40 Expensive Mistakes You're Making At Home
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Adulting can be expensive, but thankfully most of us have moved past conversations about avocado toast and lattes and onto more important topics like storage for our tax documents and laundry shampoo. No, I’m serious — if you’re looking to save money, consider some of the items on this list that are great for cutting costs, eliminating errands from your to-do list, and fixing expensive mistakes you might be making at home. A few key purchases and some foresight can add up to two things that we can all use more of — time and cash. (Or if for some reason you don’t, please consider being my life coach?)
So, carve out a couple minutes in your busy schedule, check your budget, and take a look at some of these ideas for saving money around your home.
Mistake: Not sorting your laundry
Solution: This divided hamper that makes it easy
I’m not pointing fingers, but if you’re washing your clothes in less than optimal conditions (wrong water temperatures, color mixing, high dryer temperatures), you could be shortening their lifespan and wasting your hard-earned money. A double hamper with a divider makes it super easy to stay on top of your laundry; you can separate based on color or washing needs and remain a step ahead.
Mistake: Relying on single-use paper towels
Solution: Reusable sponge dish cloths that are super absorbent & machine-washable
No need to constantly buy and replace paper towels; these absorbent dish cloths are just as convenient and they’re machine-washable and reusable, so you don’t have to constantly restock or replace them. They can be used wet or dry on a variety of surfaces with each towel projected to work up to 100 times. Once they’re spent, toss them into the compost pile. Choose from eight different colors.
3. Mistake: Cutting corners when it comes to plant care
Solution: This self-watering pot that won’t overwater or underwater your plants
If you’re prone to over- or under-watering your plants, this self-watering pot could be a game-changer. It’ll help you keep your plants healthy (so you won’t have to replace them), and it’ll make it easy to provide them with just the right amount of water (so you won’t be wasteful). It comes in three different sizes with five color options.
4. Mistake: Going out for your coffee instead of brewing at home
Solution: A French press that requires no single-use filters or pods
Fellow coffee drinkers, if you’ve never tried the delight that is French press coffee, I implore you to give it a go. You’ll have delicious coffee in just minutes, saving yourself the time, trouble, and money compared to stopping at a coffee shop. This vacuum-filtered model also gives you extra control over the brewing process, and works for tea and other types of infusions, too.
5. Mistake: Letting carpets succumb to pet-related wear and tear
Solution: This popular enzyme-based cleaner that gets those stubborn stains out
As wonderful as it is to have beloved furry friends in our home, the unfortunate truth is that they can be the source of stains or smells. If your carpets or other surfaces are less-than-pristine, consider this enzyme cleaner and pet stain remover before replacing them or renting equipment. With over 11,000 five-star reviews, buyers rave about how well it works and the delightful orange scent it leaves behind.
6. Mistake: Staining clothes or upholstery with red wine
Solution: This remover designed specifically to nix those stains and save your clothes
This red wine stain remover promises to tackle new and set-in stains, so if you have a damaged shirt or other stained belongings that you can’t bear to part with, you just might want to give it a try. It’s nontoxic, works on clothes and upholstery, and even comes in a cute wine bottle shaped sprayer.
7. Mistake: Not properly insulating your space
Solution: Blackout curtains that maintain steadier temperatures & even block out noise
Turns out blackout curtains do more than just shield your home from sunlight. They can also provide energy-saving insulation, helping you maintain desired temperatures inside no matter the weather outside. This classic set of blackout curtain panels comes in 20 colors and styles and six sizes, plus you can choose between grommets or rod pockets, so the perfect set awaits you.
8. Mistake: Creating excess waste when cooking
Solution: A digital thermometer so you never have to second guess if the meat is done
A meat thermometer provides you with a quick and easy way to ensure that the food you’re preparing is getting cooked to safe temperatures, ensuring that you don’t have to throw out under- or over-cooked food (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything). This option comes in three colors and is magnetic so you can store it on your fridge.
9. Mistake: Buying fresh herbs that end up wilting
Solution: A growing kit for your own fresh supply of herbs
How does a nearly endless supply of fresh herbs in your kitchen sound? The dream could be your reality with an herb growing kit. It has everything you need to start growing six different herbs of choice, including pots, peat discs, and the seeds themselves. Even better, you can start your garden indoors or outdoors.
10. Mistake: Throwing away disposable mop pads
Solution: Switching to reusable pads that are machine-washable
After mopping, instead of tossing these reusable floor mop pads into the trash, you can pop them in the washing machine and reuse them later. They’re super versatile, working wet or dry on a variety of floor surfaces, plus they’re compatible with name brand floor mops, too. With two in a pack, you’ll be good to go whenever you need to mop up a spill.
11. Mistake: Damaging furniture and surfaces with water rings
Solution: Setting this coaster set down on every table
Have a set of coasters on hand to avoid water damage and keep your tables and counters looking pristine. This set comes with eight separate coasters with a 4-inch diameter, all of which are made with durable cork that seamlessly fits into almost any decor style. When they’re not in use, they fit into the included holder.
12. Mistake: Buying expensive stemware for bubbly that just ends up breaking
Solution: These plastic flutes that are festive but sturdy
Elegant glasses and stemware have their place, but unless you’re hosting a formal affair, why spring for the expensive ones when these plastic Champagne flutes look just as good? Even better, they’re more durable, and cost a fraction of their price. Makes sense fore the occasional bubbly. Each set comes with 24 flutes, which can be reused or disposed of based on your needs.
13. Mistake: Tossing single-use plastic baggies
Solution: Investing in reusable zip-top alternatives
If you cringe a little every time you toss a single-use plastic bag, I’ve got you. These reusable plastic food storage bags take over where disposable zip-top bags leave off, so you can keep food and snacks fresh without contributing to landfills (and constantly buying new ones). They come in a variety of versatile sizes and in multiple colors.
14. Mistake: Going to the dry cleaner
Solution: Using this wool & cashmere shampoo at home
Cut your dry-cleaning bills with a wool and cashmere shampoo that you can use in the comfort of your own home. One bottle promises to handle up to 32 washes, and you can use it with wool, cashmere, merino, and more. Plus, the cedar-based scent is pleasant, fresh, and clean, according to happy buyers.
15. Mistake: Inviting pesky pests into your home (even accidentally)
Solution: This indoor bug trap that lures them in with UV light
If your fruit bowl is attracting fruit flies, or your open windows are treated like an open invitation from other bugs, then an indoor bug trap might be worth your time and money (and it just might save you from bigger problems down the road). It uses a light and sticky glue pads to attract bugs with the telltale buzzing sound that other traps use.
16. Mistake: Considering only expensive alarms that a professional has to install
Solution: A wireless driveway alarm you can set up yourself
If you want to set up an alarm system but aren’t keen on installation costs, then consider this wireless driveway alarm. It picks up heat and motion, has a 500-foot range, and includes a weather shield for protection and durability. Not only that, you can adjust the sensitivity and connect multiple sensors to build the system that best suits your needs.
17. Mistake: Not covering your lawn mower
Solution: A durable cover that protects against the elements
Lawn mowers are usually a bit of an investment, and yet, they’re often neglected when it comes to proper storage. Whether you’re letting yours get covered in dust and grime in the garage or it’s sitting unprotected outside, you need this heavy-duty, marine-grade cover. It’s made of tear-proof fabric that can withstand any weather, and it’s compatible with almost any zero-turn mower. Looking for a cover for your push mower? The brand also has a best-selling cover for that.
18. Mistake: Buying food when you’re on the go
Solution: Cooler ice packs so you can pack your own meals
Never again find yourself at the whim of expensive food vendors when it comes to eating on the go. These cooler ice packs promise to keep food chilled for up to 24 to 48 hours, so you can comfortably pack food for travel. Even better, they’re reusable, so grab a set to use all summer. As one enthusiastic buyer put it, “YOU WILL NOT FIND A BETTER ICE PACK!”
19. Mistake: Using the dryer for all of your clothes & linens
Solution: A retractable clothesline for air-drying items — it’ll help clothes last longer
Save energy and prevent unnecessary wear and tear on your clothes by hang-drying them with a retractable clothesline. Attach it inside your home or outside in your yard, and within seconds you’ll have a 9-foot hanging line at the ready. It holds up to 22 pounds of laundry, so even your wet beach towels are fair game.
20. Mistake: Letting lint build-up affect your dryer vents
Solution: This kit for deep cleaning the vent
If you’ve ever wondered if cleaning your lint trap is enough dryer maintenance, this dryer vent cleaner kit will have the answer for you. The attachments can be used with most home vacuums, and can reach further into your machine to clear dust and lint. The long hose is also useful for other hard-to-reach places in your home, like behind furniture and underneath your fridge.
21. Mistake: Tossing sponges out all the time because they get stinky quickly
Solution: A ceramic sponge holder that lets them air-dry by the sink
You might not always think of kitchen scrubbers as pleasantly fragrant, but then again you might not know about this ceramic sponge holder. It’s designed to fit a sponge in the opening so it can air-dry, which can potentially help the sponge last longer. Plus, it’s decorative and has a 4.8-star rating on Amazon.
22. Mistake: Pouring out unfinished wine
Solution: A vacuum stopper that saves the rest for another night
This clever wine saver gadget removes air from opened wine bottles, keeping the remaining liquid fresher for longer. Even better, you can opt for a set that comes with two stoppers, so you can protect — you guessed it — two bottles at a time (like, say, a red and a white). Five color choices are available.
23. Mistake: Buying water bottles when you’re out
Solution: A reusable bottle that’s insulated to keep it cold
Not only does carrying a triple-insulated stainless steel water bottle help you step up your hydration game, but you’ll save money (and help the environment) by avoiding plastic water bottles. Four bottle sizes are offered, ranging from 25 to 64 ounces, and there are 18 colors and styles to choose from. Even better, it comes with three lids, and can be used with both hot or cold drinks.
24. Mistake: Not using a grease guard when cooking
Solution: This multi-use splatter screen with 32,000+ ratings
Let’s be honest: Sometimes things get a little out of control in the kitchen. Whether you have bacon or hamburger grease flying or tomato sauce bubbling up and over, this best-selling splatter screen will help save your walls and stove. It comes with a heat-resistant handle and the fine-mesh construction means you can also use it as a cooling rack for baked goods and as a strainer. It’s a multi-use kitchen tool that fans can’t seem to get enough of — it’s earned a 4.6-star rating after more than 32,000 reviews.
25. Mistake: Using energy-draining outdoor lights
Solution: Opt for these solar-powered, automatic path lights
Illuminate your porch or yard at night without hiking up your energy bill by snagging a pack (or two) of these solar-powered path lights. They turn on at dusk and off at dawn, and since they’re solar they won’t require any electricity or batteries. They’re weatherproof too, so you can use them throughout the year. Shop them in a set of six, or a pack of eight for a few more dollars.
26. Mistake: Using furniture that leaves scrapes and scratches on your floor
Solution: Slide on these leg protectors for easy protection
If only these chair leg protectors came standard on all furniture. They’re so subtle and sleek, and they fit right on chairs and table legs of varying sizes, protecting your floors from scratches, scrapes, and damage. Two sizes are available (large and small), plus there are three colors to choose from; transparent, black, and brown.
27. Mistake: Letting snacks go stale or spoil
Solution: Simply reseal them with this mini tool
Few things are worse than reaching for a favorite snack and discovering that it’s no longer good. This mini bag resealer uses heat to reform bags and create a new, tight seal, so the end result? Fresh chips, cookies, treats, and more. It comes in five fun colors, and it’s compact enough to slip into a drawer in between uses.
28. Mistake: Buying new furniture because of a few scuffs or marks
Solution: Restoring what you own with this furniture repair kit
Don’t let a few scuffs or scratches be the end of your furniture. This furniture repair kit includes markers and crayon-shaped wax sticks in six wood tones, so you can cover small signs of damage and have your favorite pieces looking brand new again. One buyer gushed that it was, “best $9 investment of my life!”
29. Mistake: Allowing hair and other debris to go down your tub drain and build up
Solution: This drain catcher that prevents costly plumbing repairs
What’s more unpleasant than a clogged drain? A clogged drain that costs a lot of money to fix. Enter this tub hair catcher, which you can subtly insert into your drain to prevent hair and other bulk from entering your pipes and causing problems. It comes in five different colors, so you can match your tub and decor.
30. Mistake: Letting drafts affect your energy consumption
Solution: A draft door stopper that better insulates a room
Stop cranking your heater or air conditioning and losing precious degrees (and dollars) to cracks in your door frame. These door draft stoppers can be applied to the bottom of your doors to seal in your inside air, and prevent the outside weather from slipping through. They also help with noise reduction, too. Four colors are offered; white, grey, brown, and black.
31. Mistake: Tossing containers that still have product inside
Solution: This long, skinny spatula that helps get the last drop
When you’ve done everything you can and there’s still product remaining at the bottom of the bottle or jar, that’s where these Spatty spatulas can help. Designed to reach into the tightest containers for those last precious drops, they can help ensure you get your money’s worth from almost every jar you buy.
32. Mistake: Food melting or warming up too much before you get it home
Solution: Insulated grocery bags that are reusable
These insulated grocery bags keep your food hot or cold, so your takeout will still be warm when it gets to your kitchen table, and your ice cream will still be frozen when it reaches your freezer. They zip closed and feature strong, durable handles, plus they also fold down for easy storage when not in use.
33. Mistake: Storing leftovers in open containers
Solution: Keeping food in these leakproof, airtight containers made of glass
You’ve probably had to throw out spoiled leftovers at some point in your life, but these meal prep containers can help prevent that from happening again. They’re built with glass that’s not only microwave and oven safe, but also suitable for cleaning in the dishwasher. They’re also leakproof as well as airtight, and three 32-ounce containers arrive in one pack.
34. Mistake: Brewing coffee with disposable, single-use pods
Solution: A reusable pod filter that fits your machine
As convenient as single-cup coffee makers are, the pods can add up in cost and waste — unless you have reusable pods like these. This set includes two pod filters plus a funnel scoop for easy fills. They work with multiple brands and models, including Keurig, Mr. Coffee, Cuisinart, and more.
35. Mistake: Using disposable rounds to cleanse or remove makeup
Solution: Reusable cotton pads that are machine-washable
Along with 20 individual makeup remover pads, this set comes with a cute storage box and a mesh bag for washing. So not only will you have plenty cotton pads at the ready, but you’ll be able to keep track of them, too.
36. Mistake: Letting ice melt and water down your whiskey
Solution: Reusable whiskey stones that cool without diluting
Save yourself from racking up expensive bar tabs by recreating a luxe experience at home. This whiskey stone gift set has 12 unique stones that you (or the lucky recipient) can enjoy with a variety of spirits. Even better, they ensure that drinks stay cool without getting diluted, giving you the optimal sipping experience.
37. Mistake: Not using a low-flow shower head
Solution: This low-flow one that’s highly efficient with good pressure
Few things are as relaxing as a long, hot shower, but the idea of cost and high water consumption can be a bit of a buzzkill. Instead, consider a low-flow shower head that still gives strong pressure while using up to 40% less water. It’s available in four sizes and three finishes to spruce up your bathroom: chrome, nickel, and bronze.
38. Mistake: Forgetting to turn off the lights when you leave a room
Solution: Light switches with motion sensors
It happens to everyone; even with the best of intentions, we can leave a room without turning the lights off. That’s where these motion sensor light switches can help — they turn on when someone enters the room and off when that movement stops. They’re versatile, can be installed in minutes, and offer both automatic and manual settings.
39. Mistake: Not managing electronics and appliances as well as you could be
Solution: A power strip with a smartphone app
This smart power strip works with the Kasa brand app, so you can monitor your energy consumption and update your settings accordingly, from anywhere you have phone service. Each of the six plugs can be managed independently, and additional USB ports allow you to charge devices without taking up a standard plug.
40. Mistake: Relying on single-use dryer sheets
Solution: Wool dryer balls that are basically endlessly reusable
These wool dryer balls take over where dryer sheets leave off, drying clothes more quickly, requiring less energy, and lasting for up to 1,000 loads of laundry each. They’re gentle yet effective for most clothes and fabric types and delightfully fragrance-free. No wonder they have over 23,000 five-star ratings.
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