Posters advertising a sale are displayed in a shop window (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
Mary Caldwell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Saving money often involves finding a way to pay less for something that you want or need. But sometimes the old adage about being "penny wise, pound foolish" applies, as the cheaper way out can end up costing you.
Trying to save a few dollars per lightbulb doesn't pay off, according to The Simple Dollar. When comparing incandescent, compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, the site found that the approximate cost for each bulb was $1 for incandescents, $2 for CFLs and $8 for LEDs.
Though unlikely, it’s possible for an LED bulb to last for 23 years. The savings for just one bulb over a 23-year period can be more than $150 if you switch to CFLs or LEDs. Multiplied by the number of bulbs in your home, this total becomes even more significant.
If you're starting a home painting project, you may be tempted to pick up the cheapest paint you can find in a shade you like. According to Consumer Reports, that's a big mistake.
Its tests found that economy grades of both interior and exterior paints don't perform as well as their more expensive counterparts. Cheap interior paints often require more coats than pricier paints and don't hold up as well over time. Economy exterior paints also don't weather as well as more expensive paints made by the same brand.
You spend six to eight hours a day lying in bed, so buying the cheapest model you can find isn't a good idea, according to Money.
Money recommends identifying what you don't like about your current mattress, trying many different types in stores by lying on each for a minute or two and being prepared to invest in one that suits your needs and preferences.
A laptop is a purchase that's worth saving up for whenever possible, according to Business Insider. Otherwise, the site says, you're walking into "the tech equivalent of a minefield."
Inexpensive Windows laptops often aren't as fast as their more expensive counterparts, and they're usually bulky. You may also find a short battery life, clunky keyboard and lots of useless preinstalled programs that make your computer function even more poorly.
5. Car insurance
Car insurance is one of those expenses that you pay for again and again without a payoff for months or even years. While you should shop around to get a good deal, Consumer Reports warns against skimping on liability coverage.
This pays for bodily injury and property damage that you cause. If you buy only enough coverage to meet your state's mandated minimum requirements, you leave yourself open to extremely costly claims that could jeopardize your life's savings.