3 products to splurge on - and 3 to save on

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Citi post #2Getty ImagesA high-quality chef's knife is always a good investment.

Most people want the best of everything, but does spending more always mean getting more?

There are times when shelling out a few extra bucks actually does make a difference in the quality of a product, but sometimes you could be paying more for the same or - worse - an inferior alternative. That's money you could be saving for larger life goals, like buying a home or your next big trip.

It can be difficult to figure out which products are worth the extra spend. So we're here to uncover those instances  when splurging on a product leads to better quality and when going with the cheaper alternative (and saving a few bucks) actually pays off.

1. Splurge: a quality mattress

We spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping. It would be unfortunate to spend that time on an old, lumpy bed.

The mattress market is more competitive now than ever, and there's an abundance of companies selling high-quality mattresses direct to customers with lengthy return policies. There are also plenty of discount brands that entice consumers with the promise of savings. But these promises often fall flat with mattresses that may deform, sag, and deprive your back of much-needed support.

Investing a few hundred dollars more will get you a mattress that not only lasts longer, but also one that might help you get a longer night's sleep and improve the quality of rest. Your mind and body will thank you.

2. Splurge: a chef's knife

A high-quality chef's knife, if maintained properly, can last for decades. A shoddily assembled alternative from a discount store will not only wear down quickly, but it probably won't cut well. Purchasing a well-made, professional knife, and learning how to care for it, will pay dividends far into the future.

After you've settled on a knife, look into getting a good whetstone too. There are lots of free resources that outline proper sharpening and storage techniques to keep your blade slicing through even the heartiest root vegetables as easily as if you were slicing through butter.

3. Splurge: a reliable laptop

The definition of the "typical" office workspace has expanded over the years from desks and cubicles to pretty much anywhere you can get WiFi. If you're along for the ride, you'll likely need a fast, reliable laptop to help get the work done, though, and the laptop market is plenty crowded.

Going with a known brand is a safe bet when getting a new computer (if you haven't heard of them, maybe there's a reason). Upgrading storage, RAM, and possibly processor speed can also be helpful. If you work with multiple applications at once or with large files, upgrading storage, RAM and processor speed from the base model can save you money and frustration in the long run.

Figure out what your daily needs are and explain them to a professional wherever you choose to make your purchase. They'll guide you on what's worth upgrading and what's better left on the shelf.

1. Save: disposable bottled water

With bottled water costing nearly 2,000 times the price of tap, buying a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest ways to regularly save money.

First find a size that fits your needs (about 22 oz. is best for most people). There are different varieties and styles in both metal and plastic, but if you go with plastic make sure it's BPA-free. If you're worried about water quality, consider purchasing a filter for your sink or a pitcher with one built in. At that point, you're essentially drinking the same water you'd get out of a disposable bottle. And even better, it's environmentally friendly.

2. Save: cable TV

The argument for traditional cable is getting harder and harder every year. With seemingly infinite content available online, it can be challenging to justify paying upward of $100 per month for cable.

Instead of having to watch your favorite shows at the whim of a cable provider, consider signing up for a few online streaming services where you can enjoy nearly limitless content on demand. Many cost $10 or less a month. And most streaming services allow multiple profiles, so you could split subscriptions with friends, colleagues, and maybe even neighbors.

3. Save: dining out

Dining out frequently can really put a dent in your wallet. You can save a lot by buying the ingredients to prepare meals yourself instead of going out to eat or relying on your local takeout joint. Plus, if you make your own meals, you'll have control over the quality, taste, and portions. You never know exactly what sort of ingredients and toppings your local bistro is using in that salad. 

In most of these cases, saving money - whether it's on a product or an experience - actually doesn't require much extra effort. Sometimes it calls for a bit more money up front, but that's money you're likely to save down the line by not having to replace as frequently. Consider evaluating how you're spending money regularly in this same way, and you may find additional opportunities to save while having a better overall experience.

Put your savings to work and earn a 2.15% interest rate and 0.60% Annual Percentage Yield when you open an eligible Citi® Savings Account with qualifying activities. Member FDIC. LEARN MORE.

This post is sponsored by Citi.

 

 

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