There's a reason the web is full of articles on saving money. We all want to do it, and Americans have proven themselves not exactly good at it. But sometimes you have to throw all those "sock it all away for a rainy day" tips out the window.
If you're spending $700 on a car that costs you $2,000 to fix, you just "saved" yourself into a giant hole.
Here are a few times where it's perfectly OK to spend ... to save:
1. Efficient Appliances. If your older model dryer is running perfectly fine, leave it alone. But if it's a bit clunky and your electric bill is sky high, a new model with a moisture sensor can save you big money on energy. Remember to take it off your taxes while you're at it.
2. A Coffee Maker. Even the fancy espresso machine becomes affordable if you can stop spending $5 on your morning latte. At $100 a month spent on on-the-go coffee, you'll have that Gaggia Classic paid off in four months.
3. Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs. They're at least double the price of your regular bulb, true, but when they last four times as long, you're reaping big rewards in the end.
4. Quality Surge Protector. I can't count the number of homes I've walked into with a big-screen TV plugged straight into the wall. A decent surge protector may cost you upward of $100, but that new TV will cost you $2,000.
5. A House. If you can't swing the mortgage, don't put yourself in a hole. But if it's close to what you're paying for rent, the tax benefits could swing this one your way. You can't write off your rent checks. You can write off a significant amount of your mortgage. And in the end, you have equity.
6. A Car. Leasing may be a lower cost option, but you don't own the car in the end. The Federal Trade Commission warns drivers to be wary of leasing -- often buying the car is the better way to go.
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