45 expensive mistakes you're making inside your home

Money-saving solutions can be found here.

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One truth I’ve discovered about adulting is that it can be expensive — and not an “Oh, I’m going out with my friends for the fourth night this week,” expensive, although that’s technically an option — but a “Gee, why are coffee pods so pricey and how do I repair these floor scuffs, and why does my dryer smell like burnt dust, and I think I need to start wearing sunscreen every day” kind of expensive. Little things can start adding up until they no longer feel little.

However, sometimes all that it takes to curb this spending is a bit of foresight — or course correction, if this list doesn’t quite reach you in time to call it foresight. The products I’m sharing today can help you stop making expensive mistakes in and out of your home. With most of these items, all that’s required is a quick and simple purchase now, to save you time, effort, and money down the road. If you’re looking for the CliffsNotes version, just know that planning ahead, finding ways to use up products instead of tossing them, and never sacrificing safety are almost always good ideas. If you’re looking for more tangible suggestions you can incorporate around your home, then get to scrolling.


Lighting your yard with old school electric lights

These weather-resistant garden lights require only solar power, so using them will never add to your energy bill. They contain rechargeable batteries, illuminate automatically when the sun goes down, and turn off when daylight returns. Plus, they’re wire-free, and the stake design makes them easy to install.


Buying lunch instead of packing your meals

While buying lunch may be fun, it can quickly add up over time. Instead, use these containers to pack meals from home. They’re made from tough borosilicate glass, making them safe to use in the microwave, freezer, and oven. Plus, their airtight lids help keep everything inside fresh until you’re ready to eat.


Putting up with cheap knives & their dull blades

Even if your knives are on the cheaper end, this sharpener can help get their blades working nearly as well as more expensive brands. There’s no electricity required — simply run your knives through the tungsten carbide slot, and they’ll come out working good as new. Plus, the small size makes it easy to stash inside of a drawer.


Overlooking simple hacks for easier pet care

All pet bowls are not created equal. This stainless steel pet water fountain makes it easy for your pet to stay hydrated, and for your floors to stay dry; both of which are great problems to solve before they even start. Not only that, it filters water for your beloved pets, is dishwasher safe, and holds 2 liters so you won’t have to worry about your buddy getting parched while you’re away.


Not getting every drop out of bottles & jars

This set of long-handled spatulas are sized to get into some of your tiniest bottles and jars, so gone are the days of tossing perfectly good but impossible-to-reach servings. They’re also BPA-free and dishwasher-safe, and while they work great in your kitchen, can be just as useful with beauty products, crafting supplies, for repairs, and more.


Buying store bags because your totes are too small

Not only are these reusable grocery bags more durable and versatile than the plastic ones you’ll get charged for at the checkout counter, but they can carry a much bigger and heavier load of groceries — so it’s way easier to get everything in one trip. Each canvas bag has a reinforced bottom and can hold the same amount as up to four paper bags, and six plastic bags.


Not keeping a good stain remover on hand

It’s inevitable that you’ll spill red wine, marinara, or chocolate sauce all over your carpet or clothes at some point — be prepared by keeping a good stain remover on hand. Free of peroxide and chlorine, this pH-balanced spray is safe to use on upholstery, rugs, linens, and clothing. And while it’s designed for use with red wine, it’s effective on just about everything. One reviewer wrote, “We had company over for Thanksgiving, and her son dropped cranberry sauce all over one of my cream colored carpets. [...] My carpet was stained red. It was not coming out. This stuff took it out right in front of my eyes...”


Buying single-use coffee pods when you can fill your own

Finally, you can now use your single-cup coffee brewer with those locally roasted grounds that are sitting pretty in your pantry — and save yourself from buying pricey pods. This set comes with two reusable cups that are compatible with a variety of machines, plus a scoop and funnel that make for easy filling. They can be used with paper filters, too.


Letting bread go stale before you can finish the loaf

Not only is this bread box sure to look good sitting out on your counters, but it can also help keep your loaves from becoming stale before you can finish eating them. It’s made from tough carbon steel, making it dent-resistant — just in case you drop it. Plus, the powder coating on the outside helps keep it rust-free.


Using disposable cotton rounds instead of washable ones

Not only do these reusable cotton rounds need to be replaced far less often than the single-use disposable ones, but they’re better for the environment, too — you’re creating less trash and avoiding plastic packaging. Each box comes with 14 bamboo cotton pads, plus a small laundry bag to keep them safe in the wash.


Buying throwaway handwarmers (& extra phone chargers)

Keep your hands warm and your devices charged with this rechargeable hand warmer that fits right into your pocket. You’ll stay comfortable at home without having to adjust your thermostat, or when you’re on the go, plus you’ll feel good knowing you’ve got a back-up power source on hand. Five different colors are available.


Charging your phone with fraying wires

This 3-pack of braided nylon right angle phone chargers has an improved angle that’s less traumatic for cords coming out of the wall, and makes it easier to use your phone as it charges. They come in 6- and 10-foot lengths so you’ll have enough length to get comfortable (and not be tied to the outlet). They come in three colors and work with a whole gamut of Apple products.


Losing your earbuds when on the move

Never again let fear of losing your ear buds ruin your enjoyment of them. This magnetic Airpods strap slings around the back of your neck to keep those little buggers on you, so you don’t have to worry about them falling during your most intense runs or workouts. Magnetic slots keep the pods in place, and a variety of colors are available (so you’ll always be able to spot the cord in your bag).


Spending money dry cleaning — or replacing — stained clothes

This stain remover is receiving rave reviews from Amazon shoppers, with over 25,000 five-star ratings and comments like “hands down the best stain remover”. This four-ounce bottle is formulated to be biodegradable and made without harmful chemicals and dyes. While it’s marketed to kids and parents for being gentle — but tough — on baby food stains, juice spills, etc, most anyone can benefit from its effectiveness. “My wedding dress got extremely muddy from my wedding,” one reviewer shared. “[...] I sprayed this on let it sit and scrubbed with a toothbrush and got everything out. I cannot reccomend this enough!”


Accidentally cracking glassware on metal dish racks

Unlike metal drying racks that can cause chips and cracks, this one is made from soft silicone that’s much less likely to damage your glassware. It’s also heat-resistant up to 480 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing you to use it as a trivet in a pinch — and the raised grooves let air circulate through to help your dishes dry even faster.


Wasting coffee or tea that goes cold

If you’re anything like me, you can only stand to reheat the same mug of coffee so many times before you have to call it quits. However, a mug warmer like this choice from Mr. Coffee keeps your drinks toasty warm. You can use it anywhere with a standard electric plug, and the on/off indicator light always reminds you when it’s hot.


Running up your energy bills by leaving your lights on

Since these LED light bars are battery-operated, there’s no need to worry about them running up your energy bills every month. A built-in motion sensor prevents them from turning on when no one is around, helping the batteries last longer — and installation is as easy as sticking them right into place using the included adhesive.


Messing up the floors with dirty shoes

Keep your shoes and your floors in tip-top shape with a boot scraper door mat that allows you to give kicks a thorough wipe before entering the home. The coir material is made from coconut husks, and along with steel wiring, gives you the ideal texture for ridding soles of caked-on dirt and mud.


Letting unfinished wine go bad

When you aren’t able to finish a bottle of vino, this wine saver pump prevents you from seeing it go to waste. It removes air from the bottle, and promises to keep wine fresh for up to a week after opening. Great for red or white varieties, it’s a universal size and can be easily washed between uses.


Turning up the thermostat on chilly days

While it can be tempting to crank up the thermostat on chilly days, consider snuggling underneath this throw blanket to stay warm instead. It’s made from soft flannel fleece, making it suitable for all seasons — and the checkerboard weave gives it a unique look that stands out from the crowd. Choose from four sizes as well as dozens of colors.


Overlooking simple products like this MVP moisturizer

This best-selling moisturizing cream has a sky-high 4.8-star average from tens of thousands of reviews, and it’s sold in three different (and cost-effective) sizes, so you can stock up based on your needs and counterspace. Plus, it works with most skin types, on both face and body, and costs way less than fancy brands.


Buying pricy lip balms that don’t even work

When no amount of lip balm seems to soften your chapped lips, consider exfoliating away all those flakes using this scrub. Hawaiian cane sugar granules gently remove chapped skin, while kukui oil and shea butter work together to help soften your pout. The formula is also cruelty-free and vegan.


Using wasteful sticky rollers to pull pet hair off furniture

The sticky sheets that come with lint rollers are incredibly wasteful, so why not make the switch to this reusable ChomChom roller instead? Hundreds of tiny bristles latch onto pet hair, collecting them into a built-in dustbin so they’re easy to dispose of. Reviewers also appreciated how it’s both easy to use and clean.


Throwing out clothes & linens when you run out of space

Running out of storage space in your bedroom? Instead of throwing garments and linens out, stash them underneath your bed using these bags. Reinforced handles help you pull them out whenever you need something, while a mesh top makes it easy to see what’s inside without having to unpack everything. Choose from three colors: black, grey, or java.


Allowing drafts to sneak in through cracks & crevices

This foam door guard and draft stopper covers gaps between the door and the floor, blocking out weather, wind, dust, odors, and more. Plus, it keeps inside air from escaping, so is especially handy during the hottest and coldest months when thermostats are working hard. It works with doors ranging from 30-36 inches, and is easy to adjust and cut.


Letting rug corners curl up & get stuck that way

The right rug in the right place can do wonders for a room, but if not secured, corners that lie in the path of feet have a way of getting crimped with a permanent curl. It’s not only an eyesore, it’s a trip-hazard, too. These non-stick rug pads use patent-pending technology to keep them in place, protecting your floors (and you) from scuffs and damage, and keeping the rugs safe.


Throwing out fresh bacon grease instead of saving it for later

Using bacon grease in your cooking can give it a delicious depth of flavor, making this container a must-have in any kitchen. A built-in strainer removes any burnt bits so that all you’re left with is pure, fresh grease — and it’s unlikely that the stainless steel walls will ever start to rust. “The strainer works perfectly, straining all the bacon bits out of the fat,” wrote one reviewer. “Whenever my husband and I make bacon, we strain the grease into the container, let it cool to room temperature, and then place it in the fridge.”


Letting unwanted light & heat get inside

Not only do blackout curtains keep your room dark and dim while you sleep, but they can insulate your space and help with temperature control, too. This versatile set comes in 11 different solid colors, and in 12 different sizes, all of which hang with elegant grommets for a luxe look.


Covering your open pet food cans with plastic wrap

Plastic wrap does an alright job at keeping your open pet food cans fresh — but these silicone lids are a much better option. They create a tight seal to help keep air from leaking inside, and can easily be tossed into the dishwasher for a quick clean. Plus, the universal design allows them to fit onto nearly any can.


Not properly maintaining the cast iron

If you’ve splurged for a cast iron pan, I’d wager that one of the last things you want to do is damage it. Enter this stainless steel cast iron pan cleaner, which can gently scrub and clean your favorite cookware, then be washed in the dishwasher in between uses.


Letting the last avocado half go bad

Few things feel sadder than reaching for an avocado half in your fridge, only to discover it’s no longer fresh. If you hope to avoid such a tragedy in your future, consider these dishwasher-safe, reusable avocado holders, which have a rubber strap hold avocado halves in place and prevent browning.


Using paper towels to wipe up wet messes

Instead of wasting money on paper towels, why not upgrade to these Swedish dishcloths? They’re just as absorbent, but can be washed and reused hundreds of times to help you save money. And since they’re gritty when dry, yet soft when wet, you can use them on a variety of delicate surfaces without having to worry about leaving behind scratches.


Running the a/c all night instead of using temperature-regulating sheets

Running the air conditioning all night isn’t cheap — outfit your bed with these sheets that are made from bamboo, which is naturally temperature-regulating and cool to the touch (really — you’ll be surprised how much cooler they are than cotton). The sheets are also exceptionally soft, so you’ll sleep like a baby.

  • Available sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King, California King
  • Available colors: 12


Storing coffee grounds in containers that aren’t airtight

With its airtight lid and CO2 release valve, this canister is a must-have if you’re looking for ways to ensure that your morning cup of Joe tastes as fresh as possible. It’s made from rust-resistant stainless steel — and each order even includes a small coffee scoop that attaches right on the side for safekeeping.


Damaging tables & surfaces with water spots

Made with absorbent ceramic and backed with soft cork, these marble-patterned coasters protect your furniture from water rings and other damage caused by damp glasses etc., plus they look elegant and sophisticated to boot. They come with a sleek iron holder so you can keep them in a tidy display.


Missing kitchen notifications & burning dinner

This handy digital timer can come with you to any part of your home, so you don’t have to worry about missing a beep or blare from the oven or microwave timer and risk overcooking a meal. The dual-display allows you to set two timers at once, and it features both a magnetic back and a tabletop stand.


Getting scratches & scrapes on the floor from furniture

A little wear and tear is one thing, but a collage of scratches on the floor can add up. These silicone and felt chair leg covers are available in a variety of styles and colors, so they can work with chairs and furniture of a variety of shapes and sizes. They simply slip onto chair legs and stay on their own, no glue or adhesive is needed.


Letting hard furniture legs scuff up your floors

Letting your furniture scrape across hard floors is an easy way to scratch them up, so why not cap the legs with these pads? Not only do they help prevent scratches, but each order includes a variety of sizes to fit legs of nearly any shape. Or, if your furniture legs are truly unique, you can even trim them to fit as needed.


Tossing out herbs or produce that went bad before you could use it

This herb keeper stores herbs and certain types of produce in such a way that they stay fresher for longer, so you have more time to eat them. The basket allows water to reach the base of the herb and for air to circulate, and the size is versatile enough for a fridge door or shelf.


Getting bigger bags instead of packing smaller bags, smarter

If your current suitcase situation is not cutting it, the solution may be a set of packing cubes (and not, you know, a brand new expensive suitcase). They allow you to organize your suitcase as you pack, so you have a firm grasp of what you have, and they offer belongings an added layer of protection — they’re waterproof. The set is available in 10 different colors, and includes six cubes.


Storing products in a way that leads to spills or waste

We all know that large product containers are often the best buy... but not if you end up wasting a bunch of their contents. This laundry soap station allows you to use and store jugs of detergent at the ideal angle, making it easier to dispense and keeping your laundry area tidier.


Adding too much olive oil to your dishes

Transfer your olive oil into these glass dispensers, and their pour spouts will help keep you from using an unnecessary amount when adding it to meals or greasing cookware. Each order includes a collapsible funnel to help you fill them with minimal mess, as well as a stylish caddy.


Buying lattes when you can froth your own milk at home

Yes, yes, we’ve all been told that if we only made our own coffee drinks at home, we’d be a lot richer, and while it’s not at all true, hear me out: Making your own lattes and cappuccinos at home is actually kind of fun and worth it. (And yeah, the dollars add up.) This milk frother has earned a 4.6-star overall rating on Amazon after 10,000 reviews, and it’s reliable and super simple to use.


Wasting electricity instead of using motion-sensor lights

Whether you place them under stair steps, along a hallway, or inside a closet, these motion-sensor lights will save you from wasting electricity by switching on the overhead light. The three battery-operated lights automatically turn on when they detect motion within 10 feet, then switch off after 30 seconds of inactivity. This is one foolproof way to lower your power bill.


Buying (& tossing) single-use plastic bags instead of having reusable ones

Not only does buying plastic baggies add to your grocery bill, but it’s not great for the environment. These reusable, dishwasher-safe food storage bags get the job done just as well as the disposable ones, without breaking the bank (or taking up space in landfills). Multiple sizes and different packages are available to satisfy your baggie needs.