MSN Money has an interesting feature story on why Americans love to buy crappy stuff. Of course, it’s good to be thirfty and frugal sometimes, especially if you lost your job and your gas tank costs $80 to fill, but there are some things that just aren’t worth the savings.

The article points out a few useful tips on things you should spend more money on to get quality merchandise (splurge) or buy cheaply for the savings (skimp). Here’s a sampling:

Mattress: SPLURGE. You sit, sleep and God knows what else on this item. Get a good one.

Men’s dress shirt: SKIMP. If your suit is well-tailored and the tie spectacular, the shirt will be an afterthought.

Chef’s knife: SPLURGE. One 8-inch chef’s knife is all you need.

Overcoat: SPLURGE. First impressions mean a lot.

Accent chair: SKIMP. If it’s cool and rarely supports a rear, quality can come after design.

Table linens: SKIMP. Choose inexpensive table cloths and napkins to keep your tabletop trendy.

As I’m sure many of you could care less about ‘table linens’ and crap, I’ve decided to add to that list. Here’s a few starter notes on guy-centric splurging that is definitely necessary:

  1. Condoms – Go for the good stuff. ‘Nuff said.
  2. Sneakers – Some may call them ‘kicks’ or even ‘clogs’, but you don’t want to look like the tool who buys the Wal-Mart brand sneakers. If you’re going to have one expensive street-clothes item, better spend it on something you can run in.
  3. Alcohol – You’re not in college anymore, dude. Getting cases of Natty Ice and and Leeds Vodka is harsh and unneccessary. Get yourself a booze fund and develop some dedication to it on your very limited means. You’ll thank us in the morning.
  4. Belt – Didn’t your Dad ever tell you that every man needs a good belt? I’m talking about authentic genuine leather. Not just some lame Abercrombie cloth thing, you need something that will hold those pants up and look stylish, but not draw too much gaudy attention to itself.

And here are some things you can certainly feel free to skimp out on:

  1. Toilet Paper – Be a man, go for the super-harsh cardboard style. Even after buying hemorrhoid cream, you’ll still be in ‘Big Savings Town’.
  2. Shower Gels/Body Wash – Is there really a difference in how well plain bars of Irish Spring soap and Axe body gel clean your body? It’s all the same scented soap, dude. It cleans you the same way, you’re basically just paying for that fancy bottle.
  3. Dinners – If you’re getting take-out with your buddies a lot, maybe you should invest some quality time with the cooking channel. Pick up a few tips, save a lot on food expenses, and learn how to impress some ladies who have a ‘sweet tooth’ for guys who know how to cook meat. Booya!

Anything else you’d like to qualify as Skimp-worthy or Splurge-worthy? Let us hear it in the comments section.

MSN Money: Should you skimp or splurge?, August 1, 2008