40 surprising ways you're wasting money every day

Your simple fixes can be found here.

Originally Published: 
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The devil is in the details, and sometimes that’s where some extra cash is lurking, too — right in the little details of your day-to-day life. Take a closer look at some common problems around the house that affect things like your energy bill, or figure out just what you’re spending money on at the the grocery store, and you might be shocked at how money is flying right out the door. Luckily, there are so many simple fixes for household challenges that’ll help you hold onto your cash.

Once you’ve hung some thermal-insulating curtains (to cut down on your energy bill) or invested in a meat thermometer (so you don’t overcook another pricey steak), you may wonder what on earth took you so long to find these cheap solutions to money-wasting problems. But just blame that on the devil, and dance all the way to the bank.


Waste: Running through paper towels too fast

Solution: These Swedish dishcloths that are reusable

If you’re trying to make your home more eco-friendly, replacing your wasteful one-and-done paper towels with these Swedish dishcloths is the perfect way to start. They’re more absorbent than paper towels and so durable that you can use them again and again. This 10-pack could easily take care of washing your dishes and cleaning up your messes for months, saving countless rolls of paper towels and a pretty penny, too.

  • Available colors: 9


Waste: Constantly refilling candle lighters with lighter fluid

Solution: A USB-rechargeable plasma lighter

Stop refilling your lighters with lighter fluid and get this plasma lighter instead. The extra-long wand keeps your hands away from the flames, and at the end of the wand is an angled head that generates a plasma arc that ignites even in windy or rainy conditions. It features a simple one-button operation and is USB-rechargeable.

  • Available colors: 2


Waste: Calling the plumber to clear sink drains

Solution: This 6-pack of easy-to-use drain snakes

When your drains start running slow, you need to address that issue right away before the buildup gets out of hand and you end up needing expensive professional help. These durable and flexible drain clog removers have teeth that grab the clog, so you can pull it right up and out. These clog removers also come with a stainless steel snake tool for tougher jobs.

  • Available colors: 2


Waste: Missing out on the last bit of condiments or makeup

Solution: These spatulas that reach every last drop

You know that truffle mustard or hot honey you absolutely love? It’s so frustrating having to throw the jar away when there are definitely at least a couple of spoonfuls hanging out in there — the same is true of that expensive foundation or moisturizer in the bathroom. Well, these last drop spatulas get down to the very bottom of jars, thanks to their long, flexible handles and small silicone heads that scrape up what you could never before reach.


Waste: Eating lunch out every day

Solution: An insulated lunch box set for packing a square meal

Going to lunch with your colleagues is fun, but when you eat lunch out every day, you can easily spend a couple hundred dollars every few weeks. This insulated lunch box set lets you pack your lunch in style and save all that money. The set includes three glass containers with snap-on lids, an insulated lunch bag, and an ice pack to keep your foods cold.

  • Available colors: 6


Waste: Overcooking (or undercooking) your meat

Solution: This instant-read meat thermometer

Up your grilling game and so much more with this instant-read meat thermometer that features a backlit display for easy viewing, even when barbecuing in the dark. Waterproof and with a 2-4 second response time, this thermometer is also precise — the brand says it has only a one-degree variance. A handy guide on the thermometer lists a range of meat types and their ideal cooking temperatures. The probe folds in for easy storage, and the internal magnet lets you hang it on the oven door or fridge.


Waste: Buying new batteries because you can’t find the ones you have

Solution: The organizer that keeps your batteries in one place

It’s a common problem: You know you have batteries for that remote somewhere in your house, but when you need them, they’re nowhere to be found. This battery organizer has space to keep 93 batteries neat and orderly, while the transparent lid allows you to see what you have. It even has a battery tester, so you can make sure the batteries work before you bother to pop them in.

  • Available colors: 7


Waste: Disposable dog pee pads that are expensive

Solution: These washable pads that are cost-effective

If you’re training a puppy, have an older dog who doesn’t always make it outside, or are an urban dog owner, stop wasting money on those disposable dog pee pads and get these washable pee pads instead. Featuring cute prints, their super-absorbent design is backed with a waterproof layer to protect your floors. Once soiled, they wash easily right in your home washing machine.

  • Available styles: 5


Waste: Lights & appliances that are draining energy

Solution: These smart plugs that track your energy usage

These smart plugs are a no-brainer way to save money on your electricity bill. They let you set schedules for lights and appliances, so they’re only on when needed. If you forgot to turn off a lamp or the coffee maker when you left home, you can do it right from your phone with the compatible app. They’re also smart assistant-compatible for voice commands, and they monitor your energy, so you can track usage over time.


Waste: Upping your a/c because you sleep hot

Solution: The bamboo mattress pad that’s naturally cooling

Made from microfiber and naturally soft and cooling bamboo, this mattress pad cover not only keeps your mattress in top condition by protecting it from stains, it also helps hot sleepers get a better night’s rest. One reviewer wrote, “I love this topper! Our memory foam topper made me hot at night and got this and it really does cool it down so we got one also for our RV bed. Love it!” It features deep pockets to accommodate even the cushiest pillow-top mattresses, and is machine-washable for easy care.

  • Available sizes: 6


Waste: Fresh herbs that go bad too quickly

Solution: This herb saver that cuts down on food waste

Fresh herbs add so much to any dish, but it can be frustrating to keep them from going bad too quickly. This herb saver from the design geniuses at OXO keeps your herbs hydrated and fresh. Just add a little water to the bottom of the container, and the open design of the basket will circulate air, providing an ideally humid environment. When you’re ready to use the herbs, the basket has a convenient handle that’s easy to pull up.

  • Available sizes: 6


Waste: Plants that keep dying when you go out of town

Solution: These self-watering plant stakes

When you go out of town or have problems remembering to water your plants, you can lose a lot of expensive greenery. These plant watering stakes ensure that your plants stay hydrated, regardless of whether you take a watering can to them. Just stick a full bottle of water upside down in one of the terra cotta stakes, and it’ll slowly infuse the soil with water for up to a week.


Waste: Losing heat & a/c through door cracks

Solution: These door draft stoppers that lock in air

Stop losing your heat and air through the gap underneath your doors with these door draft stoppers that apply easily with self-adhesive backing. These two-layer draft stoppers also keep out unwanted noise, and they can be trimmed to fit as needed with common household scissors.

  • Available colors: 4


Waste: Letting water run from the garden hose

Solution: This trigger nozzle that lets you control flow

Conserve water while doing yard work with this hose spray nozzle that has a trigger that allows you to start and stop the flow of water at will. Also great for washing your car or your pets, it features eight different spray patterns and an ergonomic soft-grip handle.

  • Available colors: 3


Waste: Expensive makeup brushes that are dirty

Solution: A makeup brush cleaner that cleans gently

Good makeup brushes can be a real investment, so when they start to get dirty, you don’t want to chuck them out — but you don’t want old colors rubbing off on your face, either. This makeup brush cleaner is a complete system that features a bowl, cleaning solution, battery-powered spinner, and adapters that connect to makeup brush handles of all sizes. Just stick a brush into the bowl to thoroughly clean and spin dry.


Waste: Clothes that are getting ruined in the dryer

Solution: This drying rack that preserves delicates

Sweaters, satin and even denim can easily get shrunken, pilled up, or just plain pulled apart when you put them in the dryer with the rest of your clothes. Preserve your delicate favorites by letting them dry on this collapsible drying rack instead. Made from sturdy steel, it provides plenty of space for air to circulate around your garments, and when not in use, it collapses down to almost flat for easy storage.


Waste: Buying bottled water that’s costly

Solution: This 4-pack of insulated tumblers that keep drinks ice cold

Crafted from stainless steel with double-wall vacuum insulation, these tumblers are you new go-to for both hot and cold drinks when you’re on the go — and they’ll save you so much cash on bottled water and coffee beverages. The slim tumblers have leakproof BPA-free lids with sliding seals, and the set includes stainless steel straws for easy sipping.

  • Available colors: 12


Waste: Fresh produce that spoils quickly in the fridge

Solution: These “apples” that extend freshness

I feel so guilty when I have to throw away food, and it seems like fresh produce in particular goes bad so quickly. These produce savers shaped like blue apples remedy that issue by absorbing the ethylene gas that fruits and veggies release. When that ethylene is in the air around your produce, it ages faster, so by absorbing it, these gadgets give your produce a longer life.


Waste: Salon visits that are so expensive

Solution: This root touch-up powder that extends the time between appointments

This root touch-up powder is a great way to extend the amount of time you get from our expensive salon color job. Formulated with special binding agents to cling to your hair, it comes in a range of shades that seamlessly cover root growth. Suitable for all hair types and textures, it applies easily with the included sponge applicator and can be shampooed out.

  • Available colors: 10


Waste: Disposable cotton rounds that are a chunk of change

Solution: These bamboo-cotton rounds that are reusable

These reusable cotton-bamboo rounds are a much more cost-efficient choice than those disposable rounds, and they’re better for the environment, too. These rounds feel super soft on your face and come with their own mesh bag for laundering. Each pack comes with 20 — use them to remove makeup, cleanse skin, and apply toner.


Waste: A washing machine that’s gross & grimy

Solution: These tablets that clean & deodorize

We subject our washing machines to all kinds of horrific stains and smells without a second thought, but after a while, things can get nasty. When that happens, use one of these washing machine cleaner tablets to remove grime, odors, and soap residue. Compatible with front-load and top-load machines, the tablets clean the tub, pump, valve, agitator, drum, filter, and hose — and all you have to do is run a cycle.


Waste: The other half of the avocado that always ends up brown

Solution: This avocado holder that keeps it green

Avocados are delicious but so expensive that you want to make sure you get every last bite out of them — but that’s not easy when the half you don’t use goes brown before you get a chance to use it. These avocado holders remedy that problem. They’re made to lock out air, slowing oxidation and keeping fruit and veggies from getting brown and slimy. The brand also makes versions for tomatoes, onions, citrus, and more.


Waste: Coffee that goes stale so fast

Solution: This airtight canister with a CO2 release valve

If you’re a real coffee connoisseur and have your own special beans, you’re going to love this airtight coffee canister. It locks in freshness and has a carbon dioxide release valve to optimally preserve aroma and taste. Crafted from stainless steel, it features a date tracker, so you know how old the beans are, and it comes with a matching scoop.

  • Available colors: 4


Waste: Pedicures that cost a pretty penny

Solution: These foot peel masks that remove calluses & dry skin

When your feet are in bad shape and you just don’t have the time or money for a pedicure, use these foot peel masks to restore them to baby-soft condition. They go on like booties which you wear for about an hour, and are infused with naturally exfoliating and moisturizing ingredients. Over the course of the next week or so, dead skin will slough off to reveal the soft skin underneath.

  • Available sizes: 2
  • Available colors: 11


Waste: Going to the dog groomer for nail trims

Solution: This electric nail grinder that’s quiet & painless

I hate trimming my dogs’ nails — I’m always so afraid I’m going to cut down too far and hurt my fur babies. Well, this USB-chargeable nail grinder makes the task painless for your dog and easy for you to do, putting less stress on your pet’s nails and reducing the risk of them cracking. It has three ports for nails of different sizes, so you can also trim the nails of other pets, from cats to birds and everything in between. Say goodbye to frequent trips to the groomer.


Waste: Furniture that’s getting scratched by kitty

Solution: These cat scratch shields that fend off claws

Cats have a natural urge to scratch, and when they’re not out in the wild with access to trees and logs, often your furniture is the victim. Transparent and flexible, these cat scratch protectors are backed with strong adhesive to cling to your furniture and protect it from those sharp claws. Not only does the shield protect your furniture from Fluffy’s claws, but the feel of the plastic deters him from scratching in the first place.


Waste: One-use K-cups that aren’t cheap

Solution: These reusable coffee pods that may save up to 80%

If you love your Keurig machine but hate the price tag on the boxes of coffee pods that feed it, these reusable coffee pods are the smarter way to go — and more eco-friendly, too. Made with stainless steel mesh and featuring a leakproof lid, these baskets let you choose whatever blend you prefer, and they wash up easily in the dishwasher. The manufacturer says you’ll save up to 80% over buying the plastic pods.


Waste: Losing heat & a/c through your windows

Solution: These thermal-insulated curtains that limit energy loss

If you’re losing air conditioning through your windows in the summer and losing heat in the winter, these thermal-insulated curtains can help — and you’ll see the savings reflected in your power bill. The blackout design means they also block out sunlight and streetlights, so you’ll sleep more soundly. They come in a range of colors and sizes and are fitted with grommets for easy hanging.

  • Available sizes: 16
  • Available colors: 41


Waste: Snacks that go stale in a hurry

Solution: These mini bag resealers that lock in freshness

It’s such a bummer when you get out that bag of chips, all ready for your favorite snack, only to discover that it’s gone stale since the last time you had some. These mini bag sealers use heat to create an airtight seal in the original bag — as if it came straight from the store. On the opposite side from the heat sealer is a cutter that snips through the bag the next time you’re ready to eat.


Waste: Constantly turning up the thermostat

Solution: This sherpa blanket that wraps you in a warm embrace

Save on heating costs by wrapping up in this sherpa blanket to keep yourself cozy instead of nudging the thermostat up when temperatures start to drop. It features one velvety side that’s crafted from super cuddly microfiber, and another that’s made from plush fleece. It’s great for movie night and perfect for use at tailgates, too.

  • Available sizes: 7
  • Available colors: 20


Waste: Piled-up shoes that are losing shape

Solution: These under-bed shoe storage boxes that preserve your shoes properly

I, personally, am a bit of a sneakerhead, so I like to keep my kicks in good shape. Regardless of your tastes, if those shoes are all lumped in a pile in your closet, you’re not doing your investments justice. These under-bed shoe storage boxes will keep your footwear organized and in good shape, so it’ll be ready to wear for years to come. The set includes two organizers with space for up to 16 pairs of shoes and four pairs of boots. Sturdy and reinforced, they feature transparent lids for easy viewing.


Waste: Frequent car wash visits

Solution: This car vacuum cleaner with attachments for detail work

Cars have so many small areas that are hard to clean: the vents, the crevices between the seats and the center console, the seams in the dash... it goes on and on. This car vacuum cleaner comes with specialized tools to attack all of those areas and more, and has a HEPA filter to help cut down on allergens in that enclosed space. It plugs into your cigarette lighter port and has an extra-long cord that lets you tackle the cargo space, too.

  • Available colors: 3


Waste: Handbags that are crumpling

Solution: The hanging purse organizer that protects them

You love your purse collection, but you’re struggling to find a good way to store it so that everything stays properly shaped and dust-free. This hanging purse organizer is the perfect solution. The eight transparent pouches hold them upright and protect them from dust, while still allowing you to see your collection and choose what’s right for your ‘fit.

  • Available colors: 4


Waste: Throwing out half-empty toothpaste tubes

Solution: These tube squeezers that don’t let anything go to waste

Undoubtedly designed to put an end to that age-old argument about whether to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom or the middle, these toothpaste tube squeezers help you get every last bit. Each one clamps onto the bottom of any tube, so you can move it up as the toothpaste gets used. You can also use this with lotion as well as kitchen items like tomato and anchovy paste.


Waste: Not reusing bacon grease for cooking

Solution: This stainless steel container that stores it for later use

Bacon grease is a staple of Southern cooking and can be revelatory when used as the base for everything from scrambled eggs to green beans. It’s hard to know what to keep it in so it stays clean, but this bacon grease container provides a convenient place to store it for future use. A convenient strainer removes extra stuff you don’t want, so you’ve got pure oil for your next cooking project.


Waste: Losing socks behind the washer

Solution: This laundry guard that keeps clothes from escaping

If you’re constantly ordering new socks and underwear because they seem to disappear constantly, this laundry guard is for you. It attaches to your washer and dryer with magnets to prevent your laundry — especially those pesky socks — from escaping down the gap behind them. The guard can be used on a single machine or on your washer and dryer as a pair, and it has a strong magnetic hold for stability.

  • Available colors: 2


Waste: Spending dollars on flavored beverages

Solution: This infuser pitcher for making spa water at home

Treat yourself to some fancy spa water right at home with this fruit infusion pitcher. It’s crafted from BPA-free acrylic and has a removable center core that can be filled with the fruits and/or herbs of your choice to give your water delicious hints of flavor. Make a batch for the morning before you go to bed at night, so you’ll have something to look forward to when you first wake up.

  • Available variations: 11


Waste: Calling the plumber to clear sink drains

Solution: This hair catcher that prevents clogs

Stave off plumber visits by preventing hair clogs in your sink drain with this hair catcher. Shaped like a mushroom, it’s designed to fit any standard sink drain, and features a cylinder that traps hair while the perforations throughout allow water to flow through. You simply remove the TubShroom and discard the hair into the trash periodically — drains stay clear.

  • Available colors: 2


Waste: Single-use plastic bags that are a budget drain

Solution: These food storage bags that are reusable

Whether you’re taking your lunch to work, doing food prep for the week, or storing away leftovers, these reusable food storage bags have you covered. Crafted from BPA-free PEVA, they have leakproof, airtight seals to lock in freshness. The set includes a variety of sizes for all your food storage needs.

  • Available colors: 3


Waste: Overusing your a/c

Solution: This powerful fan that doesn’t drain energy

With three speeds to accommodate the level of cooling that you need, this air circulator fan gives you cooling relief without you having to crank up your air conditioning (and thus your energy bill). The head tilts 90 degrees, so you can aim the air exactly where you need it for targeted cooling.

  • Available sizes: 3
  • Available styles: 3

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