Scrimp vs Splurge

As a budget conscious individual, who also loves luxury and quality, it’s sometimes hard to find the right balance. Understanding when to splurge on an item vs. when to scrimp has been a huge learning for me. There are certain items that you can get away with spending less money on, but I’ve found that others are really worth the investment. Here are some of my thoughts on when to scrimp, and when to splurge!


M.A.C. Studio Finish Concealer

Splurge on… concealer & foundation

I recently was reminded that spending a bit more money on concealer and foundation is worth it. The drugstore brands just don’t cover or even-out your skin tone as well as, say,  products from M.A.C. After 2 weeks of frustration and $16 on a drug store concealer, I went back to M.A.C. for the extra $10 and am soooo glad that I did. These products are the building base of your look and they should provide a solid… foundation… for the rest of your makeup.

Scrimp on… eyeliner

Eyeliner is eyeliner is eyeliner. Luxury fashion brands and affordable drugstore brands have essentially the same ingredients. This is an area where you can afford to spend less.

Splurge on… your flatiron

A good quality straightener will save you time and frustration. They heat up faster, glide easier and produce better results  It is also so much better for your hair to use a ceramic coated tool.


Splurge on… key furniture pieces

It was almost eight years ago now that we bought our first non-hand-me-down piece of furniture. Soon after we first moved out of our parents homes and started living in Vancouver’s Main Street area, we decided we needed a new couch. The same couch currently sits in our living room. It’s purple. It’s uncomfortable. And although it was on sale, a floor model for only $750, I wish we had invested in something that would stand the test of time. When we renovate and redecorate the living room early next year, I won’t make the same mistake twice. Your key furniture pieces such as dining room table and chairs and your couch should be like those classic pieces in your wardrobe. They are investments.

Scrimp on… art and accessories

HomeSense and Winners are your best friends here. There is no need to buy a $50 frame or spend $100 on a pillow when you can get the exact same look a month or two later in one of these fabulous bargain stores. HomeSense is my personal favourite. When a great shipment comes in I’m like a kid in a candy store. It can actually be quite dangerous, but every time I leave that store I marvel at how much was in my shopping cart and how little I paid for it. Art and home accessories are like the trendy pieces in your wardrobe – they accentuate, but change regularly with the seasons. Saving means you can afford to change them more often.

Splurge on… pots & pans

A good quality set of pots & pans, when cared for properly, will last you a lifetime. It’s worth the up-front investment. (Same goes for knifes! Don’t scrimp out there either.) The good news is that The Bay has great sales a couple times a year on high-end cookware brands. Most brands have lifetime warranties as well.

Ikea Dinnerware

Scrimp on…  everyday dinnerware

Fine china is a different story, but for everyday plates and bowls, there’s no need to spend a lot of money. Ikea has great options at an affordable price. Stay away from extremely trendy patterns or colours and go for plain white or pale shades. If something breaks or chips, no biggy! You can afford to replace them every few years.


Splurge on… jeans

If I was writing this post a few years ago, jeans would have been in my “scrimp” category. Spending $200+ on a pair of jeans used to make me scoff, until recently. Once you buy designer jeans, you truly can’t go back. The fit, the colour, the style… it’s soooo worth it. My fav brands lately are Rag & Bone and JBrand because not only are they cut wonderfully, flatter my curves, they are super comfortable too. A great pair of jeans can make you feel like a million bucks.

Scrimp on… trendy tops

Trends come and go. What’s in this season may be out the next, so don’t drop tons of dough on a trendy top or blouse when you can purchase the same look at stores like Zara or H&M for a fraction of the cost. Tops are generally more forgiving structure-wise that pants, and cut and quality can be lesser without being noticeable.

Splurge on… your daily handbag

A luxury designer handbag should also be considered an investment. Go with a timeless design, and you’ll have it for years. Cheap handbags wear so quickly when you use them daily, and you end up having to replace them frequently. Add up all those purchases and you could have had a nice bag from the start. Another fashion lesson I learned quite late.

Aldo’s Gallington Clutch – $35

Scrimp on… clutches

When I’m out at a bar or club the last thing I want to do is haul around a big handbag. Thank god for the clutch! Easy to carry, lightweight and stylish, every girl should have one or two go-to clutches to choose from. I favour saving vs. spending on this accessory though. My reason? Bars, clubs and pubs = sticky surfaces from spilled drinks, and sloshing martinis in the hands of those who’ve had too many. =) I want to be able to set down my handbag on a bar top without worrying about ruining a designer piece. If it only cost $25, who cares if it gets a bit dirty.

Is there anything you would add to the scrimp vs. splurge list? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Comments on “Scrimp vs Splurge

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