After thinking this over for a bit, I realized that this was actually only one of several situations in which spending more can save you money in the long run. You also save when you invest in:
- High-quality products that will last, rather than cheaper ones that wear out and need to be replaced frequently. This depends on the product, of course; buying more expensive soap or toilet paper, for instance, is not a money-saver, because it gets used up just as fast (though you could make a case for it in terms of quality of life). But with items you'll have for years—like a tool, an appliance, or a good pair of shoes—buying something that's built to last can definitely save you money, as well as preventing waste.
- The best professional services. As I've argued before, if you're an ecofrugal person, you tend to do most jobs for yourself; the only time you ever pay a professional is when it's really important to you to have the job done right. And that being the case, there's no point in paying a professional to do a second-rate job. If you're paying for the service anyway, you might as well pay a little bit more to get the best results.
- Energy efficiency. This, of course, is one of the major premises of the ecofrugal life: that when you cut back on your energy use, you save money and natural resources at the same time. And in many cases, investing more up front—for example, in LED bulbs, solar panels, or rechargeable batteries—can pay you back many times over in energy savings over time.