44 cheap things that save you from having to buy expensive crap

From glue that fixes pretty much anything to reusable paper towels, it’s all here.

Originally Published: 
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

There's always a cheaper way to get a job done, and if you're budget-conscious like I am, digging around a little on Amazon can pay real dividends. The site offers up some amazingly inexpensive alternatives to what you'd traditionally have to spend a lot of money on, including these cheap problem-solving things that save you a ton of cash.

One of my favorite products on the list is this ultra-versatile glue that you can mold with your hands to fix just about anything, from shoes with detached soles to electrical cords that have frayed. It's waterproof, heat-resistant, and comes in a wide variety of colors.

There are also a myriad of DIY items that revive your living space, like this peel-and-stick backsplash that puts subway tile in your kitchen without you having to hire someone to install it. (It's available in nine colors, too.) Plus, you can restyle any room with zero effort, thanks to these velvet throw pillow covers that revamp your existing ones. All of these amazing Amazon solutions make your life easier, and they'll save you a fortune. Then you'll be free to do other things with your money (like spend it on yourself), so get shopping now.


This way to recharge batteries for endless reuse

Instead of constantly buying new batteries for your remote control and other appliances, simply use this this battery charger to juice up your AA and AAA batteries. It delivers a full charge in just four hours and features a status indicator to let you know when they're ready. Just pair them with some rechargeable batteries, and you're good to go.


A dry cleaning kit you can use at home

This dry cleaning kit is a great way to refresh delicate clothes without breaking the bank at the dry cleaner. Start with the included stain remover to spot clean, then toss a cleaning sheet into the dryer with your garments to remove odors and wrinkles, and your clothes will be good as new. Each set comes with six sheets that can clean up to five garments each.


The 3-In-1 vacuum that's really lightweight

At just 2.6 pounds, this lightweight vacuum is easy to carry around, which means you just might not mind doing chores as much. Even better, the stick vacuum is convertible, so you can also use it as a handheld vacuum or stair vacuum for easy cleaning all over your home. Need even more convincing? It's earned 50,000 reviews and a 4.4-star overall rating.


This shoe cleaning kit that keeps your kicks fresh

Keep your favorite shoes looking like new with this shoe cleaner kit that features a concentrated cleaner and soft bristle brush. Just squeeze a few drops of cleaner onto the brush, top with water, and scrub on your leather, canvas, suede, or nubuck shoes to rub out stains and dirt and give them new life.


These reusable paper towels that are eco-conscious & budget-friendly

Made from renewable and organic bamboo, these reusable paper towels can be machine-washed up to 120 times each, which will cut down on paper waste, as well as your grocery bill. One roll replaces up to 60 rolls of traditional paper towels, and each sheet is strong, absorbent, and won't leave lint or streaks behind.


This moldable glue that can fix so many things

Made from moldable silicone, this glue can do everything from bonding your floppy shoe sole to sealing leaky taps (yep, it's waterproof). Plus, it's insulating properties mean you can even use it to repair frayed cables. This adhesive comes in a variety of shades, so you can get black or white to blend in with your repair project, or red, blue, and yellow for a pop of color.


These cleaning brushes that make your dryer more efficient

Get better performance from your dryer by using one of these cleaning brushes to remove the leftover lint that gets trapped under the filter and deep within your dryer. That excess lint can bog down your appliance, which can mean longer drying times. With a flexible head, this tool gets the job done, and you can keep the spare or gift it to a friend.


These reusable food storage bags that replace baggies

We put tons of plastic into the ocean every year, so when you choose these reusable plastic bags, you're not only saving money, you're also helping to save the planet. The BPA-free bags feature double-lock, airtight zippers to seal in freshness, and they're freezer-safe for long-term storage. Each set comes with six sandwich bags and six snack-size bags, but you can also opt for sets with gallon-size bags.


This kit that adds lighting under your cabinets

Lighting can make a huge difference in any room, and this under-cabinet lighting kit makes it easy to add upmarket illumination at a price that won't break your budget. Featuring LEDs that deliver a total of 1500 lumens, the kit comes with a remote control dimmer and installs easily with the included accessories.


The UV protectant spray for your car interior

Your car will look like it just rolled off the dealer's lot when you use this UV protectant spray to shield the interior from the sun. It applies easily: Simply spray on and buff with a microfiber cloth. Suitable for rubber, plastic, leather, and vinyl surfaces, it's the best way to prevent fading and cracking.


This gadget that keeps leftover snacks fresh

Keep chips, candy, cereal, and lots more fresh with this resealer that uses heat to close bags. It preheats quickly and works efficiently, and it's an easy way to prevent staleness, which means you won't have to spend cash restocking on groceries that have lost their crispiness.


The pillow covers that change up any room instantly

Made from soft and durable velvet, these pillow covers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, so you can revamp your space without having to invest in new pillows. Available in 34 shades, they feature tailored seams and hidden zippers, so they're extra-durable for long-term use.


A laptop cooling pad that keeps your computer running smoothly

Save yourself the agony and frustration of a computer that malfunctions due to overheating by getting this laptop cooling pad. It boasts silent operation and features five fans to keep your laptop cool while you work, stream videos, or game to your heart's content. Plus, it operates on six speed settings and can be adjusted to five heights for optimal viewing and neck comfort.


These soap savers that prevent sogginess

Make your bars of soap last longer by placing them on these pads that have cross-woven fibers to allow excess water to drain. Ideal for showers and bathroom and kitchen sinks, they also allow bars of soap to dry in between uses, which means they'll last longer and won't leave a soggy mess behind.


These enzyme sticks that keep your drains clear

Formulated with a blend of bacteria and enzymes, these sticks keep your drains clear of everything from grease and food remnants to hair clogs, so you can avoid costly plumbing repairs. They're simple to use: Just drop a stick into your problematic drain and let the biological agents go to work to keep it clog-free and smelling fresh.


The sheets that keep your produce fresh

Infused with organic botanicals, these produce saver sheets extend the life of fruits and veggies by up to four times, ensuring you can enjoy them before they go to waste. Suitable for use both inside and outside the refrigerator, they last for up to two months and are recyclable and compostable.


These reusable cotton rounds made from bamboo

Made from organic fabric that feels soft on the skin, these reusable bamboo cotton rounds are machine-washable and will give you years of use — great for your wallet and for the environment. They come with a laundry bag that makes it easy to store and wash them, and the pads are 100% biodegradable and compostable.


The eco-friendly wool dryer balls you can use over and over again

Get your laundry soft and fluffy without the chemicals of a disposable dryer sheet with these simple wool dryer balls. Ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies, these fragrance-free balls work in any type of dryer. And, according to one reviewer, “Although unscented a drop of essential oil on the ball will scent [your] laundry beautifully.”


A bungee hanger that keeps bananas fresher longer

With several bungees that are designed to replicate the way bananas naturally hang off the tree, this hanger promotes airflow between the fruit to extend freshness and prevent bruising. It's also a great way to keep your countertop clear, and can be easily mounted under your kitchen cabinet.


These motion-sensor lights that are solar-powered

Outdoor lighting can be pricey, but these motion-sensor lights are budget-friendly and solar-powered, so they won't add to your monthly electricity bill. They're easy to install with the included hardware or adhesive, and the lights are triggered when they detect motion within 16 feet.


The waterproof phone pouch for pool & beach days

Whether you're at the pool, beach, or lake, you can keep your smartphone safe with this pouch that's waterproof up to a depth of 100 feet. It even has clear windows on both sides, so you can take pictures and videos, as well as send texts and check your email. Available in 14 colors, it comes with a lanyard so you can carry it around your neck for convenience.


This wall repair putty that's easy to apply

You'll definitely get your rental deposit back after you give your apartment walls some TLC with this putty that makes any small holes disappear. Suitable for use on drywall, plaster, and wood, it won't shrink and doesn't dry out in the tube. After it dries, you can sand it down and paint over it like a charm.


A faux tile backsplash that applies in minutes

Love the tile look but can't afford it? Get this peel-and-stick tile backsplash that gives you the same look and feel as classic, professionally installed subway tile. While it's perfect for the kitchen, these sheets are also great when you're redoing the bathroom or laundry room, and they come in eight colors, as well as classic white with black "grout".


The sheet set with thousands of 5-star reviews

A veritable cult-favorite on Amazon, these sheets have earned an astonishing 170,000 five-star ratings and counting. Available in a range of colors and sizes, they're made from brushed microfiber that's about the softest thing you'll feel in your life, so you'll feel like you're sleeping on luxury hotel bedding every night. Trust me, these are an absolute must-have.

  • Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king


This leather wallet that's (ahem) wallet-friendly

Made from 100% leather and available in more than two dozen colors, this minimalist wallet has an upscale feel and a budget-friendly price. It features eight credit card slots plus a hidden pocket for cash, and the RFID technology shields your ID and credit cards from any potential digital theft.


An outdoor furniture spray that guards against water & sun damage

You know Scotchguard as the magic stuff that keeps fabrics stain-free —well, this Scotchguard spray does that, but it's also specially designed to protect your outdoor furniture. Not only does it repel water, but it also shields fabric from UV rays to prevent fading and wear, so your patio furniture looks newer for longer. It's suitable for use on all fabrics, including delicate suede.


These reusable cloths for cleaning & dishes

There may be no more versatile kitchen item than these Swedish dishcloths: Not only can you wash your dishes with these super absorbent, cellulose dishcloths, but they're also great for dusting and scrubbing any surface in your home. They're the perfect replacement in any situation when you'd use a paper towel, and wash easily in your dishwasher for reuse.


These beeswax wraps that replace plastic wrap

Sustainably harvested beeswax is the hero ingredient in these reusable food wraps that are designed to keep produce, sandwiches, and leftovers fresh. Just use your hands to warm the wax, and the wrap will mold to the shape of the container or food. Not only do these wash easily for reuse, but they're fully biodegradable.


The shoe glue that gives new life to old kicks

Don't throw away your favorite shoes just because the soles are flopping around — simply apply this glue that re-adheres loose parts in just seconds. It's suitable for use on almost all materials, including vinyl and rubber, and the flexible bond won't crack in the cold or melt in the heat. Simply apply and hold pressure for a few seconds and your shoe is fixed — no cobbler needed.


This herb garden that fits on your windowsill

Fresh herbs make all the difference in cooking but they can be expensive and temperamental to store until you're ready for them. A better alternative is to invest just a few bucks in this herb growing kit that you can place on your windowsill or any sunny spot. It has everything you need to grow nine herbs from seeds, including thyme, basil, chives, and parsley.


These dry-erase sticky notes that are infinitely reusable

I absolutely rely on sticky notes to help me remember where I'm supposed to be and when — and these dry-erase versions not only save money on buying new ones, but guarantee there's always a fresh one around for jotting down reminders. They're available in a variety of sizes, and there's even a lined version if you like your notes to be ultra-neat.


A mattress protector that's hypoallergenic & waterproof

Waterproof and hypoallergenic, this mattress protector extends the life of your mattress (an investment if there ever was one) by keeping it safe from stains, dust mites, and perspiration. With a fitted sheet design and a luxe cotton terry surface, it won't change the feel of your mattress, so you can get just the style of restful sleep you want.

  • Available sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king


These right-angle chargers that are fray-resistant

Sometimes I feel like I go through smartphone charging cords as if they were sticks of gum, but it's quite possible that these cables will finally put an end to that problem. The 10-foot cords feature connectors that are placed at 90-degree angles to eliminate the risk of bending and fraying. Brilliant.


The reusable cups that make everyday coffee Keurig-compatible

If you've always felt guilty about using your Keurig coffee maker, you can now stop, thanks to these reusable K-cups that are so much more eco-friendly. Plus, they're economical since you'll no longer have to pay for the cups themselves. Grind your own beans, sprinkle some cinnamon onto your blend, and enjoy both your java and your savings.


These lids that keep fizzy beverages carbonated

Preserve the carbonation of your opened sodas, beers, and other canned beverages with these fizz lids that screw on top to lock in the bubbles while still allowing for easy sipping from the bottle top. Made from BPA-free plastic, they create a tight seal that also keeps bugs and dirt out of your drink — ideal for use when you're at the beach or the lake.


The reusable twist ties that keep your cords from tangling

Keep your electronic cords in good shape with these ties that keep tangling and snares at bay, ensuring they'll be perfectly stored. Crafted from rubber with a bendable wire interior, they're available in nine colors and a wide variety of sizes.


The wool dryer balls that save time & energy on laundry day

Made from 100% organic New Zealand wool, these dryer balls promote airflow, which means your clothes will dry more quickly — helping you save big time on your energy bill. As a bonus, your clothes will be extra soft and fluffy, and you can add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to add a fresh scent to your garments.


The waterproofing spray for your shoes

Keep your favorite shoes protected from the elements — as well as stains — with this waterproofing spray. It can be used on nearly every fabric and material, including leather and suede, and has more than 4,000 five-star ratings from happy customers who rave about its protection (including a reviewer whose dog just couldn't contain his enthusiasm upon seeing his owner). You know you need this one.


A kit to repair leather furniture, apparel & more

Use this kit to repair your leather furniture, apparel, and more, and you'll avoid pricey professional repairs or, even worse — replacing beloved items that are just gently damaged. Place the backing fabric under large holes (like burn marks or tears), then work with the 10 colored compounds to blend a custom color that matches the leather. Apply the compound with the brush, and use the palette to remove any extra.


A reusable notebook that syncs to the cloud

If you take lots of notes in meetings and wish your scribblings would automatically digitize themselves, this reusable notebook is for you. After writing or drawing, you can send the page to the cloud for storage. Then, once you have your musings safely stored away, simply erase the pages and use them again.


These cedar blocks that extend the life of clothes & linens

Keep your clothes and linens fresh, dry, and moth-free with these cedar blocks. Made from 100% natural cedar, they impart that fresh scent that's unparalleled while also preserving delicate garments over time. They're sized to fit easily in your drawers and closets, so you can keep wool, cashmere, and just plain casual clothes in great condition.


This multi-grooming trimmer for haircuts at home

Instead of a trip to the barber, use these clippers that come with 13 attachments, including both hair and beard guards. Featuring self-sharpening stainless steel blades, you'll get a clean trim, and both the blades and the guards are easy to detach for cleaning. Plus, the set comes with a convenient travel bag so you can take it on the road with you.


A steam cleaner that sanitizes everything

Keep all your home extra clean without hiring a professional service to do it with this steam cleaner that sanitizes on command. It's ideal for cleaning bathroom surfaces like tile and grout, as well as high-traffic kitchen surfaces, and even upholstery and carpet. The best part? All you need is water to operate it.


The kit that gives your car a professional finish at home

With cleaning tools for every part of your vehicle — from the windshield to the tires — this car wash kit helps you get a professional detailing job right at home. From trusted brand Armor All, it includes an interior protectant to moisturize plastic, vinyl, and rubber surfaces and guard them from UV damage, as well as glass cleaning spray, tire cleaning foam, a multipurpose cleaning spray, and a microfiber towel to apply and polish.

This article was originally published on