9 Things to Pay Top Dollar For

In general, we should strive to live a life of frugality and simplicity — relative to his personal means.

But following that philosophy doesn’t always mean buying only the very cheapest products and services.

In fact, sometimes paying top dollar for something is the best way to ultimately save money and live a simpler life.

A top dollar item is often a top quality item, and that means it will typically last longer than cheaper varieties. Its upfront cost may be more, but its cost per use actually ends up being lower over its lengthy lifetime. Sometimes the more expensive item can actually be the better bargain.

The quality of a top dollar item also usually means it will break down less and have fewer problems than something cheaper and subpar. That means fewer headaches, and less time spent on maintenance. The less time you spend tending to your stuff, the simpler your life.

Finally, quality goods and services can substantially enhance your life — boosting your health, mood, attractiveness, and efficiency — which allows you to be more effective in the world; top dollar products are investments in yourself that can reap dividends that readily repay their initial expense.


You’ll spend an average of 24 years(!) of your life sleeping. So there’s no investment that yields a better ROI than a mattress that helps you slumber soundly. And while the best mattress isn’t always the most expensive one, it’s definitely not going to be the cheapest either. And for goodness sake, don’t buy one from Craigslist.



It doesn’t really matter what kind of shoe you’re looking for, don’t skimp. Higher priced shoes are just made better and utilize better, more durable materials and construction. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to pay exorbitant prices, but the clearance rack at Payless is not the place to be shopping.



To get a nice, quality suit that will last through hundreds of wears, you’re going to have to go a little nicer than the $100 suits that you’ll find at the likes of Jos. A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse.

Leather Jacket

In a world of fast fashions and ever-changing style fads, leather sticks around for the long haul, both in terms of style and performance. A good leather jacket — and it does have to be a good one — will last for decades, and probably outlive you.

So why is a leather jacket something you should pay top dollar for? It mostly has to do with types of leather used (although other things like zipper materials and stitching come into play as well). In my earlier, less informed years, I bought a cheap leather jacket emblazoned with a Minnesota Vikings logo for about $75. Not my best style decision. Beyond the garishness, though, the leather itself started to flake off after a couple years. I knew even then that leather was not supposed to flake off. If you buy a cheap product, that’s what’s going to happen. It’s only a matter of time.


While backpacks are perfectly acceptable in a man’s high school and college years, beyond that, he should upgrade to a handsome briefcase or messenger-style bag. He shouldn’t be trotting off to work in his business attire with a backpack slung over his shoulder.

Haircut / Hairdresser

Most men are content to get their haircut at whatever chain salon they happen to wander into, and accept whatever cut the stylist happens to give them. Fifteen bucks later, you’re on your way.

A better route, especially as you leave college and begin to get more serious about the importance of your appearance in your professional career and love life, is to develop a long-term relationship with a quality barber who can take your hairstyle up a notch. The difference between a chain-salon haircut and one from a quality barber can be really significant, and the difference a quality haircut makes in your appearance is quite underestimated — it can definitely change how you look.

Chef’s Knife

In cooking, I always say that great meals start with using great ingredients. That philosophy is also true for knives — it’s all about material. The best knives are forged using the highest quality of finely polished stainless steel.


From both personal experience and loads of anecdotal evidence from others, it’s clear that high-quality, made-to-last tools will handily beat out their cheaper counterparts. When wandering the aisles of your local hardware store, it’s tempting to go with the $7 hammer versus the $30 model. In the moment, that extra $13 can be hard to swallow. They look the same; how different can they really be?

Name Brand Toilet Paper (as well as tissues, plastic wrap, paper towels, etc.)

It isn’t just big ticket items that are often worth paying top dollar for, but everyday, and even disposable products too.

There are some instances when a generic brand item is just as good as the name brand variety.

Toilet paper isn’t one of them.

There are few things worse than having done your business in the bathroom and grabbing for the TP, only to find that its thin, scratchy paper that basically falls apart before ever reaching your rear. Yuck.