Even when there’s a little extra jingle in my pocket and all the bills are paid, I like to keep a budget and am a true bargain hunter at heart. But through the truly economically challenging times, I have had no choice but to go for the cheapest box of cereal in the aisle. One thing that I have learned during those times of living on a tight budget, is where to skimp and where to splurge. Is the more expensive item always the better one? No. Sometimes you can find essentially the same product at a much greater value, giving you the ability to budget for those buys where the saying “you get what you pay for” is truly truer than true. Bargain shopping has it’s place and time and can really save money so that you can put it towards that trip on the horizon but let me tell you where splurging is the lesser evil so that you can avoid some disappointing buys and lots of dollars down the drain. Splurging doesn’t mean you can’t find a deal every now and again with a coupon or blowout sale, such as the annual Black Friday sales.
When it comes to musical instruments, you definitely get what you pay for; the distinguished brands like Martin and Taylor for acoustic guitars and Gretsch and Gibson for electric guitars will guarantee an amazing, clean and unique sound. Other moderate quality, somewhat affordable and popular brands are Ibañez and Fender, which won’t necessarily be the guitar of your dreams but will definitely get the job done. If you are serious about music, see yourself playing guitar for many years to come and are one of those people who stop by Guitar Center way too often just to roam and day dream, I would recommend saving up for one that will make you proud to call yourself a guitar player and motivate you with it’s fresh, one of a kind tone. There is nothing wrong with buying one of these gems used, as long as it’s in decent condition and aesthetically pleasing to your eye. A used high end guitar, when kept in good condition, is a better buy than a new, moderate quality guitar.
There are some things that you can definitely get by with generic brands. First off: food. Not all food, but there are many items in your local grocery store that you are currently spending too much on. For example, a bag of baby carrots at a normal grocery store can cost you a couple bucks if not more but at the 99 Cent Store, essentially the same bag of carrots is available for, of course, just a cent shy of a dollar. You can plainly see that it is the same thing being sold, verifying that the latter option offers a much greater value. Another example is soap. If you are like me, you always double check to see that the liquid soap you are buying is two things: yummy-smelling and antibacterial. As long as a soap meets those qualifications, I am good to go. I don’t need it to boast a fancy brand name or have a holographic logo. Think this way and your bucks will get you further.