Money

8 Things To Never Scrimp On

I’m in a bit of a belt tightening phase.

I’m also in a, “crap I’m starting to look a little unkempt” stage.

I’ve been ignoring the need for a good cut, colour and blow dry because, well, I simply can’t afford it. I decided the only financially viable way to deal with my root issue was to pop to the chemist and buy some bargain basement hair dye.

Big mistake. Huge. My usual blonde locks turned turmeric. The colour was bad; the condition was worse. I ended up, tail between my legs at my hairdressers, having to admit the error of my ways, while she transformed my ridiculous mop.

Lesson learnt. You just can’t scrimp on certain things, no matter how broke you are. Whether it’s in monetary terms or health and wellbeing terms you will pay for it in the end.

Here are a few areas where cheaper isn’t always better.

#1 Running shoes

Nutritionist and fitness instructor Samantha Gemmell says if you reckon a pair of cheapo runners will be as good as a top end brand, think again.

“Cheaper running shoes are designed for the average foot,” Samantha says. “We all have different gaits and arches so you need the right support for your foot and activity. Ill-fitting shoes can cause rolled ankles, blisters and even stress fractures, it’s just not worth potential pain and injury.”

#2 Toilet paper

It seems everyone’s prepared to cough up when it comes to quality toilet paper. Breakfast radio host Jacinda Gugliemino says it’s pretty simple why she chooses the comfort of a good 3 ply over a home brand equivalent: no ripping.

#3 Pets

If you have a pet, their health and safety should be of utmost importance. Many cheap toys like squeaky animals or badly made balls can be swallowed and cause irreparable damage to your fur child. Always buy reputable brands that are up to Australian standards.

You also shouldn’t skimp on nutritional needs. Cheap food is made with fillers and is scarce in the nutrition department. Changing food abruptly can also cause digestive problems.

#4 Hair

So, we’ve “highlighted” the issue with home dyes but there are also other issues to think about, says hairdresser Alysia Costello.

“A good hairdresser has skill, knowledge and education. We have to understand the anatomy and science of skin and hair, so I would always suggest investing in us. Doing an at home job can cause real damage to the hair follicles and strip all nutrients.”

#5 Mental health

I for one always let my therapy sessions fall by the wayside when I’m tight with money. But I’ve noticed my whole life suffers when I put mental health at the bottom of the priority list.

Psychologist Jaimie Bloch says, “We look after our bodies without a second thought but we overlook our minds. If your mind isn’t well it can affect other areas of life from work to relationships and it can be hard to cope with everyday scenarios and decisions.”

Jaimie says that being on a tight budget is a time when mental health care actually needs to be elevated to a top priority. “Having no money is stressful. It’s hard to make clear and good decisions when fraught with anxiety over money issues, so it’s imperative to work on having and maintaining a good headspace.”

The government has a mental health plan rebate system that should help ease the cost; you can also speak to your therapist to ask whether they do payment plans.

#6 Mattress

It’s no secret that quality of sleep is paramount to a productive day. Yes, they are expensive, but think how long we spend in bed.

Lesley- Ann Trow, owner of Pillow People believes a good mattress and pillow are a vital investment in your health and wellbeing.

“If you scrimp on either of these things you’ll find you toss and turn and wake with neck or lower back pain. It may be costly but think of it like gym membership, only less expensive,” she says.

#7 Insurance

When I’m super broke, insurance isn’t generally on the must keep list but Insurance Broker Melissa Donaldson says it should be.

“I was advising a client the other day who wanted a quote on house insurance. He kept uttering one option was the “best” price because it was the cheapest. Ask yourself why a low price means the best,” she says. “Does it cover what you need? When you claim and you aren’t covered, the ‘best’ price is irrelevant. “

This goes with travel, house and car insurance. Always read the fine print. And as Melissa warns, think about the cost of not having it.

#8 Coffee

Aussies love their coffee and few will miss their morning caffeine hit regardless of budget. Avid coffee drinker Julie Chaise Borrini is one of them.

“No matter what, it’s my morning routine to grab a takeaway. It’s only $3.50 and it makes me feel connected to the day. I work long hours and will easily skip lunch but that one coffee, no way; it’s a ritual I’d never give up.”


A published freelance writer from print to online, Katy’s passion is honest authentic writing. From the mundane experience to a sensational observation, Katy always finds a way to voice what she sees. Relatable and quirky, she writes with warmth and familiarity. She also loves lists, matching socks and edamame beans.