Everybody loves a bargain, and there are few things in life as satisfying as getting the lowest possible price on anything you buy. Even better when it's an item that you use every single day for a long time.

But what if that "steal" harms your health, causes you pain, or limits your earning potential? Here are five expensive life essentials that you shouldn't skimp on.

Part 1


Right-Fit Mattress

Inadequate sleep has several side effects that compromise your health and may even shorten your life. Sleep disorders can put you at risk for serious health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

When you sleep eight hours per day that means that you spend one third of your life in bed. Your bed is by far the most important piece of furniture in your home. Take care of your body by making a worthwhile investment in mattress that is a right fit for you. However, this doesn't mean to directly go for the most expensive one.

Here are four considerations when shopping for a mattress:

  • Got neck or back pain? Avoid mattresses that are too soft or too hard.

  • Need your head raised? Look for adjustable mattresses.

  • Got allergies or asthma? Consider mattresses labeled hypoallergenic.

  • Have a partner that moves around a lot? Test memory foam mattresses because they reduce motion transfer.

Once you've decided on your top mattress picks, take the time to review the warranty and refund policies. Look for at least a 10-year full warranty and a grace period to decide whether or not you want to keep the mattress.


LASIK Eye Surgery

When asked "What expensive product is actually worth every penny?" the Reddit community responded "LASIK eye surgery" loud and clear. For about $2,073 per eye (average cost in 2013), you can upgrade yourself just like in a video game.

While LASIK eye surgery will make a considerable dent on your bank account now, consider how much money you will save over the long run. The average national cost for eyeglasses is around $196. If you were to take that $196 every year and put it an 8% index fund for 30 years, that annual foregone expense could compound to a staggering $23,153.88!

If you're wearing non-disposable contacts and don't have insurance, your annual costs can be much higher: ranging between $150 and $375 a year ($170–$400 a year for disposable contacts without insurance). Just think about how much more you could do with that extra dough!

If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, you may be eligible for this procedure. Consult your eye doctor to determine whether or not you're eligible for LASIK eye surgery or another similar refractive procedure.


College Degree

Education, smeducation. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs didn't have a college degree and look what they achieved, right?

True, but most of us can benefit from having one.

During the 2014–2015 school year, the average cost of tuition and fees was $31,231 at private colleges, $9,139 for state residents at public colleges, and $22,958 for out-of-state residents at public colleges.

These numbers may easily scare away many people. However, there are four powerful reasons to invest in a college education.

  • More than 9 in 10 Americans believe in the importance of postsecondary education.

  • Individuals with a bachelor's degree, no matter what field, earn about $1 million more in their lifetimes than their counterparts with only a high school diploma.

  • Higher level degrees increase your earnings potential: a master's gets you $2.67 million more in your lifetime; a PhD, $3.25 million; and a professional degree, $3.65 million.

  • People with at least a bachelor's degree have better health, smaller chance to develop obesity, and higher life expectancy.

Top-notch education is worth every penny. While you may have to settle for a more frugal lifestyle during your college years, there are several freebies that can help you out.


Properly Fitted Bra

It may shock you to find such an everyday item on this list. Here's why:

  • Physicians point out that poor fitting bras put unnecessary pressure on the diaphragm, affecting your breathing and potentially causing digestion problems, such as irritable bowel syndrome.

  • Ill-fitted bras contribute to bad posture. Without proper support, breasts may pull on side and back muscles, bend the spine, and, when not corrected, cause a misaligned spine.

Reaching for the most expensive bras at Victoria's Secret isn't the solution either. Instead, women should invest in a bra fitting done by a professional. According to the owner of a bra-fitting store in New York, about 80% of customers are wearing the wrong size bra. Some studies put that statistic higher at 85%.

With bras going as low as $2.00 on Amazon, it may seem outrageous to spend $70 on a properly fitted bra. However, take it from this lady on Reddit: "I look 10 pounds slimmer, my back doesn't hurt anymore, and my clothes fit better." (On that note, check out the 39,000+ community ABraThatFits on Reddit; it has tons of information.)

Let a pro help you out. Spending a minute trying out something isn't the same as spending eight hours in it.


Mechanical Keyboard

Talking about something that you use for eight hours (or more!) a day, let's focus now on the importance of getting a darn good keyboard.

Programmers, journalists, college students, and secretaries all know how much it sucks to be stuck with a crappy keyboard. The solution is simple: switch to a more ergonomic and high quality mechanical keyboard.

Unlike today's computer and laptop keyboards, mechanical keyboards use individual, high quality mechanical switches under every key. Old school programmers, early IBM and Mac users, and keyboard enthusiasts refer to the typing experience on a mechanical keyboard as the satisfying "clickety-clack."

While there are several accounts of how satisfying it's to use a mechanical keyboard, here is one that is health related. Heavy keyboard users provide testimonies that using mechanical keyboards may alleviate the pain of repetitive strain injury.

Depending on the model, brand, and list of features, mechanical keyboards range from $50 to $300. The higher price of mechanical keyboards is due to small number of manufacturers. Some models to consider are the Rosewill RK-9000, the Ducky Channel, the Das Keyboard, and the Razer Blackwidow.


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