40 weird but genius money saving hacks

Slighty strange, very satisfying.

Shopping
ByChristina X. Wood

I love a good money-saving hack. I look at a kitchen, for example, where someone has spared no cost and think, “I could do that cheaper.” Maybe people are proud of how much money they spent on tile, grout, and designer brands. Not me. I brag on how little I paid. On the other hand, I cannot tolerate something that’s cheap and ineffective. That’s not a bargain. A true bargain is both inexpensive and functional. If it is also beautiful — even in a not-glitzy or edgy way — all the better. I like to find the best deals on hotels, flights, cars, and, yes, even home and personal care products. I don’t care if they have been approved by the design elite or if a famous person endorses them. I want them to work well and save me money. And here are 40 weird but genius money-saving hacks you will want to drop in your cart ASAP.

Whether you’re trying to create a more efficient kitchen, decorate your home, or give up higher-priced habits, there is something here that you will want to brag on. You won’t find a bespoke backsplash you have to custom order and drop a fortune on. But you will find a hack that makes people think that’s what you did. And you won’t find a monthly subscription that will slowly drain your bank account, but you will find smarter ways to store your perishables. These are real money-saving hacks. Not the kind that cost too much.

Read on and keep the “Buy” button handy.

01

The lunchbox that heats up lunch wherever you go

Pack your ingredients or leftovers into this electric lunchbox and at mealtime just plug it into either the lighter in your car or a standard outlet to heat things up. A removable stainless steel tray inside holds the food without leaking. Another compartment keeps snacks or sides separate from the main dish. It heats your meal in minutes, letting steam out through the vent. There’s a carrying handle and storage for the included utensils in the lid.

02

This herb keeper so fresh herbs stay that way

This cleverly designed herb keeper treats your fresh herbs like the live plant they are and they appreciate it by living, in your fridge, for a lot longer than if you just toss them in there. Snap them into the open frame and set that into its container — with water in the bottom — and it allows leaves to breathe while feeding water to the stems.

03

A pack of wool dryer balls for faster, greener laundry

Instead of infusing your laundry with weird chemicals and filling the landfill with dryer sheets, toss a few of these sheep’s wool balls into the dryer with your clothes. They fluff up clothes as they spin to help them dry faster and emerge with less static. And you can use these over and over for years. If you miss having laundry scented as it spins, put a few drops of essential oil on the wool first.

04

A complete grooming kit for your pet

Save yourself some money — and your pet some trauma — by doing your own doggy haircuts at home. This dog-grooming kit has everything you need to get the job done quickly and like a pro. The rechargeable clippers are quiet so your pet won’t freak out, and comes with lots of guards so you can get just the length you want. It also comes with scissors, a comb, and more.

05

A pro-quality nail clipper for easy & safe pet nail trimming

Taking your pet to have their nails trimmed is so expensive, especially when doing it yourself is easy and fast. You just need the right tools. And this pet nail trimming set is it. The nail trimmer is sharp with a blade that’s protected to prevent accidents. Just slip the pet’s nail in and close the blade around it. The file lets you take off sharp edges and give the nail the shape you want.

06

These storage bags that save so much space

Pack away your winter clothes, heavy blankets, and anything you aren’t using right now into these compression storage bags and you can avoid the cost of a storage unit. Fill the bags with your stuff and roll them to get out all the air. When you seal them, they take up a fraction of the space. It’s a great way to fit more in a suitcase, too. This is eight bags: four medium and four large.

07

This luggage scale so you don’t pay more for heavy bags

Before you head to the airport, pick your bag up with this luggage scale so you know it won’t be over the weight limit. You can avoid those excess baggage charges calmly, without frantically unpacking your bag in the check-in line. It’s small enough to pack for the return trip, comes in three colors, and has a built-in thermometer so you know if your luggage has been in extreme conditions. Revisers gave this handy tool 27,000 five-star reviews.

08

A universal travel adapter so you can plug in all your gear

This travel adapter lets you plug in your U.S. plugs anywhere in the world and you don’t have to carry a big bag of pieces to make that work. All the adapters are built into this one clever square. The best part, though, is that it also lets you plug in four USB plugs so you can charge all your electronics.

09

This kit so you can take care of the dry cleaning at home

Taking delicates and other items that should be only dry cleaned to the cleaners can cost a small fortune fast. This dry cleaning kit lets you do that sort of laundry yourself, at home, in just 20 minutes. Pat any stains on the fabric with the cleaning solution wipes and throw the garment in the dryer with a dryer sheet and your clothes will emerge clean, fresh, and wrinkle-free.

10

The reusable fur remover with hordes of fans

When your furniture and rugs are covered in pet fur, pull out this handy pet hair remover and give it a quick clean-up. Just roll the grippy fabric roller back and forth on the area and it does the rest. It grabs the fur and deposits in the catch basin in the handle. Empty that bin when it gets full and you can keep going, foregoing piling trashcans with the sticky sheet kind. Over 76,000 people gave it five stars.

11

This clever trick to prevent your cat from scratching the furniture

Kitties love to scratch. And no matter how many times you tell them, it’s hard for them to resist the temptation of that big stretch of couch fabric. But these cat-deterrent shields remove all the temptation, turning that fabric into a slippery and no-fun-for-scratching plastic surface. You will hardly notice it’s there, but your couch will last so much longer. This is a 6-pack of big shields and the hardware you need to install them.

12

The furniture repair kit that’s as easy as coloring

There’s no need to spend a fortune replacing or refinishing wood furniture, floors, or cabinets because all you really need to do is color over scratches, dings, marks, and other flaws with this set of wood-colored markers and wax sticks. Fill deep dings with wax and then find a color that matches your wood and color right over the flaws. The kit includes a sharpener for the crayons.

13

This bidet attachment so you never need (much) TP again

Once you discover how much cleaner your nether parts are when you wash them with an upside-down shower that’s built into your toilet seat, you will barely touch that roll of toilet paper in your bathroom — so you won’t have to pay to replace it. This bidet attachment is easy to install, lets you dial up the water pressure you like, has an adjustable nozzle, and cleans itself.

14

These peel-&-stick tiles for an easier backsplash

When you crave a kitchen remodel but don’t have the funds, apply this peel-and-stick backsplash and it will make your kitchen beautiful and easier to clean, without costing much in the way of time, skill, or money. They look like the real thing but require only scissors and measuring tape to install. They come in five colors and patterns and reviewers love them. “I bought these to update our home without breaking the bank,” said one. “This was money well spent. I've gotten many compliments from guests and many don’t know it's not real tile until they touch it.”

15

A 6-pack of solar garden lights for simple outdoor illumination

It could not get easier — or cheaper — to light your walkway, porch, or yard than this six-pack of solar lights. Just snap them together, stick them into the ground (or a flower pot) in a sunny spot, and let them do their thing. They soak up sun all day, come on at dusk, and give off a bright light till the sun comes up.

16

This multitool that has everything your bike needs

If you ride a bike, make sure you bring along this bike-specific multi-tool. It has every tool your bike will need so you don’t get stuck unable to fix a dropped chain, adjust a seat, change the handlebar angle, or do whatever you need. It weighs less than five ounces and comes in its own storage case. It can pay for itself through just one repair.

17

A handy drying rack for laundry that you can hang anywhere

When the label on a delicate sweater or blouse says, “Lie flat to dry,” you need this hanging drying rack. Hook it over a shower curtain rod or something similar and it gives you three mesh tiers that circulate air around your drying clothes while keeping it all out of the way. It folds up small for storage, and keeps you from ruining those duds in the dryer.

18

An airtight canister to keep coffee beans fresher

When you buy your own beans and make coffee at home, the place you store the beans is important to the taste of your brew. This airtight canister is perfect for the job. A silicone gasket and locking lid keep air away from the volatile beans. The stainless steel exterior comes in three finishes and there are two sizes to accommodate your coffee capacity.

19

These K-Cup filters that let you brew with your own coffee

Save all that money you’re spending on K-Cups and use your Keurig to make exactly the coffee you like with these filters that fit reusable K-Cups. “K-cups are convenient but expensive,” said one reviewer. “And they are nearly impossible to recycle. With these small filters and a reusable filter basket, you can drink the coffee you like and control the strength of your coffee.”

20

A simple milk frother for café creations anytime

Skip the trendy shoppe and discover the art of frothy and foamy coffee beverages you can make yourself at home with this simple, battery-operated frother. Just dip it into cold — or warming on the stove — milk and touch the button. It whips your milk, nut milk, oat milk, or whatever you prefer into a yummy froth. It comes with a stand to keep it handy.

21

An oil sprayer for more precise oil delivery

If you want to spray your chicken before you air fry it or just barely cover a salad or baking sheet with oil, this oil sprayer bottle lets you do that with your own oils instead of whatever they put in those aerosol cans. The glass container lets you see how full it is and the big, easy-to-depress button on the top makes spraying your oil easy. It works well for lemon juice, vinegar, and similar condiments.

22

This simple kit for growing your own peppers

Peppers are so easy to grow and when you have them in your own garden (or windowsill) — you always have a fresh supply. This pepper garden kit has everything you need to get started. There are seeds for four kinds of peppers — Anaheim, poblano, cayenne, and jalapeño — soil disks, cute wooden plant markers, burlap grow bags with waterproof liners, and gardening sheers for pruning and harvest. It all comes in a wooden box that doubles as a planter.

23

A cheese-making kit for creating your own gourmet soft cheeses

Open this cheese-making kit and forget about spending your hard-earned money on expensive, gourmet soft cheeses like mozzarella, burrata, halloumi, and mascarpone because this kit has everything (cheese salt, citric acid, molds, and more) that you need — just add milk — and make 10 kinds of delicious soft cheese at home in just a few hours.

24

This sewing kit so you can make easy repairs at home

Instead of taking your sagging hem and buttonless shirt to be fixed, pull out this sewing kit that has everything you need to make small repairs — including thread in a wide range of colors and needles of many sizes — and do it yourself. When you have all the tools handy, it isn’t hard. This tiny kit fits easily in a drawer and keeps your supplies organized.

25

These decorative roses for a long-lasting, beautiful display

If you like the look of fresh flowers (or are decorating for a big event) and don’t want that fresh-flower cost, this collection of 25 white roses on stems is surprisingly realistic and will last indefinitely. Each rose has a flower that’s 3 inches in diameter and stems that are 8 inches long. Set your table and forget it. They will never look dead and unsightly and don’t require water. They’re available in red and pink, and one reviewer commented they “look totally authentic.”

26

A complete set of tools for an elevated home bar experience

For the price of a couple of drinks in a bar, you can own this complete cocktail shaker set with all the tools you need to make your own fancy drinks at home. There’s a shaker, strainer, stirring spoon, double jigger, muddler, a bottle opener, and several pourers for your booze bottles. And it all matches and will look terrific on your bar.

27

These craft drink mixes for cocktail night at home

Going out on the town is fun but it’s very easy to drop a lot of money on craft cocktails and, often, the seats aren’t comfortable. If you stay home and mix your own cocktail from this three-pack of drink mixers, you can sit in your own comfy seats and play your own board games. They include a mix for Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, and a Ginger Moscow Mule.

28

A seat-preserving place for pups to ride in the car

Your dog had a blast at the park and is now covered in mud, water, and who knows what else. What happens to your car now? Nothing if you have this seat cover installed in the back seat. It’s waterproof, covers the entire seat, and won’t move around because it’s securely anchored to the seat and the headrests. The dog can climb right in and make all the mess it wants. Just vacuum or wipe off the seat covers and your car will stay pristine — no detailing needed.

29

These blackout curtains that help indoors stay cooler

Hang these blackout curtains in windows that bathe your living space in sunlight and you will think it’s dark out there. All you have to do to nap in the middle of a sunny day is pull them closed and the thick liner will not let light through. They come in 12 sizes and 11 colors so they will fit perfectly with your decor. They also reduce heat transfer through the windows, helping to save energy, and block sound.

30

This easy-to-install door draft stopper

If you can feel the cold — or heat — coming in under your door, you are spending more money on HVAC than you need to. You are also living with more noise than is necessary. Slide this draft stopper under the door and put a stop to that. Just cut the foam tubes to fit your entryway and slide them into the two sleeves. Slide that under the door. It will stop drafts without getting in the way of the door.

31

This tape that holds rugs firmly on whatever surface they’re on

If you are tired of the rugs always bunching up when the cats play or you vacuum, stick them to the floor with this super powerful, double-sided, mesh tape that will hold them firmly in place. It will stick to everything from concrete to carpet and will stop rugs from getting that permanent curl at the corners or sliding out from under you.

32

This tiny-but-long spatula designed to get to the bottom of the bottle

Most spatulas are too big to get through the opening of a condiment jar and most butter knives are too bulky to get into the corners. That’s why you need these two long-handled, tiny spatulas — one bigger, one smaller. Each one has a flexible spatula head at the end of a long, skinny handle and, with both of them in your kitchen, you should be able to handle jars of any size.

33

An electric makeup brush cleaner so this task is fun & fast

Instead of thinking, “I should buy new makeup brushes” dip the ones you have into this automatic brush cleaner. The cleaning solution is in the bottom of the cleaning jar; give brushes a dunk then let them spin dry. You can have a clean brush in the time it takes to have that thought. It comes with everything you need to make this a habit.

34

A massager to target sore muscles & tension at home

When your shoulders are tense from hunching over a computer or your hamstrings are sore from gym session, this handheld massager will bring relief. It has 20 levels so you can dial up exactly the pressure you’re looking for — and note what works best on the LCD touch screen so you can get there again. It comes with six massage heads to target specific areas and is rechargeable and compact.

35

This microwave popper that makes perfect popcorn in minutes

Leave those prepackaged microwave popcorn bags in the store and get some high-quality kernels, oil, and this silicone popcorn popper for the microwave. Even if you’re a popcorn artist and eschew those bags in favor of a pan, you will love this thing. Just add ingredients, put it all in the microwave, and enjoy. The popper goes in the dishwasher for cleanup and the results are always perfect, and custom-flavored.

36

An arc lighter that never runs out of fuel

You will never have to stock butane, give up on lighting candles because you forgot to buy butane, or struggle to light your candles in the wind if you rely on this arc lighter instead of a traditional one. Just charge it up via USB and it will always light. It has no flame to blow out and the long gooseneck reaches into deep candle jars.

37

A complete set of beard care products that gets rave reviews

When your beard starts to look scraggly and begins to itch, this beard care kit has everything you need to fix that — even instructions. There’s a wash because maybe shampoo is drying your skin, oil to tame and nourish, balm for beards that need a bit more, scissors, a comb, a brush, and a razor. It’s all unscented so you can choose your own scent and got nearly 13,000 five-star reviews.

38

A template for getting a straight line when you cut your own hair

The telltale sign of self-cut hair is a messy line at the back, because there’s no way to see well enough to trim a straight line there. However, this plastic hair guide helps you feel your way to a straight line for the back of your head. An adjustable strap helps keep it in place while you trim, and you can flip it for a straight or a curved line.

39

This foot & shoe spray to improve the state of sneakers

Spray this deodorizer that’s loaded with tea tree oil, peppermint, and lavender essential oils into your shoes and onto your feet and it will stop bad smells from happening while nourishing feet. “It's more effective than any foot powder or aerosol spray I've used,” said one reviewer. “It has a pleasant scent, so you don't gas yourself. It seems to reduce calluses and blisters and also softens and exfoliates the skin.”

40

The shoe cleaner kit that brings super soiled shoes back to shiny

You can’t always control where your shoes end up. When something untoward happens to your best kicks, though, this shoe cleaning kit will make it all better. Just lather the entire shoe with the shoe cleaner — using the included shoe brush — and wait for it to dry. Then brush it clean. It comes with everything you need, including directions.