.

Prescription drugs

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Generic prescription drugs must have the same active ingredients and strength as branded versions – and they can cost up to 85% less, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Unless your doctor or pharmacist has given you a reason to pay extra for a brand name, you are probably smart about being a cheap prescription drug skater.

To see if you can save even more on your prescriptions, check out the free online tools like PharmacyChecker, which we cover under “5 Websites You Should Check Before Buying Prescriptions”

Over-the-counter drugs

Shopping in the drugstoreZoriana Zaitseva / Shutterstock.com

When you’re sick, the sinus, headache, and flu medications that you think of first are likely the ones you advertised on TV or in magazines.

However, these well-known brands are more expensive because these advertising costs are included in the price. Just like with prescription drugs, you can often find generic versions of these products at a price well below popular brands.

Tools you seldom use

Man with skill sawgpointstudio / Shutterstock.com

Do you have a one-off project that requires tools that you don’t already have? Think carefully before investing in expensive drills and saws. Buying expensive tools just to collect dust is the definition of a bad investment.

If you don’t keep using these tools over and over again, it might be wiser to rent them. You may even be able to check out certain tools from your local library for free, as described in “8 Surprising Things You Can Borrow From A Library”.

Furniture

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Have you checked furniture prices lately? You could easily spend thousands of dollars furnishing a single room in your home if you paid full price at a retail store.

Fortunately, these days, finding good quality furniture without paying the retail prices isn’t hard – if you know where to look.

When it comes to buying second hand, there are always more options available to you.

There are always thrift stores and consignment stores – and don’t forget to check the property sales too. Nowadays, you can also find people selling furniture in your area through platforms like the Facebook marketplace and apps like OfferUp and Letgo.

If buying a used car isn’t an option for you, find a local furniture store like a Rooms To Go outlet or a discount store with a furniture section like some Big Lots locations have. Or check your local warehouse club.

greeting cards

Woman with greeting cardPressmaster / Shutterstock.com

When buying someone a gift, the purchase doesn’t feel complete until you add a greeting card. Unfortunately, greeting cards can be ridiculously overpriced – $ 3 to 5 for a piece of paper? So always look for ways to save.

You can also make your own greeting cards. Or you can find them for a dollar or less in dollar stores and even at Trader Joe.

Cars for young drivers

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It is tempting to buy a new car for young drivers. After all, modern vehicles have fewer maintenance problems and have the latest safety features.

But consider the financial disadvantages. New cars lose their value quickly. Even a lightly used car will cost you thousands of dollars less than a comparable new model. That’s why buying a cheaper used vehicle is always the best choice.

“The 15 Cars Most Likely to Last 15 Years” provides valuable information for your next car purchase.

A cabin on a cruise ship

Couple on a cruise ship deck.Michaeljung / Shutterstock.com

Ahhh, it’s great to take a vacation. And if you don’t blow up all of your savings on that one trip, you have more in the bank for the next trip.

For example, when planning an ocean cruise, consider which beauty is most important. Ocean view cabins are more expensive than inside cabins. If you don’t plan on spending a lot of time in the cabin and looking out the window, why get one with a view of the water?

Overnight at hotel

Families check into the hotelMonkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

If you want to stay in a hotel for several nights, choose one with all the amenities you need. You want a large space to relax, a restaurant, a swimming pool, and maybe a gym.

However, if you’re on the go and just need a place to lay your head, a cheap, no-frills hotel is a smart choice. After all, all you need is a clean, safe room and a comfortable bed.

Visit our Solutions Center for more savings on cruises, hotels and flights.

Musical instruments for beginners

Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Allowing your children to learn to make music is great. But if you’re just starting out, you don’t need an expensive tool. Putting a $ 4,000 guitar in the hands of a 10-year-old is a problem.

Until you see a child showing real commitment and growing skills, a cheap, entry-level tool is well suited for exploring potential.

Formal dress

sirtravelalot / Shutterstock.com

There are times when looking good is important. If your company is hosting an event or your teen is planning a prom, it is important to appear in the right outfit. But don’t go to the mall right away.

If the evening wear is only going to be used once, you can save by shopping second hand. Try thrift or consignment stores that specialize in lightly worn items with few signs of use. Another cost-saving option is to find a store that rents out evening wear.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, sometimes we get compensation for clicking links in our stories.

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