45 surprising mistakes that are costing you money around your home

Say goodbye to these costly money drains.

45 surprising mistakes that are costing you money around your home
ByRachel Bar-Gadda and Bimini Wright
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In every home, hidden inefficiencies and overlooked habits can silently drain your wallet. From wilted, wasted produce that never makes it to your plate to furniture marred by stubborn stains, the costs add up. This article uncovers surprising mistakes that are costing you money — and offers ingenious products designed to tackle these issues head-on. Whether it's extending the life of your couch or preventing drafts that make your energy bill skyrocket, these solutions not only preserve your belongings but also safeguard your budget.


Mistake: Letting the caulk around your tub & sink get dingy

Solution: This silicone sealant that blocks moisture & air

With this waterproof silicone sealant, peeling grout can be quickly remedied to give your bathroom a continued fresh look. The caulk seals out any moisture, water, or air and becomes water-resistant 30 minutes after application. The silicone material additionally resists mold and mildew and promises to stay bright white throughout lots of use.


Mistake: Never cleaning your washing machine

Solution: These cleaning tablets that keep your machine running efficiently

Just because it’s the washing machine's job to clean your clothes, doesn’t mean that it also doesn’t need a bit of maintenance. These washing machine cleaner tablets work to rid the interior drum, underneath the drum, hose pipes, and the tub seal of residue buildup, grime, and funky smells. Made of eco-friendly ingredients, the tablets can be used in any machine and are even septic system-safe.


Mistake: Letting your shower drain get clogged with hair

Solution: These drain covers that prevent plumber visits

Save yourself expensive phone calls to the plumber simply by using one of these shower drain covers that will prevent annoying clogs. They come in a pack of five in a range of aesthetically pleasing colors and are made of flexible rubber. Though not a solution for pop-up drains, these drain covers are great for open, domed, and flat drains, and are easy to place down and remove as needed.


Mistake: Wasting produce because it goes bad too quickly

Solution: These reusable produce bags that keep food fresh

Keep that pricey produce at its peak freshness by storing it in these reusable green bags. They come in a pack of 20 in three sizes (medium, large, and extra-large) and are designed to extend the life of vegetables, fruits, and even flowers. Reuse each bag eight to ten times with just a simple wash with cold water required to be ready for the next batch of carrots, berries, or peppers.


Mistake: Being too quick to replace stained furniture or clothing

Solution: A spray that removes a variety of stains

Thanks to this emergency stain remover spray, that favorite T-shirt or vintage chair can be saved from the Goodwill pile. It’s formulated with commercial-grade ingredients yet is still pH-neutral and free of chemical irritants such as borax, fragrance, dyes, or parabens. Use the spray on anything from grass to oil to coffee stains, no matter if they’re fresh or old.


Mistake: Throwing away your scrubbers when they get too dirty

Solution: These reusable scrubbers that are machine-washable

There’s no doubt your ordinary sponges and scrubbers can get pretty grimy over time. These reusable scrubbers, on the other hand, will be sure to trim that household cleaning budget by lasting much longer. Popular with over 21,000 ratings and 4.7 stars overall, the scrubbers come in a pack of four and are made from cotton and a food-grade hardener that’s nontoxic. They can be used on delicate surfaces made of ceramic, glass, or nonstick material and can be tossed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning.


Mistake: Drafty doors that raise your utility bill

Solution: A self-adhesive door stopper that blocks drafts

You might as well wave to your cash as it slips underneath your door and helps to raise your heating or cooling bills. Instead, install this ingenious door draft stopper that keeps your home at the ideal temperature. Made of heat and cold-resistant silicone, it uses self-adhesive to mount securely and can be used either indoors or outdoors. It’s available in five colors.


Mistake: Tossing your toothpaste when there’s some left in the tube

Solution: These toothpaste squeezers that help you get every last drop

Before you chuck that toothpaste tube into the trash, grab one of these toothpaste squeezers to get a surprisingly significant amount of that nearly empty tube. They come in a pack of four and slip easily onto the end of a tube. Push them towards the nozzle to extract every bit of paste available, thus saving you tons on bathroom supplies down the road.


Mistake: Spending money on disposable paper towels

Solution: These reusable towels made from bamboo

Just one $10 roll of these eco-friendly bamboo towels can take the place of 60 rolls of disposable paper towels, freeing up your budget for more important (or fun) things. The bamboo material is extremely absorbent and can be hand-washed and dried to be reused over and over again. Washing dishes, wiping down surfaces, or cleaning car exteriors are just some examples of the many uses of this innovative towel.


Mistake: Letting your charging cords get frayed

Solution: These silicone cord coils that help prevent damage

It’s surprising how much it can cost to replace a charging cord for your laptop, phone, or other device. Avoid this expense by simply placing one of these cable protectors on the area that’s prone to damage from bending and fraying. Made of silicone, they come in a pack of eight for less than $10 and coil around the cord to offer protection whether the cable is being used or stored.


Mistake: Drilling too many holes in the wall when hanging things

Solution: These magnetic stud markers that find the right spot

This magnetic stud marker comes with removable markers to make sure that when you drill a hole, it’s the right one. It doesn’t require any batteries to operate; instead, it simply uses strong earth magnets to locate a stud screw or nail with the ability to stay suspended on that spot. Plus, the magnetic markers mean you won’t have to dirty the wall with your pencil.


Mistake: Using disposable makeup remover pads

Solution: These bamboo pads you can use up to 100 times each

With just a $10 investment, you can use each of these bamboo makeup remover pads to clean your face 100 times before needing to replace it. They come in a pack of 20 and are made of both cotton and bamboo that are gentle and soft on the skin. Clean them in your washing machine with the included mesh laundry bag to keep them conveniently separate and organized.


Mistake: Leaving the overhead lights on all day

Solution: These battery-operated lights you can set on timers

When it comes to an inviting atmosphere, the key is always to skip those harsh overhead lights and opt instead for alternative sources. These LED puck lights provide this crucial accent lighting on a budget thanks to being battery-operated and requiring no expensive wiring. They come in a set of six that cast a warm white light and mount effortlessly using the included self-adhesive or hardware. Use the included remote to set timers or adjust brightness.


Mistake: Letting grease splatter your stovetop when you cook

Solution: A splatter screen that prevents messes

Put away that all-purpose cleaner or grease remover, because this splatter screen will make sure to keep all that oil in the pan instead of on your stovetop while you cook. The fine mesh is made of stainless steel and allows any steam to escape while keeping hard-to-clean grease particles contained. With over 30,000 five-star ratings, it comes in four available sizes and can be popped it in the dishwasher for effortless cleanup.


Mistake: Replacing plants that aren’t receiving the nutrients they need

Solution: These food spikes that feed plants for 2 months

Plants can cost a pretty penny, so keep your Schefflera or pothos healthy with these plant food spikes. Packed with nutrients and fertilizer, simply place the spikes in the soil and they will feed your houseplant for up to two months. The spike will slowly deliver food to your plant as you water it, keeping it in thriving shape.


Mistake: Installing new outlets when you run out of space

Solution: A 6-outlet extender that also has USB ports

Make the most of each standard power source with this outlet extender that can handle up to six plugs in addition to two USB cables. Clearly a popular solution with over 62,000 ratings and 4.7 stars, it acts as a sort of condensed power strip that takes up barely any room. Plus, it even features a built-in night-light as a bonus.


Mistake: Using harsh chemicals to clean your shower

Solution: A shower squeegee for easy, streak-free cleaning

Instead of reaching for the strong-smelling glass cleaner, use this simple but effective squeegee to keep your glass shower doors sparkling. It’s made of sleek stainless steel and features a sturdy yet flexible blade that makes it great for removing moisture from smooth or tiled surfaces without leaving any streaks behind. Use the included suction cup to store it neatly against the shower wall.


Mistake: Forgetting to clean your gutters

Solution: This gutter-cleaning hook that attaches to an extension pole

That time you forgot to clean your gutters will not quickly be forgotten thanks to accumulated water threatening the integrity of your roof. Next time, reach for this gutter cleaning tool that attaches to an extension pole and features an integrated scoop to quickly and efficiently remove leaves. Additionally, use it to help clean skylights and hang it easily from your ladder rungs if you need to use your hands.


Mistake: Keeping lights on overnight

Solution: These motion-activated bed lights that create a soft glow

Save on your electricity bills by opting for a motion-activated bed light that will only turn on if movement is detected within 11.8 feet. It adheres to the underside of your bed or wherever you could use a little extra light come nighttime such as along hallways or underneath cabinetry. Adjust the light to turn off anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes after it stops detecting motion.


Mistake: Wasting money on disposable lighters

Solution: A flameless lighter that’s USB-rechargeable

Say goodbye to lighters that utilize a finite amount of butane and require constant replacement. Innovation has come up with a much better solution in the form of this electric lighter that’s USB-rechargeable not to mention completely windproof. It comes in eight chic colors and features a flexible gooseneck with the ability to be used up to 600 times on just one charge. Bring on the birthday candles.


Mistake: Misplacing the lids that go with your food storage containers

Solution: An organizer that keeps lids tidy

Store your leftovers quickly with this lid organizer that will prevent you from reaching for the single-use plastic wrap or having to buy more storage supplies. It comes in a range of sizes and includes five moveable dividers to keep lids upright and organized. Handles on either side make it easy to retrieve and grab what you need.


Mistake: Spending money on disposable food storage bags

Solution: These silicone bags with an airtight seal

Save yourself from constantly having to re-up on single-use supplies by opting for these reusable storage bags instead. They’re made of food-grade PEVA that’s free of BPA, chloride, lead, and PVC, and feature a double zipper closure for leakproof and airtight storage. They come in a set of 12 in gallon, sandwich, and snack sizes, and can be safely used in both the freezer and dishwasher.


Mistake: Using disposable dryer sheets

Solution: These wool balls that speed up drying time

You may be skeptical, but over 53,000 five-star ratings should convince you that these wool dryer balls are just as, if not more, effective than your typical dryer sheet. Not only do they stand the test of time through thousands of cycles, but their New Zealand wool material works to reduce static and soften the material of your laundry without the help of any chemicals. Plus, they also help to reduce drying time, thus saving you precious money on energy bills.


Mistake: Buying lunch every day

Solution: A stackable container so you can easily pack lunch

How enticing it is to treat yourself to a lunch out every single day — that is, until you see your monthly credit card statement (ouch). In this case, a stackable lunch container is a great solution as it offers you multiple compartments for packing a delicious and flavorful meal that’s supremely portable. Pop on the airtight lid and use the built-in fork to chow down on your homemade gourmet lunch.


Mistake: Spending too much money on heat & AC

Solution: These insulated curtains that help save energy

These thermal-insulated curtains are a budget-friendly way of sealing in warm and cool air so you can give your HVAC system (and energy bills) a rest. Made of triple-woven fabric, the curtains block up to 99% of UV light and prevent the sun from heating your home via glass windows. They’re available in tons of sizes and colors to match your home’s aesthetic and are conveniently machine-washable.


Mistake: Losing important bills, permission slips, & other paperwork

Solution: These magnetic clips for organizing documents

Ideal for organizing reminders, photos, or office supplies, these magnetic clips are designed for your refrigerator or any magnetic surface. Powerful and with a strong grip, they can effortlessly secure up to 60 sheets of A4 paper or transform into a handy holder for keys, pens, and more. Along with a magnetic notepad for quick notes and lists, these magnets come with scratch-free protectors to keep surfaces pristine.


Mistake: Letting food get stale quickly in open containers

Solution: A set of airtight containers that keep food fresh

Never let a box of cereal go stale too soon again with this container set. With two large containers for bulk items and two smaller ones for daily essentials, they are designed to stack neatly, optimizing pantry space while maintaining an organized look. The snap-down lids ensure an airtight seal for freshness. The set of four containers is leakproof and built to withstand extreme temperatures, making them safe to use in the freezer, microwave, and dishwasher.


Mistake: Losing track of what’s in your cabinets & closets

Solution: These clear bins that keep items visible & organized

These large-capacity clear bins are an efficient way to tidy up your refrigerator, pantry, or any shelving unit. With easy-grip handles, they can be easily toted around — and they’re stackable too. Use them in the kitchen for dry goods and cleaning products, in the bathroom for toiletries, or in a craft room for supplies. They’re built from durable BPA-free plastic for safe food storage.


Mistake: Taking long showers that waste water & drive up your bill

Solution: A waterproof timer that helps you take shorter showers

It’s too easy to zone out and lose track of time while you’re enjoying a hot shower. Keep an eye on your shower time with this waterproof timer that has a high IPX7 water resistance rating. Capable of doubling as both a timer and a watch, you can also set it for countdowns or use its quick-set buttons for various time markers. It’s also useful as a study tool or for cooking or outdoor activities. Its silver-plated design includes a magnetic back, retractable stand, and hanging hook for convenience.


Mistake: Not watering your plants the right amount

Solution: These watering globes that keep your plants hydrated

Great for anyone from green thumbs to plant-parent novices, these beautifully designed watering globes offer a practical solution to plant care, ensuring your greenery receives the right amount of water, even in your absence. These globes blend functionality with aesthetic appeal, making them a handy addition to any gardening tool kit.


Mistake: Having to replace outdoor furniture due to weather damage

Solution: A spray that protects against sun & water

Protect your outdoor furniture with this sun and water shield spray. Your ally against the elements, this powerful protector wards off harmful UVA/UVB rays to help prevent fading while delivering unmatched water repellency for fabrics, leather, and suede. Perfect for patio furniture, boat covers, and more, it requires only a simple application and dries odorlessly.


Mistake: Calling a plumber instead of unclogging the drain yourself

Solution: These drain snakes that easily pull out the gunk

Don’t worry about expensive plumbing bills with this pack of drain cleaner tools. Complete with five plastic hair clog removers and two spring-loaded grabbers, these tools are designed to navigate various pipes for a deep clean without the risk of breakage. Simple to use and an alternative to chemicals, they offer a wide application range from kitchen sinks to bathtubs, providing an effective solution to blockages.


Mistake: Accidentally running the dishwasher twice

Solution: A magnet that tracks clean & dirty dishes

Clear up communication in your household with this dishwasher magnet designed for every type of dishwasher. With clear, easy-to-see symbols, you'll always know at a glance whether your dishes are clean or dirty. Its strong magnetic hold means it stays exactly where you put it without slipping or falling. Waterproof and peel-proof, it’s made to outlast other magnets and stay looking great.


Mistake: Ruining your delicates in the dryer

Solution: An over-the-door rack for gentle drying

Not only can dryers ruin delicate clothes, but they’re total energy drains. Dry your clothes instead with this over-the-door drying rack with three tiers designed for space-saving efficiency and ease of use. Both durable and lightweight, it lets your clothes dry naturally. Installation is a breeze — simply hang it over any standard door or shower rod, no nails required. Ideal for compact living spaces, it folds flat when not in use.


Mistake: Having to throw away fresh herbs too quickly

Solution: An herb keeper that prolongs the life of your ingredients

Keep your herbs fresher for longer with this innovative herb keeper. Its unique design hydrates and protects, extending freshness with a basket that promotes full air circulation and a lid that maintains optimal humidity levels. Simply add water to the bottom to delay wilting. The hinged basket opens wide for easy access, safeguarding delicate leaves. Compact for storage on refrigerator shelves or doors, it works for any herb.


Mistake: Buying expensive cold brew

Solution: Making your own with this cold brew pitcher

Wake up to a delicious cup of cold brew with this sleek cold brew pitcher, capable of brewing four cups of your morning favorite. It's simple: add ground coffee, brew for 12 to 24 hours, and enjoy. Made with borosilicate glass, a sturdy silicone base, and a fine stainless-steel filter, this brewer is designed to last. The airtight seal helps ensure your coffee stays fresh.


Mistake: Letting appliances use power when you’re not home

Solution: These smart plugs you can control from anywhere

Easily manage your home appliances from anywhere with this set of two smart plugs. Using your smartphone and the Kasa app, you can set schedules to automate your devices, ensuring lights or fans turn off when not needed, saving energy and costs. Installation is simple; just plug in and connect to your Wi-Fi. Voice control is possible through Alexa or Google Assistant.


Mistake: Using plastic wrap to store your food

Solution: These beeswax food wraps that are washable & reusable

These beeswax food wraps are a reusable green alternative to single-use plastic for keeping your food fresh. Made in America from natural ingredients including organic cotton and beeswax, these wraps are free from toxins and washable too. The variety pack works for your food storage needs, from preserving half an avocado to covering salad bowls.


Mistake: Impulse shopping at the grocery store

Solution: Meal planning with this helpful notepad

Simplify your meal planning with this meal planner pad. This 60-sheet notepad, complete with a handy magnet for your fridge, takes the guesswork out of daily meals. Stylish and available in three different colors, it's an ideal tool for scheduling your weekly meals so you always know what's for dinner — even if it's cereal.


Mistake: Letting your coffee get a funky taste because it’s stored improperly

Solution: An airtight container that keeps coffee beans fresh

Keep your coffee beans fresh and tasty with this coffee bean storage container. Made from rust-resistant stainless steel, the design features a silicone base, an ergonomic clip, and a handy date tracker. Beyond functionality, its elegant appearance enhances any kitchen counter. Not just for beans, its airtight seal makes it ideal for tea, sugar, flour, and more.


Mistake: Not thoroughly cleaning your dryer

Solution: A vent-cleaning kit that removes lint buildup

Help your dryer to run more efficiently with this dryer vent cleaner kit. This kit, complete with a synthetic brush head and flexible rods extending up to 40 feet, makes it easy to effectively clean out your dryer, whether used with a power drill or by hand. Improve your dryer's performance, save on professional cleaning costs, and minimize fire risks by eliminating lint buildup.


Mistake: Replacing scuffed wood furniture instead of revamping it

Solution: A furniture repair kit that covers scuffs & scratches

Revitalize your furniture with these wood repair markers, designed to seamlessly cover scratches, scuffs, and discoloration on a variety of wood finishes. This easy-to-use kit provides everything you need for quick touch-ups, ensuring your furniture, cabinets, and floors look their best. Restore the beauty of your wood pieces without the need for costly services or major shopping.


Mistake: Not protecting your mattress from spills & bugs

Solution: A waterproof cover that blocks stains & dust mites

A good mattress is an expensive investment worth protecting. This mattress protector is your ultimate shield against dust mites, fluids, and allergens. Great for families, allergy sufferers, and pet owners, these protectors help your mattress remain stain and odor-free. Easy to maintain, a quarterly wash keeps allergens at bay for a healthier, more restful night's sleep.


Mistake: Forgetting to make sure your fridge door is closed

Solution: An alarm that warns you if the door is ajar

Keep your fridge and freezer doors in check with this alarm system. Avoid food wastage and save on energy with alerts that remind you to close the door when it's been left open. With four adjustable volume modes, including a loud siren for persistent situations, this alarm is easy to install and user-friendly.


Mistake: Buying batteries you don’t need

Solution: An organizer with a removable battery tester

Your batteries will always be organized and easily accessible with this expanded battery organizer case. Designed to neatly store 93 batteries of various sizes, it can be tucked away in a drawer or mounted on a wall for convenience. With a transparent lid, you'll always know what you have on hand. Plus, it includes a handy, removable battery tester, ensuring you never have to guess which batteries are still good to use.