There are plenty of ways to save money by going with an alternative to the “expected.” And some are smart. I mean, why pay more for a fancy hotel room if you’re only going to be spending eight hours sleeping there between epic road-tripping adventures?

But in some areas of life, you get what you pay for. Here are 5 times homeowners should NOT try to save money.

Trash bags

Ever loaded up a cheapo trash bag only to have it it break open and spew trash all over your clean floor? Yep, it happens in real life. Paying a few extra bucks for brand name trash bags can save you a major headache. Most quality trash bags are more heavy duty, tend to be flexible, and usually have handles to grip.

Paint

If you love to spend time painstakingly applying several coats of paint to your living room walls, then cheap paint may be for you. But if you’d rather paint once, admire that cool dove grey accent wall, and get on with your life, consider buying higher-quality enamel. It’ll not only cover your walls with one pass, but is usually easier to apply and dries faster.

Light bulbs

This is another area where the concept of “cost per wear” (or “cost per flip” if you prefer) will come in handy. Definitely have a “lightbulb moment” and go with the CFLs or LEDs rather than incandescent bulbs. They might cost a bit more, but they last a lot longer and use less energy (both the kind you pay for and the kind you expend replacing them). One estimate finds that you’ll pay $48 for CFLs, $38 for LEDs, and a whopping $201 for those “cheaper” incandescent bulbs over a 23-year period.

Anything where you’ll appreciate the quality

Let’s face it: some of this is a judgment call. Whether it’s 1,000-thread-count sheets or salon-quality shampoo, never skimp on the little things that make YOU happy. So while I think it’s totally worth it to pay a bit more and buy name-brand chocolate sandwich cookies, you might be totally fine with the off brand. No judgment.

Insurance

We hate to toot our own horn, but honestly why would you cut corners on something that protects your personal items, your home, and your car? Get a free quote from Esurance today.

Safe and smart | Home and garden

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.