13 “Buy It for Life” Items That Save Money and Bring Happiness

[Mornin’ y’all! Got an awesome (and funny!) guest post today from personal finance legend Pete over at Do You Even Blog. Pete talks about the “Buy It for Life” Movement and why spending just a little more money on higher quality stuff ends up saving you more in the long run. Enjoy!]

*****

“Excuse me, sir, is this your child?” she asked.

I’m kneeling down in the middle of Wal-Mart, shopping for chapstick, when a lady taps me on the shoulder.

“Oh my, yes! Thank you! I was just…um…sorry.”

It was my child.

He had wandered off at some point in the previous TWENTY MINUTES when I had been comparing prices of chapstick.

Yes, chapstick.

Yes, 20+ minutes.

I, Pete McPherson, am a cheapskate.

My father’s a cheapskate, and his father before him. It’s in my blood.

But the good news? Being cheap saves me money…

WAIT, does it?

Does being cheap actually save me money?

Answer 👉 Sometimes being cheap costs me money.

Introducing the “BIFL” movement (Buy It for Life)

When I married my wife, I couldn’t wrap my head around how she could spend $300+ for a ski jacket.

ONE JACKET. 

Her argument?

“This $300 jacket will last me for DECADES, if not the rest of my life. I won’t have to buy a new one every few years LIKE YOU.”

It was true.

I was notorious for buying cheap stuff (especially clothes) that would only last a few years before I would slog miserably to the store to buy a (cheap) replacement.

Luckily, like all good marriages, my wife began to wear off on me. 😉

For the past 5 years, I’ve been working hard to change my shopping habits from one of “save some money now” to “save MORE money over the long run and also own better things.

“Buy It for Life” is now my obsession.

But before I share some fun BIFL items, here are 4 concepts behind the BIFL philosophy.

BIFL Concept 1 – Look for Lifetime Guarantees

If your Darn Tough socks wear out 20 years from now, you can return those bad boys and they’ll replace ‘em.

If the JanSport backpack you wore in MIDDLE SCHOOL is coming apart at the seams, they’ll fix it for you for free.

Did you buy brake pads for your vehicle? You should be able to return to the store you bought them from and get free brake pads forever. Most people don’t realize they can exchange brake pads for life.

  • Craftsman
  • L.L. Bean
  • Eddie Bauer
  • Osprey
  • Duluth Trading Company

Every company’s “lifetime” warranty is a bit different, but it’s worth getting to know which companies offer real lifetime warranties!

A quick Google search yields 15-20 more brands that’ll help you save money in the long run.

BIFL Concept 2 – Look for Modular Items

“Modular” in this case means buying items with parts you can replace separately.

Yes, I own a $330 drip coffee maker (more on this below).

But if anything ever breaks or wears out, the system is modular. I don’t need to buy a whole new coffee maker, I can replace the one part.

I build my own computers and keyboards (#nerdalert), which are modular. It makes it easy (and cheaper) to update and upgrade them, as I can simply upgrade one part.

BIFL Concept 3 – Obsess Over Quality

Warranties aside, quality products generally just last longer. 

Yes, quality is expensive, but remember what we’re going for here: long-term savings!

I swear – I will NEVER buy another kitchen appliance from Wal-Mart. It’s like they’re engineered to fail after a year.

Find quality goods. More bang for your buck.

BIFL Concept 4 – “Buy It for Life” Items Will Also Make You Happier

And I don’t just mean “Oh I bought a really expensive jacket and now I’m happy!”

I mean long-term satisfaction.

That feeling that you are spending your money wisely (and probably helping the environment, too, though that’s a topic for another day).

But also…yeah.

Owning nicer things is fun too. ;)

Here Are Some “Buy It for Life” Items for Inspiration 👇

The Technivorm MoccaMaster Coffee Brewer

At $330, even my savvy wife complained about my new drip coffee machine.

She has since caved and admitted it was totally worth it (and also admitted I am a bonafide genius husband).

The Moccamaster is THE. BEST. HOME. COFFEE. DRIP. MACHINE. In the world. (Just trust me, I’m obsessed with home coffee).

It’s also modular and backed by a 5-YEAR warranty.

Darn Tough Socks ($20-25ish a Pair)

I hate wearing socks, mainly because I’m usually too cheap to replace the ones I have (with holes in them). >_<

But a while back I fired off a tweet asking for sock recommendations, and the results were clear: Darn Tough Socks.

(Sam from Government Worker Fi replaced his after 11 years??).

  • High quality (though they run small in my experience. I buy one size larger than normal)
  • Excellent selection
  • Lifetime warranty

I’m now a loud-n-proud owner of 2 pair.

Swingline Staplers

Queue the Office Space quotes!

It’s silly, yes, but it’s also one of those “This stapler is a BEAST that my grandmother gave me, and now I’m giving it to you, grandson…” items.

And it only happens every few months, but MAN is it annoying when a stapler doesn’t work. Why is that? I think maybe because it’s such a simple task. ;)

Patagonia Winter Wear

For these, you can thank my wife and her vast experience with cold weather.

It used to be The North Face, but their quality seems to be going downhill in recent years.

Now, it’s Patagonia.

Aside from being generally high quality, they also have a nice repair policy (you can bring in any Patagonia item into any Patagonia store and they can do small repairs, or you can ship it to them for larger repairs or a patch kit!)

A Mechanical Keyboard

Ok ok ok…this one is less of a long-term cash savings (how often have you been replacing your keyboard?), but more of a quality-of-life improvement that’ll last a really long time.

I got my first mechanical keyboard when my Apple keyboard got several sticky keys, and it’s fair to say I’m OBSESSED with them at this point.

These keyboards:

  • Are modular!
  • Way way way more durable and reliable than normal keyboards
  • Customizable, fun and pleasurable to type on (FYI, they don’t have to be loud and annoying. Grab one with linear switches!)

They WILL last longer than normal keyboards.

Wanna learn more? I wrote a blog post on this 👉 What is a mechanical keyboard? A simple guide to differences and benefits.

#NerdAlert

Corelle Dishes

Just TRY to break ‘em.

I inherited some ancient Corelle dishware from my grandmother (they were uber-old and uber-ugly), and at first I hated them.

But they were lightweight and insanely durable.

We’ve since upgraded to newer Corelle (that were designed in this century) and couldn’t be happier. 

NOTE: Pottery Barn dishes are a “never again” purchase in our household. These are the opposite of BIFL. Ours started chipping in year 2 at the slightest touch, and they’re expensive to boot!

Pyrex stuff (same company as Corelle!)

If you’ve had Pyrex bakeware, you already know. 

That stuff lasts!

Yeti Coolers (or Stanley stainless steel thermos)

Two years ago I spent $60-ish on an off-brand cooler from (you guessed it) Wal-Mart.

I then proceeded to purchase multiple bags of ice EVERY DAY of a 3-week camping trip.

Then the handle got stuck.

Enter the BIFL cooler: Yeti

Y’all have NO IDEA how hard it was for me to throw down $350 for a cooler–but now that I’m using it, I’m constantly reminded that it’s a long-term investment!

I spend far less on ice (speaking of me being cheap, it’s silly how much bagged ice runs), and I’m hoping to get decades out of the Yeti.

In the market for a thermos? 

Grab a stainless steel Stanley brand (they’re apparently affordable, though I wouldn’t know. I’ve been using my father’s Stanley from the 1980s).

NO FURNITURE from Ikea

Look, I love me some Ikea

Where else can you grab a couch, rug, and coasters-you-didn’t-really-need for under $400?

But in my experience, Ikea furniture is cheap for a reason: It simply doesn’t last.

EXCEPT: glassware from Ikea. My wife has had the same drinking glasses for more than 15 years at this point, so maybe the glass stuff from Ikea is officially BIFL.

Miele Vacuums

I personally don’t own a Miele, and they are definitely expensive, but I’m constantly seeing them mentioned as BIFL vacuums.

But aside from Miele, I CAN speak to the fact cheap, off-brand vacuums are the WORST when it comes to wear and tear.

We bought a “Dyson-alternative” off-brand a few years ago. We saved $100ish, but the thing sucks (and not in the vacuum way. It’s falling apart and now we need to buy another one).

Fiskars Tools and Lawn Equipment

Want tools to pass down to your grandkids one day? Buy Fiskars.

Wusthof Kitchen Knives

Every time I visit my parents, I’m appalled by the dullness of their kitchen knives, and my father generally comes at me with “I don’t want to buy a new one!”

If you do any cooking at home (and I’d argue you should), having a reliable, sharp chef’s knife is everything.

There are lots of great brands, but Wusthof strikes a good balance of affordability and durability. 

PRO TIP: Invest in a knife-sharpening kit! They’re cheap and literally make knives like Wusthof BIFL.

Red Wing Boots

Yet another company with a reputation for quality clothes, or in this case, work boots.

They also offer “a la carte” repairs from their website where they can replace or repair specific parts of the boot (which is cheaper than a “standard” repair), and they have a lifetime warranty.

Hanks Belts

Why on Earth would you spend $70 on a belt?

Well, so you can avoid spending $20 every 7 years for the rest of your life. ;)

Hanks leather is the way to go.

But What About You? What Are Your “Buy It for Life” Purchases?

What brands do you willingly pay more for?

Drop us a comment below with a recommendation or two!

*****

Pete McPherson is the founder of Do You Even Blog, an award-winning blog, podcast, and YouTube channel dedicated to helping creators build impactful (and profitable) businesses on the Internet. He has interviewed some of the top entrepreneurs and creators in the world, (including Jamila Souffrant, J.D. Roth, Tanja Hester, and many other awesome personal finance folks!)

NOTE: Links to Amazon throughout the post are affiliate links, meaning we’ll get a few bucks if you end up purchasing any of these BIFL items mentioned today. (Which we will then put towards new BIFL items for ourselves! Thanks! :))

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109 Comments

  1. Dan Murray February 21, 2022 at 7:45 AM

    Coffee: get an AeroPress for under $40. It will last for at least a decade (probably longer), the paper filters are very small, inexpensive. You can’t screw-up coffee with an AeroPress. Cleanup is easier vs any other coffee making method.

    Reply
    1. Eric February 21, 2022 at 12:12 PM

      I’ve had an AeroPress and Technivorm (and many other makers) and I believe nearly /any/ pour-over dripper is superior.

      They’re portable, simple to use, cheap, indestructible, there’re no special filters needed and they produce consistently excellent cups.

      Every other coffee device is extraneous!

      Reply
  2. Liz February 21, 2022 at 8:12 AM

    I have had a different experience with Ikea. I purposely got items that are made of wood, not MDF. With any purchase it depends on what it is & what level of use or abuse it is meant to withstand vs what I’ll dish out.

    Fiskar scissors are worth the money for the longevity. Also Oxo kitchen items: tongs, potato peeler, pizza cutter.

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 21, 2022 at 10:36 AM

      That’s a good point.! Totally goes with the “quality” thing, even at IKEA.

      Reply
    2. Shay February 21, 2022 at 10:52 AM

      I sew and have found Fiskars will become dull way before my Gingher scissors which are heavier than the Fiskars – which have plastic handles. I reserve my Gingher’s for only sewing. My Fiskers are in the kitchen drawer for cutting paper and other random things. I have my grandmother’s Gingher pinking shears and they are fabulous. They must be at least 70 years old (very possibly older).

      Reply
      1. Ceecee February 27, 2022 at 12:44 PM

        I have Gingher scissors and I think they are the best ever!

        Reply
    3. Sabrina February 22, 2022 at 4:30 PM

      Just learning about slow fashion, similar idea with BIFL. My favorite is any Wool& dress – I did their 100 day challenge and I’m hooked. (Yes, I wore the same dress for 100 days) Merino wool is magic, and worth every penny!

      Reply
      1. Vera February 24, 2022 at 9:07 AM

        Merino wool isn’t worth it for all the animals abused in the process of providing you an unnecessary garment.

        Reply
        1. Mimi February 26, 2022 at 5:35 PM

          Synthetic fibers damage the environment for every living organism. The particles get everywhere and make their way up the food chain whether you are a plant eater or not. Buying a few pieces of quality natural fiber clothing instead of multiple garments is an act of kindness for all life on this planet.

          Reply
      2. Shri February 28, 2022 at 9:37 AM

        I’m 12 days in to my 100 day challenge right now and I am *in love* with it! I’ve been buying slow fashion for a while, but already, I’m impressed with the quality of this dress so much. Happy to see another Wool& fan here!

        Reply
    4. Bill Williams February 23, 2022 at 5:31 PM

      I have found that after many years, the plastic handles on OXO degrade and get sticky.

      Reply
    5. Dandelion February 27, 2022 at 10:01 PM

      Unfortunately, fiskers pruning shears are not great. Never again.

      Reply
  3. Christine Luken February 21, 2022 at 8:12 AM

    Love this article! I have recently made the switch from buying cheaply to investing in quality items that will last. I’m a huge fan of Cutco knives! Made in the US, ususally sold by college kids trying to earn their tuition, and guaranteed for life. Once you own a set, you will look upon most other knives with scorn. Yes, they’re THAT good! (And I cook a lot, so I am using them pretty much every day.)

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 21, 2022 at 10:36 AM

      Ooo nice. Imma look those up! Might get them as a Christmas present :)

      Reply
      1. Sarah June 7, 2022 at 6:52 PM

        Can highly recommend. I have a full set of them (earned as rewards for selling in college) and they’re strictly speaking a forever guarantee. I sent someone’s knife from the…gosh, 60s or 70s? back to the factory and they just replaced it. Even the serrated ones can be sharpened, and you can request someone to come to your home and sharpen, although they will try to upsell you haha

        Reply
    2. Chanda Riley February 23, 2022 at 6:22 AM

      Just bought some more of these myself! I’ve had the table knives for 20+ years so I got a few more for daily use. My daughters friend is selling them for a flexible job at college!! My parents have had theirs for eons!! Lifetime Warranty!!

      Reply
    3. Toya Turner February 27, 2022 at 5:48 PM

      I have the cutco knife set and other cook set. I paid a lot. My assistant said ” they will be here when you’re dead and gone”. LoL

      Reply
    4. Beth N. February 28, 2022 at 11:31 AM

      My FAVORITE knife is a Cutco bought from a college kid!

      Reply
    5. Donna February 28, 2022 at 12:00 PM

      Yes Cutco knives and other kitchen tools. Also fishing knife. Handles are so easy to hold on to, fit well in small or large hands.

      Reply
  4. Darianne February 21, 2022 at 8:28 AM

    That was fun!
    But having children… they drain a lot of your well earned money. So, I only buy them Morell shoes and boots. Last forever, when they have stopped growing (so you don’t have to purchase bigger sizes every year, that is).

    For myself, I absolutely love the Sheertex hosiery. Sheertex is a Torontian (or is it Torontonian?) business and their tights and pantyhose are indestructible. They are very expensive but you simply don’t have to worry about snags or ladders. They sell leggings, shorties and socks. I have had three pairs of pantyhose for a year now and they are tougher than jeans.

    Reply
    1. Caroline February 22, 2022 at 8:48 AM

      Thanks for that review! I’ve looked at them but developed a bit of sticker shock!

      Reply
    2. JJ February 27, 2022 at 12:12 PM

      I’m wary of sheertex now. A pair I bought got a hole within the 30 days warranty period, they told me to cut them in half, send them a photo and they would send me a new pair.

      After I cut them and sent the photo they ghosted me. I send emails for months trying to get my new pair, it wasn’t until I kept posting my story on their instagram (and found 2 others who had experienced the same thing) that they finally honored the warranty.

      I was excited about the concept of buying it “once”, but you also have consider whether or not they’ll honor their promises.

      Reply
  5. Chris February 21, 2022 at 9:58 AM

    This is such a fun post! I had a cheap coat for about 25 years. The only reason I got rid of it is that I was tired of it! My husband is definitely the king of sales and stuff can be really cheap sometimes. lol We have a knock off yeti cooler and are a little disappointed with it. It’s just as thick as a Yeti I think but still doesn’t keep stuff cold for as long as we had hoped.

    I think things in general are not as well made anymore. My aunt had a Maytag washer that lasted for years and years and later a repairman told her they don’t make them as good anymore (that way they can sell more). We were given a microwave for a wedding gift that lasted 20 years. Every single one we have bought since then has only lasted a few years or even less.

    Another point is to be sure to buy something you KNOW will last. Online reviews help a lot nowadays. I used to keep buying cheap irons that wouldn’t last. I was reluctant to buy an expensive one because I was concerned it would just be a waste of money and not last long either but I finally did and it has been pretty good.

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 21, 2022 at 10:38 AM

      That’s a good point about things not lasting as long. Very much a trend I don’t enjoy.

      Consumerism at play I’d wager?

      Reply
      1. Shay February 21, 2022 at 10:56 AM

        I was told by an appliance sales person that it’s called “planned obsolescence”. Most major appliance are expected to last only 7 years.

        Reply
        1. Frances February 26, 2022 at 7:50 PM

          Some washers/dryers designed for certain number of cycles then cost more to fix than replace. Years ago I had a little extra and needed a washer. My son repairs all appliances and commercial kitchen quipment. He found me a commercial washer that I will pass to kids or grans. It weighs 500 lbs and only a few basic cycles but I feel like it will be last I will ever buy.

          Reply
        2. Erica February 26, 2022 at 11:25 PM

          Yes, car mechanics will tell you the same thing.

          Reply
      2. Erin February 28, 2022 at 12:10 AM

        Planned obsolescence.

        Reply
    2. Andrea February 23, 2022 at 10:01 AM

      I hear you on the washer/dryer front!! We finally popped for a Speed Queen washer/dryer about 10 years ago out of frustration with trendy front loaders and cheap-o (but pretty) dryers. Speed Queen is/was made in USA, and from metal (not plastic) parts. Not pretty, but gets the job done. Also, we figured that if that’s what is in all of the laundromats, then it must be pretty reliable! So far, so good. Knock on wood!

      Reply
      1. Frances Hurley February 26, 2022 at 7:52 PM

        Yes mine was designed for landrumats. Only thing he forgot was to order a cover for coin slot. I don’t need coins and can live with that place a little open.

        Reply
    3. Elizabeth B. February 24, 2022 at 3:46 PM

      may I ask what brand iron you purchased?….I need a new one! (the one I have leaks water…ugh)

      Reply
  6. Chris February 21, 2022 at 10:02 AM

    I have a Dyson that they don’t make anymore. I hate the “ball” type ones but it’s not that. It’s pink because they were promoting breast cancer. I’ve probably had it 20 years. I didn’t think it was that expensive. It’s good to know Miele’s are good if my Dyson ever goes out.

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 21, 2022 at 10:39 AM

      I’m currently in the market for a Dyson. Seems to be most peoples experience!

      Reply
      1. NitaLynne Frigerio February 26, 2022 at 12:43 PM

        I got a Dyson last year from Costco. It actually was on sale there and about half of what you pay in the regular store

        Reply
      2. Frantic February 26, 2022 at 11:32 PM

        Have you looked at consumer reports? Miele kicks dyson butt! Love my Miele I bought on eBay, new in box.

        Reply
        1. Parveen February 27, 2022 at 1:58 PM

          Yes is ti special frre

          Reply
    2. Nate February 27, 2022 at 6:07 PM

      We have a Dyson Animal, and it’s been a good vacuum for 9 years now. We have a dog, a cat and twin 5 year olds. The brush bar is worn down, so I might need to replace some parts, but overall it’s been worth the 4 or 500 we paid…not much more than the cheaper ones.

      Reply
  7. TAC February 21, 2022 at 11:16 AM

    Great article! My oldest son wanted to steal my Wusthof chef’s knife when he went to college (which I bought when he was a toddler and I was in my 30s as a splurge item. I had it professionally sharpened and gave it to him for Christmas this year, I then bought myself a new one. I would have been happy to give him the new one, but I am trying to teach him that quality used items can be better than new cheap ones. I also have a Wustfhof knife that was a wedding present in 1991 that I had resharpened at the same time. Bought some Cutco knives recently designed for special purposes (like one for cutting potatoes) and their potato peeler. Those are excellent for anyone making homemade soups. If people want to save money, cooking is a great way. However, don’t skimp on the tools, like knives, that you end up using every day of your life. Definitely BIFL items!

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 21, 2022 at 12:36 PM

      That is AWESOME. Kudos to your son for recognizing that quality, and to you for teaching a great lesson.

      Imma go shop for a potato peeler now :)

      Reply
  8. Katie @SolopreneurCafe February 21, 2022 at 2:21 PM

    Warning on Pyrex – the glass formula was changed in 1998 when Corning sold it off. Very real risk of shattering. But if you go too “vintage”, you’ll find lead in the mix. Anyway, what you really want to look for is borosilicate rather than soda-lime in the materials of whatever you buy – it’s significantly more expensive but lasts.

    Big fan of Corelle here, once I got over the “granny” stigma. It’s a lot easier to use for microwaving because it only gets hot on the parts where you have food and not the whole dish. Can’t say that about stoneware, etc.

    Would love to figure out worthwhile pots/pans/bakeware. I’ve gotten surprisingly good life out of nonstick Cuisinart ($100 set bought 10 years ago). I love Le Creuset but it’s so damn heavy. I have a couple of pieces of All-Clad too.

    As for clothing…most of the stuff you mention works for people whose weight doesn’t vary. In other words, mostly men but only some women. Also, I don’t freak out about spilling something that might stain on a $10 t-shirt the way I would if it was a $50+ t-shirt. So BIFL for clothing has limited appeal beyond shoes and socks.

    Reply
    1. RB February 22, 2022 at 9:56 AM

      I have a full kitchen of AllClad, which is definitely in the BIFL category. Pro tip: they have a scratch-and-dent sale twice a year where you can get 40-70% off the same items, with minor cosmetic damage. But since you’re going to BIFL, it’s going to sustain some cosmentic damage along the way, regardless, so who cares?!

      Reply
    2. CC February 22, 2022 at 1:34 PM

      Back in the early 70s or so, my mother used A&P green stamps to get a small set of Revere 1801 stainless steel cookware with copper bottoms. She used them throughout my childhood and passed them along to my siblings and me as we moved out, because she wanted some trendy new ones. Since she split the set, I had to fill in with other brands at first, but it eventually dawned on me, after a few years, that the only pieces I was continually having to replace were the other brands that would fail for one reason or another. Those darn Reveres kept working just fine. Furthermore, I really liked the way they looked and felt and how they cooked more than the others, so I began seeking them out at garage sales and thrift stores. They were usually inexpensive and even the damaged ones could often be brought back to life with some elbow grease and Barkeepers Friend. I eventually found enough to put together a base set for me with a couple of duplicates, just in case. I doubt that I have more than $30 invested in total, including the BF, and they are still my favorite.

      So – they have now lasted for at least 2 family generations. Gen 3 (my kids) are grown and off on their own, but when it came time to help them furnish their kitchens, I wasn’t ready to part with my Reveres just yet, so they have some other kinds. It’ll be interesting to see if they eventually want the Reveres as well. Either way, with proper care, I have no doubt the Reveres will outlast us all.

      Reply
      1. Karen February 23, 2022 at 9:18 AM

        I’ve had my Revere since going off to college in 1980. My mom also had a set she still used from the ‘50’s

        Reply
        1. John February 24, 2022 at 11:04 PM

          Look into buying restaurant cookware, possibly from online vendors. Specifically carbon steel pans go for 10$ each and last just as well as cast iron but lighter.

          Reply
    3. Leah February 26, 2022 at 7:11 PM

      Calphalon cookware. Registered for it for my wedding in 1996 & we are still cooking with it.

      Reply
      1. Dave February 27, 2022 at 9:00 AM

        Our Calphalon was garbage within 3 years. We went with plain old cast iron and will never need anything else again. Even after the worst kitchen disaster you can easily refinish/reseason and they are brand new.

        Reply
    4. Jennifer Dudayev February 27, 2022 at 8:14 PM

      Pyrex warning accurate. Try Goodwill, Salvation Army, thrift stores for the oldie but goodie.

      Reply
  9. Jason February 21, 2022 at 3:33 PM

    I love the concept, but, I don’t like the idea of using a warranty as an unlimited replacement plan. L.L. Bean no longer honors its lifetime warranty because too many people abused it in this manner. If your socks last you as long as socks should last before they wear out, then buy some new socks. Don’t be cheap, abuse warranty policies, and ruin those warranties for those who have legitimate claims.
    Buy quality products. Treat them right. You’ll get your monies worth out of them.

    Reply
    1. Vera February 24, 2022 at 9:13 AM

      That’s what I was thinking when I read that! A buy-one-time-with-free-replacements-for-life policy isn’t sustainable so you’d be putting companies out of business or help cause them to start cutting corners and no longer make a quality product.

      Reply
    2. T Gray February 27, 2022 at 12:19 PM

      Then why offer a lifetime guarantee? Your premise is the company hasn’t thought about this in their marketing plans. You should understand that businesses out think the market when they develop lifetime guarantees. They understand some people will replace items that have worn naturally, but still offer the lifetime warranty as a marketing and sales tactic. If you believe companies are that naive or have not thought about it in a economic way, you are mistaken. It’s people who believe in articles like this and word of mouth that have made these companies household names and the implied marketing of durability in their products is what helps drive their profit levels.

      Start believing in the BIFL theories and the products in these articles and the ones recommended by the commenters. This will help these quality companies, the economy, and your own pocketbook.

      Reply
  10. Janette L February 21, 2022 at 4:59 PM

    Agree with the Corelle and Pyrex. I have Corelle dishes that I swiped from Mom for my first apartment over 20 years ago- they were probably at least 10 years old at that point! And I have Pyrex measuring cups and baking dishes that are at least 20 years old. I would also add that Anchor Hocking is a good brand for kitchenware- I have mixing bowls and two measuring cups that are at least 20 years old.

    Also have a 3-in-1 winter coat from Columbia that is 8 years old and going strong :-)

    Reply
  11. Pinch February 21, 2022 at 8:29 PM

    I’ve been buying shoes only from this family business in Germany for over 20 years.

    Mom and dad started the company in the early 1980’s and the 2 sons and their wives have taken over the day-to-day running of the business at around 2013.

    They also offer a repair service where they replace anything which is broken or worn out. Well worth the money for new shoes as well as for the repair service.

    https://www.baer-shoes.com

    Reply
  12. Charlie February 22, 2022 at 12:34 AM

    All clad stainless cookware… 15 years and they work just like new. Not one piece has failed. Worth it. Also 2nd the wustoff… 25 years and just starting to show sharpener wear… Fabulous knives.

    Reply
  13. Konny February 22, 2022 at 6:37 AM

    Corelle do break just so you know. I have two plates that broke while I was loading the dishes. If you have a colorful design on yours, it will eventually fade. I don’t have the time to drive over an hour to have those replaced. I do like the fact that they are light and fit better in my dishwasher than ceramic plates. Still totally recommend and worth the extra money or better yet you can buy used ones online but most likely it won’t be a full set.

    Reply
  14. Caroline February 22, 2022 at 8:45 AM

    Hello! May I add Bulbrite light bulbs to the list? We had our front porch done a few yrs ago including a new custom light fixture they provided a bulb. It went out after about a yr. of daily use, called the company they sent a new one out no issues.

    Reply
  15. Francia February 22, 2022 at 12:42 PM

    Movado.

    I bought a Movado Museum as a present for myself at 20 years old. I didn’t wear any other jewelry. It was my one and only classic and simple. Misplaced it for 8 years. Found it in a box in between magazines and random papers and my basement had a high moisture content.( old old house). It needed to be cleaned up and she was back up and running. Recently celebrated my 50th birthday and my watch is still with me.

    Reply
  16. Lisa February 22, 2022 at 2:20 PM

    Asking about cookware? I have Revere Ware I bought for my hope chest almost 50 years ago, have used it almost daily for 40 years. It’s survived a house fire that trashed my kitchen. So far I’ve only had the handle on one piece break. My kids have been sourcing Revere Ware from yard sales for years as well.

    Reply
    1. Whitney C Brown February 27, 2022 at 8:01 PM

      I wish I still had mine. Copper bottoms. I look for them on line.

      Reply
  17. Gary Grewal February 22, 2022 at 5:32 PM

    I will add that a Yeti cooler and Patagonia jacket were super worthwhile investments!

    Also, things you don’t use often but are of major value when you do are important to BFL, such as a tent, camping gear, as well as you mentioned some furniture.

    Does a Hydro Flask cost more than a free plastic bottle from the local 5k? Yes, and it’s worth it 100% of the time when you water is still ice cold hiking on a hot day.

    Lastly, gonna give a shout out to my Lodge Cast Iron Skillet. That thing is a workhorse, and will be gifted to my grandkids one day.

    Reply
  18. Walla February 23, 2022 at 6:56 AM

    The AWAY luggage brand has a lifetime warranty and perhaps some of the other luxury brands. I love that I will never have to buy luggage ever again!

    Reply
  19. Megan Daugherty February 23, 2022 at 8:00 AM

    I can attest to the fact that Miele vacuums are the best out there. My boyfriend worked at a vacuum store so we were able to buy one at a great price. They are very quiet, powerful, have amazing suction, work great on bare floors and use HEPA filtration. They are expensive (1500 to 2000 roughly), but Ive had my vacuum for 4 years and it still works like it did when it was brand new. I will never buy another brand of vacuum. Highly recommend.

    Reply
    1. Beth February 26, 2022 at 6:59 PM

      Glad you like yours. My mom had one and I would vacuum for her when I dropped by for a visit. It zapped me all the time. I hated it so much I brought my Dyson when she needed some help.

      Reply
  20. Randy February 23, 2022 at 9:06 AM

    Kuiu hunting clothing – lifetime warranty
    Benchmade knives – stay sharp forever, could run them over with a car
    Martin Guitars – no warranty, but it is so nice I hover over it and never let it get wrecked
    Toyota Corolla – a car seems silly, but if you take care of this amazingly simple and boring car, you will never be cool, but your price per mile will be lowest anywhere.

    Reply
    1. Chuck February 23, 2022 at 5:54 PM

      Randy-

      We bought our daughter a 2003 Corolla in 2009 that had 75K miles on it. It is still the only car she has ever owned, and she has put 200K+ miles on it.

      Reply
  21. Carrie February 23, 2022 at 10:36 AM

    We purchased 5 pairs of Duluth work pants for my husband with the understanding there was a lifetime warranty several years ago. We were able to trade one pair in after about a year, but no luck when we tried again recently. They claimed there was no such thing as a lifetime warranty for normal wear and tear. They would only replace items that were a manufacturing problem!

    Lesson learned- Print out and save all information about guarantees!!

    Reply
  22. Kim February 23, 2022 at 10:37 AM

    I agree with so many of these and appreciate new ones folks have posted, thanks! I traveled 45’ish weeks a year for work and I finally splurged on TUMI luggage & purse and 10 years later I still love them. Also we had to get a new frig recently & went with BOSCH & the veggie drawer is a game changer. My fruit stays fresh for 2 + weeks.

    Reply
  23. Peter Mitchell February 23, 2022 at 12:30 PM

    Shoutout to Joel for highlighting your piece in Budgets are Sexy. Enjoyed it and the comments. My only observation is that as to cost some items are so costly that you can get 3 cheaper ones for the price of one BIFL item so if it last for 10 years and you don’t need it for 30 who cares. I know that there are certain ecological cost associated with this aspect of purchasing but there are also minimalism issues to having something in your life that you no longer actually use.
    As noted in the comments, some items get used up and damaged and if they are super expensive you feel like a fool if you have a stain on a very expensive shirt vs being able to throw it out when that happens,
    So while I agree that value is worth thinking about, value has many components beyond just how long it will last.

    Reply
    1. Vera February 24, 2022 at 9:18 AM

      There are very few stains that can’t be removed. Taking them to a cleaners instead of doing it yourself can go a long way!! Quality clothing fits better, looks better, feels better and is better for the environment than your laziness and cheapness.

      Reply
      1. AB February 27, 2022 at 5:04 PM

        You call it laziness, I call it efficiency. You call it cheapness, we call it smart money management.

        Reply
  24. NZ Muse February 23, 2022 at 8:03 PM

    What are these magical socks?!?!?! Lol.

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 27, 2022 at 9:25 PM

      I know, right?? I just bought my 3rd pair today! :)

      Reply
    2. Dandelion February 27, 2022 at 10:07 PM

      Darn tough? They are the only socks we buy anymore. Buy a size bigger than you think. They run small. In October or November they have a bit of a sale.

      Reply
  25. Michelle February 24, 2022 at 2:13 AM

    LL Bean only guarantees their merchandise forone year from date of purchase ( with a receipt). They changed their life time guarantee policy several years ago.

    Reply
  26. Andrea Kirkby February 24, 2022 at 4:10 AM

    Ikea, EXCEPT Billy Bookcases.

    My set have now outlasted four houses.

    Reply
    1. Kay February 28, 2022 at 12:20 PM

      My house is full of Ikea furniture, literally, for 15 years. Never had a problem, survived 6 moves. The leather couch has survived 260 lb spouse, 75 lb dog, looks brand new. But I take care to buy pieces with real wood.

      Reply
  27. Jay February 24, 2022 at 7:34 AM

    A friend of mine from south Africa said that in their culture they believe “When it comes to things that separate you from the earth, never buy cheap”. So that includes things like tyres, shoes, most furniture, beds and mattresses, the flooring in your house – buy for life on those. I’ve kept that one in mind and it’s been useful.

    Reply
    1. Robbie February 24, 2022 at 9:22 PM

      Miele anything, not just vacuums. Their appliances are designed to last at least 20 years.

      Sqeedqueen washers and dryers are built to last.

      Toyota vehicles. My wife’s Prius is 9 years old and have only had to replace the tires and change the oil. My parents had several Toyotas and I can’t ever remember them being in the shop. I can’t say that about the GMC, Honda, Infiniti, BMW, or Mercury that I’ve had.

      I’ve found long lasting seating harder to find. I have vinyl and wood chairs at my office from the 50’s used by people daily now for 70 years with no rips or signs of wear in the vinyl.

      Reply
  28. Rajeev February 24, 2022 at 7:43 AM

    Good quality socks definitely make you feel better. Uncomfortable socks are just bad and spoil your mood.

    Reply
  29. Marsha February 24, 2022 at 9:32 AM

    European cars. I drive them for 16 years, no issues and have value when I trade them in. I do not buy brand new and pay less for luxury than my friends who just have to have a new car that is cheaply made with fake luxury look.

    Reply
    1. Pete McPherson February 27, 2022 at 9:26 PM

      Like BMW or Mercedes? These German cars tend to be the LEAST reliable, at least among my friends and family.

      Toyota though? Sign me up.

      Reply
  30. Amanda February 24, 2022 at 10:08 PM

    Luggage – TravelPro. Not the stuff they sell to the average consumer. Search and dig for the luggage they sell to flight crews (ie flight attendants and pilots). My mom is a flight attendant. I have one of her old TravelPro suitcases. It has lasted for at least 25 years, and the first decade saw usage by her at 3 to 5 days per week. I used it roughly bi-monthly after that. I bought another one about 5 years ago, and still looks brand new.

    Cutlery- Cutco all the way! Their lifetime warranty is for the life of the knife, not your life. So if they get passed down 5 generations and then there’s an issue, they’ll take care of it. Also free sharpening minus shipping charges.

    Sandals – Chaccos. If the straps became thread bare they will replace them with new ones. But, by the time that happens in my experience, the soles are so worn out that its been years and time for a whole new pair.

    Shoes- Romika brand. I bought 2 pair in 2011 and wear them very regularly for about 6 mo of the year. After 5ish years I had a shoe cobbler re-sole a spot on the bottoms, and they’re still going strong.

    Reply
    1. Dawn February 26, 2022 at 11:20 AM

      I checked out Romina and they are having a fantastic sale on some of their shoes. Some as much as 75% off!

      Reply
  31. Dawn February 25, 2022 at 8:05 PM

    Love this article!

    I guess my wife and I are natural cheapskates because we are always on the lookout for quality brand named items whenever we shop. I must say we rarely shop anywhere but local second hand shops. We have also gotten good at finding good deals on Facebook Marketplace. You can find hardly used Patagonia jackets, never worn Keens, and all kinds of kitchenware if you keep your eyes open.

    My 11 yo boys always wear name brand clothing, shoes, and athletic gear gleaned mostly from FB Marketplace.

    I have a set of Pampered Chef knives that I bought at least 15 yes ago. Only one has broken in the time that I’ve had them and the company will replace them if they get damaged or no longer able to be sharpened. That reminds me, I need to send in one knife that has a broken tip.

    I will never wear cheap shoes again after getting a stress fracture in my leg after wearing cheap sandals. My go-to’s are Keens, Merrill, Brooks, Asics, etc.

    Reply
  32. Liz February 25, 2022 at 9:55 PM

    One lifetime item(s) i don’t regret would probably be my new windows. If anyone needs new windows, Milgard brand Tuscany windows have a full lifetime warranty for parts and labor (including glass breakage) for as long as you own the house.

    And as far as windows go, they aren’t all that expensive. One downside though is that they don’t sell everywhere across the US. I think they are mostly in the western and middle US states.

    Reply
  33. Christina Anne Standish February 25, 2022 at 11:36 PM

    Orthofeet shoes no pain

    Reply
  34. Leah February 26, 2022 at 7:28 PM

    Vitamix blender.

    Sticker shock is real & I’m not sure if they still offer their lifetime warranty, but it will last longer than most blenders on the market. I’ve had mine for 7 years & I use it every day for smoothies. It will grind anything: ice, wheat berries, coffee, etc. If you make soup in it, you can then heat the soup by running the blender longer (this technique is shown in their product demo videos).

    I believe there are other blenders that fit the BIFL philosophy, e.g. Blendtex, but I’ve never owned any of those.

    Also, second Wusthof, Gingher, & Toyota. Buying an older, used Toyota allowed me to get a warranty that the dealer was able to offer because it was a Toyota

    Reply
  35. Emily February 26, 2022 at 9:28 PM

    I’ve been going by this sort of concept for clothing, for years. I call it “price per wear” and it’s basically something I calculate when I’m interested in items that are expensive but high-quality, classic pieces that won’t go out of style. If it’s a $300 jacket but I know I’ll wear it 600 times, that’s $.50 per wear. If I buy a cheap jacket that might be something in style for one season, say it’s $60, but I wear it 10 times, price per wear is $6 – Not worth it. So, next time you see a price tag for something you know you’ll wear for years to come, calculate the price per wear and you’ll be happy! Then, skip out on the high price per wear items :)

    Reply
  36. Dean Yates February 27, 2022 at 3:50 AM

    Aside from a home in the best neighborhood, the BEST BIFL is

    a T E S L A

    Trust me on this.
    Enough said

    Reply
    1. AB February 27, 2022 at 5:23 PM

      Completely agree, just one thing to keep in mind: I put a small dent on a single back panel of my 2019 model 3, shopped around and managed to get it fixed for $5000 in 2019. One garage quoted me quite a bit more. Shoulda cost under $1000. Still love my Tesla, they are amazing machines..

      Reply
  37. Keely February 27, 2022 at 4:22 AM

    If you have children, especially rough and tumble children, the Lands End Store is the place to shop. Their clothes, boots, and shoes last forever and they are great hand me downs. I have a very rough and tumble eldest boy, who is very rough on clothes and shoes, but his Lands Ends clothes were still in great shape, when they were passed down to his younger brother, and after his younger brother, they were still in good enough shape to pass down to our friends children. To save money, I wait until the end of each season, when their clothes, boots, and sneakers go on sale, and stock up for next year. They have great sales and clearance clothing with added discounts. In the end they may cost a little more, but they last very well!

    Reply
  38. Richard February 27, 2022 at 9:11 AM

    I recommend SOM (Sense of Motion) shoes. They are made in a small factory in Montrose, CO. Light and will last for years under heavy use. They will resole them for $25 after you eventually wear out the viabram soles. They are also very comfortable. They come in sizes up to US men’s 15.

    Reply
  39. Diane February 27, 2022 at 11:45 AM

    Eddie Bauer no longer has a lifetime warranty. For several years now it has been a “one year, with proof of purchase”. I was furiously disappointed, as I only discovered them a few years before this change and had been gradually replacing my wardrobe and outerwear with more and more EB. As a 6′ woman with 37″ inseam, there aren’t too many choices of quality brands that fit and last, so I was insanely frustrated when they made this change and won’t honor items purchased before the change of policy.

    Reply
  40. Cam February 27, 2022 at 12:45 PM

    For luggage – Briggs & Riley. Less expensive than Tumi but superior quality and a lifetime warranty. Great selection of sizes and features

    Reply
  41. Randy February 27, 2022 at 3:44 PM

    Ridgid Power tools offer lifetime warranty on everything including the rechargeable batteries. But the only thing is you must register them within a certain time after purchase, if not they come with a standard 3 year warranty.

    Reply
  42. Quality searcher February 27, 2022 at 4:37 PM

    Ikea furniture is excellent quality. Compared to all other you build it furniture its amazing, and inexpensive with many options.

    Cutco knives are so good, pay to have my name engraved when I order them on-sale. Guaranteed for life plus free Sharpening but i have had mine for years and they don’t need it yet.

    Reply
  43. Dave February 27, 2022 at 5:24 PM

    RIDGID power tools from Home Depot offer a Lifetime Service Agreement, which is fantastic!
    Register within 90 days of purchase and that’s it. Parts and service are covered for the life of the owner. It even covers the rechargeable batteries in cordless tools!!!
    I’m retired, so if I buy any more tools they’ll get registered in my grandsons name. (He’s agreed to let me borrow them.)

    Reply
  44. Dave Jones February 27, 2022 at 5:35 PM

    I have to admit to being cheap when it comes to clothes, but most of them are stained or have holes in them before the material wears out anyway, and more jeans and t-shirts are always making their way into my dresser to replace them. But when it comes to cars and tools, I’m totally BIFL. In fact, I just rebuilt the Warn winch on my Jeep so it’ll be ready for another 25-years of service. I’ll have to look at Red Wing boots, I’m getting tired of buying a new pair of Danner’s every couple years.
    Being cheap can be all about playing the long game.

    Reply
  45. Gregory Strockbine February 27, 2022 at 7:13 PM

    I seem to recall a similar idea, back in the 70’s and tied in with the Whole Earth Catalog.

    I think it had a name, but I can’t remember it.

    The BIFL attitude won’t work with everything and might even be an excuse to buy a splurge item.

    BIFL doesn’t work for electronics. Computers, cell phones, etc become obsolete in a few years.

    I used to build my own computers too. Everything was chained together. For example, if I wanted the latest processor I had to buy a new motherboard.

    Then I would discover my old RAM would not fit in the new motherboard. The new motherboard might require a new power supply.

    And the storge medium might change too. Currently hard drives are on the way out.

    About the only thing I could keep was the case.

    Reply
  46. Scott February 27, 2022 at 7:52 PM

    As far as shoes; a banker friend recommended Allen Edmond dress shoes which were twice what I paid for other shoes, however I wore them for many years and ultimately had them remade and resoled several times which works for a classic shoe for a guy who doesn’t have to change styles.

    Reply
    1. Sharon Jones February 28, 2022 at 3:33 PM

      As far as Corelle dishware .I love that they are practically indestructible.They will break. When they do it is a horrible mess.It breaks in shards.

      Reply
  47. Christopher Dressel February 28, 2022 at 11:50 PM

    Great money wise article- now for my recently (/in the last 2 years) discovered BIFL item – – – Grip6 Belts – stylish (with many buckle styles) , durable, VERY functional, oh, and lbnl, the all-important Lifetime Warranty! P.S. Free shipping over $50 and often have great package deals!! Go check them out!

    Reply
  48. Peg March 3, 2022 at 9:55 AM

    I have a 21+ year old Columbia ski. I almost choked when I bought it. Just had the zipper replaced for the second time (plastic zippers aren’t the most durable). Also just replaced the zipper on my North Face coat for the first time (it isn’t worn as much as the Columbia). It’s probably 19+ years old. Once again, a plastic zipper.

    Have had a set of Cutco knives for 22+ years. I’ve sent them in a handful of times for sharpening. If they determine an item is too far gone, they’ll replace it for free. Unless it’s vintage, in which case a person can decline the replacement.

    Bought my 2011 Honda CR-V in 2014 with just over 18K miles. It now has about 66K miles. I’ve read it is the best CR-V ever manufactured. And if I maintain it regularly, which I do, it should last until at least 250K miles. I hope so, I’m 61, and don’t intend to ever buy another car.

    We are cleaning out our 91-year old mom’s house because she has moved into assisted living. Yesterday we packed her Revereware pots and pans (copper bottoms). She and our dad were married in 1948, and this is the only set of pots and pans she’s ever had. They are still in great shape.

    Reply
  49. Bitter to Richer March 9, 2022 at 12:22 PM

    I seriously couldn’t agree with this more. A lot of times this will seem more expensive, but going for quality tends to pay for itself (if you do it right) in just one or two years. What eventually got me on this mindset was going from replacing my shoes every single year (or sometimes 6 months, depending on use) to opting for some much nicer shoes. Your example is Red Wing, which is definitely a great brand. There are a lot of good options though, and they’ll pay for themselves in no time. With basic maintenance they can last for many years. Beyond that, they also have better support and are more comfortable than what I wore before!

    I know that was a bit of a tangent – but swinging for something that is slightly more expensive now can be really worth it. It pays to not cut certain corners.

    Reply
  50. AM April 11, 2022 at 5:26 PM

    This is a fantastic post! I need to Check out Patagonia and Darn Tough!

    My BIFl items:
    All-Clad stainless steel cookware (my mom had their copper too)
    Tumi suitcases (had one over 25 years)
    Mini Boden clothes for kids (very high quality, resale value)
    Hanna Anderson kids pajamas (hand me down quality since kids grow out of course)
    Honda (duh!)

    Reply
  51. Nomadic Samuel May 2, 2022 at 8:34 PM

    That Mechanical Keyboard looks heavy duty! What a robust beast. I want to get one soon….haha

    Reply
  52. Bernetta Nigel May 4, 2022 at 3:25 AM

    Years ago, I bought a 3/8 impact gearwrench set for my husband on Amazon. It’s been an incredible set. It’s great to be able to grab anything without having to go back and forth to the garage. The set, wrench pliers, cobras, m12 ratchet, and impact wrench appear to handle 95 percent of his road needs. It cost me 66 dollars in 2016.

    Reply
  53. Savostin June 8, 2022 at 3:33 AM

    Fabulous things… once upon a time :)
    Super keyboard!

    Reply

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