Just Spend The Extra $10! A Few Things You Shouldn’t Even Think About Going Cheap On

November 13, 2012  |  

I enjoy a good deal just like the next woman on a budget, but after living and learning the hard way I’ve come to accept that there are just some types of items where going cheap is just not going to get it. A lot of people have grown accustomed to asking for the generic versions of prescription medications at the pharmacy or comparing the ingredient list on a bottle of NyQuil and the drug store’s Nite Time, but going the bootleg, discount, get it for the low-low route on a lot of other things will end up costing you a whole more than you thought you saved.  Think it won’t? Check out this list of products it’s better to just spend the extra cash on.


If you want to walk around unsure all day long with your arms glued to your sides go right ahead, but I wouldn’t recommend you make bottom shelf deodorant a regular thing. Even if you could adjust to the sweat stains from not purchasing a proper anti-perspirant, trust me when I say people will not be so forgiving when you funk up the place. You may not have to go all Secret Clinical Strength on ’em, but Degree, Mitchum, and Arm & Hammer will do your underarms (and stranger’s noses) well. PS. You probably don’t want to go the aerosol route like the woman in the pic either.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


Though pretty much every woman has left the beauty shop once thinking, “I could have done that myself,” please do not take your mental shade literal and head to the corner beauty supply for a pair of shears and have at it. A lot of ladies have learned how to trim their split ends, but when we get into layer territory and actually trying to cut your hair in a style, just leave it to a professional. YouTube hair tutorials will you thinking you can make your entire hair routine one big DIY yourself project but it’s not that simple. Take the chance if you want, but don’t be surprised if your at-home cut ends in tears.

Feminine Products

Do you want toxic shock syndrome or bloody panties? Take your pick. Listen, I grew up on generic pads and all that good stuff. Most of them did their job, but once I discovered Always (with my own money), I was like wait, why have I been wearing diaper pads all this time?!  I definitely hate coming off of like $7 for 16 pads but like I said, if I had to choose between feeling like I’m sitting on a pillow or having an accident, I’m going to go with $7.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.



Am I the only one whose ever looked down at my chest and had my so-called underwire poking me in the chin? It took me waaaay too long to see the value in purchasing a good bra to control these thangs. I admit it would help if I handwashed my bras like I should, but in the words of Sweet Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” I also don’t have time for finding displaced wires, busted straps, and shredded padding when I pull by braziers out the dryer. Though a lot of undergarment retailers go overboard on their pricing, it’s worth it to invest in a decent bra (and panties) that will actually do what their supposed to do for the tatas and last more than one wash.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


Another lesson learned the hard way. Not only will a cheap pair of shoes have your feet crying mercy, mercy, mercy, they might also have you wobbling home on one of the two heels that didn’t actually break while you were out. Expensive shoes are a hard hustle to keep up, but people aren’t lying when they say a good pair is worth every penny. The cushion, support, and quality you get from a high-end shoe (you caught on sale) just doesn’t compare to feeling like you’re walking around on wood slates all day — or worse, missing part of your shoe.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


I’m still paying for this so I can tell you with complete confidence not to fall for the 200-thread count sheet sale at Target. I didn’t know what I was missing until I had the pleasure of sleeping on some Egyptian cotton sheets at a hotel once. When I tell you it was a struggle to get out of that bed the next day I am not exaggerating. Unfortunately, I still haven’t mustered up the nerve to drop cash on a nice set of sheets myself. Perhaps that’s why every morning I happily jump out of those cardboard-like blankets I’m laying at night.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


Unless you were planning on passing off that green ring around your neck as a necklace, be careful with the cheap jewelry. There are plenty of costume pieces that work for a night out, but you have to be real about your expectations. You’ve got about five good wears before that gold turns to silver, and silver turns to tarnished. But for a lot of women cheap jewelry is more serious than pieces turning colors. If you know you need a hypo-allergenic pair of earrings, do not buy hoops from that random stand in the middle of the mall or that man on the street selling original pieces. Sometimes it’s just worth it to drop a few extra dollars on sterling silver and 14K gold.


You may like waking up with a hangover as a reminder of just how hard you went the night before but for most people, the nausea and head-pounding the morning after a night of drinking are no bueno. Of course, simply pacing yourself and not going over your drinking limit will prevent a hangover, but so will laying off the cheap stuff. All that Boones Farm, Steel Reserve, and no-name Vodka chugging will have you messed up, not to mention it’s not the kindest to the palate. If you’re going to bother to go out, get yourself a nice cocktail. It may not be kind to your wallet, but your head and stomach will thank you in the morning.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

I don’t think we have to go further than Jalonta Freeman’s iMirror story to understand why this is a bad idea. If you don’t have the cash or credit score to get it in a store, it’s just not for you. Craigslist may be a decent option for finding an apartment or a side job but trusting that the iPhone some stranger is about to sell you for maybe $100 less than the retail price is the real deal is a huge risk. There’s no telling what kind of kinks are going on inside that phone, let alone where it came from or who he took it from. Same goes for digital cameras, iPods, and yes, Jalonta, iPads.

What are some other things you never buy cheap or generic?

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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  • Erica Johnson

    Razors and bikini waxes… Don’t be cheap.

  • This article has a lot of fallacies. Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) had to do with the material that a certain (defunct) brand of tampons used that was TOO absorbent. Also, things like deodorant all contain the same ingredient. It’s one thing you can scrimp on. Oddly enough, she cites the cheapest brands as OK to use.

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  • mac

    Nail polish! If you woulda asked me before, I’d tell you there’s no way in hell I’m paying $10 for nail polish but OPI made a believer outta me. What’s $2 nail polish if it chips the same day? lol smh

    Oh and let’s not forget body mods. With tattoos and piercings, you really and truly get what you paid for.

  • Beautyandbrains

    What about laundry detergent? I’ll spend the extra on Gain so that I can be positive my clothes are clean.

  • More importantly, who the hell still wears pads?

    • Nenah

      I do! Tampons make me cramp!

    • Tamz

      I do too. I can tolerate tampons but I’d rather be safe that sorry.

      • Tamz


      • mac

        Chile please. I’ll take TSS over spending the whole day worrying if my pad is staying in place, not overfull, and not bunched up, and if I’ll be washing blood stains out of my outfit when I get home.

        Okay, not really but still.

    • alisa williams

      Florita, you made me choke!!! KMSL!!

  • Chyna

    They forgot one important biggie – Weave!!! You don’t want 2 have a birds nest on your head after a fee days lol 😉

    • Chyna

      *few lol

    • mac

      Black women already drop rent payments on their hair anyway; i think it went without saying.

  • Cleo

    I like my special bras and panties so I don’t mind slurping, my little boobies need super padding lol

  • Nenah

    I think jelwrey is okay. You can get cute trendy costume jelwrey from anywhere. You don’t want to spend hella money on something that is going to be out of style in a month or two.

    • Trisha_B

      But then when it rains, the jewelry starts to tranish & change colors. You’ll probably end up spending more money down the road b/c you’ll have to buy new jewelry.

      • Nenah

        No. You can get costume jelwrey from all kinds of places. Places like Macy’s, Bebe, Nordstrom sell it. If you spend $100 on a pair of earrings that won’t be in style next season, you’re wasting money. Too many black folks spend hella money on rings and chains and diamond earrings and don’t have money in their savings.

        • Beautyandbrains

          Aldo sells decent jewelry that won’t tarnish immediately.

  • Miyo K.

    They were either quite good at what they did or she didn’t throughly check the packages before buying.

    • Tamz

      @MorningRain:disqus The young lady didn’t check the hair…that hair was BEAT.

  • thatonegirl

    Lotion and hair products have always been number one on my list. That winter ash is no joke.

  • Meyaka

    I don’t cut corners on any of these items ,ever but I do take the cheap road on dishsoap…

  • Na Na

    Dont put your bras in the dryer!!!!! Ever!!!!

  • Na Na

    Case In Point: the iMirror!

  • TiaCzarina

    Only wear Victorias Secret bras at 50$ a pop kinda pricey but it’s worth it. Cheap bras are a no no

    • afroveda

      I’m not necessarily full figured (meaning 14+) but I get mine from Lane Bryant. They’re not as pricey as VS.

      • TiaCzarina

        Lane Bryant and VS are the same compamy (limited brands )

      • Candacey Doris

        I get lane bryant bras as well. They last longer, though underwire is still a hassle.

      • Nenah

        Yeah, I’m a triple DDD so I have to pay money for bras. My sis is like a B cup so she gets pretty bras from anywhere.

    • Na Na

      And believe it or not Target actually has really good quality bras for about 20 dollars a piece.

    • SheBe

      The quality is not the same with the VS bras anymore. I wear Body and they are good but the basic cotton ones are horrible now!

    • Nenah

      VS bras are usually less than $50.

    • Hehe

      VS bras are made out of cheap materials. Your better off going to Nordstrom rack and buying discounted bras from brands like Walcoal and Cosabella

    • Beautyandbrains

      All my bras are VS bras but I never spend more than $30 on them. I stock up at the semi annual sales in January and June.. Been years since I bought a $50 one.

    • mac

      lol you do know you’re mostly paying for the name right?

  • Candacey Doris

    Makeup. While somethings can be bought cheap, the more expensive stuff lasts longer, doesn’t gum up, looks better, and doesn’t smell like sh*t.

    I have to ask though, why do you put your brassieres in the dryer? You know you’re killing them that way, right? Heat is no good for them. Line dry.

  • JustSaying_IMFO

    Overstock dot com. Nothing
    like 600 or 800 count sheets. For deodorant and pads, stock up when it
    goes on sale at Target. Amazon subscribe and save can be good sometimes

  • SheBe

    I agree with quite a few things on this list. It was interesting.

  • reallytho?

    DEAD @ iMirror!!!!!! hahaha! That woman had it coming though.

  • Kiyoko Kayo Hisoka

    I thought toxic shock syndrome came from improperly using tampons, not because the brand was generic or cheap.

    • knowitall

      You’re right it does…it has nothing to do with the brand…this “researcher” should do some research

      • appassionata

        She also needs to learn how to spell. The words are “brassiere” (not brazier) and “palate” (not pallet).

    • jh20121972

      Not only improper use but one may just be susceptible to TSS. It has nothing to do with cost.

    • mac

      i was also confused. You get it from leaving in a tampon for too long. Unless she was saying you shouldnt buy tampons. I don’t know. *walks out*