As smart consumers, we generally try to avoid acquiring unnecessary debt – we might take a loan to buy a car or have a mortgage on our homes to afford a good location, but with smaller purchases we save, shop carefully, and proceed with caution when using credit cards. Sometimes, though, it makes sense to take on a little debt, particularly for home investments. And depending on your income, choosing debt can be the best way to ensure you have access to quality products.
So what items are worth the debt and where can you cut costs without sacrificing quality? Here are four times you should spend for the sake of the long term.
In Hot Water
Your hot water heater is one of the most indispensable appliances in your house, so don’t cut corners when buying a new one. Instead, focus on a few key features, such as capacity (you can actually save by scaling down if your kids have grown up and moved out, for example), Energy Star rating, and style – gas or electric. Energy Star appliances are worth the extra cost since may get a tax rebate and you’ll save over the years on the gas or electric used to heat your water.
If you’ve ever been into a mattress store, you may know that there are more types of mattresses on the market than you can count, and every one of them promises something different. The only ones that aren’t making big promises are the cheap mattresses and for a good reason: they’re more likely to injure your back than give you a decent night’s sleep. It’s worth taking on some debt for a quality mattress, if only to avoid pain that could last the rest of your life.
In addition to spending for comfort on a mattress, you’ll also want to invest in materials you trust, so consider organic mattress materials. Mattresses are infamous for off-gassing, which means that like carpets and paints, they release gasses from the chemicals in the synthetic materials. Though you may not notice it, some people are very sensitive to these chemicals, particularly children and those with migraines and other chemical sensitivities.
Renovations and Repairs
Did the last storm blow a few shingles off your roof or have you noticed cracking in your home’s vinyl siding? If so, it’s time to make some repairs, and not small ones. It’s always worth investing in necessary home renovations and repairs, even if you need a home improvement loan, because you want to hire professionals who will use quality materials for the job. Cover your home in cheap siding and you’ll spend twice as much replacing it again in a few years, and your home may incur further damage in the meantime.
The Future of DIY
Finally, many people view taking a do-it-yourself approach as a way to save on home projects, whether it’s building a new bookshelf or putting up a deck, and it’s true that if you know what you’re doing, going the DIY route can save you money. In addition to some technical know-how, though, you’ll also need good tools to do the job, which is why you should invest in good power tools that you’ll use for years. Using the wrong tools, or poorly made ones, just damages materials, and delays or makes it impossible for you to follow through and complete your projects.
Almost every time that it’s worth taking on debt, it’s because you’re spending to save on things in the future. Yes, it can be disconcerting to have credit card debt, but often, these big costs come with financing options and are manageable when you plan for them.
Spend smart now to save later – it’s a motto to live by.