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10 Products Made to Last

Invest in money saving items you can count on

  • Istock

    Worth the Money

    In today's world of planned obsolescence and declining product quality standards, stuff just doesn't seem to last as long as it once did. But when I polled my frugal friends on social media, I found some pretty inspiring stories about items that truly are made to last.

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  • Harriet Cummings/Alamy

    Patagonia Windbreaker

    Many people have older clothing that they still love and use, like the pullover windbreaker Carolyn Knox Perry, of Memphis, Tenn., bought from the outdoor gear manufacturer Patagonia in 1995 and still wears frequently. The interesting thing about Patagonia is that it's one of the few apparel manufacturers that encourages customers to repair — rather than replace — its merchandise when it gets threadbare, offering extensive DIY instructions on its website so that customers can do just that.

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  • Robert Macdonald/Alamy

    Singer Sewing Machine

    Valerie Prater of Jeffersonville, Ky., regularly uses her Singer sewing machine that dates from 1952 and was a flea market find by her mother. The model was called the schoolteacher's sewing machine because of its size, which allowed it to be carried back and forth to school for lessons. The machine still uses its original motor and attachments. Prater says she has other sewing machines that perform fancier stitches, "but I usually only use this machine because of its ease to use."

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  • Istock

    Cast Iron Cookware

    With a little loving care, good quality cast iron pans and other cookware will last, well, forever. Ken White of O'Fallon, Mo., has more than 100 pieces of cast iron cookware, including a skillet he uses that his grandmother cooked in more than a century ago and, he thinks, was handed down by his great-grandmother. Care tips include keeping cast iron cookware properly "seasoned" with oil at all times, washing with hot water only (no soap) and drying thoroughly after every use.

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  • Alamy

    Weber Grill

    Weber "kettle-style" charcoal grills have earned a reputation for high quality and durability. Their unique dome-shape keeps rain water from collecting and causing rust — the nemesis of most other grills — and they'll last even longer if you keep them covered or out of the elements when not in use. Tom Measday of Livingston, N.J., has been happily grilling on the same Weber for 30 years now.

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  • Getty Images

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  • Istock

    Gibson Guitar

    Nancy Saint John from San Diego still treasures — and regularly plays — the Gibson acoustic guitar she bought nearly 50 years ago. "It's the only one I've ever owned. I played it when I performed in several bands, played it on national TV and use it in the Tunes & Tales shows I do for kids," which is a program Saint John started before retiring from the San Diego County Public Library System in 2013.

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  • Alamy

    Perpetual Paintbrush

    Every time I go to paint something — from a masterpiece to a master bedroom — I end up buying a new paintbrush because the old ones are all gummed up from the last time I used them. But pet portrait artist Carol Wells, of Klein, Texas, has used this same one-inch Grumbacher aquarelle artist's brush to paint more than 1,500 pet portraits since her high school art teacher gave it to her as a graduation gift in 1976.

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  • Alamy

    Osterizer Blender

    Jennifer May is still in mourning. The Osterizer Blender her mother bought in 1970 and her family has been using ever since finally blended its last smoothie just a few weeks ago. Rest in peace (or pieces?), "Big O," as the May family dubbed their beloved blender.

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  • Carol Wells

    Trusty Toyotas

    While the world record for the car with the highest mileage is a 1966 Volvo 1800S with more than 3 million miles on it, in the informal online poll I conducted, tales of trusty Toyotas dominated. Like Pamela Olmstead's 1988 Toyota Supra that's still on the road and going strong, and Sandra Henrich Price's 2004 Toyota Tacoma with 400,000 miles on it (and counting).

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  • Ed Rooney/Alamy

    My Steel Steed

    I've always lived by the credo "Use things up, wear things out, make things last." And one of my proudest long-time possessions is my sturdy steel-frame 10-speed. The frame was hand built for me in 1978 — so it wasn't cheap, even back then — but in the 38 years since, I've pedaled "Big Blue" more than 60,000 miles. That's a pretty good return on investment.

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  • Vinicef/Alamy

    Sunbeam Mixmaster

    Becky Lane of Burlington, Ky., says she has used her Sunbeam Mixmaster for more than 53 years and it still runs like new. It's the only mixer she's ever owned, having received it as a wedding shower gift in 1962. Lane says, "This mixer withstood the test of time, but the marriage did not."

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