Shopping Advice: What to Get Cheap and When to Splurge

Shopping is both a necessity and an entertainment option. Whether you are buying groceries at the supermarket or getting a new car for someone’s birthday, it’s always important to decide how much you are able to spend. 

Sometimes people want to save money on certain items even when they have the funds to splurge. This may be due to wanting to save your money for something truly special that you want to buy. Other times people buy more expensive things because they worry that cheaper items may not be high quality. 

We’ll discuss several different purchases that most people make at one point in their life, and whether or not spending more money equals getting a better quality product. 

Auto Insurance

Everyone needs auto insurance when they buy a car, and they almost always want to find dirt cheap auto insurance. Who wants to spend more money on something that hopefully they’ll never have to use? Insurance is there just in case you need it, and it’s not something that folks ever want to actually talk about because it means you’ve gotten into an accident. 

Getting cheap insurance doesn’t mean that it’s low-quality insurance. In fact, you can often get many discounts on insurance coverage based on your driving record, your gender, your age, and the city you live in. 

Keeping a clean driving record requires avoiding tickets and driving safely. Don’t speed or run red lights. Stop at the crosswalk for pedestrians. Pay attention to the people around you so you don’t crash. This will help make sure you don’t have to file a claim, which will usually make your rates go up.

Other factors you can’t control are your age and your gender. Men have higher insurance rates than women, and young people have higher rates than older people. To combat these high rates, these demographics can drive a car that typically has lower insurance prices such as a Honda Civic or a Toyota Corolla. 

If you don’t drive very often, you can let your insurance company know this and they will sometimes give you a cheaper policy. Buying the bare-minimum level of insurance, liability coverage, may seem like you are being cheap with your insurance, but you might not need comprehensive coverage if you don’t drive very often. 


Sometimes clothing is a great gift idea when shopping for kids and grandparents alike. Other times it’s simply a necessity that has to be purchased. Whatever the reason you are at the department store, there are a lot of different ways to buy cheap or spend a little more on the clothing you put in the cart. 

When you are buying baby clothes, think about spending a little less. Children grow at such a rapid rate that they will need new stuff often within weeks or months of purchasing. If you have multiple children, the hand-me-down method is still something that saves a lot of money. 

If you are buying fancy clothing for a big event like a wedding or an anniversary celebration, splurge on a new outfit. This will show the people around you that you care about looking nice and you respect the importance of the occasion. Showing up for a big event in a shirt and blue jeans sends the message that you would rather be somewhere else. 

Getting nice clothing doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune, though. You just need to know where to look for deals on fancy clothes. Shop during holiday events such as Christmas, Memorial Day, or the Fourth of July. The last two examples may seem a little unconventional, but department stores often put things on sale during these summer holidays. 


The subscription model of paying for entertainment is really one of the most popular at the moment. TV is now focused on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Online journalism outlets like The New York Times and The Athletic force readers to pay a monthly fee for their articles now. 

The issue for customers with the subscription model is that you eventually are paying for over a dozen subscriptions without even thinking about it. That’s hundreds of dollars a year going out of your pocket for entertainment that you may not even consume that often. 

It’s important to think about what shows, movies, and journalism is most important to you, and drop the others. You can also find deals on bundles of several services, such as how Disney offers a bundle for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. 

There is no reason to spend more money on these items than you have to. The quality of the shows and movies doesn’t go up just because you are paying more for them. This is truly a discussion of quantity, and it’s up to you how much content you want in your life. 


Food is one of the purchases we make that often ties quality with price. Junk food like potato chips and candy bars are only a few dollars. Organic produce and healthy snacks like KIND Bars are a lot more money. It’s unfortunate this happens because sometimes it feels like we have to choose between our health and our wallets. 

Try to download digital coupons online to get discounts when you go shopping at the grocery store. Buying healthy foods in bulk at wholesalers like Costco also allows shoppers to save a lot more money than when you buy the same items at the grocery store. 

This type of shopping will give you enough ingredients to cook for yourself and your family for many days. When you go to fast-food restaurants every night for dinner, this adds up. It’s not good for your spending habits or for your health because fast food is usually unnatural and not healthy.

If you do have to eat out, try to go to the restaurant instead of ordering delivery. The added expense of having an Uber driver bring your food to your door really adds up if that’s your preferred method of getting your lunch every afternoon. 

Insurance, clothing, entertainment, and food are all things that humans buy on a regular basis. And all of these things can be expensive or cheap depending on where you go to buy them, and how often you purchase them. 

It’s a personal choice to decide whether you want to spend more money on these items, and everyone can afford different things. What you should always remember is there are quality items that can be bought for cheaper prices. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to live a decent life. 

Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, He wants to help people make smarter decisions with their money.