Spending money on boring things I don’t want makes me mad. Unfortunately, it happens. I sign up for a software or app trial and forget to cancel. A surprise power bill exceeds my budget-planning. A plumbing incident requires an emergency call to the plumber. Or a few seemingly small decisions to eat out add up to a cost that approaches rent. Prevention is usually the best way to avoid these annoying and expensive bank-account drainers. Sometimes the prevention is simple — keep the drains clear — and sometimes it requires planning and self-discipline — stop eating out. But if it ends up saving enough money to buy something fun or go on a trip, it’s totally worth it.
An attitude change helps, too. For instance, I enjoy eating out because it is fun and festive. But when I cook at home, I not only get a meal that’s a fraction of what it would cost me in a restaurant, I get to have fun in the kitchen and develop a hobby I enjoy. So, for me, collecting cooking tools to fuel that effort is enjoyable. There are some money-saving tools that aren’t nearly as much fun to collect — a drain snake, for example. But even these are so worth it for the money they will save down the road.
Read on and fill your cart with valuable prevention against dumb, money-stealing incidents.
1. These storage containers for a tidy & fresh pantry
Store your fresh-baked cookies, rice, pasta, and other dry goods in these airtight containers that stack neatly to bring order to your pantry storage. Because the square shape leads to easy stacking, you can maximize the space you have without losing sight of your inventory. They come with rewritable labels and a chalkboard marker.
2. The cabinet lighting that requires no wiring
If your kitchen needs better task lighting or your closet is too dim to see into, these easy-to-install lights are a quick solution that requires no wiring or permanent installation. Stick them wherever you need a light using the included screws or adhesive, and use the remote to control them. They turn off automatically when they sense no motion so the AA batteries will last a long time. You can also tap to turn them on.
3. A pack of reusable drain snakes to keep the water moving
When your sink drain starts to slow down, you will be happy you have this three-pack of barbed, plastic drain snakes in your kit because they make fixing that problem super easy. Just feed them into the offending drain and pull them back out. They will emerge grasping that wad of hair that’s gumming up the works and your water will start moving again. Each one is reusable so this will solve drain issues for years.
4. A stylish insulated lunchbox for upgraded brown bagging
Pack a meal into this insulated lunch box and you can take healthy food to work or on a road trip without carrying a bag that makes you look like you are six. The roomy and flat rectangular design makes it easy to pack with leftover containers or your own meal prep. There’s a pocket for utensils, condiments, and a napkin. And the adjustable and removable shoulder strap and handle give you lots of carrying options.
5. These stretchy, reusable covers for your pans, cans & dishes
Forget fumbling with disposable plastic wrap and upgrade your food storage with this set of seven stretchy, washable, reusable silicone lids in a range of useful sizes. Pull the small one over the cat food can and use the largest to save batter in a big mixing bowl. The sizes in between will cover the bowls, mugs, and storage containers you have.
6. A jar-scraper spatula that helps get everything out
If you get frustrated trying to get all the product out of your jars, you’re probably throwing away lots of food. This jar spatula is sized to make that easy. A rigid nylon core gives it stiffness while the silicone head flexes to get into curves and corners. The long handle reaches into jars and scrapes out the last bit with almost no effort.
7. A silicone dish-drying mat designed for cleanliness
This silicone dish drying mat has a pattern of raised ridges so you can set a wet dish down on it and the water will run away from it, yet stay trapped on the waterproof mat. This makes keeping your counters dry and mildew-free easy because nothing seeps through, and the mat itself is easy to clean and store. It also serves as a trivet since the silicone is high-heat resistant.
8. These dishcloths that are the offspring of a sponge & a cloth
These cleaning cloths are a weird hybrid between a cloth and a sponge, and this lineage makes them perfect for everything from mopping up spills to wiping down counters to washing dishes. The cellulose makes them super absorbent and the cotton makes them flexible, durable, and slightly abrasive. This is a pack of 10 and you can wash and reuse them dozens of times.
9. These covers that keep your razor blades sharp & clean
Snap this simple life-extender cover over your razors when you aren’t using them, and those blades will last three times longer and contribute to fewer razor nicks. The plastic the covers are made from emits a vapor shield that protects blades from corrosion and helps keep them sharper. It stretches to fit most razor blades and also makes a great travel cover to protect both you and your blades.
10. This guacamole dish that prevents browning
Making a big batch of guacamole is a great way to keep from wasting ripe avocados — until the dip turns brown and no one will eat it. The secret is to keep oxygen away from the green fruit and this guacamole container is designed to do exactly that. Just press the lid down when you seal it and it keeps all the air away from your guac so it stays green for days.
11. This little knife sharpener that does a terrific job
This diminutive knife sharpener is so small and inexpensive that you might assume it won’t be worth it. You would be wrong. It’s a great way to help keep knives always sharp (and save yourself the expense of getting them sharpened). Run the blade through each slot a few times and that edge will be sharp enough to slice tomatoes thin. It’s small enough to store in a drawer and comes in four colors.
12. This in-car trash can so your ride stays clean
Instead of letting trash accumulate on the floor of your car, strap this roomy trash can to the back of a seat or the center console and give everyone a place to put debris. It comes with 20 liners so emptying it is super easy. Just grab the bag on the way out of the car and toss it in the trash. It folds up when you need space and has side pockets for a few sundries.
13. This cold-brew coffee maker so you always have a delicious icy cuppa
Brewing up a big pitcher of cold-brew coffee is so easy with the Coffee Gator cold brewer, that you’ll always have some easy-to-pour coffee available when you need a hit of caffeine. And, that need won’t break your budget. Just scoop ground coffee into the ultra-fine mesh inner sleeve, add water, and stick it in the fridge overnight. Remove the grounds and your coffee will be cold, not bitter, and ready to keep you fueled all week.
14. These glass water bottles with neoprene sleeves
Skip the waste and expense of buying water in single-serving bottles and fill these glass bottles from the tap or your water filter to keep in the fridge for grab-and-go convenience. You’ll always have water on hand, you don’t have to keep buying plastic ones, and the glass won’t affect the flavor of your water. This is a six-pack and it comes with a set of six neoprene sleeves in different colors.
15. This paper that keeps your produce from spoiling
Store a piece of this food saver paper infused with produce-preserving botanicals with your fruits and veg to help them last longer. It’s easy to use. Just cut a piece and add it to the greens container, produce drawer, or fruit bowl. You can wrap it around fruit or just let it sit amid the vegetables. Your produce will last longer, which will save you money and time and help you eat healthier.
16. A reusable mop kit so you stop buying disposables
Let’s face it. Those disposable mopping and dusting kits are convenient but expensive. This floor-cleaning kit, though, is convenient and reusable so you only have to buy it once. The extendable handle has a swiveling head so you can get under, between, and behind obstacles. But the pads are made from microfiber so when you pull one off to replace it with a clean one — it comes with four — you toss it in the laundry so you can use it again next week.
17. This drain strainer that captures every strand
Letting hair go down the drain is asking for trouble. It doesn’t take long for a wad of the stuff to clog that drain completely and then it’s a call to an expensive plumber. Drop this mushroom-shaped strainer into the drain, though, and it will catch all the hair before it makes trouble. You don’t even have to look at the hair because it hides it neatly under the cap. All you do is pull it out and clean it off once in a while and your drains will always run clear.
18. The wine stoppers that preserve vino for another day
Go ahead and open a bottle of wine when you only want to have one glass. Just put one of these two vacuum stoppers in the bottle, pump the top to remove the air, set the date with the dial so you know when you opened it, and store it back on the shelf or in the fridge. It won’t leak — even if you store it on its side — and it preserves the wine for weeks.
19. A complete set of mesh laundry bags to protect your clothes
Protect your delicates, keep straps from getting tangled, and stop stretchy items from getting yanked around in the dryer by loading them into these mesh laundry bags before you put them into the wash. There are three sizes to accommodate everything from bras to blouses while they take a trip through the washer and dryer. The big one also makes a great travel laundry bag.
20. The soothing tea tree shampoo with hordes of fans
This tea tree shampoo is wonderful stuff, according to 31,000 five-star reviews, that heals all sorts of scalp problems, feels invigorating, smells minty fresh, and is super affordable — certainly compared to similar salon-style shampoos. “Love the fresh, minty scent!” said one happy reviewer. “My hairdresser used this on me when I was complaining that my scalp was itching. My itching stopped instantly, my scalp felt cool and refreshed, and my hair had more volume!”
21. A set of squeezers so you can stop fighting with the toothpaste
If getting those last few helpings of toothpaste out of the tube seems like more trouble than it’s worth, slide one of these toothpaste squeezer attachments onto your tube and it becomes no struggle at all. Just slide the squeezer up the tube as you go and you’ll get to use all the paste. There are four so you can use them on all the tubes that give you grief.
22. The lumbar support cushion that breathes & keeps you cool
Install this bamboo charcoal memory foam lumbar support cushion into your desk chair, car seat, or any seat that you wish was more comfortable and save yourself the cost of a major upgrade. The breathable design has an open mesh cover on top of ventilated memory foam so you don’t sweat, and it supports your lower back, bringing ergonomics to even the worst seat. A strap holds it securely in place.
23. These reusable bamboo towels on a roll that replace paper towels
These bamboo towels can slot right into the dispenser you currently use for paper towels — but instead of tossing these in the trash, throw them in the laundry to use as rags and save the planet from absorbing nearly 60 rolls of paper trash. You can wash these 60 times so it will save you a tidy sum in disposables, too.
24. An over the door hanger that looks elegant & modern
This set of over-the-door hooks turns the back of any door into a coat rack with almost no effort. And the results are elegant, modern, and super functional because the thin, over-door hook is padded so it fits snugly on doors of many depths, and the six matte black hooks are simple and boast clean lines.
25. These cotton & bamboo makeup pads that are so much better than disposable
If you are a fan of disposable cotton rounds for skincare, this 20-pack of cotton and bamboo reusable pads will be a welcome upgrade. Larger, softer, and more absorbent, they are perfect for anything from removing makeup to washing brushes to applying toner. They come with a laundry bag so they can travel through the wash together.
26. These 2 clever reading lights that clip to your book
These two reading lights are the solution to reading or working on crafts after everyone else has gone to sleep. The three modes throw just the light you need. A gentle amber hue is easy on your eyes and circadian rhythm, or choose the bright white or daylight when you need to focus. They clip directly to whatever you are working on and the focused illumination won’t disturb people nearby.
27. This 4-port charging hub for a tidy tech station
Don’t let your gadgets and their need for power take up too much space. This charging station corrals them all into a small and orderly space while delivering exactly the power they need to charge quickly. The dividers are adjustable to accommodate the gear you have, and have a status indicator that turns off when the device is charged. It comes in six colors.
28. These bumpers that protect walls from slamming doors
Wherever a door, appliance, or cabinet is likely to slam into the wall when someone opens it, apply these bumpers to the wall to soften the blow. Your living space will be quieter and calmer and the walls won’t get damaged. This is a four-pack and they are easy to apply — just stick them to the wall — and they’re clear so you will quickly forget they are there and how noisy things once were.
29. These colorful coils that protect your charging cables
Slip these colorful coils over the business end of your charging cables to protect them from the constant wear and tear of plugging and unplugging. Your cables will last longer, you’ll know which ones are yours, and you can even color-code your cords so you don’t have to study the plug to figure out what device it goes with.
30. These silicone booties that silence scraping furniture legs
If there’s a loud scraping noise when you pull out a chair, put an end to that moment of stress by pulling these stretchy silicone furniture pads over the feet. The built-in felt pad on the bottom will silence the noise and keep chair legs from damaging the floor. Unlike the stick-on kind, this sock style stays put and there are 24 of them in this pack so you can do the whole house.
31. This genius rolling pin that creates the perfect thickness
You can stop guessing when it comes to rolling out dough because, not only does this rolling pin have a built-in measure so you can see how big your pie crust is, but it comes with four rings you slide over the ends to get the precise thickness you want. Just pick the ring that’s the right thickness and that’s how thick your pastry will be. Ideal for playing Great British Bake-Off at home.
32. A shockproof case with a ring kickstand for your iPhone
Protect your phone and make it more functional at the same time by dressing it in this shockproof case with a ring kickstand. Next time you drop your phone and it survives without a nick, you will thank yourself. Meanwhile, you will enjoy using that ring kickstand to prop up your phone when you want to use it hands-free, or to slide onto a finger to make one-handed phone use easier. It’s available in 14 colors
33. An oil sprayer for easier roasting & air frying
Instead of using store-bought aerosol oil, upgrade your meal prep with this glass and stainless-steel oil-spraying bottle that lets you use your own oils to lightly douse foods. Whether you’re planning to roast or air fry, grease pans, or dress salads, you can do so with the press of a button. You will use less oil by spraying, while not adding unnecessary chemicals to your meals.
34. This sandwich maker that’s like having a take-out window in the kitchen
This clever breakfast sammie machine is dedicated to one task and it does it so well that it has thousands of die-hard fans. It makes a breakfast sandwich with egg, ham, cheese, and a muffin. You load all the ingredients into it — including raw egg — and it prepares it all like a good short-order cook while you sip coffee. When it’s done, remove a delicious breakfast sandwich and eat.
35. This bag of resistance bands that’s like a gym in your desk drawer
This set of resistance bands is the trick for turning your work breaks into fitness. There are five bands, each offering a different level of resistance — and you can use several to get to higher weights — so you can do weight training almost anywhere. Each weight is printed on the band and color-coded, and the set comes with instructions.
36. This portable fabric steamer so you can skip the ironing
This portable fabric steamer makes it easy to get wrinkles out of your clothes fast without pulling out an iron and ironing board. Just steam your clothes right on the hanger by plugging in the 6-foot cord, filling it with six ounces of water, and pressing the on button. It produces steam fast so you can go from wrinkled to presentable in minutes. And it is sized to fit easily in a suitcase for travel.
37. This stain remover that fixes your couch or rugs after an accident
You don’t have to live with stained carpets or furniture to save money. Just hit them with this activated oxygen stain remover and watch the mess disappear. There is no chlorine so it won’t damage your fabrics and reviewers say it works on everything, including the most horrific of pet stains.
38. This personal, portable blender for smoothies wherever you are
If you love a smoothie, you need this personal blender so you can have them anywhere. The 14-ounce jar is perfect for your daily nutritious beverage, you can drink right from the blending jar, and it all goes in the dishwasher for easy cleanup. It even comes with a travel lid so you can grab your smoothie and take it with you.
39. A grout pen so you don’t need to replace (or scrub) the tile
Forego remodeling the bathroom and give up trying to scrub that dirty-looking tile clean — paint the grout instead. This grout marker pen makes it fun and easy. Just color the grout as you would a coloring book by drawing right over the dinginess. The results are bright and clean and over 8,000 people gave it five stars.
40. This little bag sealer so your snacks stay fresh
When you open a bag of chips or cereal, don’t let the unused portion go stale. Seal the bag up like it just came from the factory by pressing it closed with this mini bag sealer. It has five sealing lines that keep air out of your bag of chips. It plugs in so you won’t need batteries and stores easily in a drawer.
41. These food-hugging covers that help you save that half tomato or onion
These stretchy and colorful covers are the perfect solution for the lemon half you want to save, the cat’s half-eaten can of wet food, or the tomato that’s leftover after the sandwiches are made. Just stretch it right over that piece of fruit, jar, or small can. Each one keeps the contents in and the atmosphere out. This set comes in five sizes and colors to fit all the small items you might typically reach for plastic wrap to cover.
42. These invisible shields that protect furniture from kitty’s claws
Install these plastic shields on the sides and back of your couch and stop worrying that the cat will rip your furniture to shreds when you aren’t looking. They install easier, are nearly invisible, aren’t sticky or annoying to humans, and give kitty absolutely no purchase for scratching. These six plastic pieces are large enough to cover the couch but you can cut them to fit the piece you want protected. They come with upholstery screws for installation.
43. A pair of pocket protectors so pens don’t leak on your shirt
Slide these leather-like pouches into a pocket and clip all your pens, pencils, and pocket knives into it so pockets don’t get ink on them and don’t get worn from the friction of your EDC. A clear plastic divider keeps pens upright and orderly, and you can clip your pens and knives in so they never fall out.
44. This wet & dry brush for softer skin
This skin brush does double duty as an exfoliating brush in the shower or bath and as a dry brush to help improve circulation. The brushes are 100% horsehair, which is soft on skin and effective at removing dead skin cells and can even help with scar tissue. The big, hand-filling 5-inch brush makes getting in a few minutes a day of skin brushing easy.
45. This under-door noise & draft stopper
If there’s noise or drafts coming in under your door, the solution is so easy. Simply cut the foam pieces in this under-door draft-stopping kit to size and slide them into the fabric sleeves. Then slide it under the door. It double insulates the room so that your heat and air conditioning stay inside, and noise and weather stay outside. It comes in nine colors and patterns.