While looking for bargains when gift shopping qualifies as smart holiday spending, you can also be rewarded if you splurge on certain items. For example, some name brands or models are higher quality than their much cheaper counterparts and will last longer. That means you (or someone else) won’t have to shell out more money to replace a cheap electronic device or appliance less than a year after you purchase it. Additionally, some higher-priced products are in a class of their own and greatly improve the quality of your life or provide a stellar user experience that lower-priced options can’t deliver.
High-Quality Tote Bag
“Women are obsessed with tote bags because of their convenience and durability,” said Arvie Narido, gift researcher for Gift Rabbit. “However, since it is meant to carry loads of essential stuff, it is more prone to damage and tear. If you buy cheap yet low-quality work tote bags, you will purchase new bags within two to three months and spend more money instead of saving them.
“That’s why high-quality bags are also considered an excellent personal investment. One particular brand is Kate Spade. It is a well-known designer or midrange brand that will not drain your wallet, unlike Chanel, Hermes, Fendi and other luxury brands.”
Narido recommends the Kate Spade Essential Large Work Tote, which is $318, due to its style, durability and high resale value.
High-Quality Noise-Canceling Headphones
“Most of us are still in either work-from-home or hybrid working style, so there is a high need for high-quality noise-canceling headphones,” said Michael Peres, serial entrepreneur, journalist, radio host and software engineer. “You wouldn’t want your colleagues to hear every movement in your house, or even your neighbor’s dog, so splurge on Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones with mic for phone calls and Alexa voice control to experience the optimum sound quality during meetings and conferences. This brand may be more expensive than others in the market, but this is sure to deliver the best quality out there.”
The Sony WH-1000XM4 noise-canceling headphones retail for $349.
An Upgraded Office Chair
“These things are an investment for sure, but if you’re working from home or even just need to upgrade your traditional office chair, it’s one of the best investments you can make,” said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold with DealNews. “The Aeron model is one of [Herman Miller’s] most popular offerings, and I can personally attest to the night-and-day difference in back pain. They might not look like they’d be comfortable, but it is hands-down the best office chair I’ve ever owned.”
The Herman Miller Aeron Chair retails for $1,398.25.
A State-of-the-Art VR Kit
“If you have a computer that can handle it, the VR Kit by Steam is something every gamer will love,” Ramhold said. “There are obviously tons of games to play, and VR has come a long way in the last few years, but still, splurging on this system will have noticeable differences compared to cheaper systems.
“In addition to the tons of games meant for fun, there are free educational games you can take advantage of on the Steam store, from cosmos exploration to museums to nature landscapes as well. One of the best VR games, in my own opinion, is The Room VR: A Dark Matter. It’s really gorgeous and immersive, and there are a good number of puzzles to solve, so you’ll get hours of play out of it.”‘
The Valve Index VR Kit retails for $999.
“A good cookware set is great to splurge on because if you treat it right, it’ll last for years, but not all expensive cookware purchases are worth it,” Ramhold said. “The Always Pan is catching a lot of hype, but reviews are mixed, and those pretty colors don’t stay pretty for long. Rather than paying $145 for one of these pans, you’re better off shopping at a store like Costco to get a full set of Calphalon, Tramontina or All-Clad cookware, which are all well-known brands with solid reputations. You may end up paying a little more, but you’ll get a better per-unit price, as well as a better value overall.”
On the Tramontina website, a 12-piece tri-ply clad stainless steel cookware set retails for $299.95. But Costco offers a Tramontina 14-piece tri-ply clad stainless steel cookware set for $324.95.
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