If you buy something mega-cheap and it's not on sale, there's usually a reason. Sometimes it's worth paying out more for a better quality product in the first place.
Laser eye surgery
It might sound obvious, but you don't want to skimp on surgery.
Low-cost clinics treat a lot of patients with simpler cases and provide a basic level of care, according to the London Vision Clinic. Cheaper treatments might be because the clinic uses older technology. When it comes to your vision, could you risk it?
Undercover research by Which? last year showed that a third of laser eye surgery consultations were of poor quality, with potential risks being left unexplained.
For a more reliable consultation, go to an independent clinic, smaller chain or hospital-based provider. It’s worth asking to see a doctor’s qualifications too in order to ease your anxiety.
Glasses and contact lenses
It's best not to buy reading glasses from a supermarket or discount shop. The 'one size fits all’ frame might not fit you properly and the centres of the lenses might not be aligned correctly, potentially leading to headaches and even sight problems. On top of that, both lenses will have the same prescription, which is not ideal for many people.
It's not just corrective glasses either. Sunglasses should provide protection from UV rays, which cheap ones often don’t, resulting in damage to your eyes.
As for contact lenses, it's strongly recommended that you visit an optician, rather than get them online. Experts from the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London blamed the soaring rates of eye infections on the rise in purchasing cheap contact lenses over the net, as people do not undergo vital eye checks so frequently. As a result, infections are able to develop.
Expensive make-up brands have more lenient returns policies so it’s easier to return if it’s not for you.
Cheaper make-up doesn’t last as long and you tend to go through it faster anyway, so if you can’t be bothered re-applying during the day, get a more expensive brand.
Make-up that’s been heavily discounted is often past its best and won’t work properly. Some cosmetics companies put the expiration date on make-up so keep an eye out for it. Generally speaking liquid foundation lasts for six-12 months, lipstick and lip gloss last for two years and one year respectively, nail polish lasts for one-two years and blush and eyeshadow powders last for two years.
Expired make-up won’t make you ill, but it could cause irritation and rashes on your skin.
Chocolate is a great item to splurge on, particularly if you like baking, or you just like eating dark chocolate.
The short explanation is that pricier chocolate has a higher proportion of cocoa constituents than its cheaper counterparts. Manufacturers sometime replace cocoa butter with vegetable oil to cut costs, but it can have a major impact on the taste. More expensive chocolate will also have a smoother texture.
You only have to look at the change to the crème egg recipe to know why cheap chocolate is a terrible thing: it’s all in the taste.
Cheap booze does actually make hangovers worse. This is because bargain spirits are not filtered as many times, which has a harsher effect on you. Filtering it takes out congeners and impurities which will go some way towards explaining the morning headache. To give you a point of reference, good-quality spirits are filtered six times; bad-quality ones are filtered just twice.
As for wine, cheap wine is sugary and tends to have more additives which can contribute to that killer hangover.
Garages can legally sell used or part-worn tyres as well as new ones, but by law they must be safe and properly marked. However, this isn’t always the case. In the last few months a number of retailers have been prosecuted for selling substandard and potentially dangerous tyres.
Check for the words ‘part worn’ in 4mm-high capital letters on the side of the tyre as well as all the original markings for the type of tyre you’re buying.
Tyres that are in bad shape could invalidate your car insurance policy. Insurers generally state that your car must have been in good working order when the incident occurred. If your tyres show any signs of under-inflation, bulges, tears or exposed cord, you could be in trouble. You’ll fail your MOT too. Head over to the TyreSafe website for more on how to ensure you get the right tyres.
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Cheaper razors don’t last as long. As a result, you're likely to go through them faster, wasting cash. You’re more at risk of cuts and nicks too: a bit unsightly for date night.
Cheap mattresses need to be replaced more often, even as regularly as every two years. A more expensive mattress can last much, much longer.
Be careful about buying a mattress online, even if it’s cheaper. The biggest issue is that you can’t try it before you buy it, meaning that if it’s not for you you’ll end up paying more in returns, not to mention the hassle.
The National Bed Federation warns that you should watch out for rogue traders selling mattresses too. The mattresses they're selling could be more flammable than safety regulations allow, crawling with bed bugs or the tradespeople may not have been honest about the quality of the filling or the spring count.
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