The Lifespan of Common Items (& When You Should Replace Them)

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No matter what your financial situation is, chances are you’re concerned with getting your money’s worth whenever you make a purchase. Unfortunately, ensuring that you get your money’s worth can often involve using an item long past its prime. We spoke with some experts to find out the lifespans of common items and determine when you need to invest in an upgrade.

Shoes

“A common problem is keeping athletic shoes too long, especially running and walking shoes,” says James Krewson, Founder of FindersCheapers.com. “Consumers keep their athletic shoes too long for a couple of reasons. They are expensive, so we want to get our money’s worth. If you are exercising three to five times a week, though, they wear out quicker than you would expect. The uppers may still look pretty good even when they have lost their cushion.”

The lifespans of shoes vary, as amount of use, the wearer’s weight, the type of shoe and other aspects all factor into how long a shoe will last. Your body is the best tool in determining when you should replace your shoes. “As a general rule,” Krewson notes, “if you are having leg/knee pain for more than a week, you should consider if it is time for a new pair of shoes.”

Swimsuits

“Women’s swimsuits typically have a lifespan of about two to three years,” Asher Weinstein of SwimsuitsDirect.com explains. “Between the fading from direct sunlight, exposure to salt water and chemicals like chlorine, the luster of a new swimsuit can fade fast. On top of that, the spandex in the bathing suit gets stretched out and loses elasticity from wearing and improper cleaning. Bathing suits that are past their prime appear more dull, are less clingy and often sag especially around the bottom, making you look frumpy.”

Weinstein recommends replacing your swimsuit every other year, or using multiple suits throughout the year to lessen the wear on each one.

Mattresses

How long have you had your current mattress? “Just like your favorite old chair or worn pair of shoes, your mattress can still feel comfortable long after it loses its ability to provide your body with the proper support and comfort it needs.” Ann Mowrey of Easy Rest Adjustable Sleep Systems notes, “Oftentimes people who have trouble sleeping or have body aches and pains chalk it up to reasons other than their mattress.”

Although the lifespan of a mattress depends on several factors, Mowrey notes that the mattress industry recommends replacing it every seven years.

Video Cameras

If your video camera still involves tape, Cinematographer Jon Kline says its expiration date has already passed. “I see people everywhere using old video cameras for no good reason. Just about any consumer video camera that records to tape should be retired. Newer video cameras have much higher resolution and image quality. A $300 camera today can outshoot a $3000 camera from 2005. You’ll also save a ton of time using electronic files instead of tape, which has to copy and play back in real time. If you have old tapes you want to keep, digitize them, and then replace your camera with something newer.”

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