47 cheap things people use constantly because they are so damn helpful

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by Christina X. Wood

The price of something — or how coveted it is — doesn’t exactly tell you how useful it will be. I have a jacket, for example, that I was desperate to own and cost way too much. I wear it twice a year. The rest of the time, it just takes up space. I also have a cast-iron pan that was cheap and purchased on a whim, yet I use it daily as it has become indispensable in my kitchen. You’re bound to find some new favorites in my list of 47 cheap things that people use constantly because they are so damn helpful.

I’m not a bit surprised that so many others can’t live without the washable bamboo rounds that are so fundamental to my daily routine. It’s also unsurprising that thousands of reviewers agree every kitchen needs a set of silicone covers that fit any container you have. But there are a few sleeper hits here, too. I’ll bet you didn’t know that a cheap FM transmitter is all your car needs bring it into 2021 connectedness. I’m sure you will use that constantly!

With all this in mind, keep reading to discover dozens of items that are totally affordable but have been proven to be incredibly useful.

1. A cleaning gel that’s so easy to use for detailing your car

Keeping a car’s many nooks and crevices clean is a painstaking job if you use traditional tools, but not with this gel. It’s designed precisely for this task and it makes the job super easy. Work it in your hand for a minute and enjoy the lavender scent. Then, press it into your car’s crevices to grab dirt and dust. Pull the gel out and press it into the next space. You’ll know it’s spent when it changes color.

2. This genius gadget that prevents clogged drains

If you hate dealing with a clogged drain, you need this set of silicone hair traps to avoid the issue altogether. Just place one over the drain and water flows through the holes while hair and other debris gets captured, so you can simply pick it up and empty the debris into the trash periodically. No more snaking the drain. The pretty colors in the five-pack even look like a cute accessory in your tub or shower.

3. This relaxing, scented bath salt to help you sleep

Fill a tub with warm water and a scoop of this lavender-infused Epsom salt to wash away your aches and pains along with the day’s stresses. You may just find a relaxing bath is what you need to sleep more soundly. And this 2-pound bag of Epsom salts scented with lavender essential oil will last you a while. It also makes an excellent compress for bug bites and other injuries.

4. The shower head that filters impurities from your water

With a filtration system in the handle that removes impurities and softens hard water, this handheld shower head delivers an amazing shower experience that may improve your hair and skin. It also features micro jets that actually increase water pressure while conserving water. There are three settings — rainfall, massage, and jet — so you can enjoy whatever water pattern suits your need.

5. A minty lip balm that’s made from beeswax & a fan favorite

Keep your lips moisturized with this Burt’s Bees balm. Made with beeswax, coconut oil, and sunflower seed oil, the formula creates a moisture barrier that prevents further chapping. Peppermint oil and rosemary extract give the balm a delicious minty taste and a bit of a tingle on your lips. It’s a perennial favorite with a 4.8-star rating and over 24,000 reviews on Amazon.

6. These reusable makeup remover pads that replace cotton pads

These reusable bamboo pads quickly pay for themselves since you no longer have to keep buying disposable cotton pads or balls. They’re useful for wiping your face and removing makeup, and they’re also super soft and absorbent. Plus, the 16-pack of pads comes with a laundry bag, so you can toss them right in the washing machine without losing any.

7. A silicone body scrubber that won’t mildew

If you are grossed out by the the microbe breeding ground that your loofah or washcloth quickly becomes, this silicone body scrubber is your new hygienic best friend. It lathers up, scrubs gently, softly exfoliates, and makes it easy to get your entire body clean. Then it rinses clean easily and dries quickly so that it does not become moldy or mildewed. Almost 6,000 reviewers give it five stars.

8. This multitool flashlight that picks up dropped items

If you are carry a flashlight, make it this slick and super bright Vibelite that also has a telescoping head to reach into dark places. Its gooseneck can even turn corners, and it has a magnetic end so it can pick up dropped nuts, bolts, screws, keys, and other hard-to-reach items. It’s small and lightweight enough to keep in your pocket or glove compartment.

9. This reusable & organic food wrap made with beeswax

This reusable beeswax-infused cloth will completely replace plastic wrap in your life. The GOTS-certified organic cotton cloths wrap around foods, like a block of cheese, to create a seal that keeps it fresh. The wrap also makes a nice mat to eat on after it carries your sandwich, and it’s washable. The set brings three large pieces that can be reused to wrap leftovers for a year or more.

10. This car trash can that folds down for storage

Hang this trash can somewhere convenient in your car and say goodbye to the accumulation of water bottles and snack wrappers that collects on the floor. The bin hangs over the console, gear shift, or anywhere in the car where you need to reign in the mess. Two snaps hold a plastic bag in place and it folds flat so you can store it under a seat.

11. These stretchy silicone lids to cover any container

Instead of transferring food to a storage container, simply cover the bowl it’s in using this clear silicone cover that stretches to fit. It forms a firm seal on containers of any shape. This set of six ranges in size, including a small one to cover a can or cut lemon and a large one that can cover a large mixing bowl. Each dishwasher-safe cover is clear so it’s easy to see what’s in the bowl.

12. A pet hair remover that works without tape or a vacuum cleaner

This grippy, fabric roller grabs pet hair from furniture, carpets, and clothes with startling efficiency. Roll it back and forth over an area, and it’ll grabs pet hair in both directions and deposit it into the dustbin behind the rollers. When you’re done, just open the bin and toss the hair in the trash. Over 6,500 reviewers give this reusable hair remover five stars.

13. A personal & portable blender for smoothies anywhere

Throw some fruit, greens, and juice — along with any supplements or powders — into the 14-ounce travel cup that is the jar of this personal blender for a smoothie on-the-go. Just push the button to create a nutritious drink once you’re ready. It comes with a travel lid for easy sipping, and the jar/cup is dishwasher-safe.

14. This compact keychain that organizes your keys

This key organizer will tame up to eight keys into to a sleek, pocketable package that still allows you easy access to each key. Assemble your keys into the sleeve and it will contain all the sharp edges so they don’t poke you or jingle as you walk. Installing your keys is easy and requires no tools.

15. A simple hanger for ripening bananas without bruises

Hang this unobtrusive banana hanger anywhere in the kitchen to give your banana bunch space to ripen without developing pressure bruises. When there are no bananas, you can remove the bungee part, and you’ll hardly notice the hook is there. But when you have many bunches, it will hold them all so they easy to pluck and eat.

16. A pair of microfiber towels that dry fast and pack small

These microfiber towels absorb up to seven times their weight in water yet dry quickly. They also fold down into compact rolls, so they’re great to pack for the gym, beach, yoga, camping, or traveling. They’re also machine-washable and come in more than 25 colors.

17. This super absorbent sponge cloth that’s eco-friendly

Clean your home with these cellulose sponge cloths that are somewhere between a dishcloth and a sponge. They are stiff like a sponge when dry, but become flexible and cloth-like when wet. They’re super absorbent like a sponge, but also wring out easily and are machine-washable and reusable like a cloth. Reviewers say they are the best of both worlds and give them over 18,500 five star ratings. Plus, they’re biodegradable once they’re spent, which is more than 50 uses.

18. These bamboo paper towels you can wash & reuse

If you like keeping a roll of paper towels in the kitchen but are interested in a more sustainable option, these reusable bamboo towels are it. They pull off the roll and soak up spills just like a conventional paper towel, but you can throw them in the washing machine and reuse them. One roll of these bamboo towels replaces up to six months worth of disposable paper towels.

19. These remote-controlled candles that are super low-maintenance

For less than $15, these flameless LED candles create a relaxing ambiance you can turn on and off with a remote. They emit a realistic glow, and you can even set the three candles on a timer or dim the flame. Never worry about spilled wax or whether you left a candle burning again.

20. These dry-erase sticky notes for reusable reminders

If your organization system relies on paper sticky notes, consider these dry-erase sticky notes that you can use over and over again. They stick to any shiny surface, like a magnet would, without microsuction instead of any adhesive. You can move them around as needed and erase your note to write something new. Reviewers love using them for reminders around the house or to label boxes.

21. A charging station for your phone, watch & earbuds

Turn your bedside table clutter into a slick, high-tech display with this charging station that displays your phone, smart watch, and earbuds. The stand can also fit a wider tablet. This organizer also makes it easy to make sure each of your devices is charging for the next day. It’s made of a durable aluminum alloy that looks sleek as a backdrop to your tech gear.

22. This power strip that upgrades your outlet

Turn a standard two-plug outlet into a slick power station simply be plugging this clever power strip into the outlet and replacing one screw. It offers six standard outlets and two fast-charging USB ports where there once only two places to plug things in. And it even features a built-in night light that turns on automatically at dusk and then turns off in the morning.

23. These motion-sensing strip lights for easy lighting

If you need better lighting under your kitchen cabinets or in your closet, this set of motion-sensor lights will take care of it easily — without wiring. These battery-powered LED light strips turn on when they sense motion and then turn off a few seconds later, so they last a long time. Apply the lights to any flat surface using the included adhesive and built-in magnets.

24. This velvety soft memory foam bath mat

Make stepping out of the shower a pleasurable and safe experience with this memory-foam microfiber bath mat. Not only is it a tactile pleasure to stand on the velvety surface, but the grippy bottom keeps it from slipping. You can periodically toss it in the washer and dryer to keep it clean. The mat comes in 21 colors and eight sizes so you can dress the bathroom exactly how you want it.

25. This produce container that preserves fresh produce

Store your produce in this container, and you won’t open the fridge to discover your berries or vegetables have spoiled before you got a chance to eat them. A tray on the bottom moves moisture away from produce, and a vented lid moves oxygen and carbon dioxide in and out to create an environment that extends the life of fresh goods. You’ll end up saving money by no longer tossing uneaten food.

26. A garment steamer because it’s so much easier than ironing

Steaming the wrinkles out of your clothes does not require an ironing board, an iron, and an hour. It can be done in seconds — right on the hanger — with this lightweight, powerful, and portable steamer. It’s small enough to pack in your suitcase and holds enough water for 15 minutes of continuous steam.

27. This stylish wine rack that displays your collection

Create a wine cellar moment on any corner of the counter or a shelf with this elegant wine rack. Its hexagon holes hold seven bottles, and the geometric design looks stylish wherever you place it. You can also stack multiple racks to create a larger storage system.

28. A micellar water cleanser that’s also hydrating

This micellar water cleanser removes oil, dirt, and makeup from skin without requiring that you rinse your face to clean. Just squirt some onto a cotton pad or cloth and gently wipe. The cleansing formula contains ceramides and niacinamide to hydrate and soothe skin without stripping away your skin’s natural barrier.

29. This adapter so you can listen to music from your phone in the car

Plug this clever transmitter into your car’s lighter adapter, and you’ll be able to play music and take calls from your smartphone via Bluetooth. Now you can listen to your Spotify playlist through your car’s stereo just like you bought a brand-new car. It also puts two USB charging ports right where you can reach them, and lets you talk on the phone through the car’s speakers. Reviewers love it, giving it over 1,000 five-star reviews.

30. This pair of dough scrapers that are so handy in the kitchen

These scrapers are helpful for manipulating dough, but you’ll find find yourself reaching for them even when you’re not baking. Use them to cut and scrape dough from a board or to remove batter from a bowl or to carry chopped vegetables from the cutting board to the pan. They are flexible but firm, and they’re conveniently dishwasher-safe.

31. These pimple patches that zap zits in hours

These blemish patches are loaded with hydrocolloid to pull the gunk right out of blemishes. Put it on like a tiny bandage, and it reduces or eliminates a blemish in just six hours. It’s strong enough to stay on all night, no matter how much you toss and turn, and it’s barely noticeable so you can wear it during the day, too. Almost 38,000 people give it five stars.

32. This cast-iron skillet that’s wildly popular

This 12-inch cast-iron skillet will quickly become your go-to pan whether you are cooking on the stovetop, in the oven, or on a grill. It’s hefty and capable of achieving high temperatures for searing but also is known for excellent heat retention. The pan features a helper handle, and it comes with a heatproof silicone sleeve so you can comfortably grab the long handle. There’s a reason it maintains a 4.7-star rating with over 90,000 reviews.

33. This deep-cleaning clay mask with hordes of fans

This facial-in-a-jar is 100% calcium bentonite clay, which is renowned for it’s deep-cleaning properties. Mix it with vinegar or water, paint it onto your skin, and it pulls out impurities from your pores, which makes it great for body wraps, foot soaks, and bug-bite poultices, too. It has over 40,000 fans who give it five stars.

34. This milk frother for coffee drinks or mixing powders

This battery-operated milk frother will transform milk into silky foam for your morning latte. It’s also a terrific way to mix powder supplements into a beverage or whip up an impromptu salad dressing from ingredients at hand. It’s a must-have for saving you a trip to the coffee shop.

35. This bar soap for your clothes

Use this bar soap and some water to easily remove stains on clothes. It’s gentle, effective, and the bar form makes it great for spot cleaning hard-to-clean delicates or stubborn stains while traveling. For under $10, the scent is absolutely luxurious with notes of jasmine, sandalwood, and lily of the valley.

36. This tiny waffle maker that makes people happy

Reviewers are singing the praises of this tiny waffle maker because it is compact and creates one perfect, delicious waffle in minutes. Seriously, it has over 132,000 five-star reviews. The nonstick surface is easy to clean, and the waffle maker is small enough to fit in one hand and weighs just a pound, so you can make room for this appliance.

37. This set of non-slip, space-saving velvet hangers

Instantly upgrade your closet with these matching velvet hangers that take up less space on a closet rod than traditional ones. The velvet coating and notched shoulders mean your clothes won’t slip off the hangers, and the hooks conveniently swivel. They’re a simple purchase that’s a closet gamechanger, so it’s wonder they’ve earned 95,000 five-star reviews.

38. This metal bar that eliminates stubborn odors on your hands

Treat this stainless steel bar like a bar of soap, and it will remove stubborn odors from fish, garlic, and other pungent foods. Stainless steel molecules bind with sulfur molecules, which completely removes them from your skin. Unlike bar soap (which doesn’t work that well for these smells), this thing will last forever.

39. A cool gadget that preserves the other half of your avocado

This weird little device will keep that half avocado you want to save for another day from turning brown in the fridge. Just put the stretchy cover onto your remaining avocado half and fasten the belt. It keeps air away from the cut fruit, so it won’t oxidize unappealingly.

40. This set of long-lasting wool balls that replace dryer sheets

If you like to put a dryer sheet in with your clothes, you will like these wool dryer balls even better. They’re reusable, sustainable, and actually are more effective at reducing wrinkles and reduce static cling. Plus, they’re gentler on sensitive skin. You can add a few drops of essential oil to them if you miss that fresh laundry scent.

41. This dishwasher-safe tool for a perfectly sliced egg

If you want a neatly sliced hard boiled egg, put it into this slicer. The stainless steel wires transform an egg (or a mushroom) into ten thin slices with one quick gesture. And it won’t get your hands, a knife, or a cutting board dirty. Plus, this gadget is conveniently dishwasher-safe.

42. A beautiful collection of organic herbal teas

With this set of 45 organic herbal teas, you can try an assortment of refreshing drinks when the mood strikes. Sip a nighttime tea to fall asleep easily, boost your immune system with elderberry and echinacea, or create a refreshing iced tea with lemon, ginger, and honey tea. Each sachet is beautifully and individually packaged, and the collection is fun to explore.

43. This rattan bowl for proofing bread

When you proof your bread in this rattan bowl, the boule that comes out of the oven will have those classic ribs that make it look like it came from a boulangerie in Paris. It’s lined in linen — just dust it with flour — and it will take your baking to the next level. One reviewer commented, “They are the perfect size and leave the prettiest flour lines in the loaf.”

44. This tiny tracking device for your cat or luggage

Attach this Tile tracker to anything you don’t want to lose: your backpack, keys, pet’s collar, wallet, luggage, or anything else. It connects to your phone via Bluetooth and lets you keep an eye on where the Tile is in the world. If it’s close — hiding under the couch or up a nearby tree — you can tap your phone and the tile will sound an alarm so you can find it. Over 33,000 people love this thing.

45. A pair of spoon rests to keep your counters clean

Where do you set the spoon after you stir the pot? This pair of classy, inexpensive, stainless steel spoon rests gives you one to keep on the counter and another to go in the dishwasher so you always have one handy, even if you cook often. It comes in seven color options and is designed to hold even a large ladle at an incline.

46. A reading light that rests around your neck

If you want to read without waking your bed partner or turning on bright lights, sling this clever light around your neck. It points a beam wherever you want, has three light colors, and adjusts to three levels of brightness. You can control each arm independently and recharge it with the same type-C USB charger your phone uses.

47. An windproof umbrella that’s designed for portability

Ditch the cheap umbrellas that fall apart at the first gust and reach for this sturdier umbrella. It’s only eleven inches long when retracted, but it opens to offer a large 42-inch protection zone from rain. Vents built into the dome allow wind to travel through it, rather than inverting the umbrella and rendering it useless. It opens and closes at the push of a button, too.

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