Trying to live frugally? Sometimes you need to spend a bit before you can save, you know. Here are 10 things to buy to save money- in fact, these items could help you save hundreds of dollars a year!
It seems pretty counter-intuitive to buy something in order to save money, right? I mean normally we’re looking for expenses to cut, not looking for things to buy!
But there are some simple things that you can buy that will actually save you money in the long run and will pay for themselves many times over because of the costs saved.
I like to think of these purchases as an investment of sorts. You lay out the money now, but the money you save over time will be far more than what you spent!
Some of my favorite things to buy to save money.
1. Small Spatula
Every time I grab my small spatula and clean out an “empty” jar, I’m amazed at how much food is actually still left inside!
Peanut butter and mayonnaise containers always have at least several tablespoonfuls stuck along the side. And even pasta sauce jars and tomato paste cans have a surprising amount that can be scraped out.
You paid for that food and it seems silly to just throw it in the trash. Any money spent on a small spatula to get out every last bit will quickly be redeemed by the amount of food that you save!
2. Rechargeable Battery Charger
Using rechargeable batteries is such an easy way to save and with minimal investment too!
For less than $15 you can get a rechargeable battery charger and four batteries that will last you many, many uses. And if you want more batteries, they only cost a bit more than what you’d pay for regular batteries…but you can reuse them!
It’s been about 8 years since we started using rechargeable batteries and we haven’t looked back! We don’t typically use them in low-draw devices such as clocks but love them for things like our kid’s Leap Pad player, the old Walkmans that someone recently gave our kids, flashlights etc.
3. Low-Flow Toilet
I’ll be honest, I never thought about the fact that changing toilets could potentially save us money.
But when one of our older toilets started leaking and needed to be replaced we realized that switching to a low-flow toilet was a smart idea! (This is the one we have and like.)
According to this Washington Post article, switching a regular flow toilet to a low flow one could save a family of four around $140 a year!
4. Drying Rack | Clothesline
Electric and gas dryers are one of the biggest energy hogs in your house. A simple solution is to invest in a sturdy drying rack or set up a clothesline. We love our retractable clothesline– it’s perfect for city living!
5. Reusable K-Cups
If you’re a coffee lover that uses a Keurig, switching to reusable K-cups can save you big!
Obviously, you also have the cost of coffee to account for too, but if you figure that the average cost of a bag of coffee is $6 and one bag typically will make 25 cups of coffee (that’s really quite on the low side), each cup of coffee will cost $0.24.
The average cost for a filled K-cup on Amazon is $0.40 each. So in just 25 cups of coffee, you would save at least $4! This is definitely one of those items that will pay for themselves rather quickly!
Plus, you can use your own fresh ground coffee too, which means you’ll enjoy better quality coffee as well!
6. Phone Case
I was one of those people that put off buying a phone case because I was too cheap and thought it was unnecessary. But my phone showed the results: a shattered screen and lots of scratches and dings. (Side note: Did you know you can fairly easily replace your own phone screen? We’ve done it a number of times using a phone screen repair kit like this.)
I recently got a “new” refurbished phone and this time around I bought this inexpensive phone case for it! There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s totally worth the investment.
I’ve already dropped my phone several times and my phone has been fine. One reviewer even said that her son’s phone was driven over by a car and survived! Whoa!
7. Produce Saver Containers
We all know the sinking feeling of going to the fridge to get some fresh produce out for a meal, only to discover that it is spoiled and needs to be thrown in the garbage. Produce-saving containers like this can lengthen the life of berries, lettuce, mushrooms, peppers and more!
I have the Tupperware brand ones but have heard great things about the Rubbermaid brand that I linked to above. And they’re much cheaper too!
8. Hair Clippers
Investing in a good set of hair clippers can be a great way to save money! My husband has been doing his own haircuts since before we were married. And now he also gives our two sons haircuts regularly, too.
This one simple thing has saved us at least $250 a year, and quite likely a lot more. I’m not going to complain about that!
9. Replacement Power Adapter
This is one of those items that I don’t recommend buying until you actually need it. But boy, when you need it, it can save you a nice chunk of money!
Basically, if you ever lose or ruin the cord for an electronic device, you can use this adapter to save the day and keep you from needing to buy a whole new device!
We accidentally fried the plug on our beloved sound machine when we tried using it on our England trip last summer, not realizing that it wasn’t compatible with 220 voltage.
In my search to figure out how to replace it without needing to spend another $20 plus on a new one, I discovered this replacement adapter!
It has worked like a charm and was half the cost of a new sound machine. Plus it’s something that we can use with other electronics as well!
10. Grocery Delivery Service
I have to be honest, I don’t think grocery delivery services are always a money saver or worth it for everyone. But, they definitely can be!
And the time saved and convenience alone can make it worth it– at least it has for me.
If you find yourself eating out or grabbing take out often simply because you have no food in the house to make dinner or because you don’t have time to go shopping for food or if you find yourself making lots of impulse purchases at the grocery store, then paying to have your groceries delivered to your door can be totally a money saver!
It’s also helpful if you are on a tight budget because you can watch your total add up as you put things in your cart and then are able to easily add or remove things to stay on budget.
The last several months, I’ve been paying to have our groceries delivered from the local grocery store and so far I am loving it!
About once a week I sit down and plan out our meals, assess what groceries I need to make them, check our stock of household supplies and then order anything that we are needing and have it delivered to our door! As a work-from-home mom, it has been a big win for me.
In the States, I recommend using Instacart for grocery delivery– they even deliver for Aldi! And currently, Instacart is offering free delivery for 14 days when you sign up here.
(You will be automatically charged after 14 days unless you cancel, so if you do not wish to continue using Instacart after the 14-day trial period, you will need to opt out of the paid subscription before that.)
Bonus Idea: Menstrual Cup
I recently switched to using a menstrual cup instead of disposable pads and tampons. And I absolutely love it!
Besides saving money over time, using a menstrual cup also reduces waste which is a big plus too!
This is the menstrual cup that I have but there are lots of other brands that are great as well.
Other money-saving posts that you’ll enjoy:
I am really enjoying your site. It has been said that two senior citizens should be able to live on $200 food budget a month, even in Southern California? It is a challenge.
Let me also say that I love Instacart. It is a lifesaver as we do not drive anymore and I am not able to haul groceries anymore. It is an excellent service, not always 100 percent accurate but allows one to shop in peace in addition to not having to lift.
Please continue to offer advice along these lines.
And I’m thinking of trying your chicken wraps.
Patricia, thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying my site! That always makes my day! I know Southern California prices are high, so I can imagine that it is tricky to stick with a $200 food budget, especially with prices rising like they are. And I never thought about how helpful Instacart would be for seniors, but it totally makes sense! Definitely would be worth the extra cost, I think. Thank you again for your encouragement and all the best to you!
Diane C Routh
Keep up the good works so we can all benefit
Thank you, Diane! Your kind words are so encouraging to me.