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Published January 31, 2014, 04:00 PM

Worthwhile splurges: When only the best will do

Price comparison. Coupons. Rewards clubs. Savings apps. Consumers are always looking for ways to save, but sometimes, for some things, it’s not the best idea to go cheapest.

By: Meredith Holt, INFORUM

We’ve listed items that are worth splurging on, but we want to know which items aren’t worth splurging on. Email Forum reporter Meredith Holt at mholt@forumcomm.com with your ideas of where to save or tweet them to @FargoMere with the hashtag #forumsaves.

Price comparison. Coupons. Rewards clubs. Savings apps.

Consumers are always looking for ways to save, but sometimes, for some things, it’s not the best idea to go cheapest.

Spending a little more can mean getting a better, longer-lasting product or service. Less to replace. Less to fix. Less to add clutter to your home.

Local retailers and readers weigh in on what’s worth the splurge.

Splurge: A good mattress.

Cost: $348 to $2,498 for a queen at Comfort King.

Why it’s worth it: We all know we’re supposed to get enough sleep, but if we aren’t comfortable in our beds, just how beneficial can it be?

“Sleep is essential to our health, and most of us need to spend at least a third of our lives sleeping to recharge our bodies,” says Chris Larson, founder of Fargo mattress store Comfort King.

He says sleeping well – on a well-made mattress – helps you feel better and perform better the other two-thirds of your life.

When you buy a mattress, you’re buying it for the long term, he says, and Comfort King mattresses come with lifetime guarantees.

“If people buy a bed from us and they don’t like how it feels 10-15 years from now, we can work with them to make it feel better,” he says.

Splurge: Good sheets.

Cost: $59.99 to $199.99 for a queen-sized set with 400 thread count or higher at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Why it’s worth it: The same applies to sheets, but they’re directly touching your skin.

“Your skin is the biggest organ in your body,” Larson says, “so what your skin touches can greatly affect your comfort, just like the clothes you wear.”

Allison Mahlen, 32, of Moorhead, likes 300- or 400-count Egyptian cotton or bamboo silk, but it also has to pass the feel test.

“There’s nothing like a nice soft pair of sheets after a long day,” she says.

Splurge: KitchenAid Stand Mixer.

Cost: $349.99 to $599.99, depending on model, at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Why it’s worth it: The KitchenAid Stand Mixer’s 10 speeds and 12 available attachments allow home cooks and bakers to quickly and easily blend anything.

Dixie Schulz, a 66-year-old Fargo woman who winters in Arizona, uses hers for cookies, bars, cake, bread and mashed potatoes.

She has two – one for each home – and her first is still going strong after 18 years without a single problem.

“It’s a workhorse in the kitchen,” she says.

Splurge: For men, a custom-fit suit.

Cost: $300 to $900 at Halberstadt’s Men’s Clothiers.

Why it’s worth it: A custom-fit suit hugs the body better than a standard fit, and that’s enough to give a man a boost in confidence.

“They know they’re going to look their best every time they put it on,” says Halberstadt’s managing partner Barry Gruchow.

He recommends 100 percent wool, which is more breathable, drapes better and will last a long time.

Depending on use, care and storage, a typical suit can last a couple years up to 10, Gruchow says, with a new suit every three to five years being preferable.

“As the style changes, that’s a great time to update and get something different,” he says.

Light gray is trendy right now, but Gruchow says guys who don’t wear suits often should stick to the classic colors of navy, charcoal and black.

So which brand does he recommend? “I think Hugo Boss offers the best suit for the money,” he says.

Splurge: For women, a good-quality leather handbag.

Cost: Under $100 for a Fossil cross-body, up to $200-$300 for a tote at Scheels.

Why it’s worth it: When she was growing up, Nikki Fjerstad’s mom taught her the value of quality over quantity.

The fashion buyer for Scheels says she was told not to buy faux leather, especially for bags.

She says a real leather purse is worth the investment because it’ll keep its look for longer than a less expensive bag that needs to be replaced each year.

Fjerstad recommends the brand Fossil, known for its good-quality materials.

“They use full-grain leather. There’s nothing that they sell that’s a faux leather,” she says.

Splurge: A good chef’s knife.

Cost: $49.95 to $179.95 for a 5.5- to 7-inch santoku chef’s knife at Creative Kitchen.

Why it’s worth it: One good knife can replace the work of several cheap ones.

Judy Hannestad, who does sales and marketing for Creative Kitchen, says if you’re going to buy one good knife, buy an 8-inch santoku chef’s knife.

She says to look for a well-made, well-processed knife with a lifetime guarantee that feels comfortable in your hand.

Customers can try out Creative Kitchen’s knives on fruits and vegetables right in the store.

Splurge: Vitamix.

Cost: $529 to $649, depending on model, at Creative Kitchen.

Why it’s worth it: At several hundred dollars, the Vitamix doesn’t come cheap. But it comes well-recommended.

Hannestad says she gets lots of inquiries about the Vitamix at Creative Kitchen.

The high-performance blender isn’t just for fruit smoothies. It can be used to make sorbets, sauces and soups.

It’s fast, and it’s made to last.

“It has blades that are patented that can handle years and years and years of crushing ice, as opposed to a blender that you have to replace every two-three years if you’re doing a lot of smoothies,” Hannestad says.

Plus, it self-cleans in 60 seconds. No sharp blades to scrape or parts to lose down the drain.

“You just put the soap in the jar, add water, turn it on, and it cleans itself,” she says.

Splurge: Good tires.

Cost: $500 to $1,500, depending on vehicle type and size, at Fargo Tire Service.

Why it’s worth it: Without a good set of tires on your car, you’re not going anywhere.

And, you get what you pay for, says Michael Dow, the manager of the Main Avenue Fargo Tire Services.

When choosing new tires, safety comes first, he says. Then ride, traction, and long-lasting wear.

“With lower-end tires, you’re not going to get the amount of traction that you need,” he says.

Dow says a good set should last about 50,000 miles, and at Fargo Tire, they include the manufacturer’s warranty, customer service and free rotation.

Splurge: Seat upgrades for long flights.

Cost: Free to into the thousands, depending on airline, frequent flier program and length of travel.

Why it’s worth it: Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, a little extra leg room makes a big difference if you’re stuck on a long flight.

Dan Huber appreciates the upgrade when he has hours ahead of him on a plane.

“When traveling for business, the extra room and amenities received in an upgrade cabin will allow you the room to work comfortably on your laptop and when the time comes to rest, you will be more comfortable and rested for a more successful business trip,” he says.

The frequent flier says it’s a perk that can affect how you start and end a trip.

Splurge: A good winter coat.

Cost: $200-$300, depending on brand, style, material and length, at Scheels.

Why it’s worth it: A cheap winter coat just isn’t going to cut it in the subzero temps typical of Fargo-Moorhead.

Fjerstad, of Scheels, says as long as your size doesn’t change, they’re worth the investment because you don’t have to buy one every year.

“If you take care of it, it’ll last – I don’t want to say forever – but a really, really long time,” she says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590

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