This year sucked. Here are 50 cheap things to make life a little better in the new year

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They don’t call it retail therapy for nothing. Sometimes, spending a little extra on something special just for you really does make you feel better. To be clear, I’m not advocating for anyone to blow their budget on an impulsive purchase they’ll regret down the road, but spending a little on that hoodie you’ve been eyeing or a new piece for your kitchen that will truly make you happy is almost always worth it, especially after the year we just went through.

In the past year or so, many of us have spent more time at home than ever before. And, well, to put it bluntly, we've collectively been through hell. And with all the troubles and annoyances, big and small, that have gone along with that, you’re probably long overdue to be a little selfish and buy something out of the ordinary.

You may not be able to control the world outside, but you can commit to self care and making 2022 a better year personally, starting with a little gift from you to you. These 50 cheap things are a great place to start gathering inspiration, from a cozy new bathrobe to this peeling face mask to promote cell turnover. In the immortal words of Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford from Parks and Recreation, "Treat yo' self!"


This travel-friendly coffee cup that collapses to make it portable

This travel-friendly collapsible cup is just what you need to maintain environmentally-friendly habits on the go. This silicone travel cup collapses down to 2 inches, and is completely leak-proof and dishwasher safe. It can handle hot and cold drinks, so there are really no excuses for not bringing it with you since it can fit in any standard cupholder and, once collapsed, tucks easily in a bag.


These gel toe separators that make for a good stretch or pedicure

After a long day in tight shoes, stretching your feet with these gel toe separators can give them the TLC they deserve. These can provide some relief from chronic pain and other foot-related health conditions, but also can be used as an at-home pedicure tool. Start by wearing them for 10 to 15 minutes a day, and build up gradually to an hour to stretch and condition your feet to the stretchers.


A stretchy, exfoliating bath loofah set for hard-to-reach places

Add this shower back scrubber to your routine, and use the stretchy, textured, two-layered fabric to cleanse and exfoliate from head to toe. It removes dead skin and provides a deep, deep clean, leaving you with soft, refreshed skin. It’s easier to use than traditional loofahs, too, the two-handle design makes getting hard-to-reach places clean easier, so your back will be really, really clean. To make your bathing routine even easier and satisfying, each order also comes with a set of exfoliating gloves for your arms and legs.


A massaging foot spa that is so soothing & relaxing

Treat your feet to a warm soak in this Conair pedicure foot spa. It has soothing vibrations and textured massage points to give your feet the spa treatment they deserve after a long day of walking or just a long day. This spa is so easy to operate, too, just turn it on with your toes, sit back, and relax.


A three-in-one avocado slicer with an ultra-comfortable grip

Cutting avocados can be a real hassle, which is sad when something as delicious as guacamole exists. This three-in-one avocado splitter, pitter, and slicer makes prepping your avocados a breeze. The serrated blade cuts the fruit while keeping your hands safe, the stainless steel pitter removes the pit with a single motion, and the fan blade cuts your avocado into seven equally-sized pieces that are totally ready for your avocado toast.


These barely visible pimple patches that work overnight

Ever wished you could zap a pimple overnight and wake up blemish-free? Turns out you actually can. These best-selling hydrocolloid patches suck all the gunk out of a zit in six to eight hours. They adhere to your skin with super strong adhesive, and are nearly invisible so you can even wear them out and about too. Amazon shoppers swear by these small but mighty patches; they have over 56,000 perfect five-star reviews.


These bag cinches that will keep your bread, rice, and other groceries fresh

Forget hard-to-open twist ties or bread tags that don’t really secure your loaves — this pack of three bag cinches will seal open bags of bread, rice, grains, frozen fruit and veggies, and more in an instant. Just squeeze to clip them on or open them up, and the teeth inside will keep your food bags securely closed.


This portable sound machine that will lull you into easier, deeper sleep

If you find it hard to fall asleep without background noise, treat yourself to this sound machine. It has 20 non-looping sleep sounds, including white noise, brown noise, a fan, rain, ocean breeze and much, much more. You can set a timer for one to five hours of playback or leave it on, soothing you to sleep or providing relaxing background noise for working, meditating, and more. This fan-favorite sound machine has over 21,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, and at just 6 inches wide, you can take this with you wherever you go.


This rechargeable hand warmer that doubles as a power bank

When it’s really, really cold out, a pair of gloves just won’t do it. Unlike other rechargeable hand warmer options, this one has three different heat settings, which are indicated by a light display and can be changed with a short press of a button. It has a powerful lithium rechargeable battery with USB-C charging port, and can even be used as a phone power bank when you’re in a pinch.


A 5-pack of cozy wool socks that will keep your toes nice and warm

This pack of wool crew-length socks are sure to keep your feet warm all winter long, whether you’re scurrying across drafty floors or hiking in the wilderness. The pack of five has festive and colorful patterns, and fit men’s sizes 6 to 12. They’re thick enough to keep you cozy, but still fit inside comfortably inside a pair of boots or sneakers.


This streaming device with a quick and easy set-up

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your streaming device, then it’s time to set up a Roku express. Not only is under $20, it’s ridiculously quick and easy to set up and start watching your favorite shows, and I would know, I have one. This device streamlines all your TV remotes into one, so you can access all the streaming services, control volume and power, and use your voice to search for new binge-worthy media.


This tiny but mighty massage ball for deep tissue relief

This extra firm foam massage ball is like a massage in a massage therapist you can throw in your gym bag. Use it to target sore muscles and give yourself a deep tissue massage anywhere. It’s made from a slip-resistant material that is easy to clean, and is small enough to carry around wherever you may go.


These cozy fur-lined slippers that you’ll never want to take off

You’ll love lounging in these moccasin slippers after a long day (or wearing them all day while you work — your secret is safe with me.) They’re lined with plush faux fur, and have a high-density memory foam sole to support your arches. They have a hard outer sole too, so you can step out to walk the dog or grab the mail in them without changing shoes.

  • Available sizes: 8 – 13
  • Available colors: 4


A set of bamboo brushes that can be used on dishes, tile, carpet, and more

These bamboo scrub brushes will really make a difference in how you wash your dishes. Two of the three brushes are made from a stiff union fiber and bristle, while the third is more of a medium bristle. These can be used on all sorts of surfaces including cast iron, steel, tile, carpet, and more. They also have an ergonomic grip and are made of environmentally-friendly materials, so you’ll feel good about using them too.


This small humidifier that can make a big difference

When you’re cranking the heat up during the winter, you may notice your skin, sinuses, and respiratory system drying out. This small cool mist humidifier can help add moisture back into the air, and it’s particularly effective for small spaces. In spite of its small water tank, it runs for up to 10 hours continuously and automatically shuts off when the tank is empty. There’s an optional nightlight that lets off a soothing glow, and it’s incredibly quiet, making it equally suited for daytime and nighttime use.


A life-changing slicer that cuts through bagels in one fell swoop

If you eat a bagel almost every morning (me) and hate the mess you make slicing it with a knife (also me), then the original bagel guillotine will change your life. The guillotine-style blade slices bagels cleanly in half. There’s no chance of cutting yourself since the blade is enmeshed within two acrylic safety shields: Simply place it in the slot, and push down on the handle to slice your bagel neatly and quickly. You can also use this handy device for rolls, muffins, and other breads, which is why it has over 13,000 Amazon reviews and an average 4.8-star rating.


This genius beanie with a light in the front

This isn’t just your average warm, cozy beanie hat — this popular head accessory also happens to come with a strong LED light in the front, so you can illuminate your path while working under a car, walking the dog at night, or going for a midnight jog. The light can run for up to eight hours on one charge, and can be recharged via USB port, while the hat can be washed in a standard washing machine after you remove the light.


A miracle-working peeling mask that helps with acne, dead skin, & redness

The Ordinary peeling solution mask is one of those holy grail skincare products people swear by. It’s a powerful exfoliant, packed with AHAs and BHAs, and it works best for acne-prone and congested skin. Don’t be alarmed by the blood-like color — I can testify that this mask works with pretty instant results.


This cast iron skillet that will change the way you cook

This Lodge cast iron skillet is a kitchen essential that will prove its utility over and over, as the 95,000 five-star ratings on Amazon prove. It has unparalleled heat distribution and retention abilities, searing and frying your favorite foods to perfection. You can use it to make anything from steak to cornbread, and the 10.25-inch skillet comes with silicone handle holder to help you handle it safely.


This TikTok-famous cleanser that’s packed with hydrating ingredients

CeraVe is among the most trusted drugstore skincare brands out there, and their hydrating facial cleanser is stacked with nourishing ingredients like ceramides and hyaluronic acid that deeply cleanse the skin and moisturize it. It has a lotion-like consistency that’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and acne-prone. You can even multi-task and use it all over the body at morning and night.


This flannel jacket that you’ll want to wear all winter long

If it’s been a while since you’ve invested in your outerwear, consider adding this Wrangler Authentics quilted flannel shirt jacket to your arsenal. It’s lined with ultra-warm quilted polyester, features a relaxed fit, and is made with that Wrangler quality that’s sure to last for years, hence the 19,000-plus five-star reviews on Amazon.

  • Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large
  • Available styles: 10


This stylish, eco-friendly electric lighter that can be bent to any angle

When your candle’s wick is nearly at the end, it feels next to impossible to light it without burning yourself — unless you’re using this electric arc candle lighter. With flameless and smokeless technology and a flexible gooseneck that can be bent at any angle, it’s safer and easier to use than normal lighters. This eco-friendly lighter can be recharged via USB port and has an auto-off feature, making this a safe option that can be used anywhere.


This super soft bamboo blanket that will keep you nice and cool

If you often find yourself sweating through your sheets, even in the dead of winter, then you’re in need of this bamboo cooling blanket. The cool-to-the-touch fabric releases body heat throughout the night, allowing your body to breathe, which keeps you comfortable throughout the night. It’s machine washable on a gentle cycle, and comes in several sizes and patterns, making it great for lounging on the couch or snuggling up with in bed.


This waterproof Bluetooth speaker for listening to music wherever you want

This waterproof Bluetooth speaker can be fully immersed in water up to one meter for about 30 minutes, while still delivering quality HD sound with no distortion. That, combined with a suction cup to attach it to your bathtub wall, makes this a great option for the shower. However, this speaker is lightweight and easy to carry, so you can take it to the pool, mountains, or beach, where it can play for up to 12 hours on a single charge.


This basic-but-cozy hoodie you’ll never want to take off

Sometimes, nothing can soothe the void in your soul quite like a cozy new hoodie. It’s even better if it’s stylish, easy-to-wear, and doesn’t break the bank, like this fleece hooded sweatshirt. Featuring a heavy yet soft fabric that feels just right, this sweatshirt comes in a bunch of colors that you can throw on easily for lounging at home or layering out and about.

  • Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large
  • Available colors: 22


A divided pan that makes perfectly-sized desserts

Making store-quality desserts is as easy as combining your favorite brownie recipe with this divided non-stick baking pan. Pour your mixture into the 12 individual sections, place it in the oven, and you’ll end up with perfectly symmetrical, pre-cut brownies, bars, and other desserts. No need to fight over those crispy corner pieces ever again!


These self-adhesive LED lights for fun, mood-setting decor

When in doubt, do as the Gen Z’ers do: Decorate your space with these colorful LED strip lights. 65.6 feet is more than enough to wrap around an entire room, and you can make cuts as needed on the marks. They even have adhesive backing and an included remote to control them with, so you can set the vibe for your next party or movie night with ease.


A pack of colorful felt tip pens with a 4.9-star rating on Amazon

For school, office, or arts and crafts use, this set of 24 Papermate felt tip pens are the best you can get. They’re quick-drying to avoid smearing, and designed not to bleed through paper. Use them for color-coded note taking, filling out your weekly planner, or drawing and coloring — they have every color you could possibly need. These fan-favorite pens have amassed over 60,000 reviews on Amazon, with an average 4.9-star rating.


An elegant, sweet-smelling candle with glass packaging

I’ve gained a new appreciation for candles in the past year or two. If they smell good, then great, but if they also come in a beautiful container like this dark berries and bergamot scented candle, then even better. This candle burns for up to 90 hours, and is made from vegan, cruelty-free, and paraben-free soy wax. The wood wick crackles upon lighting — which is deeply satisfying — and emits fruity aromas blended with notes of cozy vanilla, caramel, and patchouli.


A sustainable notebook that you can use over and over again

This smart reusable notebook combines the effectiveness of handwritten notes with the efficiency of typing. Each of the 36 pages wipes can be written on and then cleaned with a damp cloth, so you can use them over and over again. The pages can be easily uploaded to the cloud service of your choice using the corresponding smartphone app. This is an especially good investment for those who prefer to physically write down their notes or lists, but want their documents organized in an electronic form.


These silicone trays that make giant square and cylindrical ice cubes

This set of silicone ice cube trays is unique because it can be used to make giant spherical and cube-shaped ice that keeps your cocktail, coffee, soda, or juice cold without watering it down. The food-grade silicone trays make six pieces of ice each, and are easier to pop out of the mold because of the flexible material. Because this is one set, you can stack the ice cube trays on top of each other for easy storage.


This best-selling beanie that’s warm & goes with everything

You can trust in the quality of this Carhartt acrylic watch hat, a classic beanie with their signature label sewn into the front. There are nearly 115,000 reviews on this baby, boasting a whopping 4.8 star rating. Reviewers report that it’s snug but not too tight, warm, and doesn’t lose its stretch over time.


A powerful portable charger that’s smaller than a deck of cards

A phone charger that’s smaller than a deck of cards? This Anker charger packs tons of battery life into a highly portable little power bank. It weighs less than a baseball but can charge Android and Apple devices up to three times over. A trusted brand, this Anker charger has over 54,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.


A set of 12 espresso spoons that are somehow so useful

Why are tiny things so much more enjoyable than their regularly-sized counterparts? This 12-piece set of demitasse espresso spoons is no exception — the four-inch spoons are perfect for stirring your morning coffee or tea or for eating dips, snacks, and desserts. They’re the perfect solution for someone who’s constantly running out of clean spoons and are made from a durable, dishwasher-safe stainless steel that can be used over and over.


This trunk organizer that will declutter your car

I don’t know about you, but a messy trunk really stresses me out. This trunk organizer sorts all of those random odds and ends you need into a single space. It features three compartments inside as well as two mesh pockets where you can keep emergency kits, grocery totes, hiking gear, or whatever else you always need nearby. This organizer is collapsable and can be used at half size or full size, making it adaptable for your exact needs. The straps keep it secure in your trunk, which he handles allow you to carry it out of your car when needed. There’s a reason why this best-selling organizer has over 35,000 five-star ratings on Amazon.


A toasted sandwich maker to make satisfying lunches in minutes

If you frequently whip up sandwiches as an easy and tasty meal, then you deserve this toasted sandwich maker. It sits directly on your gas, electric, or ceramic stovetop, crisping the bread to perfection and warming your sandwich toppings. It’s easy to use and clean, and takes your everyday lunch from ordinary to extraordinary.


This cozy henley that’s ideal for layering

Whether you’re lounging at home or headed out to run errands on a chilly day, this Hanes long sleeve henley shirt will keep you warm and cozy. The 100% cotton fabric is ridiculously soft, and has three contrast color buttons that give it a little more flair while still keeping things casual. It’s available in nine classic colors and is tagless to keep you as comfy as possible.

  • Available sizes: Small – 3X-Large
  • Available colors: 9


These Bluetooth earbuds that are waterproof

These Bluetooth wireless earbuds seem to have it all. They offer premium sound quality with noise reduction, are smaller than a quarter, have six hours of playback on a single charge, and are completely resistant to sweat, water, and rain. They’re secure, too. One reviewer wrote: “No matter how hard I try, [Apple airpods] fall out of my ear in less than a minute...[these earbuds] were perfect and no matter how much I jumped up and down or shook my head, they stayed in place!”


A 3-step knife sharpener that comes with a cut-resistant glove

Restore your kitchen knives with this three-step knife sharpener. This knife sharpener repairs, straightens, sharpens and polishes your blades for knives that are as good as new — or better. It has a comfort-grip ergonomic handle and a non-slip rubber base, but the accompanying cut-resistant glove just adds another level of protection


These stackable, stainless steel mixing bowls that come with lids

This set of seven stainless steel mixing bowls will save you so much cabinet space. Not only do they nest into one another, but these can also be used for baking, cooking, serving, and leftovers, allowing you to have fewer bowls in your cabinets. This set is unique because the bowls come with their own plastic lids, allowing you to easily use these for leftovers or to transport your food to a potluck.


This coarse soap for exfoliating and nourishing the skin

This little bar of soap seems to have it all. It’s made of pumice, activated charcoal, and dead sea mud to clean and exfoliate your skin with a single scrub. It contains no sulfates, parabens, or synthetic dyes. Instead, it’s made scented with natural essential oils that lend it a citrusy scent.


These reusable silicone straws that you can open up to clean

Swap your plastic straws for this reusable silicone set to reduce your waste and environmental impact. This set of three comfortable, food-grade straws are suitable to use in hot or cold drinks. Unlike other reusable straws, these have a genius split-open design that makes them easy to clean when you’re done — no extra tools required!


This set that has everything you need to make sushi

The next time you’re craving sushi, skip the takeout and use this bamboo sushi mat kit. It includes everything you need to assemble and roll your favorites, from spicy tuna to California rolls. It comes with two rolling mats, a rice spreader, a rice paddle, five pairs of chopsticks, and a downloadable beginner’s guide to help you learn the best sushi-making techniques.


A storage cart that works for extra-small areas of your home

No matter what room you use it in, this rolling tiered storage cart is an efficient and space-saving way to store practically anything. It’s just over five inches wide, perfect for small spaces, and features three tiers, allowing you to stack bathroom, office, or crafting supplies with ease. Four easy-glide wheels mean you can pull it around the house as needed, and it assembles in seconds.


This plush bathrobe that you’ll never want to take off

With a plush velour fabric, two front pockets, and an adjustable waist tie, what’s not to like about this bathrobe? It’s practical and cozy, perfect for lounging around the house on a lazy Sunday. The fabric is lightweight and warm, and it has a convenient hook for hanging when it’s not in use, which is why this robe has a 4.6-star rating on Amazon.


These ankle weights to kick your gym routine up a notch

Add a little more challenge to your daily workouts with these adjustable ankle weights. The universal-size weights have velcro straps, and each one weighs between one and five pounds to add resistance and improve your strength. The removable sand pockets make it easy to adjust the weight as needed, so multiple people can share or you can gradually increase the intensity.


This fidget cube that can help keep you focused

When you’re finding it difficult to focus during meetings or class, try playing with this fidget cube to keep your hands busy, leaving your mind free to focus on the task at hand. Made from smooth silicone that’s soft to the touch, this fidget cube offers six different sensory experiences that can help relieve stress in people with anxiety, ADHD, and more.


This sweary coloring book to help grown ups unwind

A little crude inspiration never hurt anybody. This motivational swear word coloring book is a great way to unwind after a crappy day, filling in artistic designs with messages like “cheer the f*ck up” and “basic b*tch.” It offers 60 pages of relaxing coloring pages that you may not want to use around children, but that will certainly turn your less-than-perfect day (or week, or month, or year) around.


A pair of classic shower slides that you can slip on and go

For around the house, after the gym, or to run short errands, there’s no better footwear than these classic adidas slides. The rubber slide-ons are made with a comfortable contoured footbed, and you can wear them into the shower and beyond. Choose your favorite of the 28 available colors, all of which come with adidas’ signature three stripes on the upper band.


A set of classic woven baskets for storage and organization

Adulthood has taught me that it’s worthwhile to get excited about the little things that make day-to-day life easier, like these woven storage baskets. They are immensely helpful around the house, and super stylish to boot. This pack of three works great for organizing your bookshelf, bathroom counter, or desk. They come in three sizes in a two-tone woven paper rope pattern, so you can feel good about leaving them on display.