20 Purchases That Are Always Worth the Money
From epic adventures to hand-crafted shoes, here are the biggest splurges you'll never regret.
It's no secret that most consumer products these days come with a shelf life that would make your grandfather cringe. We're talking about $30 blazers from fast-fashion outlets that last half a season, $200 flat screen TVs from big box stores that will be obsolete by next Black Friday, and phones so cheap you could cycle through them faster than paper towels.
Given the rise of disposable everything, it's easy to forget that there are some things in life actually worth shelling out top dollar for. These are the investments that will boost your quality of life, improve your standard of living, and even make a lasting impact on your health. Best of all: because they're so high quality, they'll also save you a boatload of money in the long run.
Ready to splurge? Read on—and then learn more savvy lifestyle tips courtesy of 25 Things Rich People Always Do.
A More Comfortable Mattress
The average person spends 9,152 days of his or her life—or 25 years—sleeping. Is it really worth it to save a few extra bucks spending almost a third of your life sleeping on lumpy sack of cotton that leaves your head in a fog and back tied up in knots?
Fortunately, in-mail, direct-to-customer mattress companies like Casper, Leesa and Helix have made it easy and affordable for anyone to get a top-quality bed that fits their specific needs. Most offer trials with free returns, too, so there's little to no risk in getting a mattress you're sure to love. Once you've got a better bed, be sure to read our 10 Ways to Sleep Better Tonight—Guaranteed!
Best Life must-have:
The Casper Mattress, starting at $950 at casper.com
A pair of ultra high-end footwear
Let's do the math. If you spent $800 on a pair of hand-made, leather wingtips, and got them re-soled every five years, you're spending roughly $1,400 over 30 years. If you bought a pair of more-disposable Oxfords for $150, which may last a year, you're looking at spending $4,500 over the same time frame. Why on earth would you spend more for a crummier pair of shoes?
It's more than just cost effective to go high-end. The time you spend on your feet is a large chunk of your life. Much of the body's health starts at the feet and poor support can lead a chain reaction that ends in back pain, bad posture and joint erosion. So, having hand-crafted shoes with a pair of good insoles is important. We recommend finding a good orthopedist who can assess how your foot strikes the ground and provide a custom insole that makes sure everything is aligned properly. Being proactive early on might just prevent or delay expensive—and imperfect—surgeries that attempt to repair worn-down joints.
Once you've stocked your closet with dress shoes, check out our Top 5 New Running Shoes for 2017.
Best Life must-have:
The Plain-Toe Oxford from Salvatore Ferragamo, for $995 at ferragamo.com
A safer ride
Paying for luxury in a car is up for debate. Paying for safety? Not so much. It doesn't make much sense to skimp on a vehicle if it means compromising not only your own life but also the lives of friends and family who travel with you. So, next time you're at the dealership, consider spending a bit more for the extra airbags. Top luxury performers in 2016 included the 2016 Lexus ES 350 (pictured), the Volvo S60, and the Infiniti Q70. If you're in the market for faster wheels, here are the 14 Sports Cars to Buy Now.
A Cutting-Edge Laptop
There are plenty of dirt-cheap computer options out there, but if you want one that won't begin its rapid decline into an expensive paperweight only months after purchase, it's better to buck up the cash from the start. For those whose computer use is mostly comprised of word docs and surfing the web, you won't need to spend a fortune. But you shouldn't necessarily let a high price tag deter you from buying a well-reviewed laptop with good specs and a reliable brand name. Of course, you can't go wrong with the latest souped-up Apple. And if you're set on a PC, check out the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga.
Term life insurance
Yes, it's a little morbid to go there, but it's worth noting. If your life is cut short unexpectedly, you don't want to leave your family burdened by any funeral costs. Unanticipated turns of fate make the $20-40 monthly charge for a term life insurance plan well worth it.
A Bespoke Suit
Every guy needs a great suit that fits only him—period. You'll find our rec for a timeless classic below, but if you're looking for something with some extra punch, see our favorite Statement Suits.
Best Life must-have:
The Sienna Blue Herringbone from Suit Supply, for $639 at us.suitsupply.com
A Fancier Gym Membership
Sure, you can get rock-hard abs and big biceps pretty much anywhere these days—and, given what we now know about the positive effects of high-intensity exercise, you may not need a gym membership at all. But we're all for the luxury exercise palaces out there, because the promise of a steam room, a post-workout massage, and a smoothie made from kale might be enough to motivate a workout in the first place. If you can't make it to the gym, you can always try the World's Fastest Full-Body Workout anywhere.
With the exception of live sports, the Internet is swiftly overtaking cable TV as the best place to binge, thanks to the endless stream of TV shows and movies online. The problem? It sucks up a lot of bandwidth—enough that a discount Internet plan might crumble under the weight of simultaneous Netflix and Spotify use. So yes, the extra $40 or $50 you need to shell out for every month for that performance package is well worth it, especially if it can save you from that never-ending buffer wheel.
A Warmer Home-heating system
An efficient home-heating system is one of those purchases that is guaranteed to pay itself off over time. Whether your house (and region) is best equipped for solar, geothermal, gas or oil, ask a local heating specialist what your options are. A large chunk of cash up front can mean cutting your bill by 5-10% each month. But if you're finding that your bill is continually getting out of hand everytime the temperature drops, here's The Smartest Way to Slash Your Wintertime Energy Costs.
A Financial advisor Who Knows What He's Doing
When it comes to navigating the amorphous world of managing money, most of us aren't going to know all the tricks involved in limiting tax liability, diversifying investments, and setting ourselves up for retirement. A good financial advisor will know the tricks, though finding one can be tough. To help avoid getting Madoff'd, ask some of your finance-savvy friends who they use. And do your best to find an advisor who charges a flat fee instead of one whose payment is based on investment performance. And even if you have a crack wealth manager, it's still important for you to bone up on The 20 Essential Wealth-Building Rules for 2017.
The Latest Smartphone
Repeat after me: never try to save money by buying last year's downsized iPhone model. Apple's computer engineers purposefully don't optimize the latest operating system to work on last year's model. They design it to fully utilize the latest specs on the market. So if you try to save some by buying a phone with older hardware, there may be some sluggish disappointment after a few OS upgrades.
Ride the rails across Europe. Zoom through Southeast Asia on a motorcycle. Climb the Patagonias. There are certain things in life that can only be truly understood firsthand. Get out there and see for yourself. In the end, you won't regret it. Study after study after study proves that money spent on experiences—and not the accumulation of stuff—is always money well spent. Period. Need some recs? Check out these 25 Adventures Every Man Should Have Before He Dies.
Better Car maintenance
Having a good mechanic you can trust is hard to come by. If you've achieved that feat, listen to him when he says something needs to be fixed. What's more costly: paying a thousand bucks to get your timing belt replaced or buying a new car all together because the engine kicked? And don't forget to regularly change your oil.
A More Rugged Set of Tools
Handy or not, everyone will have to break out the cordless drill eventually. Anticipated infrequent use may cause you to cheap out when buying your standard fleet of power tools. Don't. You'll be kicking yourself when your off-brand cordless cramps up right after that trip to Ikea. Have fun screwing your FALKHÖJDEN together by hand.
Best Life must-have:
The DeWalt 20-Volt Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Combo Kit (5-Tool) for $399 at homedepot.com
A Sharper Kitchen knife
A good knife will last a lifetime. Start by exploring online to find what type of knife will be best for your needs and price range. Then stop by a kitchen specialty store to get an idea how different knives fit in your hand. If you're buying for life, you'll want to make sure the grip fits right. And be sure to do some research on sharpening and maintenance, too. Poor knife care makes for a dull blade that may not last as long as you hope.
Best Life must-have:
The Wüsthof Classic Ikon Chef's Knife, for $119.95 at williams-sonoma.com
Who wouldn't trade a few thousand bucks for perfect—or substantially improved—vision? Cost and recovery time from LASIK have decreased substantially since the surgeries approval in the mid-90s. Now, perfect vision can be had for an average of $2,500. Worth it.
A New Best Friend
Oh the joy of owning a pet: unconditional love, a lick of the face, the wag of a tail… a $5,000 veterinary bill when Fido needs hip-dysplasia surgery.
Indeed, with neutering, licensing, medical exams, crates, leashes and food—among many other expenses—the average first year cost of owning a dog averages around $1,270, with a cat coming in at a nearby $1,070. But owning a pet may reduce your own medical bill. A study from the American Heart Association actually found that pet ownership reduced blood pressure and mental stress—more so even than certain medications. That begs the question: Can one really put a price on the overwhelming affection exuded from a furry friend after a long day at work?
Yes, a Top-of-the-Line Vacuum
Sucking up dirt with a high-quality vacuum will have you wondering how you went so long living in such squalor. A few things to consider before dropping hundreds of dollars on that Dyson or Hoover: What types of surfaces will you be vacuuming? What is your desired mobility? What extensions do you anticipate needing? It'll be tough to go back to that cheapo plastic air sucker once you see a bag full of dust pulled from a presumably clean floor.
Best Life Recommends:
The Dyson Cinetic Big Ball Animal, for $599.99 at
Of course, a good education can be had at a low, affordable price, and it's an unfortunate reality most of the top-tier private universities come at a hefty cost. But paying top dollar often does come with perks, chiefly well-connected professors with industry access and network of colleagues with similar goals and aspirations who may be of use when you're looking for that second or third job after graduation.
Now, as a disclaimer: there are plenty of low-quality schools that will gladly relieve you of $40K to $60K for a subpar education. But if you find a school with a good reputation, alumni network and—most importantly—a program of study that genuinely interests you, it's probably worth the investment.
We're not suggesting that everyone should get a tattoo. But, if you do, find an artist who specializes in the style and technique you're looking for. Ask to see multiple previous jobs. Check with friends to see who did their work. Tattoos are permanent. Because, trust us, if you want one, don't ever, ever go cheap.