People who are cheap AF say they wish they'd known about these money-saving products sooner

Wildly clever life hacks ahead.

Shopping
ByChristina Wood
Updated: 
Originally Published: 
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When you watch every penny you spend on minutia, you end the game with a pile of cash you can spend on cool things you actually want. So don’t mock the people who turn off the lights, skip the disposables, and make coffee at home. Those tricks can save hundreds of dollars. I mean, would you rather burn too much electricity by accident or buy a round of drinks for your crew? (I thought so.) Don’t worry about the past, though. Start now by upping your game with some of these clever life hacks. Even people who are cheap AF say they wish they’d known about these money-saving products sooner.

01

A stain remover that works like a Magic Eraser

A delicious sauce drips onto your white shirt seconds before you get the chip to your mouth. A coffee cup transforms into a dribble cup at your first sip. It’s not you! Stains are inevitable, which is why you need to keep an excellent stain remover on hand. This is a two-pack of the stain remover people describe as “magic.”

One reviewer said: “It's like a magic eraser, wish I had this sooner! Would have saved me so much money on all the clothes I had to toss from the explosive diapers that stained up all [the baby’s] outfits.

02

These weird dishcloths that work like a sponge

These dishcloths are the paper towel replacement that’s better than paper towels. Made from cellulose and cotton, they are an odd combination of cloth and sponge, which makes them super absorbent and versatile. The surface is lightly textured to give you a bit of scrubbing power, and they can go in the laundry for a wash whenever you like. When they do eventually fall apart, they are biodegradable.

One reviewer said: “I just love love my Swedish Dishcloth. [...] I wish I knew about this product years ago. I have to say I'm buying these for my friends and family. They will save you money and get your kitchen sparking clean. Once you try these you will never go back to paper towels.”

03

The container that keeps herbs fresh for weeks

Fresh herbs are delicious in everything from sauces to smoothies but discovering desiccated herbs in the back of the fridge is not fun. This herb keeper creates the perfect environment for those herbs so they will thrive there. A water-filled base keeps them green and robust while the tall canister gives them a safe home.

One reviewer said: “This helps our cilantro last a long time! No more pulling it out of the drawer and it being a gross mess. We love this thing! Wish we would have bought sooner!”

04

These reusable mop pads that are better than disposables

Tired of the expense of disposable mop pads? These microfiber mop head replacements do a better job and you can toss them in the wash and keep using them for years. The surface is slightly abrasive for quick and efficient cleaning. This four-pack ensures you will always have a clean one handy.

One reviewer said: “Works great on hardwood floors. [...] Saves you a lot of money in the long run! [...] With a family of seven with cats and dogs, these pads are a lifesaver.”

05

The solar flood lights you can put anywhere

These bright solar flood lights are a terrific solution for all sorts of lighting scenarios. Use them to light a dark driveway, porch, or shed and they will turn on when they sense motion so you will never have to fumble around in the dark. They can illuminate up 800 square feet and draw no electricity, charging themselves from the sun.

One reviewer said: “Easy to install, portable, [bright], [and] LONG lasting. [I] bought several [and use them in the] living room while watching TV, in [the] hallway and kitchen. [I use] the motion detector mode to track my cats and as auto lights [and use them in the] garden as bug deterrent. [...] During power outages my house [is the] only one with lights on.

06

The vacuum sealer that keeps food so much fresher

Before you stash your meat, fruit, and other foods you plan to store or souse vide in the fridge or freezer, seal them in for better preservation in this vacuum air sealing system. It removes all the air from the bag so your foods don’t spoil or get a freezer burn. It has a gentle setting for delicate foods and comes with reusable bags. It even has a wine stopper and vacuum hose so you can vacuum seal wine right in the bottle.

One reviewer said: “Wish I had ordered this sooner! [It] will really save me money. I have thrown many a frozen product away because of freezer burn. Love this product!”

07

The gizmo that turns laundry bottles into dispensers

Stop struggling with that giant laundry soap bottle and set it on this laundry detergent holder. It secures the bottle at just the right angle for pouring into a cup. A strap secures it to the holder so it won’t fall off or move around when the washing machine vibrates.

One reviewer said: “Thought it was sort of goofy but [...] worth a try. OMG, wish I had bought one sooner. Lets you get every last drop out of the bottle, lets you measure and not waste expensive detergent, [and] lets you do nothing more than push a button and get what you need.”

08

This coffee filter you don’t throw away

You will never run out of paper coffee filters again once you have this reusable drip cone filter in the house. The stainless steel mesh works just as well as paper — without the bleaching chemicals of paper — but you can use it again and again. It washes with a rinse and fits most pour-over coffee systems.

One reviewer said: “So easy to clean. If only I found it sooner!!!!! This is going to save a ton of money on filter papers.”

09

This hack for making cutting boards new again

Occasionally give your cutting boards, wooden counter, and other unfinished wood surfaces a quick wipe with this cutting board oil and the wood will look better and last longer. It gives the wood a slightly waterproof surface, darkens and shines the color, and nourishes the wood.

One reviewer said: “Should have used this sooner, but it did its magic and brought life back to my maple cutting board, a large blue stained Vermont salad bowl, and amazingly some stained large gourds that look like giant apples.”

10

The trick for traveling with a dog

Protect your back seat from whatever the dog decides to roll through, dig up, or swim in by installing this car seat cover in the back seat. The three-sided design anchors to the headrest and keeps your pet contained and the fur and mess off your seats. It’s also waterproof and easy to clean.

One reviewer said: “Wish I'd gotten this sooner. Like before [my] light-colored seats were trashed. But I'm very happy with the cover. Easy to install and clean. Easy to loosen one side so a passenger can join my dog in the back seat. Worth every penny.”

11

This makeup remover that lasts forever

Instead of slathering your face with an expensive face wash that might irritate your skin, use this makeup remover cloth to thoroughly clean your skin with just water. The lush microfiber is ultra-soft on one side and gently exfoliating on the other. It’s a complete skincare regimen without the expense or mess.

One reviewer said: “I wish I would’ve discovered [these] sooner. You can use [them] with just water, [though] I personally use the micellar cleansing water and love it. Will never waste money on face wipes again.

12

This menstrual cup that eliminates the need for paper period products

Give up the expensive and difficult-to-dispose-of paper period products and change your life with these reusable silicone period cups. They are easier on your wallet, body, and the planet. They don’t introduce chemicals into your body, are soft and comfortable to wear, and don’t require you to carry anything. You can wear one for up to 12 hours.

One reviewer said: “[This] has seriously changed my life. [...] I have an extremely HEAVY menstrual cycle. [...] I bought this simply to save money on tampons thinking I’d still need to wear pads. [...] Omg!!! I didn’t even need to use a pad with it!! No leaks!! [...] It was the cleanest I’ve ever felt during my period. I swam with it, hiked, and zip lined. [...]I can’t believe I didn’t buy this sooner, and I will never use tampons again.”

13

The wool balls that replace dryer sheets

This set of six wool dryer balls does everything those expensive, disposable dryer sheets do with more grace and beauty and less trash. Toss a few of them into the dryer to eliminate static and help your clothes dry faster. Add a few drops of essential oil to the balls to create your own signature laundry scent. They are made from 100% wool and you can use them for years.

One reviewer said: “If I had known about these dryer balls years ago I could have recouped the cost saved in dryer sheets many many times over by now! They put space between clothes allowing them to be exposed to more drying air, [which] cuts down on drying time.”

14

These easy moth traps that save your clothes

Easy to deploy and fast working, these moth traps will tame your insect invasion in an instant. Just hang them in your closet or pantry and the moths will be helplessly drawn to the bait, stick to the glue, and instantly end their assault on your clothing and dry goods.

One reviewer said: “I just placed these traps. Within ‘minutes’ the traps caught dozens of moths. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I didn’t know I had this many. [...] I wish I had learned of these traps sooner. For years I’ve been helpless with a constant invasion of dozens of tiny moths flying around & eating holes in my clothes, my furniture, and my linens.”

15

This stain rescue spray for carpets & couches

When a child drops ice cream on the couch, the dog leaves a nasty stain on a rug, or your deodorant leaves a white mark on your favorite shirt, call in the emergency stain rescue spray! Spray it on, blot it off, rinse, and it will be like nothing bad ever happened to that fabric. This is a two-pack.

One reviewer said: “This removes organic stains from sweat better than anything I've tried thus far. I followed the directions, got the fabric wet, sprayed it on, and left it to chill for an hour. When I came back, I was dumbfounded. I can't believe I didn't have this sooner, I'm about to buy a gallon!”

16

A heatproof & waterproof table cover

When you want to protect a fine table from everyday use, this heatproof and waterproof table pad is an easy and affordable way to do it. Just cut it to fit your table and it will protect it from hot pans, dishes, spills, paint, and more.

One reviewer said: “What a terrific option over custom table pads! These are just as good and easily sized with a pair of scissors. Saved literally hundreds of dollars.”

17

This slick screen cover for your iPhone

Protect your iPhone from scratches and cracks with this screen protector that has a diamond-like hardness. It is easy to install and resists fingerprints and dust. The ultra-responsive tempered glass won’t impede the use of your phone and it comes in sizes to fit most iPhones.

One reviewer said: “Great value and quality. The instructions are easy to follow and it’s super easy to put on and looks great. A must-buy because [it] saves time and money. Wish I would’ve discovered this sooner.

18

These furniture protectors your cat will hate

When your bad kitty prefers your expensive furniture to a perfectly good scratching post, cover the furniture with these amazing shields. They are no fun to scratch at all so kitty will have to find a better spot to sink those claws into. The clear and flexible pads are made of adhesive, so they are easy to cut to size and install.

One reviewer said: “Very happy I saved my furniture with the shields. Wish I did so sooner. [...] No more scratching the living room furniture!! She still will not use the scratching posts and will scratch the rug, however, I’m not concerned about my cheap rug like I am my expensive furniture. So happy!!!

19

This pet hair remover that works so well

If you have a pet, you need this pet hair remover. It grabs hair more efficiently than a vacuum cleaner or a sticky roller and stashes it all in a chamber at the top of the handle. Just empty that chamber and keep rolling without ever having to replace sticky paper. Over 14,000 people give it five stars.

One reviewer said: “This roller is awesome. [...] Two to three minutes a day running over [my comforter] comforter and presto! the hair is gone. [...] Wish I had found it sooner instead of spending time and $$$ on the sticky-paper rollers with less than desired results.”

20

The baking mats that make cleanup easy

Skip the “grease the pan” step in every baking project. Then skip the cleanup, too. The trick? Line the pan with these non-stick baking mats. They work for everything from macaroons to bread, to roasted meats and veggies. Your cooked foods slide right off them when it’s done and so does the baked-on mess.

One reviewer said: “WHY did I not buy these sooner!? I love these things. They don't take up a lot of room, they're super easy to clean, and they save a lot of resources and money when I use them instead of parchment paper.”

21

This tiny spatulas for lotions & cosmetics

Leaving a teaspoon of expensive lotion, foundation, or serum in the bottom of the container because you can’t get it out is so frustrating. This makeup spatula set lets you get every last drop out of there because you already paid for it! The tiny spatula head and long slender handle are sized to reach into those small containers and wipe them clean.

One reviewer said: “I was amazed how much product I could still extract from the bottle with this great tool. It’s easy to use and I like that you get two spatulas — one short [...] and one longer. [...] Wish I had found this great tool much sooner!”

22

A set of laundry bags so your delicates survive the wash cycle

You don’t have to hand-wash delicates or risk that they will be destroyed by one journey through the washing machine. Tuck them safely into these honeycomb mesh laundry bags to keep tiny straps, wires, and other fragile pieces safe from getting caught, twisted, stretched, or broken.

One reviewer said: Only realized recently that I can use these for delicates and other things (that I usually hand wash) in the washing machine. Wish I knew sooner!! These work great! [...] Zippers stay closed. Very happy with these.

23

This alarm that tells you if there’s a leak

Set this water alarm under your water heater or air conditioning unit or in a basement that floods in a storm and it will set off a loud alarm when it senses as little as 1/32 inches of water in that space. You will never have to spend thousands on repairs because an appliance leaked when no one was home.

One reviewer said: “Perfect! [...] Very loud if water sensed. Highly recommend it to help avoid appliance water damage. Wish I’d bought it sooner.”

24

A pair of waterproof phone cases for the beach & boats

Before you hit the beach, get into your kayak, or spend a day at a water park, secure your phone in this waterproof case. It locks closed, sealing out water, but lets you access your phone through the clear cover. It’s sized for most phones and comes in a two-pack so you can keep a spare in your beach bag for a friend.

One reviewer said: “It works!!! Took it to a water park and SO happy it protected my phone for such a small price. [...] Wish I bought it much sooner!”

25

These reusable storage bags that are better than plastic

Eliminate some single-use plastics from your life while saving a bit of money by switching to these reusable storage bags. This set of 20 food-safe bags in a variety of sizes — from snack to gallon — locks out air, seals tight, and will last for years.

One reviewer said: “These are simple and great, and seem well made. The bags are all color coded so it's easy to distinguish between the sizes. The ziplock-type seal on them works well. We've been using them as freezer bags so far and they work just as good or better than normal plastic bags, but without the waste.”

26

The cotton & wax food wrap you can use for years

Replace the expense, irritation, and waste of plastic wrap by switching to this sustainable and cute plastic-free food wrap that is made from cotton and beeswax. Use it to cover leftovers, wrap up sandwiches, and more. Hold your hand over where you want it to seal and the heat of your body softens the wax so it holds. This is a pack of three sheets and you can choose from four designs.

One reviewer said: “Wow why have I not tried beeswax wrap sooner? [...] I used this as a makeshift lid for my dog's wet canned food and it stays fresher for twice as long as when I was using foil or plastic wrap because those don't have a seal at all.”

27

These makeup remover pads you can wash & reuse

Ditch the one-use cotton pads that fill your trash can and replace them with these reusable makeup remover pads that you can wash and use again. You will never go back to the flimsy disposables because these are softer, hold more product, remove makeup better, and are more sustainable. They come with a laundry bag so you can toss them all in the wash at once without losing any.

One reviewer said: “I love being able to use the cotton pads over and over again. I don’t know why I didn’t buy these sooner! Makeup washes right out of them too.”

28

This shoe cleaner kit that is fast & effective

When your shoes start to look dingy and you want them back to their original beauty, pull out this shoe cleaner kit and use the included brush to scrub them incredibly clean in just a few minutes. People have been raving about this stuff for decades because just a tiny amount of it is so effective.

One reviewer said: “This shoe cleaner is unbelievable! I have a pair of all white shoes that I thought were not worth saving because I tried just about EVERYTHING to try and get the stains out but let me tell you this shoe cleaner did exactly that. With the first cleaning, it brought my shoes back to life!”

29

These big grocery bags you will use for everything

These grocery shopping bags aren’t just more ecological than plastic, they are a huge improvement to your shopping experience. They hold lots of groceries, fold up small, have long handles that are comfortable to slide over a shoulder and have a pocket on the side for your cell phone or wallet. They look so good you will likely use them for everything.

One reviewer said: “I wish that I’d started using these sooner. They’re thicker and heavier than I expected, and stand up by themselves, so they’re easy to fill up, and they hold a lot of items. The handles make bringing them in from the car easy, and they clean up with just a quick wipe-over.”

30

These refillable K-Cup filters for better coffee

If you own a Keurig and are unhappy with the coffee quality, expense, or landfill guilt of those disposable K-cups, these reusable K-cup coffee filters will fix all of that. You can use choose your own ground coffee and fill the cups yourself. The included scoop makes that super easy. And brewing a cup is just as push-button fast with these as with disposables.

One reviewer said: “I wish I had found these sooner. The taste is so much better than the pre-filled cups you buy at the store. It is also way cheaper, and you don’t feel guilty about wasting all that plastic. I put mine on the top rack of the dishwasher with no problems.

31

This 12-pack of AAA batteries you can recharge

For the gear and gadgets in your life that don’t come with rechargeable batteries, this 12-pack of rechargeable batteries is the easy solution. They come ready to use. When they run out of power, don’t toss them. Store them in your battery charging unit to replenish them. Then grab a battery from there anytime you need to replace a battery in your mouse, remote, or other battery-powered toys. No more disposables!

One reviewer said: “My only regret is that I didn’t think to purchase these sooner. I usually look for [the] rechargeable variety of everything. For those needed items that were not rechargeable… problem solved and I’m saving money. They come charged, and last it seems longer than the original variety.”

32

A shower head that boosts your water pressure

Get a better shower without calling a plumber by unscrewing the shower head you have and replacing it with this high-pressure shower head. It will instantly boost your water pressure and has two modes: rainfall with air-enriched drops or a massage option. A broad 7-inch head ensures a wide area of waterfall for a spa-like shower experience.

One reviewer said: “These Hopopro shower heads are the BEST ones I have ever had the pleasure of using. They are reasonably priced, easy to install and best of all, the ability to aim the water in a wide verity of directions. The shower head can easily be adjusted with one finger during a shower in order to get the spray pattern exactly where you want it.”

33

This steamer that gets rid of wrinkles fast

You don’t have to choose between wrinkles or hauling out an ironing board. Pick up this portable handheld clothes steamer and get rid of the wrinkles while your garment hangs on its hanger. It’s so fast, you can do a shirt even if you are already late. It runs for 15 minutes on one tank, which is likely enough to get you through a wardrobe of wrinkles.

One reviewer said: “This little thing is so powerful that it took less than two minutes to steam [my heavily wrinkled] blouse. It’s also great to extend dry cleaning time or to just refresh between washes.”

34

A 12-pack of terrific cloth napkins

Upgrade every meal by using these cloth napkins instead of paper. Not only does it feel fancy but it’s more economical. These mostly cotton napkins are big enough to fold how you like, wash well, show up soft enough to use, and get softer and more absorbent the more you wash them. They come in 12 colors.

One reviewer said: “These are great napkins for everyday use. I was expecting them to be stiff, but they’re actually really soft, especially after a couple of washes. And they’re wrinkle-resistant too, which is great! We used to use paper towels as napkins with our meals and I wish we had switched to these sooner!”

35

This trick for getting all the product out of bottles

Stop fighting with bottles of shampoo, hand soap, and lotion. Make gravity your ally by screwing these Flip-It! lids onto those bottles and standing them upside down so the product is always primed when you want to use it. No more time-wasting struggle.

One reviewer said: “Used these for a warehouse-size bottle of shampoo and conditioner. [I] was removing [the] pump and tapping bottles to get the remaining ingredients. These flip tops save time, money, and frustration. How did I not get them sooner?”

36

This gadget that tells you how much power your gear uses

Plug this electricity usage monitor into the wall and plug an appliance into it to find out how much power that device burns. It calculates your electrical expenses by the day, week, month, or year so you can see real the savings numbers that are associated with the minimal effort of turning things off.

One reviewer said: “I should have purchased this literally years sooner. Even my children could see how much money could be saved by turning off their computers and accessories when not in use. Paid for itself in just that one conversation.”

37

A clock & timer you can put in the shower

If you step into the shower and forget the time, that can cost you a tidy fortune while also making you late for the day. This shower timer is the clock you need for keeping showers to a realistic length in times of drought or a wandering mind. It's water resistant, shows the temperature and humidity, and has a countdown timer and clock. It comes in six colors.

One reviewer said: “I love being able to watch the time as I get ready for work in the morning. I always daydream and so this clock helps keep me on track and I can see how much time [I’m] spending in the shower or if I can afford to stay in a little longer and stand under the hot water, lol. [...] Wish I got these sooner, to be honest.”

38

This steamer that cleans up after your pets

When the cat pukes on the couch or the dog chews a messy bone on your white carpet, this portable carpet and upholstery cleaner will save the day. Fill the tank with water and cleanser and steam the mess away. The dirty water goes into the second tank so you can empty that mess into the sink.

One reviewer said: “This is saving my sanity. [...] Pets run the place but I also love a clean home and this helps a lot. [It] cleans soo well it’s saved me [from renting] a steam cleaner or [hiring] a professional. [...] I’m kicking myself for not buying it sooner.”

39

A bag sealer so your snacks stay fresh

Keep all your snacks, cereal, and cookies fresh without investing in storage containers by resealing the bags they came in with this mini bag sealer. It hangs in the kitchen, ready to use, and puts a like-factory seal on the bag in seconds. It also has a bag cutter to help get packages open. This is a two-pack.

One reviewer said: “This product has paid itself off with keeping my bags sealed and fresh. Works wonderfully, can’t believe I haven’t gotten one sooner!

40

These silver wipes that clean jewelry fast

These jewelry cleaner wipes will bring all your tarnished jewelry, cutlery, and silver antiques back to their original shiny selves — and they are so easy to use. Just polish the piece with one of these wipes, rinse it off, and buff it with a soft cloth till it is dry and shiny.

One reviewer said: “I have some beautiful jewelry [that had] become so dark and tarnished [...] I figured I would have to take it all to a jewelry store and pay to have it cleaned, but never felt like I had the time. [...] Then I saw these [...] wipes. [...] In about 10 minutes of using [them], I restored several expensive pieces of jewelry. [...] I'm only mad I didn't know about these sooner.”

41

A stopper that keeps champagne fresh

Go ahead and open that bottle of bubbly! You don’t have to finish it if you have this champagne stopper on hand. Just sip what you want, push the stopper into the bottle top, lock it down, and put it back in the fridge. The wine — and all the bubbles — will be waiting for you when you want another glass.

One reviewer said: “This little gadget is well worth the money! Keeps my bubbles fresh for weeks after opening. The number dial on the top is also handy, to keep track of when you originally opened the bottle.”

42

This draft stopper that saves so much money

The gap between the floor and the bottom of your door is a weak spot in your HVAC system. It also lets in noise, smells, and bugs. This twin door draft stopper is the solution. Cut the foam tubes to the width of your door, slip them into the adjustable sleeves, and slide the stopper under the door. It comes in four colors.

One reviewer said: “I had a huge space between my floor and the back door. [...] I could feel the cold air coming through the gap and I was FREEEEZING! [...] My only regret is that I didn’t get this sooner.”

43

A cold-brew coffee maker for home

It’s so easy to make cold-brewed coffee at home with this cold brew iced coffee maker that you will wonder why you ever stood in line and spent so much money on your liquid motivation. Just fill the fine mesh sleeve with grounds, add water, and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the sleeve and sip. The carafe is shatterproof, easy to carry, and seals tight so you can store your brew for days.

One reviewer said: “I wish I’d bought this sooner! I can’t imagine how much money I would’ve saved by simply brewing my own cold brew! Glad I’m doing it now! This brewer is perfect to prepare a few servings a day. It’s so easy to clean too.”

44

The meal planner you stick to the fridge

Stick this magnetic meal planner to the fridge and come up with a plan for your food. You will eat better, shop better, and avoid takeout more consistently if you know what’s on the menu so you know what to buy when you shop. The page is perforated so you can tear off the shopping list and leave the meal plan on the fridge when you go to the store

One reviewer said: “I wish I had found this years ago! I love it! It has a nice big magnet on the back so it does not slide off the refrigerator. It is actually saving me money because I plan out all my meals for the week on Sunday and make my shopping list to go along with them.”

45

A knife sharpener that’s so easy to use

Keeping knives sharp seems like a huge hassle until you own this two-stage knife sharpener. Once you have it, sharpening becomes something you can do while chatting and prepping dinner. Just drag the blade through the coarse stage if it’s very dull, then through the fine stage to put a dangerous edge on it.

One reviewer said: “I wish I knew this thing existed sooner! It would have saved me some money on constantly buying new knives. [...] A few glides through this thing with one of my cheap Walmart knives and I'm slicing through chicken like butter.”