what we pay good money for
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What We Pay Good Money For

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Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t like spending money. I cling tightly to my pinched pennies for as long as I can.

I delay purchases for as long as possible, trying to find creative ways to avoid forking over hard-earned cash. And sure, while my behavior occasionally borders on miserly, there are a few things I like to spend money on.

What We Pay Good Money For

We scrimp and save as much as possible, that’s no secret.

But we only do that for one reason: to live better.

Whether it’s to pay off debt or to have a rare and enjoyable experience, we make sure our money is working for us in meaningful ways.

I think it’s important to set limits on what you’ll pay more for. Only you can judge how to spend your money, but there are always going to be expenses that are worth a little extra cheddar, at least in our book.

Here’s what we pay good money for.


I’m not talking about Chik-Fil-A or TGI Friday’s.

Mr. Picky Pincher and I enjoy spending money at unique, well-done dineries. Our most recent excursion was spending our anniversary at a Brazilian steakhouse. The bill was around $200 after tip, but we were so pleased with the food, service, and ambiance that the expense was worth it. This has been a difficult one to master, since our frugal sin is eating out way too much.

We’re trying to focus on making our meals outside of home count more, so they’re more special. We try to eat dishes that are difficult or expensive to make at home, so it’s always a real treat when we go out. It also keeps us inspired to cook better-quality dishes.

Customer Service

I absolutely believe in the power of customer service.

After being saddled with a poorly managed cell phone company and shopping at dingy grocery stores for half of my life, I’m fed up. I only give my money to people who earn it.

That’s why Mr. Picky Pincher and I exclusively shop at a certain HEB for all of our groceries, even though there’s one just down the street. We make sure to spend money at Costco when we need big box items, since their employees are ab-so-lutely outstanding.

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As a plus, these stores tend to be cleaner and have more polite clientele. There’s no fighting over parking or arguing over who’s next in line at these stores.

While we might pay a little more, either in time, money, or gas, it’s worth it.

Better Quality Items

It really is true that better quality costs more.

For example, Mr. Picky Pincher and I just discovered that the $10 headphones I buy only last 2-3 months before breaking. The Beats headphones that Mr. Picky Pincher buys last a year or more, but they can be five times the cost. In this case, buying the higher quality item may be cheaper in the long run. It also reduces a lot of waste, which pleases us greatly!

Better quality items, like clothing or electronics, will cost more upfront.

But we’ve found that you make more than your money back over the course of owning a quality item rather than a cheap one. All it takes is some simple math and honest customer reviews to see what’s worth your investment.

Local Businesses

Conscious, frugal living is all about being sustainable and local.

The Picky Pinchers vote with our money.

We would much rather spend money at a farmers market than at the grocery store. Are we paying for a larger markup? Well, yeah, probably.

But we view these extra costs as an investment in our community’s growth. We also love the better customer service and the personal touches at local businesses that big corporations just can’t match.

Great Experiences

For our honeymoon we went to Disney World and did a zip line course over the alligator exhibit. While that experience did cost a pretty penny, it was a rare treat for us.

We also went indoor skydiving, which was scary as HELL, but also crazy fun.

These awesome experiences can cost hundreds of dollars. But we only get to live once, and we’d like to do amazing things every now and then. We would rather use our money to have a grand adventure instead of overpaying on a fancy cell phone plan.

The Bottom Line

Money is precious. Not for its own sake, but because it will ultimately give us the freedom to be independent—and finally free us from worrying about money.

While we’re known for cutting corners, there are many things that we pay a little extra for.

We want to know: What do you think is worth spending more money?

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14 comments on “What We Pay Good Money For

  1. I totally agree with all of these. First of all, stores that have amazing service usually do so because their employees are treated well. Costco is a great example because, among the Walmarts of the world, it is known for treating its employees well. I am a big believer is supporting decent employers – there are not enough. And triple kudos about supporting your local businesses and farmers markets. Without them, your world is an anonymous strip mall!

  2. Hell ya! to the better quality products and memorable trips. I’ve been a homeowner for 12 years, and if there’s one lesson that constantly reinforces itself over and over again, it’s not to buy cheap. Cheap products will just break, and you’ll be right back out there replacing them all over again. Buy something that has a great reputation, great reviews, and was built to last!

    1. Agreed! It’s so, so tempting to get the cheap stuff right now, especially if you’re strapped for cash, but it can really come back to bite you later.

  3. Shoes! Poor-quality shoes wear out quickly and wear your bones and joints out as well. More expensive shoes will last longer and support you, well-worth the time it takes to find good ones.
    My husband had knee-replacement surgery and really fought against replacing his old shoes. However, undercutting thousands of dollars for surgery (even with insurance) is a false economy. He needed new shoes to support the way he is supposed to place his feet and walk now.
    For services such as you write about, I agree with you about supporting local businesses. We use the local branch of the regional bank with the best customer service. Although we lose a bit in savings account interest, since interest is so low anyway, it is only a few dollars a year. I consider it like a tip for the tellers, who are always on top of things when I go there, unlike at our previous bank.
    And as you are picky-pinchers, I admire you for picking exciting experiences to enjoy and remember!

    1. Good shoes are a fantastic way to spend money! Mr. Picky Pincher dreams of the day we can grab him a pair of Red Wings. It’s usually cheaper in the long run to buy quality shoes (usually made from real leather) and replace the soles or take them to a cobbler for repairs than buying new shoes every few months.

  4. I had to look up HEB. I’ve never seen one in NC buy it looks outstanding. We don’t eat out in real restaurants much but we’ll drop some bucks on an occasion, like on our anniversary. Our next dinner splurge is on Oct. 15, the day after our final day of work.

    I totally agree with you on spending money on quality items and experiences. If we were in serious debt we’d cut more corners, but otherwise money is to be enjoyed, and not just saved or invested.

    1. Hahaha, I had no idea what HEB was until I moved to Texas! I used to shop at Walmart, but HEB is my go-to now; the service is outstanding.

      And congratulations on the impending last day of work!! That’s definitely an occasion worth spending some money. 🙂

  5. After years of wearing cheap shoes, I know spend a lot more on them because I’ve developed an ankle problem. I also like to buy quality gym clothes, they tend to fit better and last longer.
    One thing we really enjoy doing as a couple is going out to eat. So about once a month we splurge on a good meal out.
    I also believe in investing money in higher quality products, because they last longer but they are also usually more user-friendly.
    Where I don’t spend extra is on everyday clothes and on fancy grocery stores or local shop. I have zero problem shopping at Walmart. And we have almost no “gadgets”. No Iphone, no laptop, no video games, no fancy tv, etc. We keep it very basic for the most part (But I do love my tablet…).
    We also use basic hygiene products. We went the natural route for a while, but I cane back to the regular stuff and get it when it’s on sale. Plus, I don’t use much in the department of makeup and creams/perfumes/fancy hair products, etc. I keep it simple.
    We did splurge for a bigger better house, 100 000$ more than the old town house, and I’ve never regretted it. This is OUR home. Best decision.

  6. I enjoyed your lastest blog a lot. I agree 100% and am forever reminding my dh that cheapest is NOT the best. We are frugal but never cheap. I save where & how I can so I have money for what we need and what we want. Good healthy food is important to our over all being so I spend money on quality produce & meats. Love the Farmer’s Market and will even buy bakery stuff to support the local business. We shop at Costco & Aldi’s. Both places pay their help well & carry quality items. & we love a good old fashioned steak house for our dinners out. We also love going for a big breakfast over the weekend.

  7. I agree with choosing options that are difficult or expensive to make at home when dining out. I remember as a kid my mum would always suggest I choose something I don’t get to have at home, so I often chose chicken kiev.

  8. Headphone tip: Tascam TH-02 on Amazon for ~$20.00 If you really want to splurge you can go for the studio version at ~$55. The first pair is hands down the best quality for dollar I’ve used. Not as stylish as those beats tho 🙂

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