14 Things money experts usually buy on sale

The lesson of the story is that you should know when to spend and when to save. Here's what money experts don't spend a lot of money on and why.

How to shop smarter

To save... or to spend a lot? This is a question that many of us have trouble answering, whether it's for small or big purchases. No matter how much money you have or how tight your budget is, nobody likes to waste money. However, money experts know how to stop people from spending money on things they don't need. Jill Gonzalez, a WalletHub analyst, says that most people who are good with money don't spend a lot and don't buy things they can't afford. "They tend to choose quality over quantity and don't keep a balance on their credit cards from one billing cycle to the next to avoid paying interest."
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They also know when the best sales are and often shop at Walmart, Costco, and Target. One survey found that even people with a net worth of more than $5 million often shopped at these discount stores. And these are just a few of the smart shopping tips that pros use (and the people they advise).

We talked to people who know a lot about money to find out what they buy on the cheap. Some of the things they told us may surprise you. Once you know the basics, you can save even more money by learning how to lower your household bills and which bills you shouldn't put on AutoPay.


Good bedding used to cost a lot of money, but those days are over. Rana Argenio, who started the direct-to-consumer luxury bedding line 10 Grove, says, "You don't have to spend thousands of dollars or go to Florence to get handcrafted luxury Italian sheets." In fact, you can find a lot of high-thread-count sheets, even "luxury" ones, for less than $200.
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"Better yet, a person who knows how to save money will buy their sheets when bedding is on sale, which is usually over three-day weekends like Presidents Day and Memorial Day," says Trae Bodge, an expert on smart shopping. Checking websites for fan favorites that don't disappoint is also a good idea. This set of super-soft brushed microfiber Mellanni bed sheets costs less than $35 and has more than 200,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.


Mercedes, Rolls-Royce, Lamborghini, and Ferrari are all on the list. Those are the first cars that rich people spend a lot of money on, right? Nope. In 2016, Edmunds.com research showed that the Ford F-Series was the most popular car among people who made more than $250,000 a year, followed by the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Wrangler. Fourth and fifth on the list were the Lexus RX and the BMW X5.

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Gonzalez says that money experts don't spend too much on cars. This is because a new car loses at least 20% of its value in the first year. "They don't want to have to deal with such a big loss. They know that buying a used car is the best deal, and that keeping it for a longer time will save them money.


You can spend a lot of money on a fancy moisturizer, but why would you do that when you can get something great for a lot less? Even though some $300 creams are great, Bodge won't spend that much money on them out of principle. She says, "Thank goodness there are $30 creams that work very, very well." For example, Aquaphor, which is recommended by dermatologists and praised by celebrities, can be used on everything from dry lips to cracked skin and costs a fraction of what luxury products do. It would cost less than $10 for seven ounces. Meghan Markle is said to love it and use it as part of her skin care routine.
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Bodge says that people who are good with money will also look for deals on those long CVS coupons or wait for sales at Sephora or Ulta that happen every six months. When you find deals like this, buy moisturizer in bulk to save even more money.


No one wants to spend more than they need to on gas. Bodge says, "Gas prices are very high right now, so we should all look for ways to save at the pump." Installing an app on your phone that helps you save money on gas is a great way to save money. "Experts will use an app like GasBuddy to find the best gas prices near them and use the credit card with the most points for gas," Bodge says. "Or, even better, we pay cash, which is always less expensive."

Gift wrap

Beautiful gift bags, cards, and wrapping paper can cost as much as the gift itself. Experts on saving money say it's better to spend more on a high-quality gift than on fancy packaging, since the latter will just get thrown away. Bodge says, "Fancy wrapping paper can make a nice presentation, but you can do a lot with wrapping paper, ribbons, and gift bags from a dollar store." "I also save gift wrap that can be used again, and I think other cheapskates do the same!" You can also find cheap but stylish gift wrap at wholesale warehouses and on Amazon, where you can buy three-roll sets of different Hallmark designs.

Household essentials

It can be tempting to spend a lot of money on basic household items like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, or laundry room items, but don't do it! Many of the basics work just as well, and before you check out, you should also look for sales and coupon codes. Experts also add browser add-ons to their computers and phones that let them know when they can save money when they are online browsing. Sidekick from CouponCabin, Cently, and Slickdeals are some of my favorites. Also, Bodge says, "If money-saving experts have the space, they will buy many of their essentials in bulk, which saves both time and money." Here are some more easy ways to save money that helped one woman save $1,000 a month.


Everyone has different ideas about travel and splurging, but Bodge says that people who are good with money look for the best deals and take travel time into account. Why? She says, "Because time is money." "It's not likely that a person who knows how to save money would save a little bit of money on a flight with a long layover. But we'll always look for ways to save money, whether it's a package deal or planning our trips to go somewhere when it's cheaper. Many of them use the same online search tools we do, like TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Hotels.com, to find their next travel deal. Some of them even choose to fly coach instead of first class to save even more money.


Even people who love high-end brands like Cartier, Tiffany, and Rolex probably have a few cheap finds in their collection. Bodge says, "I think it's important to have a few expensive, classic pieces, but other than that, I love costume jewelry." "At big-box stores like Target or Walmart, you can find unique pieces that won't break the bank and will dress up your outfit." Lauren Rae Levy, a personal shopper and stylist, says that even her most wealthy clients buy cheap costume jewelry. "They'll buy it and mix it with their real stuff to make it look real. Sometimes the fake jewelry looks better in photos than the real thing!"


Money experts don't spend $500 or more on plastic sunglasses, even if they can afford Chanel, Dior, and Tom Ford. "Fun sunglasses are getting more and more expensive every year, but they are also one of the things that people break and lose the most," says Levy. "Some of my wealthier clients tend to buy one to three new pairs of designer sunglasses that they love every year, then fill the rest of their collection with fun pairs that look almost exactly the same but cost a fraction of the price."

For example, many of her clients like these crystal shades from Amazon that look like they came from Gucci. The real ones cost more than $750, but these look-alikes sell for less than $15. Levy adds, "It's almost impossible to tell the difference, and when the colors are so cool and fun, who cares where they came from?" Here are some more stylish and inexpensive sunglasses with UV protection that will fit your budget.


"Designer makeup is expensive, and you have to replace some things often to keep them clean. Mascara is the first thing my wealthy clients cut from their designer list," says Levy. Instead of buying expensive brands like YSL, NARS, or Chanel, try affordable drugstore brands like Maybelline and CoverGirl that makeup artists love. "The truth is, I don't notice a difference when I wear mascara every day," she says.


Levy's clients love to put candles all over their homes, but they often choose cheap ones. "Many of my wealthier clients buy candles in bulk at stores like Home Goods and Marshalls and put them away to use throughout the year," she says. "Everyone used to spend so much on name-brand candles, but now I've noticed that they love getting a good deal and buying candles in bulk." They might buy one or two more expensive candles to use when guests come over, but "the rest of the time, the great scents for less are good enough to get the job done."

Designer clothes

Gonzalez says that when it comes to everyday clothes, money experts usually don't pay attention to brand names. She says, "They are less interested in luxury goods or brand-name items and more interested in investing in their privacy, health, or education." "People buy things like clothes and accessories based on their quality, not their number. This will make them last longer and save money in the long run." When you know the best time to buy new clothes and choose a few well-made investment pieces, your wardrobe will look better right away.

Wireless plans

Even though it's important to buy a secure phone, money experts try to avoid money traps like expensive phone plans. "I've been paying too much for my phone service for years, so at the end of 2021, I bit the bullet and switched my family's wireless service to Mint Mobile," says Bodge. "This saves us more than $100 a month while giving us great service and a lot of data." It's always a good idea to look around for the best plan or call your current provider to see if there are cheaper plans available.


Like with cell phone plans, it may be easy to cut your cable costs. Consumers should look at how much they spend every month and be ready to make big changes if they need to. "I got rid of cable and got a Roku and a few streaming channels instead. This is saving us about $50 a month," says Bodge. Of course, all these small changes add up. Read about how one woman stopped buying three things and saved $5,000 to learn more small ways to make a big difference on your bottom line.


Your home will be the most expensive thing you buy, so you need to be honest about what you can afford. Gonzalez says that's why money experts tell people not to put all of their money into a home. "By choosing to spend less on a home," she says, "they can save more money for other things, like retiring early, going on more trips, or paying off their mortgage sooner rather than later."