People Explain Which Expensive Purchases Actually Paid For Themselves In The Long Run
I remember staring at my screen for hours, calculating all pros and cons, wondering if my idea was crazy or genius.
All this drama was created by a single and seemingly innocent thing—an electric water flosser I was thinking of buying. From “Do I really need an electric flosser if I can’t be bothered to floss?” to “is it just another drop in a never-ending sea of consumption that destroys the planet and is dangerous to my wallet?”, it was about a week-long battle of intense reflection. The price tag didn’t help either.
But it turns out that sometimes getting yourself an expensive purchase leads you to a way brighter place than instant regret and a drop in endorphins.
This thread on r/AskReddit has people sharing “what expensive purchase have you made that has paid for itself many times over because you saved money in the long run?” and it’s an illuminating read. From quality cold weather gear to a Dyson vacuum cleaner, some things are worth our penny.
#1An Old Truck.
23 years ago, I bought a used 1991 Toyota 4-cylinder truck. Paid it off early. Its now 29 years old, and refuses to die. Good gas mileage, low insurance. I change the oil myself...
Image credits: series-hybrid
#2Quality cold weather gear.
Not only does it work better and look better, I've had a couple jackets for over 5 years now that see heavy use. Meanwhile I have a couple friends that basically buy and throwaway cheap gear every season. Works like s**t, looks like s**t, ends up in a landfill, costs more in the long run. Lose, lose, lose, lose.
Image credits: slowjams
New windows on our house. Replaced the old single pane metal framed windows. It was like a waterfall of cold air coming off of them and the noise from the street was obnoxious. Heating bill was cut in half.
Image credits: peanutbuttersnoflake
#4Dyson vacuum. Bagless. Don't even remember the model. $400.
Got it 15 years ago, thing is a beast and with some attachments can do anything, never even needed maintenance.
Image credits: TriscuitCracker
#5A good pair of boots, specifically Doc Martens, though really any stupidly sturdy boot works. I only ever have one pair of shoes I regularly wear, and I do a lot of heavy lifting, woodworking, etc etc. I used to get a pair of about $90 boots every year/ year and a half, decided to spend like $150 on a pair of Docs and they have lasted me about 4 or 5 years now of constant, heavy use. Only regret is that I didn't get the more expensive boots with the lifetime warranty that they offer.
Image credits: heodeosmehskndd
#6When I moved back to my home town over a year ago I bought a 27' sailboat to live on because rent here is outrageous. Boat cost $4,500 to buy, and moorage at a decent marina is about $170/month. Rent for a studio apartment or 1br here is $900-$1300; every month I save between $600 and $1100, so the boat paid for itself in 4-9 months.
Image credits: tonderthrowaway
#7I bought a 500.00 bicycle to use as my main transportation. 500 doesn't sound like a lot but when you're only making 8 an hour, it took some time to save up for it. With public transportation being 2.50 a ride the bike paid for itself in about 3 months. I used that bike for about 3 years. I still have it but i moved so i can't use it for the same purposes.
Image credits: Rigma_Roll
#8For women, I would say a menstrual cup. You can even find cheaper options than the DivaCup, but man, the amount of money that I'm saving on not buy pads and tampons is amazing. If you're a woman who is struggling financially, a one time payment for the menstrual cup is an amazing investment.
Image credits: JK841
#9A weighted blanket. I get a better quality of sleep with it.
Also, I got a bidet attachment for the toilet a couple years ago. It's a good investment, saves on toilet paper. A lot of them aren't even that pricey.
Image credits: Ermaquillz
#10Hydraulic floss has helped me keep my teeth so much cleaner saving so much on dental...
Image credits: wehosh
#11A very expensive suit.
This was the late 90s and I was 20 years old getting paid by the hour to do glorified help desk work. I had dropped out of college a couple semesters in because I needed to work. A recruiter called me out of the blue saying they needed someone right away. Could I interview the next day. The employer was the largest privately held company in the US and they had a reputation for being a VERY conservative suit and tie operation.
All I had was a poor fitting sport coat I got when I worked at circuit city. I called my father and he said go to Nordstroms, explain the situation and they'll get one done for you. So that's what I did and $600 later I'd emptied my bank account and was walking out the door with a new suit freshly altered that night.
I did the interview and just hit it out of the park. They offered me $55K starting salary to do app support. Which in the 90s was a crap ton of money for a guy going from making not a lot of money.
Image credits: CorrectPeanut5
#12Kenmore Washer and Dryer purchased new from Sears in 1998. They are still going strong and I guarantee when they do kick the bucket... the new washer and dryer I'll have to get from Lowes will be lucky to last 10 years.
Image credits: Nonhipster72
#13A $600 electric fireplace. We don't need to run the heat as high or as often because it heats up the area we stay in the most during the day.
Image credits: prettyinpink_xoxo
#14I bought a duplex in 2016 right before everything got very expensive in my area. I live in one side and rent out the other. My mortgage is $1000 per month and I collect $1060 in rent each month. So it worked out.
Image credits: Brunosrog
#15Not necessarily expensive these days - but a vacuum packing machine for the kitchen is the best thing I've ever invested in. I rarely throw a scrap of food out nowadays, and freezer burn is a thing of the past.
Apart from using it for sous vide, I also make bacon/ham/salt beef using the equilibrium method... so had perfect dry cured supply for years. It's a piece of cake to produce and a different class to store crap. And lasts for many months when kept vacpacked!
Image credits: Kerfuffle666
#16Milk frother. Well it's not really that expensive about £50 for a good one, but it saved me 100s in takeway lattes I don't buy anymore
Image credits: mooweemag
#17Bidet - Not super expensive, but saves on toilet paper. I've used it for about a year and I love it.
Image credits: fibsnap
#18Cast iron skillets are one of the rare things you can buy that get better the more you use it and will change your steak game forever.
Image credits: freshprinceofbeller
#19I bought a great travel backpack that I take everywhere instead of a suitcase. The money I have saved when I fly by not paying for a carry-on or checked bag has easily paid for the bag itself many times over.
Image credits: dadler701
#20Not an expensive item, but something totally worth having for large dogs who love to play fetch is getting a Chuck-It stick and balls. Its paid for itself 100 times over.
Image credits: wifferpated
#21Laser eye surgery. No more needing to buy new glasses every couple of years, no more forking out for contact lenses. Also avoided the incidentals like glasses repair kits, eyeglass cleaners, all the consumables that go with contacts.
Saving money long run isn't even the good part. The good part is not needing glasses.
#22My wife and I have been sorting pictures. We found one of my grandsons first day home from hospital. Our tan Maytag washer dryer is in the back of the photo just delivered days earlier. The same Maytag is still working daily. It does at least a load a day, she just needs a belt every 3 years.
Image credits: c3h8pro
#23My appliances. I didn't opt for the cheapest ones, but also didn't get the most expensive. We found a local place with great warranty. My first stove bought was a cheaper one. It died in 1.5 years and the cost to fix it was the cost of the original price I paid. Dont skimp on these, it costs soooo much more in the end.
Image credits: DangerDuckling
#24I buy most clothes at thrift stores. I found a cheap 1970s men's suit in good fabric but needed to tighten waist and shorten and de-flare the trousers. I soon realised I couldn't fix that by hand so in 2019 I bought a sewing machine (AU$300 in a %50 off sale).
Since then I've tapered about 8 of my business shirts (I have small waist compared to the shoulders). Tapered the legs on many of my thrift store trousers (several really high quality well preserved 1970s flares, or basic wide-legs from the early 1980s), shortened a couple of casual shirts and about 8 t-shirts. I even sewed new elastic onto all my old underpants as the elastic went loose but the fabric part was still good.
Given the cost of alterations the machine has probably paid for itself already.
...even a small taper to a shirt or trouser leg can make a huge difference to the item. Things that fit perfectly look 100 times better and you feel great wearing it.
#25A stainless steel Rolex about 50 years ago. I haven’t had to replace batteries like in a quartz watch, I haven’t had to replace a watch because of heavy rain or getting pushed into the pool or ocean. It keeps perfect time so I haven’t missed appointments, planes or trains and I don’t have to remember to wind it up. And when the Corona Virus gets me (I’m 70 years old) it will go on to my children who will probably use it for another 50 years.
#26a really good waterbottle and to go mug. stainless steel and insulated, not the most expensive purchase but expensive for cups. it's so worth it.
#27Laser Printers are expensive up front, but they will save you lots of money by no longer needing cartilages. Also is less wasteful because of it.
#28Rechargeable batteries. Xbox players save millions
#29Fishing poles. I've made deals on certain fish I caught and some I've cooked myself. Started fishing when I was 6 and started to cook when I was 8. Ain't nothing better than a boat and a pole.
#30Not expensive, but a rice cooker. If you're a guy, it's essentially a required purchase, and it pays for itself tenfold.
#31Mixer, I make my own bread.
Dehydrator, make fruit leather out of ify looking fruit
Allen edmon shoes, $600 but they are 7yrs in and going strong
House, bought 15yrs ago with a fixed mortgage. I pay less for my house than friends do to rent their apartments (also it's kinda a forced savings account, I know stock folks will say this one is 50/50 and maybe that's true but it works for me)
#32Diagnostic scanner for my car. $25 and has already saved me hundreds when my check engine light came on.
#33My house. 15 years later and it's worth more than 3 times what I paid for it, and my monthly repayments are so low I couldn't rent a single bedroom flat for the same amount.
#34A vasectomy. After we had two children we knew that was a good number for us. We both come from huge families and we know how hard it is financially and emotionally to provide for a large number of kids. Wasn't even that expensive either.
#35Waxing kit. I shape my own eyebrows and wax about once a month and the kit was less than $60 (so not super expensive to begin with). Definitely paid for itself!
#36A really good pair of hiking shoes and coats. Costs a lot at the beginning but will last you through harsh winters and even if worn almost daily last for years. By the time they have worn out I probably am paying the same as I would for cheap versions more regularly that wouldn't work half as well.
#37When my wife and I first started dating she wanted to learn to cut hair and wanted a pair of scissors that cost $25, which was a lot for us then. She offered that if I bought her the scissors she'd cut my hair for free as long as we were together. She lied. After 25 years she declared that she'd repaid me for the scissors and was going to stop cutting my hair. Still not a bad deal.
Image credits: h2f
#38I have 6 acres of land with a fair amount of trees on it. I spent about 25k for a backhoe that has saved, and will save me tons of back-breaking work.
It's amazing the amount of stuff I can do that would take huge amounts of energy without the backhoe.
Need a tree taken down and the stump removed? Give me an hour. Need a dead horse buried (true story)? Give me about 2 hours. Need a 100 foot long trench dug for water or power? Give me an hour. Need a 15 foot deep hole dug for who knows what nefarious reason? Give me about 2 hours. Need to flip a car? Give me about 2 minutes. Plow something? Completely destroy your yard? Move that dirt? Drag something heavy? Unstick something stuck?
It was a s***ton of money for me, but incredible what I can do.
Image credits: aigheadish
#39I live in Minnesota and am a single woman. One winter I missed two shifts at work because my car wouldn't start and I didn't have anyone who could jump it and road side assistance couldn't be there for hours. After that, I went out and spent a little over $100 on a portable car starter. It is a small black box that connects to the battery and jumps the car without needing someone else's car. This has saved me so much time and money.
Also being a single girl who at the time worked at night, I didn't have to worry that some stranger stopping to help might have ulterior motives. I feel much safer and always keep it in my purse. Added bonus, I can charge my phone with it too. I've been singing its praises ever since!
Image credits: thehallowedpen
#40When my wife and I purchased our home about 25 years ago, I had to go oversess for what turned into an extensive trip. When I came back, we had some really nice Danish furniture. She had also purchased very expensive mattresses. Since I did pay for all of this, I take a tiny bit of credit, but it was really her good sense! I am lying on that same bed and mattress now, and all of it is still in great shape, even after many moves including a few international ones. She also taught me that spending good money is worthwhile for dress shoes and appliances. That too has always worked out well in the long run.
Image credits: shafflo
#41Straight razor: You can buy these cheap but are better if you buy a vintage one restored or buy an expensive one new. You will never need to buy blades for your razor ever again. Sure Straight razors are expensive to get into and can seem .....intimidating and Murdery.
Gents when you get the technique down it will provide a better shave than anything else youve used. Ladies as a man who has done drag in a miniskirt and learned to use a straight and use it on your legs is easier than the face and you will never feel a smoother pair of legs in your life. you will never clog the blade because it has no safety bar for the hair to clog up so you could shave off your beard and not hav to worry about clogging up the blade.
Image credits: MajorMinceMeat
Almost 20 years ago, I splurged & spent just over $800 on a set of good tires for my T/A. The better handling was nice, but what really convinced me was when I was be-boppin' along a new road one day, probably about 15 or 20 mph faster than I should've been, came over a slight rise & saw that the road made a sudden 90* turn to the left about 75 or 100 yards ahead - & to make matters worse, there was water on the road!
I hit the brakes as hard as I dared, trying to modulate the pressure & keep the brakes right on the edge of locking up (my car was built before antilock brakes), and I was able to bleed off enough speed to make that turn without going onto the concrete... The wet traction capabilities of those tires saved my butt that day. (There was actually a 2nd time that the wet-traction capabilities of those tires kept me out of a wreck, but I don't remember enough of the details anymore to write about that time.)
I have a different performance car as my daily driver these days, & about a month ago I again spent $800 on a quality set of tires - the difference is, THIS time I wasn't second-guessing myself, wondering if it was a frivolous use of money. Spending a bit of good money on tires is cheaper than replacing sheetmetal (& possibly being injured)!!
Image credits: Occams_BattleAxe
#43A decent mountain bike in 2009 to replace a car (commute to work). Car was paid off but still costing £150+ per month for petrol, insurance and parking. Work was less than five miles away.
Bike cost £450 and was used every weekday from 2009 to 2018 when I started working from home. Cost about £50/year to maintain.
Easily saved over £10K over those nearly ten years and that bike is still going strong. Only downside was in 2011 I hit a patch of ice, came off and busted both arms. That was a fun three months.
Another plus side of cycling in all weathers is that any type of weather now doesn't bother me. Except hail.
Image credits: FortyEightK
#44A good pair of Brooks Ghost running shoes.
I'd never spent more than $30 on a pair of shoes. The only time I did spend $30 on shoes was for a friend's wedding. So when I got into running (a few times weekly and the occasional 5k) I cried because my new boyfriend (now husband) said I should invest in high priced, quality shoes. I caved and I've never had to replace a pair of running shoes because they crapped out on me, always because 2 - 5 years later there was another pair I liked out there.
We've been together for 8 years now and that first pair is still going.
Image credits: Lochnesstastic
#45Bluetooth headphones. I used to buy a pair of wired 10$ headphones monthly because each month the wire would break and I couldn't hear anything. One day I paid 30$ for PSYC Wave X1 bluetooth headphones and they fit perfectly on my ears and not only that, they sound great and they offer great sound cancellation. The only complaint I have about them is not the headphones fault, but Windows 10's fault which is pairing issues. Since I bought them like 2 years ago I've saved 240$ and I think I'll be saving even more until I decide to buy another pair since these ones are beginning to wear out. I tried changing headphones to ones specifically made for gaming and they were the absolute worst, so I'll stick to these, because they're the best.
Image credits: LeviathanDEMON
#46Also, less of a money investment and more of a time investment, but antique hand tools. A lot of tools aren't made anymore or aren't made well. And even if they are, they're often intended for use with power tools and don't work well with hand tools. You need to go to tons of yard sales to find some of them, but they'll last longer and work better than anything else on the market.
Image credits: heodeosmehskndd
#47My shaving setup was about $250 but now I get better than barber shop quality shaves for about 5 cents per shave.
Image credits: highhorse617
#48I bought an expensive tripod and an expensive mic. I like to make some videos as a hobby to document my travels and my life at sea as a sailor. I haven't saved any money as such, but the presentation of my videos (on YouTube) has improved so much. Now the videos are more stable and sound quality has improved too. My idea behind making these videos is that I can look back at them someday, and now thanks to these purchases, the video documentary documentaries will definitely be more watchable.
Image credits: trendz19
#49When I moved into an apartment with a washer/dryer hookup, I went out and found a used pair for ~$350.
Best investment of my life. I've probably made double that back by now from how much I've avoided spending at the laundromat.
Image credits: Dandymcstebb
#50I bought a 2014 Honda Accord almost brand new. It has been across USA east to West and back, and from NC to Newfoundland Canada and back, taking scenic drives gravel roads, dirt roads, National Parks, nature views.
Two things that had to be replaced in 140k miles. One headlight burned out, replaced both.
A rear wheel bearing went bad, replaced that.
Plus routine maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer.
It drives like a dream and each road trip, which was about ten thousand miles, only cost me about 1100 dollars in gas which isn't bad considering all the slow driving on scenic routes or gravel /dirt roads.
#51My parents bought a hair trimmer almost a decade ago for myself to save money on haircuts and I still use it to this day. I can't even imagine how much money we've saved on haircuts. Probably somewhere in the thousands.
#52Hell yeah!!! I had an 85 pickup growing up (22R engine), owned a 95 Tacoma for like 10 years and sold it with almost 260k. Then a couple years ago I picked up a 2001 Tacoma with 240k miles on it for $4k. Put a couple grand into it for maintenance and it became my daily driver while the nicer vehicle sits at home. 255k on it now, and I kinda want to put a turbo on it. Freakin' love those trucks.
#53Every Toyota I've owned
#54K so I have a few:
Good sewing machine
A good bed
I kept getting hand-me down sewing machines from people, which isn’t a bad thing IF the people before you were taking good care of them.. which they weren’t.. I had to spend time and money trying to oil them and fix parts, or try to find new parts for them only to have them still not work well. I eventually went out and got one for around $425, and it has been worth every penny.
I kept buying cheap straighteners and they would last less than a year. They would just crap out, break, almost start electrical fires, it stupid! I didn’t buy the most expensive one on the market, but I think it was around $200. I have had it for about 10 years now. I use it almost everyday.
Kinda the same thing as the straightener. I went out and bought a good one for $85, again not the most expensive, but not the cheapest.. I have had it for about 7 years now.
My fiancé and I recently needed a new bed. We decided to buy something a little more expensive because the bed we had wasn’t that great and we didn’t sleep well on it. I was always having a hard time sleeping and couldn’t figure out why. We recently bought a mattress that was more than what we had originally wanted to pay, and I have never slept so well in my life! We both love it and are so happy we bit the bullet and bought it. We have saved money already buy not having to drink as much caffeine, i was buying pills to make me drowsy at night to help me sleep (benadryl, tylenol, sleepy teas, things like that) and I don’t have to do that at all anymore. It’s amazing how much of a difference it has made.
#55I bought a bike that was probably almost $500 after tax. Not really even that expensive for a bike, but pricey when you're making minimum wage. Such a smooth ride compared to the $100 bikes I bought and destroyed from big-box stores. Plus my bike shop will do a quick tune-up every season for free. A good bike is life-changing.
#56I have a bike. Not even an expensive one, just a regular bike that I use to go to work every day. It's an half hour ride. I no longer use public transportation or a car so I save money on gas or metro tickets. Cycling an hour a day is enough to keep in ok shape so I don't need to go to the gym.
Best money I have ever spent.
#57Instant pot. It's incredibly easy to make good food with.
#58Clothes. I have a very small wardrobe of good quality clothing that costs a bit of money. When people ask where I get my jeans, work pants, shirt, shoes from etc, and I tell them Nordstrom, they are quick to tell me how they would never spend that much money on clothing. Along with an eye roll to let me know how frivolous I am.
But my clothes last forever compared to their clothes. I don't seem to have the wearing out issues other people do with my clothes.
Also, cloth diapers. A wash for one kid but we don't have to buy any diapers for kid two.
#59A new boiler and a flush of all radiators in the house. Halved my monthly gas bills and the house is actually warm!
#60Solar panel with a portable generator that charges on it.
And a space heater.
My power bill went from $150 to $53. (Average)
Also lifetime Star Trek Online, gaming PC, and shower chair. (It's much cheaper to buy a shower chair than KT tape, ibuprofen, and ER visits for dislocated joints or fainting.)
#61Hybrid cars are a good example of this.
My family got a hybrid Toyota RAV-4, because it wasn't much more for that than the regular.
Takes a week to two more before needing gas again, because the car uses both an electric motor & battery + gas when a little extra is needed.
#62Plumbing tools. I've saved thousands clearing blockages. I started with a snake and moved on to a plunger, that $50 in tools saved me heaps and started me learning how to use other tools. I have my own sanders, drills, chainsaw and hand tools now.
#63My laser eye surgery. Granted, I only had it on the 20th of Feb, but it's a whole different world I'm seeing and it should pay itself off in five year's time.
Image credits: King_Phyrrus
#64Costco executive membership. It pays for itself every year. They are literally paying me to shop there.
#65I went to one of those shoe stores that does a 3D scan of your feet. I got scanned and learned that instead of having flat feet (like I had thought for years) I actually have high arches.
I got a pair of $120 sneakers with a pair of $50 arch supports.
NO MORE KNEE PAIN!!