Pounding the pavement puts a strain on your joints. Reduce the risk of injury by investing in quality runners with a well-constructed mid-sole. The most important part of the shoe, it provides cushioning, so choose long-lasting polyurethane.Pots and pans
The key is heat distribution when it comes to cookware; when heat is dispersed evenly, there's no sticking or burning. The thicker and heavier the pan, the better. Look for copper lined with stainless steel, or enamelled cast iron.Perfume
Eau de cologne may roll nicely off the tongue, but this weakly concentrated fragrance pales in comparison to parfum, which contains more oils and less alcohol. Paying an extra $50 for a lasting scent will save you hundreds in the long run.Mattress and Pillow
"You'll spend a third of your life in bed, so a quality foundation is one of the most cost-effective purchases you can make," says Sarah Key, physiotherapist to the British royal family. Splurge on memory foam, which moulds itself to your body while you sleep.Food containers
Unless you want last night's laksa leftovers swimming around in the bottom of your bag, ditch the supermarket imitations and invest in a set of quality containers. We love Tupperware's lifetime guarantee against splitting, peeling, cracking and warping.Coffee machines
If you love your daily caffeine hit, bid adieu to your barista and invest in an espresso machine. The $500 price tag may not seem budget-friendly, but it's a long-term saving when you calculate the $1200 annual cost of your coffee-a-day habit.Candles
Unlike paraffin, soy or palm wax, beeswax is a natural ioniser, meaning it purifies the air of dust, pollen, odours, toxins and mould while imparting a soft, honey scent. And as an added bonus, beeswax burns 10 times longer than paraffin.Sunglasses
Designer rip-offs may make you happy, but at what cost to your eyes? Exposure to UV radiation can result in sunburn of the cornea, and even cataracts and cancer of the eyelids. Don’t settle for anything less than sunglasses with an eye protection factor of 10.
It's the shape and size of the wine glass – not the material – that matters when you're sipping that semillon. Drinking from a handmade, mouth- blown glass might be lovely on your lips, but machine-made glasses from IKEA do the job just as well.Wine
You can thank the rising Aussie dollar for the cheap-but-quality wines on offer right now. They've become too pricey for the UK and US markets, so local wineries have lowered their onshore prices and passed on the savings to us.Books
If you haven't stepped inside a library since the mid '90s, dust off your little laminated card and learn to love the smell of second-hand books. It's a totally free – and eco friendly – way to swot up on all the latest book releases.Wrapping paper
Ditch expensive wrapping paper rolls for brown paper, newspaper, your loved one's favourite comic strip or vintage book pages. It's free, cute and eco friendly.Sheets
Don't feel embarrassed by your home-brand 400-thread count sheets. A study by Choice magazine reveals the term "thread count" is most likely a marketing ploy; some canny manufacturers have even been double-counting the threads to up the luxe factor. Sneaky!Prescriptions
Don't let your inner label snob get in the way of saving some serious cash. All generic prescription drugs are strictly tested by the Australian authorities to ensure they are "bio-equivalent" to their branded counterpart; that they contain the same active ingredients and work just as quickly.Cleaning products
Look no further than your pantry for a mean, green grime fighter (without the nasty chemicals) that costs next to nothing. Mix equal parts baking soda with white vinegar for a super-strength mould killer, or, for a general spray, combine a few drops of tea-tree oil with a white vinegar/water solution.Bottled water
Don't choke on your Evian, but bottled water actually costs more per litre than your car's petrol. Invest in a water-filter jug for the fridge and fill up your own reusable water bottle, like a trendy SIGG one (siggaustralia.com.au).