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good for the money where not to skimp when you're decking out the digs
by Yee-Fan Sun
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Itís not that Iím a miser, not really, I swear. But yes, Iíll admit: I have a hard time parting with real money at times. With the exception of my weakness for pricey funky shoes, Iím almost always pushing to find the less expensive options. Call me nutty, but I just donít like the idea of spending more money than I have to; I just canít buy into the whole notion that expensive necessarily means better, that shiny-new brand name is automatically best. Still, in my quest to find the best price while accumulating the goods to decorate the olí nest, Iíve learned the hard way that at times, thereís no getting around it: there are some items for which it really is in your best interests not to skimp. The real deals arenít always about paying bottom dollar, but figuring out where you can afford to cut back on costs --and where you just might want to invest a little more moolah now to ensure that in the long run, youíll save yourself money and time, frustration and headache. If youíve just moved into a new pad and are starting to think a bit about budget, check out these worthy decorating splurges Ö guaranteed to give you good value for the money.

Mattress | Take it from someone whoís gone to extraordinary lengths in the past to avoid plunking down the cash for a decent bed: with mattresses, you really do get what you pay for. Iíve suffered through Thermarests wrapped up in bed sheets, cheap air mattresses, concave foam mattresses and lumpy futons before finally admitting defeat: thereís no beating a proper mattress, the kind with springs and good padding, the sort thatís made to last. True, if you know youíll be moving cross-country in two-three years time anyway, thereís no sense spending the big bucks. Most decently-made futons and budget mattresses will serve just fine for a couple of years or so. But if thereís a good chance youíll be staying put in the same region of the world for the foreseeable future, donít cheapskate out: get the best mattress you can reasonably afford to buy. Your back will thank you for it, and in the long run, youíll save money too as that well-built mattress you paid real money for lasts you a good many years to come.

Bed pillows | Yes, those two-pack $10 cheapies are very very tempting, I know, but seriously, pay a little more for your pillow, and youíll enjoy many more nights of beauty rest before you have to go out pillow shopping again. The super budget pillows look just fine as accent pillows to luxe-up your bed; they serve just dandy for occasional guest use. But use them night after night after night, and a month or so down the line, youíll find the fluffís all bunched up and matted down, and you have to fold the pillow in half just to give your poor noggin some semblance of cushion.

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