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How to Shop for One-Time Purchases – Buy High-Quality Products That Last a Lifetime

By Martin Dasko

man shopping with credit cardIn this post, I’ll be talking about how you can save money on the various one-time purchases that you’ll need to make throughout your life. So what exactly do I mean by a one-time purchase? This is obviously any item that you’ll likely only have to buy once, but I’m not referring to homes, cars, or other large purchases which you may be thinking of. Instead, I’m referring to smaller, simpler items that usually last you a lifetime for whatever reason.

Depending on your interests and lifestyle, these products might range from kick boxing pads to a leather briefcase. In my case, I’ll likely only buy one briefcase in my life and I doubt that I’ll need more than one set of kickboxing pads in the long-term. Some other potential one-time purchases include: musical instruments, tennis rackets, ice skates, tuxedos (men’s clothing), winter jackets, workout dumbbells, dining room tables, lawn mowers, large appliances, a chess game set, the list goes on and on. These are all one-time purchases that you may have to make, and make wisely at that. You don’t want to have to re-buy anything because of poor quality or because of mistakes in the shopping process.

So let’s look at how you can make better informed one-time purchases that you won’t regret.

1. Shop Around
You’ll often feel guilty when you make a spur of the moment purchase and eventually go back to find a better deal somewhere else. This is why shopping around before committing to anything always pays off. Now, I’m not suggesting that you spend hours shopping around for a simple t-shirt, but it’s always beneficial to check a few sources before making a purchase in excess of $50-100. This way you’ll at least know that you paid a reasonable, competitive price. Another benefit to shopping around is that through the process you may realize that you don’t really need to buy what you were looking for.

2. Don’t be Cheap, Pay for Value
Keep in mind that you’re looking to make a one-time purchase only. Knowing that, you should look to get the most value rather than just the lowest price. Trust me, you’ll regret being cheap when you have to spend even more money replacing your broken items. For example, I used to buy cheap gym bags from Walmart all the time, and constantly needed to get them replaced year after year. I didn’t realize how much this was actually costing me until I forked over $50 for a premium UnderArmour bag that has lasted me a very long time and is still in perfect condition. Don’t turn one-time purchases into unnecessary annual or monthly purchases because you skimped out on quality.

3. Talk to Others
Just like with any other big purchase, always ask around. Unless you’re buying an exotic Brazilian butterfly collection, you’re probably not the first person who has ever made the same purchase. You can easily find someone who has bought something similar, especially through reviews on online shopping sites, and get useful tips and guidance based on previous experiences.

4. Get a Warranty
Buying high-quality goods usually means that you’ll get more value for a longer period of time. In fact, a lot of companies will even guarantee this by attaching warranties to products. For example, all The North Face jackets and apparel are “fully warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product. If a product ever fails due to a manufacturing defect, even after extended use, they will repair the product, without charge, or replace it, at their discretion.” If you’re looking to make a one-time purchase, look for warranties (preferably lifetime) whenever possible. Not only will you be getting the assurance of high quality, but you’ll also get free repairs and replacements should something go wrong. You know you’re getting your money’s worth.

If you’re only going to buy something once, you might as well make it worth your time. What is your stance on one-time purchases and how have you approached the process?  Share your experiences and tips here!

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Martin Dasko
Martin is a 22 year old personal finance writer that attempts to make money talk fun. After taking many finance courses in college he realized that this stuff is completely boring and that nobody cares about complex calculations. He started his own personal finance blog in November of 2008 and has been passionate about making matters interesting ever since then. His goal is to show you how to get the most out of life, while still saving a buck or two.

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