12 Times You Should Always Buy Quality Over Quantity

Sometimes it’s worth it to pay more to just buy it once.

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Updated July 18, 2024
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Buying quality over quantity is an age-old debate. But often, paying a little bit more for quality just makes sense, particularly when it’s within your budget. 

You can buy something once and avoid wasting money or buy it over and over again throughout the years. Eventually, your cost per use levels out, and you’ll wish you’d just invested from the beginning.

Wondering where you should focus your dollars? Here are twelve items where you should always buy quality over quantity.

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May_Chanikran/Adobe woman buying clothes at shopping center

Put down the fast fashion. Buying cheap clothing that only lasts a few wears quickly becomes a waste of money, especially when you could buy higher-quality items for a reasonable price. A sweater made from natural fibers that costs a little more, for example, could last you seasons, while one from a fast-fashion website may pill after just one wear.


LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe woman checking mattress in furniture shop

A good mattress can make all the difference when it comes to sleep quality, and sleep plays a direct role in more than just how well-rested we feel. Good sleep affects cognitive function, mental health, and myriad other aspects of life.

But mattresses don’t come cheap, so it may be tempting to go the inexpensive route. Splurge on a quality mattress, and you won’t find yourself shopping for a new one within a year or two, and your body will thank you.


Kzenon/Adobe Couple buying couch in furniture store

There are times when Ikea is the answer — you’re moving into a college dorm, outfitting your first apartment, or looking for an interim solution. But, otherwise, it could be worth paying for quality over quantity.

That flat-pack bookcase might not last more than one move, but one that is solid wood could last for decades. Can’t afford quality? You might be surprised by what you can find on Facebook Marketplace or your local thrift store.

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JackF/Adobe workman holding basket of painting tools

Use a quality and a cheap hammer, and you’ll understand why investing in tools matters. Good quality tools are safer and more efficient, but they also make loads of difference in the work you’re doing. You’ll save yourself time and potentially prevent injury. And, if purchased correctly, they won't break the bank.

“For non-power tools, if you take the approach of buying a tool when you need it, rather than kitting out your whole workshop at once, it’s really not that expensive,” says one Redditor.


Rido/Adobe wife hugging husband with home keys

You should always buy within your means — you don’t want to end up house-poor. However, you should also buy a house that you feel is structurally sound and built with quality materials rather than something inexpensive just to add to your portfolio. A cheaply made home means more costly repairs and less equity down the road.

Winter coats

OlegDoroshin/Adobe winter jackets on store hangers

If you live in a cold climate, then it’s worth it to buy one super high-quality winter coat rather than trying to build a stylish closet of less expensive items. 

“I used to get a new cheapie [coat] every other year because the zippers would break, or it would get a big hole in it, or it would shrink in the wash,” explained one Reddit user in the popular Buy It for Life subreddit. 

“But I bought a North Face parka two winters ago, and it was the best purchase I’ve ever made. It keeps me delightfully warm, and if anything breaks, I can send it in for repair!”


NDABCREATIVITY/Adobe woman shopping new shoes in store

Wear one pair of stylish but uncomfortable shoes, and you’ll understand why the quality over quantity adage applies directly to your footwear. It’s worth it to spend the extra cash on a quality pair of sneakers or dress shoes and leave the trendy styles to those who are willing to go through boxes of bandaids and foot pain.


Igor Kardasov/Adobe woman buying saucepan in supermarket

A good set of cast iron or high-quality stainless steel pans and a Dutch oven are the only cookware items you’ll ever need. “​​A carbon steel or cast iron pan instead of a PTFE nonstick pan. The former will last a lifetime,” said a Reddit user. “The latter gets replaced every few years or loses its nonstick properties.”

There is slightly more maintenance with a cast iron pan, but the longevity is worth it — this is one you’ll pass down to your grandkids. Not to mention there’s no worry that you’re accidentally preparing your food using potentially toxic materials.

Kitchen knives

Nomad_Soul/Adobe man choosing kitchen knife at store

The best tool you can have in the kitchen is a sharp, high-quality knife. Forget buying a new set annually. Buy one once and get it sharpened regularly.

Good quality blades hold their edges longer and get sharper than discount store knives. With routine care, a set of German or Japanese kitchen knives will last a lifetime (or longer).

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martina87/Adobe Shop with different stylish headphones

If you have multiple pairs of headphones lying around your house, and you’re never quite sure which pair actually has decent sound, it might be time to invest in one pair of quality headphones and skip the next gen AirPods.

“Invest in good, well-designed headphones from a real audio company! I've seen old Sennheisers and Beyerdynamics from the 90s still working after 30 years, sounding perfect and everything! And for their most popular models, they offer replacement earpads, cables, etc. Your music will sound better, by a lot—quite an improvement if you do like music!” said one Redditor.

Toilet Paper

Marharyta Hanhalo/Adobe woman buying toilet paper in bulk

This one might be divisive, but some people feel it’s absolutely worth the extra money to buy fewer rolls of higher-ply toilet paper. You can get more tissues with a cheaper brand, but it’s one of those little luxuries that some people prefer splurging on.

Fruits and vegetables

pawczar/Adobe woman buying fruits at grocery store

Your health should come above all else when you’re spending your money, and spending a little bit more on quality produce can make a huge impact. If it’s tasty, you’re more likely to eat it, and that means you’re getting more nutrients. Skip the expensive bag of chips and spend a bit more on berries, spinach, and root vegetables.

Bottom line

Sandra/Adobe woman using card for online shopping

Of course, there are times when you can’t afford to buy the top-quality item, even if you’re prioritizing quality over quantity. In those cases, it’s worth looking for a brand that carries a good reputation in terms of customer service or lifetime warranties warranty like Craftsman, Jansport, and Faberware.

And don’t overlook the power of a Costco membership — the warehouse giant offers extended warranties on many of their products, giving you additional peace of mind on big-ticket purchases.

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Heather Bien

Heather Bien is a writer covering personal finance and budgeting and how those relate to life, travel, entertaining, and more. With bylines that include The Spruce, Apartment Therapy, and mindbodygreen, she's covered everything from tax tips for freelancers to budgeting hacks to how to get the highest ROI out of your home renovations.