I usually don't mind cutting corners to save money. For instance, eating store-brand foods, wearing hand-me-down clothes, and driving a used car are all fine by me.
However, there are some areas where I won't compromise quality to save money, and I refuse to feel guilty about it. I just make sure to budget responsibly, only buy what I can afford, and use coupons whenever possible.
What about you? Do you have a few favorite splurge items? Or do you always buy the cheapest brands you can find?
Shoes. I've tried purchasing cheap shoes in the past, and always gotten disastrous results. Low quality shoes, particularly those made from synthetic materials, fall apart quickly, fit uncomfortably, and don't allow my feet to breathe. I now stick to well-made leather shoes, and usually buy my favorite brand. My feet are very grateful!
Bacon. Donnie and I have a favorite brand of bacon, which we can only get from a high-end grocery store. It's not cheap, but it's so flavorful that we only need to use a slice or two in most dishes. That helps make up for the higher price tag, and is actually healthier, since we don't have to eat a lot of bacon to get great bacon flavor.
Hair products. I have hard-to-manage hair, which only responds well to a very specific hair care brand. I haven't yet been able to get it free from CVS, but I still spend less than full retail by combining coupons and sales. It's worth the extra money for my hair to look healthy. Plus,Donnie just uses whatever shampoo I can get free from CVS, so our combined hair care costs aren't too bad!
Chocolate chips. I've tried baking with store-brand chocolate chips, and been very dissatisfied with the results. I find my favorite brand creamier, smoother, and better tasting than the generic version. Since I give homemade cookies and candies as gifts so often, it's definitely worth it to spend the extra cash and make something I'm really proud to share.