Friday, April 16, 2010

20 Safety Items That Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

If you are a consumer (I think most all of us are) then you have probably had lots of practice justifying your purchases. Everything from I NEED X to I don't NEED X but it would be really useful for Y so I really should buy it. In my pre-cash-only days, I could justify a Coach purse and matching sunglasses if I needed to! While I am much more careful with my money these days, there are a number of items, mostly related to safety and well being, that are definitely worth the cash it costs to buy them. These items include:
  1. Child safety seats and booster seats. Many, if not all, states require these and when you look at the minimal cost versus the life it could save, there really is no question about the value of these important items.

  2. Smoke detectors. Again, these items can and do save lives. Each home, and each bedroom within the home, should have smoke detectors. It's a small price to pay for a life.

  3. Flashlights. Whether these are used to find your way to the bathroom at night and prevent tripping or necessary to illuminate your way during a power outage, having flashlights with fresh batteries on hand are, again, a cheap price to pay for safety and security.

  4. Glasses. We can't all be born with perfect vision. Glasses can improve not only your sight but lessen headaches caused by vision problems and make you safer on the road. Obviously, a good use of your money.

  5. A phone of some sort (landline or cell). Years ago, not everyone had a phone. Sometimes you had to walk down to the phone booth, other times you needed to use the neighbor's phone, but these days, having a phone is nearly as necessary as having water and food. Phones can keep you in contact with friends and loved ones, allow you to call 911 for help, and help you reach out to vital services if necessary.

  6. Medication. There are critical medications that some people need in order to live. There are also critical medications that some people often stretch due to the cost (ie: they take their pills every other day instead of every day) because they can't afford their prescriptions. While I am a huge advocate of doing what you can to alleviate the need for medications (like exercising and eating nutritious food), I am also a huge advocate of taking medications, exactly as prescribed, even if it means spending a bit more money, if it means it will help save your life.

  7. A gun safe. Many people choose to keep firearms in their home. I am one of these people. I am also an evangelist for safety and feel that if you can afford a firearm, you also need to have the cash to purchase a gun safe to store it in. Trigger locks are mostly a joke, and "hiding" a gun in a closet is plain irresponsible. Spend the money it takes to buy a good gun safe and this way everyone in your home will be safer.

  8. Safety tie-downs. When you have things that are taller than they are wide, you have an item that could easily tip over during and earthquake or be pulled over by an inquisitive child. Save yourself the replacement cost (not to mention damage to people and pets) by purchasing inexpensive tie-downs that will keep your flat panel TVs upright, your bookcases stationary, and your hot water tank immobile.

  9. Sports safety equipment. Do the math...a bicycle helmet costs around $15. A motorcycle helmet costs around $100. A traumatic brain injury from falling off a bicycle or crashing on a motorcycle without a helmet costs upwards of a million dollars. Yikes. These figures also pertain to football pads and helmets, life jackets, mouth guards, and other items meant to improve safety for athletes.

  10. Insurance. Another math equation. Life insurance costs about $30 a month. Life without you could cost your family millions. House insurance costs about $50 per month. The cost to your home and property in the event of a fire can be in the hundreds of thousands if you don't have this important insurance coverage. Health insurance, while expensive at maybe $200-$700 per month, can actually save you hundreds of thousands of dollars should you have a medical emergency.

  11. Cab fare or a designated driver. The cost for a safe ride home after a night of partying is between $20 to $40. The cost for a first time DUI is about $5000 (provided you didn't kill anyone in which case you need to factor in prison time and restitution...).

  12. A safe car. Hubby is a fan of 'classic' cars. Classic means old. Old cars don't have things like air bags, seat belts, etc. The cost a of newer (this doesn't mean brand new), safe car is something that can be worth your family's life and you can't put a price on your life or the life of a loved one.

  13. A GPS device. This one is debatable. If you only travel in areas that you are very familiar with, this may not be needed but if you regularly drive to places that you are unfamiliar with (ie: realtors, pizza delivery drivers, etc) a GPS device that will get you safely to your destination may be a very worthwhile purchase.

  14. Items that impact your long term health. Things such as stop smoking products can significantly lengthen your lifespan while at the same time, significantly shrink your expense line item for cigarettes; this is a very good investment. Suntan lotion as opposed to getting sunburned is another inexpensive item that will pay you back later in life.

  15. Kid in, the cost of preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Condoms? About $5 a package. Cost to raise a child until adulthood, about $221,000. Birth control is another inexpensive option that will save you a couple hundred thousand dollars over the price of having a kid. Of course this isn't to say that people shouldn't have babies, but using an inexpensive method to prevent pregnancy until a family is ready to have a child can significantly impact your financial life.

  16. Illuminated clothing. Some people may debate this, but more than once a week, I drive down the street and see someone who could become an accident fatality/hospitalization statistic simply because they are walking down a dimly lit street at dusk or at night, almost always wearing black clothing, and drivers simply cannot see them until they are practically on top of them. Really dangerous. If you do walk or bike, an inexpensive investment in clothing or bands that are neon green or made of reflective material can save you (and the driver of the car) lots of money and heartache.

  17. Nutritious food. When it comes down to buying food, some families think they can only afford the inexpensive stuff (ie: processed food instead of fresh fruit and vegetables). The savings when making this decision is immediate but the long term consequences can be very expensive (ie: diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure). It is much more cost effective to spend a bit more on good, healthy food. Your body will thank you.

  18. Assistive devices. As we age, there are a number of things that we become less and less able to do. Things like hearing well, twisting around to look as you are backing down the street, bending over to pick things get the idea. Assistive devices such as hearing aids, more mirrors or even a back up camera, or grippy picker-upper-devices that will help grandma pick up dropped items instead of running the risk of toppling over on her head are worth the price to purchase simply for safety's sake.

  19. Baby safety devices. Babies can get into all kinds of trouble in a home that looks perfectly safe to adults. To save the cost of running to the hospital or calling an ambulance, a number of devices have been created to make your home safer for your babies and small children such as window guards, electrical outlet covers, safety latches and locks, safety gates, and door knobs covers and door locks. These are simple, inexpensive fixes that will improve a child's safety in your home and possibly save you money and anguish in the long run.

  20. Education. Education has been called one of the best investments you can make in yourself. Paying for things such as CPR classes at the community center, taking some self defense classes at the local college, volunteering with the local ambulance crew and learning valuable life saving skills are all excellent ways to spend your time and money.

Often times when we see something we want, we justify the purchase based on how they will make others perceive us ("wow that girl is hot because she has a nice sports car", "hey check out that guy with a Rolex, he must be important"). When you take control of your spending habits and your money, you will find another way to justify your purchases and that is by determining how much of a positive, indeed life saving impact, the item may have on you and your family.

1 comment:

  1. karen peissinger-venhausApril 18, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    As always, an excellent listing and commentary--thank you!

    Re: #4 Glasses - "Polycarbonate lenses...offer 100 percent ultraviolet (UV) protection and are up to 10 times more impact-resistant than regular plastic lenses." ( The extra protection that polycarbonate-lens glasses offer is worth the extra money given the potential protection from eye injuries. Eye sight is invaluable.