Recently, I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell me about something they bought that ended up saving them a bunch of money. There were so many great responses, from kitchen gadgets to home improvement to personal care. Here's what people had to say:
1."My nail kit! I used to spend over $60 getting UV gel nails done. I bought a $35 UV gel nail kit and never have to spend my money on a salon again!"
2."A Zojirushi bread machine. It was pricy, but it has saved me so much money and time that it’s paid for itself over and over. No running to the store for bread for kid’s lunch the next day. It makes jam and dough for other things. We save even more by buying 50-lb bags of bread flour."
3."Chest freezer. My apartment came with a smaller fridge so I had limited freezer space. I can stock up on sale items and freeze them."
4."Wool dryer balls! Replace wasteful one-time-use dryer sheets with these balls. They definitely do the exact same thing as dryer sheets — reducing static and lint. You can also add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil if you’re looking for the fresh scent, too."
5."It wasn't a single item, but I bought a coffee grinder, mason jars, and a permanent coffee filter. I countertop cold brew my own coffee now. It's easy, delicious, better for you, and so much cheaper than stopping for a coffee on the way to work."
6."A hot water bottle and an electric kettle. I live in New England, and my house has an oil heater, so heating my house is expensive, and the heater smells bad when it’s running. So to keep costs down, I keep the thermostat at 62F from November to May, and when I’m cold, I boil some water, fill up the bottle, and sit under a blanket with it to warm up."
"I also make a fresh bottle and put it in my bed on cold nights, an hour or so before bedtime, so I have a nice, warm bed to fall asleep in. They stay hot for about six to eight hours, depending on how well insulated they are. Not to mention how great they are for cramps and other aches; I’ve had sciatica recently, and alternating between the bottle and a bag of frozen veggies has helped it massively.
The kettle keeps my electric bill down since I don’t have to turn on the stove two or three times a day to boil water. Plus, hot water for tea, instant noodles, and soup, on demand."
7."I got a Kirby vacuum at age 22. I'm 37 years old now. I’ve had it for over a decade and a half. I haven't had the need to buy another vacuum at all since I bought it. The price to maintain it is low. I've only had to get refill bags. It also saved my security deposit in my apartment. I had a dog who would shed so much fur you’d think the wall-to-wall gray carpet in my apartment was white, especially by his crate. Using my Kirby made my carpet look the same or better than when I moved in. No one could tell I had a dog unless they saw him. And it cleans so well that my boyfriend who is highly allergic to my dog didn't have any reactions when coming over to my house to see me."
8."Some dumbbells and kettlebells for my house. I used to have a gym membership but can't afford it anymore. So I invested in some equipment and use free workout videos online or workout routines from Pinterest and do them at home. No monthly fee or commute time. Win-win."
—J, San Antonio
9."A diva cup. Spent £20 four years ago and not a penny on disposable menstrual products since."
10."Good shoes. It’s painful when you buy them, but they last so much longer and are so much better for your feet."
11."SodaStream. I love fizzy water (don’t care about soda). Making fizzy water almost every day, the cartridge lasts about five to six weeks. And on the rare occasion I do want soda, the syrup lasts forever 'cause you don’t need much at all."
12."Bamboo kitchen roll. I have cloth napkins, but sometimes you don’t want to risk ruining them if you’re eating something too messy. I bought a roll of bamboo paper towels seven months ago, and I haven’t needed new ones yet. You just wash them. They're really hard to tear, and they do come out misshapen in the wash, but I don’t care because they still work great. I haven’t had to throw a single one out. These things are amazing."
13."We started putting every bill possible on two credit cards, both of which offer great miles/points. We pay it off every month so there's never interest, and we use the points to go on at least one or two trips every year. I literally just got back from 15 days overseas where all the airfare and hotels were completely paid for by points. I hate that we didn't realize this a decade earlier."
14."A combo air fryer/toaster oven/convection oven has been the best appliance purchase for $100. It heats up so much faster than the big oven and cooks much faster, too, both resulting in less energy use and less heat in the kitchen during summer. Also been a lifesaver recently as my big oven decided to glitch and not heat anymore, so I’ve been able to put off the repair while still being able to cook hot food."
15."Planting shade trees on the west and east sides of your house is a long-term investment for keeping your house cooler in the summer."
16."Solar panels. We got an 880-kWh-per-month array. Not only does this generate more than our household energy usage, but now the power company pays us. Furthermore, there are SREC (Solar Renewable Energy Certificate) programs where states will pay you for what you produce in addition. For us, that’s about $50 a month on top of the energy company paying us for the energy we produce at the same rate you buy energy. Total, around $270 per month."
17."I bought an lota, which is an Indian toilet jug. Instead of using toilet paper, I use water to clean my butt. My butt is cleaner, and the amount of toilet paper I use is minimal."
18."Washable panty liners and makeup remover pads. After around 1.5 years, the initial investment pays off, AND I produce significantly less waste."
19."I have to dress up and travel often for work. I used to spend a small fortune on dry cleaning my work clothes. I made the commitment to start looking at labels and switched to washable-only work clothing and a good drying rack. I haven't set foot in a dry cleaner in over two years and have saved a ton of money. As a bonus, it's also changed my style. Instead of wool pants and jackets, I wear more cute dresses with snappy boots and get a ton of compliments, too."
20."My husband worked for a commercial real estate firm whose client was evicted due to non-payment. They left a really nice DeLonghi espresso machine, which became the office machine. When our coffee maker died, he told me we should get one — I was pretty incredulous at the price tag (it now costs over $700). However, it grinds fresh beans, foams your milk, and makes coffee-shop worthy lattes in minutes. We NEVER go to Starbucks anymore, and we’ve saved thousands on coffee pods like Keurig and Nespresso. Plus, it’s better for the environment!!"
21."A multi-cooker. With a rotisserie chicken, dried beans, and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables, I can make chicken soup from scratch in about two hours. Then, I divide it into five containers, and take one to work every day. I haven’t bought anything from the roach coach since I started doing this, and I’m eating healthier. It’s a win-win!"
22."The purchases that helped me save mad money are old school, foreign, and other alternate cleaning products to clean my house. I have several chronic health conditions that make moving very difficult so I need to get my house work done before I lose my energy. I’ve found that these products keep things as simple as possible so cleaning is easier and takes way less effort and time. I’ve saved myself the cost of a cleaning person since I’m disabled and my housework still needs to be done. Below is a list of some of the best things I got:"
23.And finally, "I’ve only ever paid for one app, and it was $5 for Paprika Recipe Manager. By being able to easily plan meals, buy exactly what I need, search for recipes that use what I have, and rearrange meals as needed, I have almost zero food waste. Plus, with the recipe displayed as I cook, I can use all the nifty tools, like crossing things out, activating timers and scale recipes."
"Note: It is usually $10, but it’s half off the week of Thanksgiving."
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
What's something that's helped you spend less money? Let's talk about it in the comments.