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Video: When to save? When to splurge?

  1. Transcript of: When to save? When to splurge?

    MATT LAUER, co-host: No, it's a good question, Meredith . We've assembled four experts to tackle the question. Let's start with bedding. Robyn Moreno is a lifestyle expert. Robyn , good morning. Nice to see you.

    Ms. ROBYN MORENO: Good morning.

    LAUER: You spend a third of your life in a bed.

    Ms. MORENO: Yeah.

    LAUER: Splurge?

    Ms. MORENO: Totally splurge.

    LAUER: Why? What do you look for?

    Ms. MORENO: You look for support, you look for comfort, pressure relief. But it's really the homework. It's very subjective. So, for instance, these Memory Foam beds are really, really popular, but not everybody likes them. So what you need to do is test-drive this mattress .

    LAUER: Nothing worse than getting a mattress home, it's yours, and it's not right for you.

    Ms. MORENO: No. So you need to go in there and you need to actually lay in a mattress store in the position that you sleep in. So if you sleep on your stomach, dive in, lay on your side. You're going to get a really good sense of what that bed is like.

    LAUER: If you splurge and buy an expensive mattress ...

    Ms. MORENO: Mm-hmm.

    LAUER: ...how long should it last?

    Ms. MORENO: It should last about 10 years.

    LAUER: Flipping it over, do you have to do that?

    Ms. MORENO: You can -- you know, this one actually has a 25-year warranty. The flipping helps, but a really good mattress that you spend a lot of money on, at least 10 years.

    LAUER: People are talking about bedbugs now unfortunately. If you splurge on the mattress , how do you protect yourself. Is there any way?

    Ms. MORENO: Well, you know, there's actually no point in spending so much money and not spending the $60 on getting these encasement sheets. When you get bedbugs it's so expensive and it's really stressful. The best $60 you will ever spend.

    LAUER: All right. Encasement sheets. Let's talk about regular sheets.

    Ms. MORENO: Yeah.

    LAUER: Splurge on good ones? Is that a good place?

    Ms. MORENO: Yeah. People tend to look for thread count. I say go for the thread, the actual fabric. So if it's a good cotton like Egyptian pima, it's going to be luxurious and also long-lasting.

    LAUER: OK. And how long should sheets last you?

    Ms. MORENO: They -- depends what it is. Like, for instance, organic cotton , which are more expensive, they last much longer than regular cotton. And also, it's -- you know, if you don't want, like, pesticides in your food, why would you want pesticides, like, in your bed?

    LAUER: If you've splurged on a great mattress , splurged on great sheets, you'd better buy a nice pillow.

    Ms. MORENO: It makes the biggest difference when you sleep, really, for your neck. So this is a $40 pillow; it's hypoallergenic.

    LAUER: Mm-hmm.

    Ms. MORENO: Really, really nice. This one is $240, but you're going to only buy this...

    LAUER: It's nice, though.

    Ms. MORENO: You know, it's hand-filled.

    LAUER: Yeah.

    Ms. MORENO: It's customized for you, to your support. So if you want it squishy, supportive, it's going to be the only thing -- the only pillow you'll buy your entire life. So you know what? Buy it once, buy it right.

    LAUER: All right, Robyn Moreno . Robyn , thanks as always.

    Ms. MORENO: Thank you.

    LAUER: Let's go up to Meredith .

    VIEIRA: All right, Matt , thank you. When is it worth spending more on a winter coat? Bobbie Thomas is TODAY's style editor. Bobbie , good morning to you.

    Ms. BOBBIE THOMAS (Today Style Editor): Good morning.

    VIEIRA: And you definitely think it is worth it if you live in an area where winter really is an issue.

    Ms. THOMAS: Absolutely. You don't need to break the bank. This jacket is a great example. It's $199.

    VIEIRA: Now this is subzero-type weather.

    Ms. THOMAS: Subzero, especially if you're here in frigid temperatures. This is great. It's the Yukon Classic by Eddie Bauer . And what I like is that there are so many jackets out there that look like jackets, but they're faux jackets.

    VIEIRA: Right.

    Ms. THOMAS: They're not really filled with something.

    VIEIRA: This one is.

    Ms. THOMAS: So you do want to make sure -- this one's filled with down. Feel the collar. It's lined with Sherpa . It has a detachable hood and it even has heat warmer pockets.

    VIEIRA: And it's lightweight, which I love, so.

    Ms. THOMAS: Very light. So this is great and it won't make you feel too bulky, which is the big key.

    VIEIRA: And price range on this one?

    Ms. THOMAS: Hundred and ninety-nine dollars.


    Ms. THOMAS: Great investment.

    VIEIRA: Moving on, this for sort of cold dry weather.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yes.

    VIEIRA: Sort of a traditional peacoat look.

    Ms. THOMAS: The classic peacoat. I mean, you can't go wrong with tailoring. I liked this because it was only $89 from Chadwicks . It has a hood. You can find some without a hood, but I liked the idea of a hood.

    VIEIRA: It's...

    Ms. THOMAS: The pockets are great, nice detail.

    VIEIRA: It's not wool, though. It's faux wool, right?

    Ms. THOMAS: Exactly.

    VIEIRA: Is that warmer than wool?

    Ms. THOMAS: It's just as warm. I think it's adequate. It's for people that -- especially if you're allergic to wool, a lot of people have sensitivity to it. But the best part, it's machine washable...

    VIEIRA: Which is great.

    Ms. THOMAS: ...so you can throw this in the washing machine. Great for $89.

    VIEIRA: Now, if your winter is really wet...

    Ms. THOMAS: Mm-hmm.

    VIEIRA: ...you recommend this particular raincoat?

    Ms. THOMAS: Yeah, because this is -- again, this is an anorak. It's sporty and it can be stylish at the same time. This doesn't -- you don't have to go for the trench. If you have a lifestyle that you want work to weekend, I like this, and it's water-resistant. Again, don't buy a faux jacket that's just for fashion. Make sure you get something out of it. This is actually lined, fully lined, and it cinches in at the waist to create a nice shape. So you can put this over a dress or you can do it with your jeans and T-shirt on the weekend.

    VIEIRA: And you like it a little bit longer .

    Ms. THOMAS: I do like this three-quarter length. It's more versatile and you want to get more bang for your buck . It's $130. You can probably find -- this is by London Fog , but you could probably find them starting around 79.

    VIEIRA: You could buy all three, actually. It's not bad.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yeah, these aren't...

    VIEIRA: Bobbie Thomas.

    Ms. THOMAS:

    VIEIRA: Thank you so much . And now here's Al .

    AL ROKER reporting: OK, thanks, Meredith . Are organic foods and specialty items worth the extra cash? Well, Andrew Knowlton is the restaurant editor at Bon Appetit magazine. Andrew , good to see you.

    Mr. ANDREW KNOWLTON: Good to see you, Al .

    ROKER: All right, first of all, you say chicken and eggs really worth the money to buy organic.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: I think if you're going to buy anything organic, it's chicken and eggs. Antibiotic-free, hormone-free. And the biggest thing is you have the USDA label that says USDA organic .

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: So pasture-raised, natural, all that stuff feels good when you see it, but it doesn't mean anything...

    ROKER: Right.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: ...because that chicken might not see outside, so I think that's really important.

    ROKER: Fruit and skin -- fruit with skins on it that you eat.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Fruit, berries, anything like that.

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Apples and oranges , not so much, maybe, because you're not eating the skin. But these...

    ROKER: Milk.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Milk, you know.

    ROKER: You say it's also good to spend extra for olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Yeah, I think you're looking for extra virgin olive oil , first press.

    ROKER: Hm. Right.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: And these are not ones that you cook with, necessarily.

    ROKER: Right.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: These are for finishing salads and stuff. This is the real balsamico.

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: You want to look for tradizionale...

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: ...again, for finishing stuff.

    ROKER: Sea salt and real good butter.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Sea salt and real high fat content because where there's fat, there's flavor, right?

    ROKER: That's what I've always said. Spend a little extra for the Parmesan ?

    Mr. KNOWLTON: This is the real Parmigiano-Reggiano . You can see the label right here...

    ROKER: Mm-hmm.

    Mr. KNOWLTON: ...marked. It's worth it. It'll last in your refrigerator.

    ROKER: And instead of regular ham, get some...

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Get some prosciutto serrano ham . And then lastly but not least, good coffee, freshly ground. Don't store it in your freezer.

    ROKER: All right, Andrew Knowlton . Thank you very much .

    Mr. KNOWLTON: Thank you, Al .

    ROKER: Ann :

    ANN CURRY, anchor: Smarts.

    Mr. LOU MANFREDINI: Lou , thank you so much for joining us.

    CURRY: Yes.

    Mr. MANFREDINI: Listen, you say that it's really worth the money to fix up your front door. It's the first thing people see.

    CURRY: Absolutely. Windows and doors are your areas of greatest loss when it comes to energy efficiency , and so upgrading those is a big deal . But you can also do something that's nicer. And this is a place, the first place that somebody walks up to. Now, it's an expensive proposition. Good quality entry doors can start at $2,000; they can go all the way to $10,000. But this is something that adds real value , adds big curb appeal to your home that truly makes a difference.

    Mr. MANFREDINI: Gotcha. So what should a door include?

    CURRY: Well, it should be thick. It should be inch and three-quarter thick. I'm a big fan of wood doors. This is actually, Ann , a fiberglass door, so you get the energy efficiency that really makes a difference as to how your home feels as well as looks.

    Mr. MANFREDINI: Another thing you really want to fix up in your home is your windows. And speaking of energy efficiency , you can save a lot of money with this.

    CURRY: This is...

    Mr. MANFREDINI: What's worth the money ?

    CURRY: Well, the worth it to me is a wood-framed window that has an aluminum wrap on the outside. This is the thing when -- value comes at -- there are major brands across the country that really do add value. I want people to look at that. It costs more, but even whether you're going to stay or sell, it ends up on a listing sheet and people will say, 'Wow, you've got these name-brand windows. The house is worth more.'

    Mr. MANFREDINI: OK. All right, let's move on to floors. Now, a lot of people choose other materials than wood to save money .

    CURRY: Hm.

    Mr. MANFREDINI: But you say it's worth the money to go with wood?

    CURRY: It's the only renewable flooring that you can put down in your home. This is wide plank-flooring. Look at how beautiful this is. And so this can really add a huge amount of value, $5 to as much as $30 a square foot installed.

    Mr. MANFREDINI: But this is something that makes a statement. Imagine you walk in, you look at these beautiful floors, like, 'Wow, look at how great this is.'

    Mr. MANFREDINI: Lou Manfredini , thank you so much .


TODAY contributor
updated 10/15/2010 8:30:38 AM ET 2010-10-15T12:30:38

No matter what the weather brings, the one item you won’t leave home without this winter is your coat. So you want to get the most bang for your buck when it’s time to buy. TODAY style editor and Bobbie.com’s Bobbie Thomas has jackets that will keep you warm, dry and in style regardless of where you reside.

Subzero temps
Known for being the warmest winter-wear option available, the practical puffer coat sometimes has a reputation for being big and bulky. But there are cuts available that can be surprisingly chic. Eddie Bauer’s down-filled “Yukon Classic” is lightweight and durable and keeps you covered from head to toe. The sherpa-lined collar and cuffs provide extra protection against frigid temperatures, while the detachable hood and adjustable waist give you the option of wearing different ways. My favorite detail — the hidden hand warmer pockets — make the coat an instant go-to during the snowiest of days. While basic black is a favorite, those with a warmer complexion may want to consider the cocoa brown option. ($199; EddieBauer.com)

Midwest and Northeast
Every season, the classic peacoat proves its staying power, which is why it’s smart to ensure a good fit and invest in a tailored version that will survive even after years of wear and tear. Chadwick’s short double-breasted coat has sleek, flattering princess seams, patch pockets and a sturdy hood for fending off the wind. And coats like these are now being made from soft, machine-washable “faux” wool so they are easier to launder than their vintage counterparts — no mothballs necessary. As with all of these timeless, simple styles, it’s best to consider clean colors like navy, red, brown, or this season's popular camel. ($79.99; Chadwicks.com)

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Rainy Northwest
If it tends to rain more than shine in your neck of the woods, a water-resistant anorak will be your constant companion. It’s a sporty, effortless option that can even work on a dry day with jeans, a tee and some casual jewelry. Anoraks will also allow you to shift your shape this winter, since they give you the ability to cinch the waist and/or take the sleeves from 3/4 to full-length. An army green, khaki or rust color is particularly fitting for this woodsy look, so hunting down one of these basic colors ensures that you’ll be able to turn to it time and time again. ($130; Nordstrom.com)

Mild West Coast
Many women might be surprised to hear that an “LLJ” — little leather jacket — can be just as versatile as the favorite “LBD,”  little black dress. Whether you slip it over a frilly frock for cocktails or dress it down with jeans, a touch of leather never goes out of style. So for cool days or brisk nights, investing in this sleek jacket is a wise move. Look for something that’s not too soft, not too boxy and has minimal hardware and detail so it will outlast any fleeting trends. Victoria’s Secret’s fully-lined leather jacket is a great example that will work year-round and has a hidden zip-front closure and wide collar that can be worn up for extra protection from the elements. ($198; Victoriassecret.com)

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: Michelle Obama’s effortless style

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  1. Michelle Obama’s effortless style

    The first lady looks as sophisticated in designer dresses as she does in outfits from J. Crew. Take a look at her great style:

    Michelle Obama, wearing a a Michael Kors optic white dress, speaks during a talent show at the East Room of the White House May 20, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Silver lining

    Michelle Obama, wearing a festive shirtdress, hosts the annual Mother's Day tea to honor military mothers at the White House May 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Giving the bold shoulder

    Michelle Obama wears a white Marchesa gown with a drop shoulder strap at the annual White House Correspondent's Association Gala on May 3, 2014. (Olivier Douliery / Pool / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Berry beautiful

    Michelle Obama smiles as she answers questions during the White House's annual "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," on April 24, 2014, wearing a Sophie Theallet cardigan and leather and chiffon skirt. (Evan Vucci / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Fashion forward

    First lady Michelle Obama wears a colorful wrap dress and sits with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, and Maj. Gen. James McConville at a jobs fair for military members and spouses at Fort Campbell, Ky. on April 23, 2014. (Mark Humphrey / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Keeping it casual

    Wearing a plaid blouse and black pants, the first lady walks her dogs Sunny and Bo on the South Lawn of the White House at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington on April 21, 2014. (Pool / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. White House, white dress

    Dressed in all white, Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama depart from the White House in Washington on April 20, 2014 as they head to Easter services at St. John's Episcopal Church. (Yuri Gripas / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Rappin'

    Michelle Obama and hip-hop artist Bow Wow hold a forum with high school students at Howard University in Washington on April 17, 2014. Obama rocked a maroon pantsuit and black flats. (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Classy for a cause

    The first lady wears a simple black and blue striped skirt paired with a white top and matching shrug to speak at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, during a civil rights summit on April 10, 2014. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. In mourning

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama leave after paying their respects during a memorial service at Fort Hood in Texas on April 9, 2014. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Gettin' dirty

    First Lady Michelle Obama gets down and dirty in a tunic, pants and trenchcoat while planting oats with students at the White House Kitchen Garden at the White House in Washington on April 2, 2014. (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Radiant in red

    First lady Michelle Obama, wearing a red Alexander McQueen gown, posed with her mother Marian Robinson during a visit with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai State guest house on March 21, 2014 in Beijing, China. (Andy Wong / Pool via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Ping-pong fun

    Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas, in Beijing, China on March 21, 2014. (Andy Wong / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Welcome to China

    Michelle Obama waves as she and her daughter Sasha leave their plane at Capital International Airport in Beijing on March 20, 2014. (Alexander F. Yuan / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Green day

    Vice president Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama, and Irish Prime Mininster Enda Kenny's wife Fionnuala O'Kelly smile during a St. Patrick's Day reception in the East Room of the White House on March 14, 2014. (Ron Sachs / Pool / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. We're green with envy

    Kermit the Frog is welcomed by Michelle Obama, who is wearing a printed Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress, at a screening of Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" on March 12, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Win Mcnamee / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Seeking shades

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead, Florida on March 9, 2014. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Pretty prints

    Michelle Obama delivers remarks during s workshop titled "I'm Every Woman: The History of Women in Soul" with (L-R) Grammy Museum Executive Director Robert Santelli, and music artists Melissa Etheridge, Janelle Monae and Patti LaBelle in the State Dining Room at the White House March 6, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Jump to it

    Michelle Obama sports a chic black jumpsuit during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on Feb. 20, 2014. (NBC; Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Pretty as a painting

    Michelle Obama, in a bold print skirt, is escorted by Rose Cameron, CEO and founder of WAT-AAH!, a line of bottled water targeted to kids and teens, as they view the "Taking Back the Streets" art exhibit at the New Museum in New York on Feb. 20. (Richard Drew / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Snow bunny

    Michelle Obama skis at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo. on Feb. 15. This is the third year in a row that Michelle Obama has vacationed in Aspen over the long President's Day weekend. (Chris Council / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Ultimate elegance

    President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, in a dramatic Carolina Herrera ball gown, arrive at a state dinner at the White House on Feb. 11. The dress featured a sheer black top with hand-embroidered and beaded appliques and sleeves that dipped just below the first lady's elbows. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Lady in red

    First lady Michelle Obama wears a ravinshing red Thom Browne coat and, along with French President Francois Hollande and President Barack Obama, waves at the balcony of the White House on Feb. 11. (Alex Wong / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Deep green

    Michelle Obama, in a hunter green Azzedine Alaïa dress, waves next to U.S. Army Ranger Sgt. First Class Cory Remsburg, who was injured while serving in Afghanistan, prior to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech in Washington on Jan. 28, 2014. (Joshua Roberts / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Vision in blue

    First Lady Michelle Obama smiles as she listens to President Barack Obama speak at an event on expanding college opportunity in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington on Jan. 16, 2014. (Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Bold bling

    Michelle Obama wore a festive lucite necklace while speaking about education in underserved communities in the State Dining Room following a screening of the movie "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete" at the White House on Jan. 15, 2014. (Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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