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Shoestring Jane shares her top 10 items worth splurging money on for long-term benefits
I am naturally frugal and hate wasting my hard-earned cash, but I am not a miser. Sometimes I feel there are things that I should invest in because they will either make me money or save money long-term.
Here are 10 things it is worth spending money on, in my opinion. Let me know in the comments when you will splurge to get longer-term benefits.
A company pension scheme
Once we hit retirement age in the UK, most of us will be entitled to a state pension, but it may not be enough to live on by itself. Even if you receive the full amount of £203.85 a week, your future self will also thank you for investing in a company pension scheme.
As well as regular payments once you retire, contributions qualify for tax relief, your employer will also make contributions towards your pension, and you will receive a tax-free lump sum when you retire.
You can find out more about pensions on the Money Helper website.
You don’t have to be an expert to tell the difference in quality between some flat-pack MDF furniture and a piece made of solid wood.
If you want your furniture to survive the rough and tumble of family life, buying the best quality you can afford is worth it. Look for classic styles that won’t be dated within a few years.
Personally, I search out good second-hand furniture at a reasonable price and upcycle it with paint and varnish. This pine dresser was made by a local carpenter for my parents in the 1970s and is still going strong. I have painted it in lots of different colours over the decades!
When you need to replace an appliance such as a fridge, freezer or washing machine, purchasing an A-rated energy-efficient model may cost a little more but will save money on running costs.
You can find out more about energy labelling on the Energy 2020 website.
An air fryer
I know that the idea of an air fryer being a kitchen saviour may be old news for many, but if you haven’t embraced the trend yet, an air fryer is a worthwhile money-saving investment.
I was given a small model to review just before air fryers became really popular, and I have used it most days for the past three or four years. It is great!
My smart meter shows that running one costs much less than an electric oven, so I use it whenever possible. If I were to purchase one now, I would invest in a larger one, such as the Ninja AF300UK.
Other kitchen gadgets
It is easy to fill your kitchen with gadgets these days, but they are only money-saving if you use them regularly. So, be discerning about what you choose to invest in.
For example, you might consider a slow cooker, a bread maker, or an Instant Pot. However, do your research first and check that you don’t already have a gadget that can achieve the same task.
I think the old saying ‘buy cheap, buy twice’ applies to footwear in particular. Cheap plastic items won’t take a lot of wear. However, you don’t have to spend hundreds or buy designer label shoes. Look out for moderately priced quality leather shoes that can be resoled and heeled when required.
According to my daughter, who is a runner, this also applies to exercise shoes. As well as lasting longer, a quality pair of running shoes can protect you from injury. If you are serious about your training, a decent pair is worth spending money on and will save in the long term.
We have all felt the pinch of high energy bills over the winter months. Home insulation measures don’t have to cost a lot and will make your home warmer and cheaper to heat.
For example, insulated radiator foil can easily be fitted behind radiators to reflect heat back into a room, rolled-up blankets can act as draught excluders under doors, and thermal linings can be attached to curtains.
Items worth spending money on longer-term might include double-glazed windows and doors, radiators with thermostatic controls, and loft and wall cavity insulation.
Some low-income households are entitled to financial help to improve their heating and insulation. Find out if you are eligible here.
I invested in a plug-in fleecy throw as soon as I saw that energy price hikes were on the way, and I didn’t regret my forethought. This has saved a lot of money on heating. Rather than blasting the central heating around the house, especially when working, I cosy up under my throw.
A well-stocked pantry
This may be an unusual suggestion when we are talking about things it is worth spending money on, but in my view, keeping a well-stocked pantry has many benefits.
Keeping useful stores of canned and frozen foods will enable you to cook meals for the family from the stores without having to go grocery shopping. You can cook from scratch rather than buying expensive and preservative-laden ready meals, and have something at hand for when you feel unwell or are too busy to shop.
It doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can stock up when you see useful items on offer, helping you keep your grocery bills low. Plus, a well-stocked pantry protects you from food shortages and emergency situations. I was certainly very pleased to have a good store of food when the pandemic hit. If you live in a rural location, good food stores are especially worth their weight in gold during bad weather.
Clothes horse/drying rack
Drying your wet laundry on a clothes horse rather than always using an energy-hungry dryer will save quite a bit. Invest in a really strong and sturdy one as it will last longer.
My huge Vileda clothes dryer fully loaded!
I recently came across an extendable one from Vileda, which is ideal for a family, but you could also consider a heated airer to speed the drying process up.
Do you sometimes spend money in order to save it later? What would you add to my list of 10 things it is worth spending money on?
Photo Credits: Pexels
Shoestring Jane is a full-time self-employed mum of three daughters. Her frugal partner in crime is handyman extraordinaire, Mr Shoestring. They are constantly on the look out for ways to save and make extra money. Read more on her blog, Shoestring Cottage.