5 Places Where It's Okay (or Better!) to Skimp at Home

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So you spent a lot on some big-ticket items (way to invest!), but now you're left with a slim budget to round out the rest of what you need at home. Not to fear! You can easily get away with spending less on these five things, you savvy shopper, you.

1. Dishes — You know what always makes me feel better when I drop a dish? How cheap it was. Come to think of it, my most inexpensive dishes are actually the ones that don't break when I drop them. Heirloom china is great for special occasions, but you should feel a-ok about using cheap plates day-to-day.

2. Sets of things — Buying a set of pots and pans or knives often seems financially smarter because, well, more things for less money is always good, right? No! Getting what you don't need (even if it's cheap) is not a smart way to save. Figure out what you really need and buy only that. End of story.

3. Dry cleaning — Pssst, that big money you're spending on dry cleaning could be less. A lot less. Don't look now, but most natural fibers (like wool and silk) can safely be handwashed for free. Save the dry cleaning for embellished, bright or delicate items, and chop that cleaning bill, big time.

4. Single-use appliances or tools — If you're tempted to buy a panini press when you're in the mood for grilled cheese, or a power sander as a DIY novice, you need to check yourself (and your budget). Investing in good tools and appliances is certainly recommended, but only if you've proven to yourself that it's worth both the expense and space it will take to store it. Otherwise, you're just wasting money and creating extra clutter.

5. Assorted tchotchkes — Tchotchkes are amazing for creating a layered, eclectic look, but only if you've truly collected them. Buying a bunch of anonymous decor to make your space look "lived in" not only misses the point but uses up money that you'd be wise to allocate somewhere else. Instead, grow your collection slowly from travel souvenirs, thrift store scores and hand-me-downs. It'll be cheaper and way more satisfying.

C'mon, chime in. Where do you like to cheap out?

(Image credits: Jacqueline Marque)

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