It’s often cheaper to pay a large amount upfront rather than to pay for things gradually. A good example is insurance; it’s usually cheaper to pay a lump sum rather than spread the premium over the year.
But does this apply more widely? Is it cheaper to have laser eye surgery than to pay for glasses and contact lenses all your life? Is it cheaper to have your eyeliner tattooed on rather than buying disposable make-up? I’ve been taking a look…
Tattooed eyeliner versus liquid eyeliner
Many women commence every day by carefully drawing on their eye make-up. But there’s an increasing interest in permanent make-up; tattoos that mean you no longer have to use eyeliner.
A tattoo is a pretty permanent solution, but how much does it cost? Well, as with all beauty treatments prices can vary depending on where you go. However, a commonly-quoted price is £199 for upper or lower eyeliner, or £299 for both.
People who’ve had the treatment say that it lasts very well; however, they warn that you may need to get it topped up at some point, as the tattoos can fade.
So, let’s say a woman has the treatment and gets it repeated twice in her lifetime. That’s £900 spent on an eyeliner alternative.
Now, how much does the average woman spend on eyeliner? It’s hard to be accurate about this, after all, prices vary enormously and no one uses an eyeliner pen for a set length of time.
A mid-range liquid eyeliner pen costs around £3.99 (and they can cost £15 or more!), and it’s recommended that they are replaced every three to four months. That’s just under £16 a year. Over 30 years, that’s less than £480.
Is it a saving?
No. Although it will save you time, and does mean you wake up looking made up.
Laser eye surgery versus contact lenses
If you’re careful and your prescription doesn’t change then glasses can last a long time and be very good value. But what if you prefer not to wear glasses and use contact lenses instead?
Lenses can cost around £30 a month for daily disposables or £10-£30 a month for monthly disposables. Again, there’s obviously a wide range of prices depending on the specific product.
But say you spend £20 a month on lenses, that’s £1,200 over 30 years. So how does that compare to laser eye surgery?
Well, laser eye surgery costs from about £795 per eye, and can run to thousands depending on your eye condition and the type of treatment you go for.
Is it a saving?
Not unless you spend a lot more than average on contact lenses. Your eye surgery is likely to cost at least £1590, and very likely more – so you wouldn’t save over 30 years.
However, many providers offer credit, so that you can break the cost down over a number of years. If you want the convenience of eyes that don’t need lenses, then you don’t have to stump up the full cost straight away.
I’ve not factored eye exams into this costing, as most people will still get their eyes regularly checked after surgery.
Buying a car-parking space versus renting
If you’re regularly commuting into a town or city and your employer doesn’t provide parking, you’re probably paying a fortune to leave your car each day.
So could buying a space be the answer? Take a look at London, where a central parking season ticket in the centre can cost £300 or more a month.
Over a 30-year career, that would be a staggering £108,000.
Is it a saving?
A quick search on a property website shows that you can buy secure car parking spaces in the centre of the city for around £85,000 – so, unless values fell, you would make a saving over 30 years. Not only that, you’d then have an asset to sell at the end.
However, persuading the bank to give you a second mortgage for a car-parking space may not be as simple as stumping up for a season ticket each month.
Buying a new car versus buying an older car
Okay, buying a new car is not a permanent solution but it’s usually a longer-term one than buying a banger. When you need a new motor, a brand-new car will usually last longer than an old one and have fewer problems during the first few years.
But will it be cheaper? Well, clearly an older car will cost less to buy. However, research from moneysupermarket.com has shown that it’s an average of 73% cheaper to run a brand-new car compared to a five-year-old vehicle. Not only are new cars less likely to need expensive fixing, they are also almost always cheaper to insure.
In fact, it found that over the first five years a new Peugeot 208 will cost an average of £748 less a year than its five-year-old equivalent.
Is it a saving?
Unless you’re very unlucky, there’s clearly a potential saving for Peugeot drivers. However, the analysis showed that the saving potential varied depending on the vehicle, so it’s worth researching the specific model you’re interested in first.
Also, if buying new means buying with a credit deal then don’t forget to factor the interest in.
Have you made any financial decisions because you think the long-term gain will be worth it? Have your say using the comments below.