10 Things You Will Only Need To Buy Once in Your Life

Buy once and hold forever!

When it comes to buying stuff whether I need it or if I simply want the thing, there is something I try to think about: How long will I keep it? How long can this item last? Can I keep it for life?

I am of course not talking about buying a bottle of shampoo, a pack of chewing gum, or ordering a lentil soup because I suddenly have a craving for it but I am talking about things that I could potentially keep for decades and never have to buy again.

Why would I look for ideas for once-in-a-lifetime purchases? What are the advantages of items you only need to buy once?

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  1. Simplifying decisions in general: Buying something once reduces a lot of future unnecessary decisions, ongoing mental fatigue, and saves time in the long-run (you will not have to go through the purchasing process again).
  2. This is linked to the above but I wanted to highlight it separately: There is a concept of making decisions that can remove many others. By purchasing an item once, you remove future decisions to purchase another version of that item. Check this post by Tim Ferriss to know more about this decision concept.
  3. From a personal finance point of view, this helps reduce expenses dramatically over the long term (it might not in the short-term though).

The timeless purchase list

Now you might be curious as to what sort of items might make this list of timeless purchases. One of my first posts was about buying clothing using the same principle and I had a few additional ideas but to come up with a more extensive list for you I asked some of my fellow money nerd friends on Twitter,…

…and it sure got some of them thinking 😀! Anyway, here they are in no particular order.

1. Sports Equipment

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A snowboard and a bike. Quality sports equipment is certainly worth the cost! And it is true how many snowboards or bikes will you ever need in your life? You can only ride one at a time, right?

– Tommy & Nick @beyondInvestor

2. A Stainless Steel Water Bottle

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A Stainless Steel water bottle! Excellent purchase, it is not only about expensive stuff, it can be simple and practical items as well.

Liz @MindingMy30s

3. Certain Foods

My friend Marco took a nice spin to it: “All the food that I tried and don’t like“, well you will for sure not want to buy that food again!

– Marco @carreirafi

4. Luxury leather goods

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Well if you are going to buy a quality item only once in your life, why not go for the crème de la crème? This could be a Louis Vuitton or Prada bag for the ladies of a fine leather jacket for monsieur.

5. Jewelry

Wedding rings and other jewelry too that I have been gifted, and I don’t plan on buying any more jewelry for the rest of my life.” This exactly fits the bill!

Dragon Gal @DragonGuyAndGal

6. A Cast Iron pan

A couple of Le Creuset cast iron pans. Good one! These ones often come back in items you should buy for a lifetime, these might be expensive at first but if you can use them for 40+ years they still sound like a great purchase to me!

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– Brian @BrianBTrading and @Uitklokken

7. Travelling and experiences

Plane tickets to the same place. When I travel, I’m intentional on soaking it all in. I don’t like telling myself that I’ll go back someday to that country. “Tomorrow” and “next time” are thieves. They take the present away.”

“Tomorrow” and “next time” are thieves. What a great approach to travel and experiences and if the pandemic has taught us one thing is that one should not delay that place you intend to visit once in your lifetime! If you have the means, do it!

– Justine Kedi @justinekedi

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Photo by Te lensFix from Pexels

Here is one of my best travel experiences, in 2015, I paid 150 USD to swim along with whale sharks in Mexico. I thought it was a pretty steep price, but it was such a great experience to swim along with those gentle giants! I will remember it forever, it was worth 10x every single penny I have spent!

8. A Watch (or two)

This one came up several times. What better symbol for a timeless purchase than the exact purchase that will help you figure out what time it is! I own two watches myself and intend to keep both for as long as possible.

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– Dragon gal, Marco

9. Quality clothing

A few really nice dress shirts, a top hat, a leather belt. So far the clothing pieces that I have kept for the longest time are my jackets and as for my dress shirts I have been able to keep them for a number of years as well. Hopefully like Kolin, I won’t stain them and I will be able to keep them forever.

– Kolin @decadeInvestor, @Uitklokken and @XqDividends

10. A Toolbox

It is not always about pricey purchases, the toolbox I bought in 2010 probably cost me around 25 euros, and I still have it. I do not expect to buy another one, I will just buy replacements in case some screws get lost or broken.

Bringing it all together

This list is far from exhaustive and if you google it, you will find plenty of other purchases that can last you a lifetime like swiss army knives, flashlights, hiking socks, musical instruments, and so on.

As I was writing, I thought of household appliances like a Dyson vacuum cleaner or KitchenAid appliances which could also make the list but with regards to electronic devices, although my Apple products “spark joy”, I know that somehow I will have to replace these so as such they did not make the list.

Anyway, I am drifting 😁, my point with this light article was to get you thinking and help you make better and more sustainable purchases. This fits well with my version of a more minimalist lifestyle: Being intentional about your material possessions and still save money and time so you can spend the savings on bigger financial goals and your time on what matters to you. Do you prefer to spend time shopping for an average quality pair of jeans you know you will have to replace within 1 year or spend the afternoon with your dog and your kids in the park?

What about you friends? Are there some items lying around in your kitchen, basement that you have used for years, and never thought about buying again? Any other items that we should add to this list? Let me know!

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6 thoughts on “10 Things You Will Only Need To Buy Once in Your Life

  1. Unfortunately tennis racquets only last a couple, maybe three years, before the composite frame cracks. Cars wear out eventually though my wife has been driving hers for 14 years. Even my way cool leather backpack I use as a briefcase when I’m consulting died on me. But the new one I got to replace it, I do think it will outlive me. Nice post, it made me think about quality and value.

    1. Hello Steve! Good to hear you managed to keep those items here and indeed some common and needed purchases like a car or tennis rackets do not make these lists. Interestingly enough my dad and I have had the same briefcase for 8 years approximately and his still seems new while I had to redo the handles, so it really depends! I am happy it got you to think, that was the whole purpose 🙂

  2. Great read! Completely agree with this! I actually ended up taking my mother and grandmother’s jewelry and having it remade into something more contemporary that I would wear. By trading in some of the gold pieces that I definitely would not wear and could not repurpose I was able to pay for the modifications with the money I received from the gold! I love the pieces I have now and they will definitely be something I keep forever! Plus – it means more to me than buying something brand new!

    1. Oh, I like that example Liz, modify/improve what you already have and make it a once in a liftetime piece which you will always cherish!

  3. You’re right, Joney! When we can be more purposeful in our buying, we free up having to make decisions in the future, and we can simplify our lives. Thanks for including me in this post and for the thoughtfulness of your writing. Sometimes it is better to buy something more expensive that has more quality if it can last longer. Cheers, Dragon Gal

    1. I love simplifying decisions :)! And isn’t it weird or annoying to buy something and to know that you will need to replace it anyways in a couple of years? Hehe, and thanks again for your contribution.

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