When Quality is More Important Than Saving Money

When Miss H was three, she started taking swim lessons at a local rec center. The lessons were cheap, maybe not the best quality, but we thought it would be okay. She took these lessons off and on for a year and a half. Last May, she took two lessons a week. At the end of the month, she was demoted to a lower level. I was so frustrated! It didn’t seem like anyone had really been correcting her much, so I thought she was doing fine. We decided to stop taking these lessons, and searched around for other options.

A friend mentioned a swim school that met half as often, but cost twice as much as the rec center. I thought this was crazy! But after looking into it more, we decided to go with the more expensive option. Within four lessons, Miss H was swimming independently! We couldn’t believe how quickly she progressed. This taught me a huge lesson about quality. Sometimes quality is more important than saving money.

My grandpa was not a man of many words, but what he did say was repeated over and over again 🙂  One of his phrases that is permanently etched into my mind is: “The quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten.”

I didn’t know that this was a paraphrase of wise words from Benjamin Franklin:

Poor Quality

Even now, as a one-income family on a budget, Grandpa and Mr. Franklin’s words impact my spending decisions. Being frugal is important, but I need to be wise when I compromise quality. Swim lessons are not the only area where I go for quality. There’s a time to spend, and a time to save.

*This post contains affiliate links for products we use and love. 

Where I Save

Baby and Kids’ Clothes

Clothes for little ones can be super expensive! They’re often worn for just a couple of months before being sorted into the donate pile.  It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on them, even if spending more money means better quality. If a pair of pants manages to make it through toddlerhood without a hole in the knee, it will most likely be stained with paints or strawberries!

Pet Items

When we were a two income family, our dog feasted on expensive dog food. The only problem is that our 100+ pound dog needs a lot of food! We spent a lot of money each month to feed our “little” princess. After I stopped working (a full time job outside the house!) we realized that this was a good area to cut back on. We gradually introduced a less expensive brand of dog food into her diet (after consulting our veterinarian.) Our Kiowa didn’t have any problems on the new food, and we ended up saving about $15 a month.


We used to love going out for a pricey cup of coffee, and truthfully, a Starbucks mocha everyday would be lovely! But we figured out some ways to save on coffee and managed to cut our coffee spending in half. (You can read my post about it here.)


I am so particular about the books in my home because of the philosophy we use (if you haven’t seen my other blog, here it is!) I don’t compromise quality as far as content goes, but I am okay with buying a book that has a tattered cover in order to save money. Sometimes I’ll go for the eBook version if it’s a huge price difference and when I don’t want to add to the clutter. 

Cleaning Supplies

Whenever possible, I make my own cleaning supplies. Vinegar and essential oils make a great multi-purpose cleaner!


I like buying toiletries that don’t have a lot of fragrances and scary chemicals in them. But I can make a lot of these with  coconut oil! For about a year, I even washed my hair solely with baking soda and vinegar! Making my own foaming handsoap has also really helped us save money. I’m not splurging on expensive, high quality items, but I still feel like I’m getting something that’s better for my family.


When Quality is More Important than Saving MoneyWhere I Search for Quality

Adult Clothes

Nate and I both wear our clothes for a long time! We would rather buy higher quality clothes than clothes that will fall apart in a year. There are some exceptions to this: maternity clothes, and trendy items. If I know I’ll only wear something for a season or so, I don’t worry too much about quality.


When Nate and I got married, my dad told me that he and my mom filled their first home with cheap furniture. It didn’t take long for it to fall apart, and they had to go out and buy new furniture. That’s when he really learned his dad’s- my grandpa’s- lesson about quality and price. Nate and I took that to heart. We bought the highest quality furniture that was possible for our budget. More than 6 years later, we still love (most of!) our furniture and it’s holding up well!

Trash bags

This one seems silly, but how aggravating is it when that cheap trash bag splits and spills trash all over the lawn? Or worse yet, the kitchen floor? I experimented with trash bag brands until I found one that was high quality, but still fit into our budget.

Baby Items for More Than One Baby

When Miss H was born, we knew that we would have more children (Lord willing!) We decided to spend more on some items that would be used for years to come- like a baby crib, stroller, and even a car seat. Which brings me to my next point:

Anything Involving Safety

Any time safety is involved, I would much rather spend a little more on quality than try to find the cheapest version. For us, this is especially important with car seats, baby carriers, and even our home security system.

Swim Lessons

Like I mentioned above, quality swim lessons have been so helpful for us!


Although we have a tight grocery budget, I try to buy high-quality food for our family. We are not perfect eaters at all. But I also don’t buy the cheapest, most processed food I can find to save a buck.  We’ve found ways to be creative with this, like joining a CSA and  shopping for two weeks worth of groceries instead of one.

Spending Less on High Quality

Buying Gently Used

Buying high quality doesn’t always mean spending a ton. We often search out gently used items so we don’t have to sacrifice quality for price. We did this with our BOB stroller, and with the new-to-us car we bought last spring.

Making It Ourselves

I mentioned that I make some of our toiletries on my own. This lets me know that there’s good stuff in them, but I can still save money for our family. I sometimes make food items, like mango fruit leather, as well.

Looking for Deals

When there’s an item that we need, we spend a lot of time researching the product and price. Then, we wait. When a good deal comes up, we pounce!

What are some areas where quality is important to you?





  • Elizabeth Voyles September 14, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I think this is a great list! And I agree some things are worth extra money to get a high-quality item. Especially if it is meant to last. Furniture is a great example. I got a great deal on a $200 couch..which fell apart in a year. It would have been better to pay for quality and would have saved money in the long run actually.

    • leahbmartin September 14, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      That is so frustrating! I seriously thing that things are made poorly so you have to buy new ones right away!

  • Vanessa September 14, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    Yes great post! I totally agree!

    • leahbmartin September 14, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Thank you, Vanessa!

  • Marisol September 14, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Great breakdown. I relate to this and didn’t know what that meant until I had my daughter. You start learning where your money should go for quality.

    • leahbmartin September 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks, Marisol! I definitely learned this lesson through my kids, too!

  • Rachel September 14, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    I totally agree with the garbage bag thing! A box of cheap bags will ruin everything!!!! TOtally worth spending an extra dollar or two.

    • leahbmartin September 14, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I’m so glad I’m not alone on that one 🙂

  • Tasheena @ SimplyTasheena.com September 15, 2017 at 6:12 am

    This is a wonderful list of resources. I can’t wait to check some of these sites out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ana September 15, 2017 at 7:00 am

    I really agree with this list. You really do get what you pay for!


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge