It’s funny how priorities impact costs. I care about good sound. So even at 20, I scoured Craigslist for good speakers and found a pair of Paradigm floor speakers for $100. I’ve always had a solid surround sound setup, built and upgraded one open box or Craigslist piece at a time. My setup has barely changed in years, and while I eye various upgrades from time to time, nothing was purchased full price, I never bought things all at once, and I have had awesome sound for over a decade in three different homes.

Elsa and I have a full assortment of All Clad and Le Creuset pots. We used to buy one piece at a time at an outlet, or when there was a major sale with coupon stacking. Or sometimes buy seconds and we still can’t tell what was wrong with them. We did this from the time we were 23. Within a few years, we had an aspiration-level kitchen setup. We’ve owned most of these pots and pans for a decade or more now and will have them for life.

Not everyone can afford these things, but we decided early on to wait, watch, and buy once. I’ve watched so many people buy junk thinking it’s all they can afford, and I know over the same time I’ve spent less and have had better products.