Buy the best you can afford
The flip side of the warning not to spend more than you can afford is that the cheapest choice isn't always the most cost-efficient.
Rod Griffin, director of public education for Experian, says his grandfather taught him he should always buy the best he can afford.
"There were two parts to that," Griffin explains. "The first was that, in theory at least, if you get the best quality that you can get, it will save you money in the long run because the product should last longer."
The second part was having a clear understanding of what affordability means. In the view of Griffin's grandfather, even an investment purchase should leave enough cushion in the budget for emergencies.
"If you can afford something, you'll be able to continue to make payments if it's purchased on credit, even if something unexpected happens," Griffin says.