It started with a ladle. Someone left it at my house and I can see why. I was spooning myself some soup out of a pot and the damn thing buckled and spilled soup all over my pants and bottom of my shirt. As someone who regularly spills things, I was trying to remember what I did to anger the slob gods this time when I realized there are some things in life that you can’t be cheap with.
With all this talk about things you don’t want your girlfriend or boyfriend to get you for Christmas, I’ve been thinking about purchases. There are some things in life you can skimp on and it won’t really make a difference: some cereals, paper towels, dishwasher soaps, anything at Costco, you get the idea. You’re an adult now, live a little and buy the real stuff because you’re a working American taxpayer.
In college, you know when your RA hands out non name-brand condoms? Very rarely are they useful other than to make water balloons. Even then, they’d break way before a Trojan would. Anyway, my naïve self thought, “Well, I’m out, and (my then girlfriend) wanted to bang.” I tried one of those off-brand ones and thought, “Wow, these are great!” Turns out that’s because it completely shredded and all I had was the rubber base at the bottom, like when your water balloon breaks on the hose. Thankfully, this was around my birthday (broke college student) and my aunt bought gave me a $50 Visa gift card that I promptly used for Plan B (before I knew student health offered them for $10). I still haven’t told her, but if you’re reading this, thanks Aunt Trish!
Seriously, don’t be cheap about this stuff. Buying knockoff or dollar store kitchen appliances and utensils are a colossal waste of money. There are many affordable options and buying the cheap shit can cause a variety of problems from spilled soup to broken handles that spill scalding water on your feet (happened to my friend in college). Spend a few extra dollars and do it right because if you don’t, you’ll end up replacing it multiple times anyway. Investing in a panini press was one of the best investments I have ever made in my life.
I usually make my own sauces. Homemade barbeque sauce is a treasure and it shows you mean business. People respect someone with a solid sauce game. There are some sauces, like ketchup, that should never be anything but Heinz. Hunt’s just doesn’t cut it, and forget about the store brand that thinks its ketchup is the shit just because it writes “fancy” on the label.
I grew up in a household that used single-ply. It was all I knew. After going to college, I realized the majesty of double or even triple-ply toilet paper. No more wiping your ass with ultra-fine grit sandpaper and having to wad it so your fingers don’t poke through. I haven’t been able to completely dodge it due to my job’s one-foot-in-diameter, industrial-sized roll of paper, but knowing I can shit with peace of mind at home is a game changer.
Luggage and Travel Gear
I had to buy junky luggage from Wally World in a pinch due to being unprepared (got drunk the night before) and it was a complete disaster. The handle ripped, the zippers came off track and it looked exactly like what you’d expect from America’s finest peddler of sweatshop goods. Do yourself a favor and invest in some quality travel gear.
Growing up, I slept on a twin spring mattress. Like the toilet paper, it was all I knew. My first big purchase after getting a job was a bed because I was tired of sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress. Those memory foam pads that you get to make your dorm bed better didn’t do it for me, so I went big and got one of those astronaut-approved ones. After this, nothing else feels the same. I did one of those 0% APR things so it was like $35 a month for two years and now it’s all paid off and I didn’t even miss the money coming out of my paycheck. Pro tip: shop for mattresses around the end of the month so the desperate sales guy will give you a deal in order to hit his quota.
Living on a budget is tough. It’s like being a slightly more (sometimes less) college student, but now you’re on your own. Invest in quality things and you will be paid back tenfold because life is too short to eat budget ketchup..