Simple solutions, big returns.
One truth I’ve discovered about adulting is that it can be expensive — and not an “Oh, I’m going out with my friends for the fourth night this week,” expensive, although that’s technically an option — but a “Gee, why are coffee pods so pricey and how do I repair these floor scuffs, and why does my dryer smell like burnt dust, and I think I need to start wearing sunscreen every day” kind of expensive. Little things can start adding up until they no longer feel little.
However, sometimes all that it takes to curb this spending is a bit of foresight — or course correction, if this list doesn’t quite reach you in time to call it foresight. The products I’m sharing today can help you stop making expensive mistakes in and out of your home. With most of these items, all that’s required is a quick and simple purchase now, to save you time, effort, and money down the road. If you’re looking for the CliffsNotes version, just know that planning ahead, finding ways to use up products instead of tossing them, and never sacrificing safety are almost always good ideas. If you’re looking for more tangible suggestions you can incorporate around your home, then get to scrolling.
These weather-resistant garden lights require only solar power, so using them will never add to your energy bill. They contain rechargeable batteries, illuminate automatically when the sun goes down, and turn off when daylight returns. Plus, they’re wire-free, and the stake design makes them easy to install.
If you’ve ever had to throw away stale chips, replace crunch-less cereal, or you’ve grabbed an open bag of snacks and had it spill everywhere (ahem), you know the struggle. This portable food saver makes it easy to reseal and store your favorite snacks, keeping them fresher for longer, and saves you from having to toss before you’re ready.
You don’t need a green thumb to take good care of your plants, you just need the right tools. This self-watering plant pot comes in multiple sizes and colors to suit your space and your plants, and the design also allows for self-aeration, so the risk of root rot is reduced, too.
All pet bowls are not created equal. This stainless steel pet water fountain makes it easy for your pet to stay hydrated, and for your floors to stay dry; both of which are great problems to solve before they even start. Not only that, it filters water for your beloved pets, is dishwasher safe, and holds 2 liters so you won’t have to worry about your buddy getting parched while you’re away.
This set of long-handled spatulas are sized to get into some of your tiniest bottles and jars, so gone are the days of tossing perfectly good but impossible-to-reach servings. They’re also BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, and while they work great in your kitchen, can be just as useful with beauty products, crafting supplies, for repairs, and more.
Not only are these reusable grocery bags more durable and versatile than the plastic ones you’ll get charged for at the checkout counter, but they can carry a much bigger and heavier load of groceries — so it’s way easier to get everything in one trip. Each canvas bag has a reinforced bottom and can hold the same amount as up to four paper bags, and six plastic bags.
A set of these best-selling reusable dish cloths can take over where paper towels leave off. They handle many of the same tasks, from spills to splash, but they’re washable and reusable for up to 100 uses. They come in a variety of colors, and promise to be safe for all surfaces.
Finally, you can now use your single-cup coffee brewer with those locally roasted grounds that are sitting pretty in your pantry — and save yourself from buying pricey pods. This set comes with two reusable cups that are compatible with a variety of machines, plus a scoop and funnel that make for easy filling. They can be used with paper filters, too.
By now, you probably know that packing your lunch for work is usually less expensive than buying. That’s where these food prep containers and lids can come in handy; they’re the perfect size for healthy lunches, plus they’re microwave-, dishwasher-, and freezer-safe, so they’re easy to use and maintain. Three different colors are available.
Not only do these reusable cotton rounds need to be replaced far less often than the single-use disposable ones, but they’re better for the environment, too — you’re creating less trash and avoiding plastic packaging. Each box comes with 14 bamboo cotton pads, plus a small laundry bag to keep them safe in the wash.
Keep your hands warm and your devices charged with this rechargeable hand warmer that fits right into your pocket. You’ll stay comfortable at home without having to adjust your thermostat, or when you’re on the go, plus you’ll feel good knowing you’ve got a back-up power source on hand. Five different colors are available.
This 3-pack of braided nylon right angle phone chargers has an improved angle that’s less traumatic for cords coming out of the wall, and makes it easier to use your phone as it charges. They come in 6- and 10-foot lengths so you’ll have enough length to get comfortable (and not be tied to the outlet). They come in three colors and work with a whole gamut of Apple products.
Never again let fear of losing your ear buds ruin your enjoyment of them. This magnetic Airpods strap slings around the back of your neck to keep those little buggers on you, so you don’t have to worry about them falling during your most intense runs or workouts. Magnetic slots keep the pods in place, and a variety of colors are available (so you’ll always be able to spot the cord in your bag).
Do you have a rack of dry clean only garments that are just begging to be dropped off (or is it just me)? This wool and cashmere soap allows you to wash some of your favorite dry clean only clothes in the comfort of your home, saving you time and money. Each 16 ounce bottle manages up to 32 loads.
At best, a poorly cooked meal might be unpleasant to eat or need to be thrown out, and at worst, it can make you sick. This instant-read cooking thermometer gets a temperature read of your food, so you can be sure it’s in the safe zone. It’s battery-operated and has a long cord for the probe, so it’s easy to use indoors and out.
If you’re anything like me, you can only stand to reheat the same mug of coffee so many times before you have to call it quits. However, a mug warmer like this choice from Mr. Coffee keeps your drinks toasty warm. You can use it anywhere with a standard electric plug, and the on/off indicator light always reminds you when it’s hot.
These flameless candles give you the ambience and vibes of regular candles, only without the actual flame — so they don’t burn down or create the same risks of open fire. Each candle is battery-operated, and an included remote allows you to control the type of flame and brightness. There are 10 different colors and styles to choose from.
Keep your shoes and your floors in tip-top shape with a boot scraper door mat that allows you to give kicks a thorough wipe before entering the home. The coir material is made from coconut husks, and along with steel wiring, gives you the ideal texture for ridding soles of caked-on dirt and mud.
When you aren’t able to finish a bottle of vino, this wine saver pump prevents you from seeing it go to waste. It removes air from the bottle, and promises to keep wine fresh for up to a week after opening. Great for red or white varieties, it’s a universal size and can be easily washed between uses.
This probably isn’t the first time you’re hearing how important it is to take care of your skin. A high-quality 2-in-1 moisturizer and sunscreen can both hydrate skin and protect it from the sun. This award-winning formula is suitable for all skin types and, according to buyers, boasts both a pleasant smell and a light, fast-absorbing texture.
This best-selling moisturizing cream has a sky-high 4.8-star average from tens of thousands of reviews, and it’s sold in three different (and cost-effective) sizes, so you can stock up based on your needs and counterspace. Plus, it works with most skin types, on both face and body, and costs way less than fancy brands.
Tubes of lip balm in a drawer are much like socks in a drawer — they often disappear. They can cost upward of $20 a pop, and well, that makes for a tough loss. Enter this set of six lip balm tubes (in six different flavors), that promises to use ethically-sourced and cruelty-free ingredients. Even better, it has especially high ratings for being very moisturizing and long-lasting.
If you’re concerned with safety for kids, pets, or potential (expensive) damage to your property, you might want to double-check what you’re using to manage ice on the walkway or driveway. This pet-safe ice melt is non-toxic and biodegradable, and also people-, property-, and plant-safe, so you can feel confident that ice is the only thing that’s gonna get creamed.
Sometimes, just a little foresight — like picking up a dryer vent cleaning kit — can save you a lot of trouble down the road. This best-selling vacuum attachment allows you to deeply clean your dryer, keeping it functioning smoothly and at maximum efficiency (while also helping to prevent safety hazards). Plus, it works to clear dust in other hard-to-reach places like underneath furniture.
This foam door guard and draft stopper covers gaps between the door and the floor, blocking out weather, wind, dust, odors, and more. Plus, it keeps inside air from escaping, so is especially handy during the hottest and coldest months when thermostats are working hard. It works with doors ranging from 30-36 inches, and is easy to adjust and cut.
The right rug in the right place can do wonders for a room, but if not secured, corners that lie in the path of feet have a way of getting crimped with a permanent curl. It’s not only an eyesore, it’s a trip-hazard, too. These non-stick rug pads use patent-pending technology to keep them in place, protecting your floors (and you) from scuffs and damage, and keeping the rugs safe.
A scraper tool or scraper mitt is an easy and efficient way to clear ice that also keeps your hand warm at the same time (and curbs the desire to run the wipers over ice, which can damage them). The rubber grip of the scraper can be gripped from inside the mitt, and the whole thing can be taken out when your heart desires.
Not only do blackout curtains keep your room dark and dim while you sleep, but they can insulate your space and help with temperature control, too. This versatile set comes in 11 different solid colors, and in 12 different sizes, all of which hang with elegant grommets for a luxe look.
If you — or someone you know — is always cold, don’t rush to turn the heat up, which increases energy bills. Consider layers, blankets, and sweaters first. This electric heated blanket is an excellent choice for extra warmth and coziness. It has five heat settings, along with an 8.5-foot cord so it can reach a favorite chair or couch.
If you’ve splurged for a cast iron pan, I’d wager that one of the last things you want to do is damage it. Enter this stainless steel cast iron pan cleaner, which can gently scrub and clean your favorite cookware, then be washed in the dishwasher in between uses.
Few things feel sadder than reaching for an avocado half in your fridge, only to discover it’s no longer fresh. If you hope to avoid such a tragedy in your future, consider these dishwasher-safe, reusable avocado holders, which have a rubber strap hold avocado halves in place and prevent browning.
This Tile Mate Bluetooth tracker works with the Tile app to help you keep track of and locate your valuables, from phones and keys to purses and even pets. It has a 250-foot radius when items are close, or you can use the app for last known locations if you’re ever further away.
Some items just can’t go in the dryer — impatience (and lack of hanging space) sometimes leads one to learn that the hard way. A simple folding laundry rack is an option worth considering, especially if you have clothes you want to keep as pristine as possible, for as long as possible. This choice from Amazon Basics holds up to 32 pounds, and it’s easy to store in between uses.
Traveling is stressful enough without having extra fees sprung on you. This portable luggage scale lets you check the weight of your bags before checking them. It pays for itself if you can avoid just one round of baggage fees, and it’s small enough to pop into your suitcase so you can check the weight of your bags before return flights, too.
Made with absorbent ceramic and backed with soft cork, these marble-patterned coasters protect your furniture from water rings and other damage caused by damp glasses etc., plus they look elegant and sophisticated to boot. They come with a sleek iron holder so you can keep them in a tidy display.
This handy digital timer can come with you to any part of your home, so you don’t have to worry about missing a beep or blare from the oven or microwave timer and risk overcooking a meal. The dual-display allows you to set two timers at once, and it features both a magnetic back and a tabletop stand.
A little wear and tear is one thing, but a collage of scratches on the floor can add up. These silicone and felt chair leg covers are available in a variety of styles and colors, so they can work with chairs and furniture of a variety of shapes and sizes. They simply slip onto chair legs and stay on their own, no glue or adhesive is needed.
It happens to all of us — the blank stare at a full dishwasher, not knowing whether the dishes are clean or not. Thankfully, dishwasher magnets have been invented. This one works like a simple label to help remind you (and your housemates) what the status of the dishes is. Two different colors are available.
This herb keeper stores herbs and certain types of produce in such a way that they stay fresher for longer, so you have more time to eat them. The basket allows water to reach the base of the herb and for air to circulate, and the size is versatile enough for a fridge door or shelf.
If your current suitcase situation is not cutting it, the solution may be a set of packing cubes (and not, you know, a brand new expensive suitcase). They allow you to organize your suitcase as you pack, so you have a firm grasp of what you have, and they offer belongings an added layer of protection — they’re waterproof. The set is available in 10 different colors, and includes six cubes.
We all know that large product containers are often the best buy… but not if you end up wasting a bunch of their contents. This laundry soap station allows you to use and store jugs of detergent at the ideal angle, making it easier to dispense and keeping your laundry area tidier.
This 4-pack of smart bulbs allows you to set, manage, adjust, and control your lighting situation from anywhere you have phone service. Great for home and events, the color palette allows for literally millions of cutomized settings. Plus, when paired with a virtual assistant, you can control them with your voice, too.
This breakfast sandwich maker combines multiple steps into one, allowing you to cook the eggs and warm up bread, cheese, and other (pre-cooked) ingredients in just minutes, rivaling the time it would take you to stop at your favorite coffee shop or drive-thru. Plus, it comes in five colors so you can match your kitchen decor.
With many of us forgoing bulky wallets for slimmer options and phone cases, keeping track of loose gift cards can be a challenge. With this leather credit card holder, you can keep all the cards in one easy place. It holds up to 26 of them, and comes in a rainbow of 20 different colors.
Not only does buying plastic baggies add to your grocery bill, but it’s not great for the environment. These reusable, dishwasher-safe food storage bags get the job done just as well as the disposable ones, without breaking the bank (or taking up space in landfills). Multiple sizes and different packages are available to satisfy your baggie needs.
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