For quite a while now I have been trying to spend less money frivolously so I can save up to spend it instead on things I want — like a house, car, and vacations. It’s going well. I ignored all the usual advice about not buying coffee in cafés because I make the best coffee at home already and “out” is the last place I want to be before I’ve caffeinated. (Though I did manage to give up an afternoon cold-brew habit, which saved a ton.)
But I have mastered eating at home, packing lunch, saving power, and avoiding surprise bills that were caused by avoidable disasters. Sometimes you have to spend a little money to net this sort of savings. But I’ve done the math on lots of life hacks and have learned — with mathematical certainty — that you could save so much money around the house if you tried any of these 40 tricks.
1. Setting up motion-sensing night-lights so you don’t leave the lights on
Leaving the lights on is surprisingly expensive but if you plug these clever motion-sensing lights into an outlet on the stairs, bathroom, or kitchen, your house will be easier to navigate without needing the full brights. They automatically emit a gentle glow — you can set how bright you want it — when they detect movement and then turn off again a minute later. You will turn the lights on less often and so lessen the risk of leaving them on.
2. Using a battery storage case & tester so you don’t toss good ones
This battery storage case has a built-in battery tester so you can check if your batteries have a charge before you install them in a gadget — or throw them away. Sometimes a set of batteries stops powering a device but some of those (expensive) batteries still have life in them. This lets you test them and store them — nice and orderly — for another day. It holds 180 batteries and comes in eight colors.
3. Storing your coffee in this canister that helps keeps it fresher
Store your coffee in this locking canister that seals out oxygen (which makes beans stale), while venting CO2 (which destroys flavor), so your beans stay fresh and tasty for weeks. It comes with a stainless steel scoop and there is even a freshness date tracker on the lid. It looks awesome in all four of the available colors and comes in four sizes.
4. Saving clothes & carpets from red wine spills with this stain remover
Sipping a delicious red wine comes with some hazards. Not least among them, keeping that staining red liquid from escaping the glass or bottle and leaving irremovable stains on the furniture, your clothes, or the carpets. Don’t let that spoil the fun, though! This two-pack of red-wine stain remover will get spilled wine out easily and quickly. Just spray, blot, and fill your glass again.
5. Preventing moths from eating your sweaters with these handy traps
Your investment in fine woolens looks like a wedding buffet to moths. They belly up to the bar and start munching. To stop them, hang or stand these moth traps in the closet. A powerful attractant pulls moths away from the buffet and into the trap where they get stuck, never to chew your cashmere again.
6. Utilizing these airtight food storage containers that double as a lunchbox
Don’t wait till the last minute to pack your lunch. Pack as you go through life by putting leftovers or extra portions into these three glass meal-prep containers so you always have a grab-and-go lunch. They go in the freezer, oven, microwave, and dishwasher so you can pack in advance and even cook and freeze meals way in advance. A rubber gasket and locking lids prevent leaks.
7. Taking the party outdoors with these unbreakable wine tumblers
Save the money you might have spent at wine bars by packing a bottle and these triple-insulated, unbreakable wine tumblers with lids with you to the beach, park, or pool. They keep your white wine or cocktails cold, keep bugs and sand out of your drink, and won’t shatter dangerously into the water or sand. Also ideal for indoor parties, too.
8. Soothing so many skin problems with this inexpensive body wash
Reviewers are gushing about the ailments, odors, and itches that this simple, botanically sourced body wash has helped heal for them — often after more expensive solutions failed utterly. It contains eucalyptus, mint, tea tree, aloe vera, jojoba, and essential oils that soothe, deodorize, and repair a host of ailments.
9. Getting in a workout anywhere with this set of cloth resistance bands
Skip the gym membership and pull out this little sack of elastic cloth resistance bands and get your workout in without leaving the house. Each is a different level of resistance so you can start light and work your way up to heavy. They come in their own pouch with a set of cards that teach you how to work out with them and a video with additional exercises putting them to work.
10. Preserving cutting boards, knives & tools with this food -grade mineral oil
This food-grade mineral oil is the trick to keeping cutting boards from drying out and cracking — as well as restoring knives and metal tools to their original glory. It is flavorless, odorless, and won’t turn rancid so you can go ahead and treat your cutting boards liberally so they look beautiful again and so the wood lasts longer and won’t crack or break.
11. Doing thorough car washes at home with this complete kit
Sure, you could drop your car off and pay a hefty fee to have it detailed or you could spend a little money and invest in the tools to do it yourself. This car washing kit has everything you need from the soft microfiber cloths to make the paint shine to the window squeegee to the sponges, brushes, and towels. It even comes with cleaning solution concentrate and a collapsible bucket. It all stores in its own case.
12. Using this big, cold-brew coffee maker that doubles as a pitcher
Simplify your coffee ritual — and stop going to expensive drive-thrus — by brewing your cold brew in this cold-brew coffee maker. Just add beans to the inner sleeve and water to the carafe and put it in the fridge. When it’s ready, remove the inner sleeve and serve your delicious cold brew from the pretty carafe that remains. The tight-sealing lid keeps your coffee fresh.
13. Fixing up your specs & sunglasses with this comprehensive repair kit
A broken pair of sunglasses can mean a sudden (and potentially huge) outlay of cash. And prescription glasses can set you back even more. But many common problems with glasses can be easily repaired with the right — tiny — tools, screws, and other parts. And this eyeglass repair kit has them all. From infinitesimal screwdrivers to nose pads to bitty tweezers, this kit will repair all your glasses and make you feel like a genius.
14. Restoring your trashed kicks with this simple & effective shoe-cleaning kit
When you are ready to trash a pair of expensive shoes because they look too tired to wear anywhere anymore, maybe they just need a thorough cleaning? This shoe cleaning kit will get you there, without bleaching or staining your shoes. Just brush the shoes down with the included cleaner and brush and wipe them clean with the microfiber cloth and your shoes will be spiffy again.
15. Replacing spa massages with this powerful handheld massager
Skip those expensive massages while getting the tension release you need with this muscle massager. The massage head angle adjusts and has six vibration speeds that go from 500 to 2,400 strokes per minute to deliver a deep-tissue massage at the pull of a trigger. Three attachments target the places that hurt. And the rechargeable battery makes it easy to take anywhere.
16. Skipping the groomers by styling your fur child at home with this complete grooming kit
Taking your pet to a groomer can be a costly undertaking that is potentially stressful for your pet. This dog grooming kit gives you all the tools you need to do this at home where you get to keep your hard-earned dollars and your pet is most comfortable. There’s a quiet and gentle clipper with plenty of attachments so you can easily trim fur, as well as nail clippers, thinning scissors, a nail file, and more.
17. Preventing pricey dental problems with this dog toothbrush you wear on a finger
Don’t get slapped with an expensive dental bill for your dog. Make sure you are doing all the necessary prevention by cleaning those canine chompers on a regular basis. It’s easy to do with these simple doggy toothbrushes you wear on a finger. Just rub your dog's teeth while wearing one. This is a pack of seven silicone brushes.
18. Opting for a 3-pack of silicone sponges that last longer than traditional ones
Update your dishwashing routine by using this three-pack of lightly abrasive silicone sponges that are infused with the scent of peach. Since they don’t hold onto water the way cellulose sponges do, they dry fast, last longer, and don’t start to stink, either. It’s just peaches all the way until you are ready for a new one.
19. Cleaning your dryer vents with this clever vacuum attachment for more efficient cycles
You probably clean the trap in your dryer when you run a load but that doesn’t get the trapped lint that made it down into the dryer vents and exhaust pipes. But this dryer attachment will get right in there and suck out all that lint. This will improve the function and efficiency of your machine, and can nip a dryer-related fire hazard in the bud. It works with most vacuum cleaners.
20. Skipping the dryer entirely by using a retractable clothesline that goes in the shower
Install this retractable clothesline anywhere you have room — a shower stall is perfect — so you can let garments drip dry. This allows you to skip the dryer cycle (and the electricity required) entirely, and take care of delicates. Just put the line — coiled inside a chrome holder — on one wall and the base to another up to nine feet away. When you want a line, pull the steel cable out of the holder and attach it to the base. Just release to let it coil back into the holder.
21. Shopping for fresh herbs in a garden right on your windowsill
Fresh herbs are delicious and turn any dish into a gourmet endeavor, but they are expensive to buy. Growing them, though, is cheap. And if you grow them on a windowsill, you always have the herb you need within reach. This indoor herb garden kit is everything you need to get started. It comes with six kinds of seeds, pots, soil, and plant markers. Just add water and sunlight.
22. Replacing sponges & paper towels with these reusable dishcloths
These Swedish dishcloths are a strange combination of cellulose and cotton, which makes them flexible like a rag but absorbent and quick-drying like a sponge. They make a great dish sponge, a terrific rag for wiping things down, and they are even better than paper towels — because you can use them over and over — so they will become your go-to cleaning tool. And you can wash them and keep using them up to 100 times.
23. Making restaurant-style pizza at home on this durable square stone
Whether you are cooking pizza from scratch or heating up a frozen one, this pizza stone will improve the crust by getting hot enough to properly crisp it. Just put it in the oven when it’s heating up and slide your pizza onto it when it’s nice and hot. The cordierite stone heats up fast and won’t crack. It’s also burn resistant, won’t absorb grease, and is anti-stick so your pizza will slide right off.
24. Taking care of all the reusable bottles with this big set of bottle-cleaning brushes
Cleaning water bottles, the coffee pot, wine decanters, baby bottles, and whatever else you use is no longer a struggle once you bring all the right tools into your kitchen. Extend their lives with this pack of five bottle brushes in a variety of shapes is everything you need. Each one — thick, thin, or extra-long — has stiff nylon bristles and a sturdy handle.
25. Forgoing the sticky strips for this rechargeable tennis-racket bug zapper
Take care of two tasks with one racket by getting out this bug zapper when flies or mosquitoes invade your space. First, you will be up and moving around, swinging your racket like a bug-hunting tennis star. Next, you will be eliminating that buzzing pest from your living space. It’s less costly than disposable strips, traps, or sprays. All you have to do is make contact and that bug buzzes its last on your 4,000-volt tennis-racket-shaped grid. It comes in three sizes.
26. Saving your furniture with this clever marker & crayon scratch-repair kit
When there’s a scratch on your floor, a water mark on your coffee table, or dings on the wooden cabinets, there is no need to replace — or refinish — those otherwise functioning pieces. Just pull out this set of wood repair markers and crayons and color over the problem area. It’s so easy that it’s fun. “Chips, dings, scratches, and even water rings — this set will pretty much erase all your wood furniture sins,” said one reviewer. “I have a dining table and sideboard that both look way better with just 20 minutes of coloring.”
27. Giving beards the barber-shop treatment at home with this kit that has everything you need
Skip the salon. This grooming kit will take your wild, itchy beard and make it soft, tame, and easy to live with. The beard balm combats itching and flaking. The sandalwood comb detangles while smelling fantastic. The orange and walnut beard soap exfoliates your skin, cleans your beard, and smells great. And the boar hair brush tames your whiskers and makes the beard lie down and behave.
28. Stopping furniture from sliding & scratching your floors with these thick, grippy pads
These furniture pads have rubber on each side and a felt core. When you put them under the feet of your couch, chair, or table, they stop the furniture from moving around scraping up the floor. You don’t have to stick them on, either. Just cut them to the shape you want (they are prescored) and put them under the furniture. This will prevent all sorts of floor damage, which can be so expensive to repair.
29. Planning your menu & shopping list ahead of time with this handy meal planner pad
Eating out is the enemy of every savings goal. And the answer to the eternal question — what’s for dinner? — lies in planning ahead. This pad makes that easy. Just jot the meal plan for the week on this What to Eat pad and you’ll know what to do when the time comes. There’s space for every day of the week and it includes a freeform space for brainstorming breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
30. Using these eco-friendly, wool dryer balls instead of fabric softeners & sheets
Instead of spending money to add weird, strong-smelling fabric softeners and sheets to the dryer, toss a few of these wool dryer balls in there instead. They last for over a thousand loads and aerate the fabrics as they dry, shortening your dryer time, all while softening the fabric. They also remove static. If you miss the scents, you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the balls and create a custom aroma.
31. Taking your bevs to go in a sleek, triple-insulated stainless steel bottle
Pour your coffee, green tea, or water into this 20-ounce stainless steel water bottle and it will stay hot for 9 hours or cold for 18. It’s easier than stopping to pick up oversweetened packaged beverages. And you will be sipping it, all the while, through the pop-top lid, and carrying it with the built-in handle. A built-in filter lets you infuse your water with fruit flavors. It fits in cup holders and backpacks and won’t leak.
32. Keeping produce fresher for longer in these clever storage containers
Opening the fridge to prep a meal and discovering that your produce has all gone bad is expensive. But if you store your fruits and vegetables in this set of four produce storage containers, they will last longer and you won’t end up ordering pizza at the last minute. An elevated bottom lifts your produce out of water, while circulating air, while a vent in the lid regulates the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
33. Making your own café concoctions with this French press & milk frother combo
Make yourself a big bowl of café au lait with this French press and milk frother and start every morning like you are in a café in Paris. Just add hot water and ground coffee (or tea) to the borosilicate carafe of the French press, wait five minutes, and plunge the filter to keep the grounds from getting in your cup. Use the frother to turn any sort of milk into foamy deliciousness and add to your brew. So much easier than going to a shop, and loads cheaper.
34. Replacing disposable plastic bags with these colorful & reusable food storage bags
Replace your plastic bags with these reusable storage bags and help keep plastics out of the ocean and money in your wallet. Each of the five bags has a different, vibrant color zipper closer. They seal tight and just one of these bags can replace 300 disposable baggies. You can see through the clear, food-grade PEVA material so you know what’s inside at a glance.
35. Cleaning your washing machine with this puck that helps it have a more efficient cycle
Do you ever wonder how clean the machine that washes your clothes is? Once you have the thought, it won’t go away. And that’s when you need to toss one of these washing-machine cleaner pucks in there and wash the machine. They are easy to use. Just run one empty load with just the cleaning puck to clean the pump, valve, tub, drum, agitator, filter, and hose. A clean washer cleans better and lasts longer, too.
36. Quitting disposable paper napkins in favor of these premium reusable cloth napkins
Cloth napkins elevate your meal and save the planet, and your budget, all at the same time. And this pack of 12 linen-like napkins is both lovely and affordable. Whether you master the art of folding dinner napkins or put them into napkin rings, you will enjoy every meal with them for years. They come in 16 colors so you can design exactly the table setting you like.
37. Keeping track of coupons & receipts in this convenient accordion file
If you are a coupon cutter, save receipts for reimbursement, or need a way to track bills or business cards, this clear plastic, 13-pocket accordion file is ideal. It expands as you fill it, has brightly colored sections that make it easy to find things, comes with labeling stickers, and securely buckles closed. It’s easy to carry or keep in a drawer.
38. Keeping dry goods fresher in this huge set of airtight storage containers
Ready to organize your pantry for easier stay-at-home meals? Put everything into these locking, airtight storage containers. They are rectangles, in various sizes, so they fit neatly on your shelves and in cabinets and stack on top of each other. They are clear so you can see what’s in them, and they keep your bulk goods fresh and dry. They come with 24 reusable labels so you can identify what’s in each one.
39. Making your own custom popcorn in this silicone popper that goes in the microwave
Leave those overpriced, single-portion, popcorn bags on the shelf and pick up some kernels in bulk instead. Then put kernels and some nice oil in the bottom of this cleverly-designed silicone popcorn popper and put it in the microwave. A couple minutes later, you will have delicious popcorn that cost pennies and has no chemicals or additives. Add your seasoning and enjoy. This bowl won’t shatter in the microwave or dishwasher, comes in 13 colors, and is easy to store.
40. Solving wardrobe mishaps with a compact sewing kit that has everything you need
Keep this compact and complete sewing kit on hand for times when a button pops off, a hem comes undone, or a seam tears. Skip trips to the tailor (or tossing the item) because fixing those problems is easy if you have a needle, thread, some scissors, and a few pins. All of those things, and more, are here — with thread in lots of colors — and ready to use.