Consumer Tip: Things you should never buy cheap

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Everyone likes saving a few dollars.  But there are some things you should never skimp on, because in our attempt to save a couple of bucks, we can end up with junk that we will regret buying.

Consumer Reports Magazine's "Shop Smart" lists a number of items you should never cheap out on:

  • House paint:  A $10 can may require several coats to look good or hide what is underneath. A $40 can can cover well in one coat.
  • Beds: A $500 queen set could give you years of sleeping on lumpy springs.
  • Blu Ray players for less than $20 are fine if you don't mind buying a new one every year.
  • Vacuum Cleaners:  A $50 vacuum cleans like a $50 vacuum, according to Consumer Reports. Don't expect Kirby or Dyson performance.
  • Fire extinguishers:  When the kitchen is on fire, do you want a $7 aerosol can or a real extinguisher?  Pay another $25 for a real canister fire extinguisher.
  • Camping tents:  Do you like rain dripping on you while you sleep?  Skip the cheapest ones.
  • $79 Black Friday tablets:  Every holiday season, thousands of people buy them. Six months later, many don't work anymore.
  • A 15-year-old, $1,000 used car for a teenager.  If you can't afford anything better than a dangerous old clunker, then don't buy them a car.

And from the "Doesn't That Stink" file, shiny stainless steel barbecue grills for less than $150.  Many buyers end up saying "doesn't that stink" by the second summer of use.  Consumer Reports says some will  rust in a year. Others are so poorly made; their burners can turn into dangerous torches.  And most have such thin, cheap stainless steel, the hood starts to discolor after three or four uses.  No amount of cleaner can fix that.

With many cheap items you are stuck: you can't return a two-year old grill.  Cheap paint is cheap paint, and when you have to repaint, you'll wish you had spent a bit more.

That way you don't waste your money.


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