10 Top Quality Products We’re Inspired By

Marilyn’s List:

Clockwise: Calphalon pots with stainless fry pans and baking sheets, Herman Miller furniture, Corelle, fake Birkin, solid wood cabinet from Caldor. Photo: Marilyn, TFF

My motto is “the things that made it to a second-hand store made it there because they are durable!” It’s no secret that things don’t last long enough anymore. ROI seems like a thing of the past in our disposable society. But longevity and quality are the trademarks of a frugal person’s possessions. Along with a durable fake Hermes Birkin bag Goodwill/$25.00 and older Craftsman tools (not the new versions made overseas), here are more items my husband and I bought or inherited that have proven their quality so we won’t waste money to replace:

  • Calphalon cookware: Cleans like new, bolts and handles stayed tight after years of use. Inherited from Aimee/free.
  • Pottery Barn coffee table: 20-plus year-old table never loosened up or fell apart. Under $200.

    Pottery Barn
    Hefty coffee table from Pottery Barn bought long ago. Had to refinish, but as sturdy as day one. Love the wavy edges. Photo: Marilyn, TFF
  • Stainless steel frying pans and baking sheets: Cleans like new. No more Teflon-coated pans to replace every year! Pans: one Goodwill/$6.00, other T.J. Maxx/$65.00. Baking sheets from mother-in-law/free.
  • Herman Miller Desk and Caldor Cabinet: 20-plus-year-old cherry wood home office set of highest quality, heft and beauty. Free. Solid wood cabinet 25-years-old from defunct Caldor (of all places!)/$69.00.
  • Corelle dishware: 25-plus-years old set more durable than scratched “designer” stoneware sets! Fortunoff’s/$29.00 set of 8 or 12 (can’t remember exactly).

~Marilyn, TFF

Aimee’s List:

I often like to say, “Cheap is Not Affordable.” Here are just 5 items we own that have helped to prove that investing in high quality and pride in ownership saves money in the long run. Photos follow. Let us know in the comments below, what is on your list of 5 high-quality items that you own?

  1. Gordini Gore-Tex Snow Gloves – Italian-made, cost a pretty penny when I bought them in the winter of 1986-87; skied through high school, college and right before having kids. In the last 15 years, these gloves have seen me through many post-snowstorm shoveling jags.
  2. Earrings made of Toledo Gold – bought these in 1989, when I spent a summer at the University of Salamanca, Spain; just had to replace the hooks recently. Otherwise, these beautiful handmade earrings still earn me compliments.
  3. The Original Doc Martens – NOT made in China! Made in England! Bought these in 1995 at a Doc Martens outlet in NY, paid extra because I didn’t want the look of the yellow stitching above the sole. Still rockin’ these in the free world!
  4. Stickley Dresser – this is an inherited piece of high quality furniture from my MIL, am willing to bet that Stickley Furniture is not made the way it used to be made.
  5. Specialized and Gary Fisher bicycles – Red Specialized bike was birthday gift from DH in 1996. Last summer, I biked 14 miles to and from the beach, no problem! The blue Gary Fisher bike was given to my older son by my friend Donna’s 18 year-old son last year. New, it retailed for nearly $490. We brought it to our favorite bike shop in neighboring Bridgeport, who confirmed its excellent condition. We paid just $110 for a tune-up, new seat, handlebar grips, and tires. This bike is gonna last!

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