Household budgeting: To save or to spend?

(Family Features) From big-ticket purchases to basic household items, people from all economic backgrounds are prioritizing their shopping lists to spend wisely on items worth the investment. It is not surprising that when buying items for you or your family, it can be difficult to decide where to adjust your household budget. Personal finance expert, author and TV personality Farnoosh Torabi provides these tips for how save on everyday items, and shows families where extra spending can lead to long-term savings.

Saving on the Everyday
Buy in bulk and store. Basic household items such as paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap, hand soap and laundry detergent can be purchased in large quantities and shelved for later use in order to save money over time. Look to large retailer stores that offer buy-in-bulk options. Also consider purchasing frozen food to store and use as needed.

Get creative; call for reinforcements.
E-mail friends and family to set up a kids’ clothing swap. Trading gently-used clothing with other families is a great way to get the items you need, without spending a great deal of money.

Save on babysitting expenses by swapping out weekend nights of kid watching with a friend or family member.

Set up a carpool to save time and fuel.

Clip those coupons. Though it may seem obvious to point out that you can save big by clipping coupons, many people overlook this money-saving practice. Look for coupons online and in your local newspaper. There are several sites online that can keep you updated about savings at stores in your specific location as well.

Spending for long-term savings
Trade up now, save more later. Certain household items may cost more up front, but will save time, energy, money and other resources down the line if you invest in quality products. Torabi suggests the following items deserve larger budgets up-front:

Running shoes — Fitness experts suggest purchasing quality, high-performance shoes that are designed to protect against injuries and their impending medical costs. Purchasing good workout shoes during your lifetime could potentially save you from costly injuries — such as a $15,000 knee surgery.

Quality mattress – The average person spends a third of his or her life in bed. So, investing in a quality mattress now, and one that can adjust to your changing body over time, will provide a low cost-per-use, since you sleep on your mattress every day. “I’ve partnered with Sleep Number because there is no need for couples to compromise – the mattress can be adjusted on each side to a persons’ firmness preference,” Torabi said. “It’s like getting two beds in one and it lasts twice as long as other mattresses,” she added.

Electric toothbrush – Proper brushing and flossing practices are important for maintaining oral health and can save you money down the line. Avoid costly dental expenses by purchasing a quality electric toothbrush, brushing and flossing two or more times daily, and keeping those dental cleaning appointments.