Author Topic: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?  (Read 5118 times)

MBot

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What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« on: August 22, 2017, 08:47:33 AM »
What items have you found the cheapest (new) option was also the very best option?

I'm mostly thinking in-store retail purchases, but also online I suppose.


First thoughts

- most store brand/generic food items

- I thought of this topic because we bought white "Corelle"-like plates and bowls from Ikea at 79c each - almost as strong as Corelle, they don't scratch or mark like cheap plates. Also way lighter than anything else at this price point. Plus they're all plain white.  I've never seen anything as good or as cheap.



Playing with Fire UK

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2017, 09:26:45 AM »
Super cheap hair conditioner is the best for my hair (less residue etc). I prefer a white-label version to a pricier version that is on offer to make it cheaper than the white-label version.

Super cheap ibuprofen are slightly smaller and shinier and I can take them without a drink - so much more convenient. [But don't take on an empty stomach]

Vinegar for cleaning - the cheapest brands tend to leave the fewest marks.

Ikea bags (the blue ones at the tills) better than any alternative for moving things around and packing down small.

jax8

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 12:48:04 PM »
Frozen 1 pound rolls of ground turkey at Aldi's.  My fellow mom friends squeal over how disgusting and "slimy" they are. They refuse to buy them, and would much rather pay for the pricier fresh ground turkey piped neatly into rows in a shiny, white plastic tub.

While I was cooking my tube of ground turkey the other day, I thought about how ridiculous they are.  This tube is a luxury!!!!  I didn't have to kill my own turkey, pluck it's horrifying body (seriously, turkeys give me the shivers when I see them in the woods), or grind it's flesh through my own meat grinder.  Amazing!

The same ground turkey is in both this tube AND the more expensive plastic bin.  One just hasn't been frozen or condensed into a smaller package.  It's the same product; the same ground up turkey meat.

AlienRobotAnthropologist

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2017, 09:49:29 PM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best. But there's lot's of things that are fundamentally pointless no matter the price or the quality or have only extremely limited scenarios where they really make sense.

-shampoo
-conditioner
-mouth wash
-dryer sheets
-fabric softener
-shower curtains
-dozens of cooking widgets
-half the food at the grocery store
-tablets
-netbooks
-chromebooks
-landline phones
-dedicated car GPS units
-Windows phones
-cable TV
-satellite TV
-satellite radio
-kettlebells
-yoga mats
-resistance exercise machines
-foam rollers made for it instead of just a PVC pipe

My tired of listing but then there's also even more things which are useful but have large categories of designs that are fundamentally pointless.

HipGnosis

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2017, 04:01:58 AM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best.
I think the OP meant to say 'best value'.

I find a few things at the dollar stores are the best values for me.  Most usually because I just need a small amount and they sell many things in smaller amounts than anywhere else.

I found the rest of your post as... pointless.
 

Linda_Norway

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2017, 04:16:27 AM »
My good value for money items:

- The cheapest brand of orange juice is also my favorite. You need to go up in price a great lot and buy freshpacks of juice to find a brand that tastes equally good.
- Indeed, the blue Ikea bags are practical for trips anywhere. I take them along on car vacations and on canoeing trips.
- We have a favorite white and red wine that fit our taste and are among the cheapest in our store. Often when we try out a more expensive bottle, it disappoints.
- The old Suzuki we have have as a second car works very well. We paid a moderate purchase price when it was 10 years old, it has required only very little and cheap maintenance. Now it is 15 years old.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2017, 05:56:34 AM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best.
I think the OP meant to say 'best value'.

I don't know about the OP, but there are some cheaper things where I prefer the product, even if cost was no object.

MBot

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2017, 06:46:56 AM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best.
I think the OP meant to say 'best value'.

I don't know about the OP, but there are some cheaper things where I prefer the product, even if cost was no object.

Yeah, it was more than best value. I truly LIKE most store brand over name brand, and the IKEA plates are superior to Corelle in my estimation.

It's easy to find things that are the best "value". I'm more thinking of where there isn't even an incremental  improvement from paying more money.

marielle

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2017, 06:56:38 AM »
25 lbs of bread flour from Sam's for $5.97.

The amount of food this makes is insane. If you ate only flour (somehow) that's 20 days of food at 2000 calories a day. Obviously I don't make bread everyday but in the long run it still helps offset some of the more healthy expensive ingredients and occasional restaurant trips. If worst came to worst though I could always live off of beans, rice, and bread for almost nothing which is comforting.

I use bread flour the same as all-purpose flour in pretty much everything, even waffles. I actually did the math and it costs me $0.35 to make two large Belgian waffles (plus whatever the electricity cost is and the amortized cost of the waffle maker).

Caoineag

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2017, 07:34:55 AM »
flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder - have never seen any improvement for spending more.

Fruits on sale at my grocery store are always better than the fruits not on sale since they only put them on sale during the in season.

ketchup

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2017, 09:20:00 AM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best. But there's lot's of things that are fundamentally pointless no matter the price or the quality or have only extremely limited scenarios where they really make sense.

-shower curtains
I'm with you for just about everything else on your list (though I was a netbook fan pre-smartphone), but shower curtains?  What do you suggest instead?

dpc

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2017, 12:33:12 PM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best. But there's lot's of things that are fundamentally pointless no matter the price or the quality or have only extremely limited scenarios where they really make sense.

-shower curtains
I'm with you for just about everything else on your list (though I was a netbook fan pre-smartphone), but shower curtains?  What do you suggest instead?

Same thought here.

Linda_Norway

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2017, 02:33:59 AM »
I think the absolute cheapest is very rarely if ever the best. But there's lot's of things that are fundamentally pointless no matter the price or the quality or have only extremely limited scenarios where they really make sense.

-shower curtains
I'm with you for just about everything else on your list (though I was a netbook fan pre-smartphone), but shower curtains?  What do you suggest instead?

Same thought here.

I don't like shower curtains. A glass wall, or any other kind of shielding that doesn't wrap around your legs works a lot better for me. Not as cheap as a curtain though.

In the shower at my work they have removed just every form of shielding. Two showers beside each other without wall and without curtain. The floor gets sprayed wet very far foreward.

Hotstreak

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #13 on: August 24, 2017, 08:08:50 AM »
I find the cheapest pens to be the best.  They write great, no bleeding, no smearing.  No mechanical parts to break and generally are durable.  (might not be the *cheapest*, but basic Bic pens are definitely *cheap* compared to so-called "nicer" pens).

MBot

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2017, 10:37:43 PM »
I thought of another couple, art-wise:

Paint - I'm not a particularly good painter, but I've found many artists have anecdotes about using really basic/cheap watercolours or acrylics. The skill makes the artist, not the price of paint. The same for painting mini figurines for tabletop gaming or other hobby high-detail work.

Of the other supplies, some (like cold-press watercolour paper)  are not the cheapest option though.

Embroidery floss - Even the fancy schmancy yarn store in town carries the same brand of embroidery floss sold everywhere else. There's not much of a "better/fancier" curve unless you are REALLY into it and using different specialty techniques. Even then you will still do a lot of work with the regular stuff. Contrast that with yarn where there is an enormous range of quality, price and value.

Edited for spelling.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 10:39:26 PM by MBot »

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2017, 11:39:46 PM »
I find the cheapest pens to be the best.  They write great, no bleeding, no smearing.  No mechanical parts to break and generally are durable.  (might not be the *cheapest*, but basic Bic pens are definitely *cheap* compared to so-called "nicer" pens).

For a while, my bank gave away pens and encouraged students to take several. They were great! Brightly coloured so you could find them in a bank and really clean, thin ink line (I write small, so a thick ink line looks messy). And FREEEEEEEEE (in exchange for advertising the bank's services).

englishteacheralex

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2017, 12:42:49 AM »
This is the best idea for a thread ever. But I'm blanking on things for the list.

...still thinking...

$5 rubbah slippahs, but this is a Hawaii thing. They're flip flops. You buy 'em at Longs (the drug store). Not high fashion but super functional and everybody wears them. I like them better than most other slippers (flip flops). This is emblematic of one of the tricks to living frugally in Hawaii, since rent, food, and gas are so expensive: image isn't as big a thing, here. Most people wear very unpretentious clothes, and the $5 rubbah slippahs are as good a symbol of that as anything else.

That's all I can think of. Everything else is more a "good value" thing, not a "best of its class and also cheapest" thing. That's a tall order.
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galliver

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2017, 02:13:49 AM »
I find the cheapest pens to be the best.  They write great, no bleeding, no smearing.  No mechanical parts to break and generally are durable.  (might not be the *cheapest*, but basic Bic pens are definitely *cheap* compared to so-called "nicer" pens).
I am also a huge BIC fan. They are the only pens I've used up before they dried up. And enjoyed every smooth stroke.

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mies

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2017, 04:03:51 AM »
Facial tissue and paper towels. We never buy the name brand stuff unless it happens to be on sale and is cheaper than the store brand stuff.

We do splurge on name brand toilet paper. I find the store brand stuff usually leaves dust all over the bathroom. It also shreds easily while wiping leaving dingleberries in my butt crack :P #HairyButtCrackProblems
Less is more.

Huskie87

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2017, 10:16:18 AM »
-yoga mats

completely disagree.  A quality mat, taken care of, lasts much longer than cheap mats.  Everyone is different though.  If you've got boney elbows and knees, are doing yoga on a hardwood floor and are trying more advanced moves...a cheap piece of foam probably isn't going to cut it.  If you're doing 10 min of stretching on an already carpeted floor, then sure, you don't need much of anything.

AlienRobotAnthropologist

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #20 on: August 25, 2017, 10:22:56 PM »
"Normal" people have two separate sheets of fabric or plastic to contain the water from their shower. The inner sheet is the shower liner. The outer sheet is the shower curtain. You only need the shower liner. The shower curtain seems to be just an ugly decoration or piece of junk to sell people.

Yoga mats are dumb because horse stall mats work better. A ~$35 rubber horse stall mat from Tractor Supply Company is firm, yet easy to kneel on and practically indestructible. I routinely see people drop 500+lb deadlifts on them with no perceivable deformation or damage. They have good traction and are a suitable surface for actually exercising on in addition to just stretching/yoga/recovery work. And if you want something more portable because you're doing yoga in place of exercise instead of to aid recovery from it, then that's a bad decision in the first place.

I use pencils over pens for most things and mostly just use free pens that I collect for signing forms and such. If I were to buy pens I'm not sure which ones I would get, but they would probably be a least a notch or two up from the cheapest. The cheapest Bic pens are more mid-range, definitely not the cheapest option. A $50 display piece pen is obviously stupid though.

I'd add paper towels to the list of things that are pointless.
$5 flip flops are the most expensive flip flops I've ever heard of. I'd also add them to the list of pointless things unless you insist on them for fashion.
I have cheap tissues for when I'm healthy and don't care, but when I'm sick I'll gladly pay an extra $0.50 for nicer tissues that are easier on my nose.

MBot

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2017, 05:36:16 PM »
I recall reading this a few months ago
Disposable aluminum pie pans give the best possible crust.
Cheap glass a close second (the cheapest for any recipe requiring a nonreactive pan). Heavy "nice" pans aren't right for baking a good pie crust.

From this  article
http://www.seriouseats.com/2016/08/how-to-choose-the-best-pie-pan.html

JRA64

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2017, 05:45:39 PM »
Soy sauce. As a gluten-free person, the cheapest ones are usually the ones without flour.

And this is not strictly the cheapest - but I like the mid-range hotels much more than the more expensive one. The cheaper ones often include breakfast, wi-fi etc but those are often separate costs at the pricier hotels.

kelvin

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2017, 05:56:27 AM »
When it comes to blenders, there's stick blenders and Vitamix/Blendtech, with nothing in between being worth any money at all. Every attempt I have made to buy anything else has died within 5 uses. I don't use the blender that often, so will probably die with a stick blender.

I cannot stand cheap facial tissues, but a good quality toilet paper works well on my sore nose. I keep the real facial tissues for company and in the office.

Darebee.com and youtube instead of a gym membership.

I have never heard of a horse stall mat, I've been using those foam square things. I'll keep it in mind when I upgrade to kettlebells, thanks!

Rubic

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2017, 11:32:45 AM »
Linux Operating System for my laptops.

Free and infinitely configurable.  It's been my primary operating system
since 1994 and I dread the few occasions when it's necessary to boot up
into Windows and deal with all the crapware.  If I had to pay the same
price for Linux as Windows, I'd still choose Linux.


 

TVRodriguez

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #25 on: August 28, 2017, 12:48:46 PM »
And this is not strictly the cheapest - but I like the mid-range hotels much more than the more expensive one. The cheaper ones often include breakfast, wi-fi etc but those are often separate costs at the pricier hotels.

YES.  I just got back from a conference for work that was held at a very very fancy hotel.  So fancy that not only is there no breakfast buffet, there is also NO COFFEE MAKER in the room--you are supposed to order room service for that.

TVRodriguez

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #26 on: August 28, 2017, 12:50:08 PM »
Speaking of coffee, I really like my pretty low-end Mr. Coffee coffee maker.  It has a timer function, which lets me wake up to hot brewed coffee.  Not sure if it's the cheapest, but it's all I need.

Clean Shaven

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #27 on: August 28, 2017, 01:10:20 PM »
For absorbing motor oil spills, the cheapest possible cat litter works the best.  You want the clay granules, not some fancy treated/scented paper stuff.  Crush the clay bits into the concrete with your shoe, stomp + twist until it's dusty.  Works great for soaking up oil.

HipGnosis

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #28 on: August 28, 2017, 08:35:44 PM »
For absorbing motor oil spills, the cheapest possible cat litter works the best.  You want the clay granules, not some fancy treated/scented paper stuff.  Crush the clay bits into the concrete with your shoe, stomp + twist until it's dusty.  Works great for soaking up oil.
And you can get small bags of it at some dollar stores!

Bracken_Joy

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #29 on: August 28, 2017, 09:06:56 PM »
Not the cheapest of the cheap (like single ply office stuff), but the cheapest costco toilet paper beats out the fancy stuff IMO. I can't handle the "TP dust", haha.

A lot of the cheapest grocery stores in town have the best produce.

Hmmm. That's all I can think of for now.

Oh, one bonus: H&M has the cheapest basic t shirts we could find for a while, and they're definitely the ones that fit DH best. And each round has lasted a couple years for a week's worth of shirts.
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Cranky

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #30 on: August 29, 2017, 05:27:31 AM »
I actually do prefer aldi's brand trash bags to the name brand.

As far as shower curtains go, I don't think that remodeling the bathroom to get rid of the shower curtain was terribly cost effective. ;-)

But there are two levels of shower curtain liners - one is see through vinyl, and while very cheap, will need to be replaced regularly, no matter how much duct tape you use to repair it. The polyester cloth like sort will last close to forever, and can be washed, but is definitely more expensive.

The pretty outer shower curtain can be bought at the thrift store for $1, so that's not a great extravagance.

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #31 on: August 30, 2017, 04:39:15 PM »
Great question.

1.  Sunglasses.  You're going to lose them anyway.  (If you're me.)  So I get the cheapest half-decent ones I can find.  Now, I buy them 2-3 pairs at a time...it saves me a trip. 

2.  Flip flops.  (See #1: same idea.)

3.  Sodium-free cans of store-brand beans.  Spare meals galore. 

4.  White t-shirts.  They get worn out regardless, and the cheap ones are as good as the higher-priced ones.  Ditto boxers.  Those things both last a long time no matter what.

5.  Eggs.  Once they're cooked, they're all the same.  (Assuming they're good in the box, and that's never been an issue for us.) 

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #32 on: August 31, 2017, 12:11:01 AM »
Not the cheapest of the cheap (like single ply office stuff), but the cheapest costco toilet paper beats out the fancy stuff IMO. I can't handle the "TP dust", haha.

Seconded.

brookebcollin

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #33 on: September 01, 2017, 01:24:07 AM »
flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder - have never seen any improvement for spending more.

Fruits on sale at my grocery store are always better than the fruits not on sale since they only put them on sale during the in season.

Veggies and any seasonal food too!

MBot

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2017, 02:23:56 PM »
Foaming soap pumps for dish soap (to pump out a little to wash your hands or just one dish or two instead of squirting expensive full strength soap from the bottle.)

I made the mistake of buying several "refillable"  soap pumps at the $5 to $15 mark. glass, plastic, metal. One was Umbra I think, the others were store brand. All designed to keep being refilled with diluted dish soap. They all quit after 3-8 months

Turns out the disposable foaming soap containers (which are cheaper) have the mechanism that lasts the longest. I had one go for over 3 years. 

Anon in Alaska

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2017, 12:47:40 PM »
Wash cloths. Cheaper ones are smaller and thinner - this means that you can rinse the soap out of them more easily and quickly, so you don't waste more of your time and more of the hot water you had to pay to heat. They are also rougher, which means that they scrub better.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 09:35:09 AM by Anon in Alaska »
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Pigeon

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2017, 06:54:48 PM »
Give me a shower curtain over a glass shower door any day.  We have hard water and cleaning soap scum off shower doors is a time consuming and miserable job.  Those suckers always look repulsive no matter what I do to them.  Shower curtain liners are easily thrown in the wash with a little bleach.

I like most Aldi grocery items as much or better than name brands.  Their chocolate is delicious.

Linda_Norway

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2017, 10:52:56 PM »
Heard at work: if you are decent in carpenting, then carpenting some thing at home yourself will get a better result than what a professional handyman will produce. The professional handyman will hurry to get the job done in short time. You yourself will probably take your time to do it properly.
My colleague said that the things he built himself all look nicer than the things some professional built.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: What items have you found cheapest TRULY is best?
« Reply #38 on: October 29, 2017, 12:17:07 AM »
Heard at work: if you are decent in carpenting, then carpenting some thing at home yourself will get a better result than what a professional handyman will produce. The professional handyman will hurry to get the job done in short time. You yourself will probably take your time to do it properly.
My colleague said that the things he built himself all look nicer than the things some professional built.

I've found this for decorating too. Doing it yourself gives you a chance to decide as you are putting the paint on or putting something into place that you like it slightly more a different way.

Beware of the Ikea effect though. You need a base level of skill for this to be true; but a lower level of skill to believe that it is true.