I'm not fond of spending without intent, but when it comes to saving money, buying certain items will impact your savings positively in the long run; while some stuff starts saving money right away, others will do after a while. The key is remembering that cash will always add up sooner or later.
As a bonus, most of the items in this list will be reused repeatedly, reducing your waste and helping the environment along the way.
This is a general list that can save money in different areas, not a list of must-haves to save money; if something doesn't apply to your lifestyle, it's completely fine; take what resonates with you.
Finally, remember that even though the goal is to save money, you don't have to buy everything to achieve it.
Spending too much would crash any budget, even if it's money-saving items and send you on a guilt-trip; my advice is to purchase the things that will save you the most money first and with those savings buy the next one and so on.
This way, you will save without feeling the guilt of spending too much at once, and if you want to save a little bit more, try selling the items that will be replaced; as long as they work and are in good condition, you can make a few extra bucks from them to use for these purchases.
Because this list has many items, I decided to organize them by category; this way, you can easily find everything.
These are the categories:
1) Beauty, Clothing & Personal Care
2) Cleaning Supplies & Tools
3) Electronics, Computer & Accessories
5) Kitchen & Pantry
6) Kitchen Appliances
1) Beauty, Clothing & Personal Care
Say goodbye to the disposable plastic razors that are terrible to the environment, choose these options with less waste, and don't be fooled by its design. Both males and females can use this safety razor, and the many female positive reviews on Amazon prove it.
Taking care of your nails says a lot about you, but paying someone to do it is unnecessary; you can give yourself decent nail care with this complete kit, from necessary trimming to more detailed work, including cutting the cuticles.
Some people are quite handy at cutting hair. Many have achieved this skill while quarantined but trying to cut hair with regular scissors is not recommended; you want scissors specially designed for this purpose; they are long and slender, so they properly cut even the thinnest hair.
Save money by having a family member cut your hair, and even if you live by yourself, you can trim the ends to maintain the shape of your haircut until you need to revisit a hair salon.
Keeping good oral hygiene saves a lot of money by reducing the dentist's visits to just the yearly check-up; besides brushing your teeth, flossing is recommended by many experts because food scraps will always get stuck between teeth, increasing the risk of caries.
Traditional floss is wasteful and quite messy to deal with. I used to hate flossing and had to rinse the floss to clean food residue caught in it.
A water flosser is a cleaner and practical option; besides help reduce your waste, you don't have to buy an expensive water flosser; many affordable flossers works fine; read all the reviews (positive and negative) to find the better fit.
The model I found is one of Amazon's most sold flossers; among its main benefits, this model water tank detaches to properly clean limescale or use distilled water to avoid any build-up. The head rotates 360° and includes three additional nozzles.
Keep your eyebrow in good shape with a simple pair of tweezers; this is a cheap self-care item everyone should have in their house.
For both women and men who want to have smooth skin, there are different options such as waxing or shaving; both are wasteful and will require to pay each time for professional work or regularly buy products such as shaving cream or wax.
Instead, buy an epilator once and forget about recurrent purchases; this little gadget can remove even the short hair from the root, leaving a stubble-free skin for weeks and reduces the risk of painful ingrown hair.
It also includes a safety cap to remove hair from sensitive areas such as the underarm.
Unlike the traditional liquid shampoo, these bars, on average last longer than their liquid counterparts; also, because they include other ingredients in its composition and fewer chemicals, you save money by skipping conditioner.
They are also quite convenient to use and don't take up as much space on your shower as the shampoo bottles; finally, their impact on the environment is less than regular shampoo. Shampoo bars are biodegradable, and usually, their packaging is not made of plastic.
This next item is targeted for men, a good quality grooming kit for body hair and hair will help you look polished all the time and save you money in the long run.
The Phillips Norelco series is one the most sold kits on Amazon; with one trimmer and 23 accessories, you can groom your hair, facial, and most body hair efficiently (don't use on private parts); the charged trimmer can go up to 5 hours, and the blade doesn't need any oil.
There is a newer version that includes a storage case, comb, brush, and detailing scissor. Although, for me, those additional items don't justify the extra cost, click here to check it out if you are interested.
Another personal care item that is quite wasteful is make-up remover pads. The ones made of cotton are a one-use item, and even though cotton is biodegradable, there are zero-waste options.
Like the four-set kit by Erase Your Face, made of soft and plush polyester, soak in warm water to remove any trace of make-up without any additional product, machine wash, and hang to dry.
Manicure is another recurrent expense for many women who do a maintenance routine to their nails. Still, the additional cost can be eliminated by doing it at home, sure it won't look as neat, but unless it is a special occasion, there's no reason to be spending $20 or $40 every two weeks when most people won't notice or care.
Get yourself the nail kit, a polish of your preference, and this nail lamp to get the work done and treat it as your spa day.
This one might not be for everyone, but having a handheld bidet at home does save money. People who own a bidet also use toilet paper; but by cleaning themselves with a bidet, they reduce the amount of paper needed; besides, you will be much cleaner this way.
One of my pet peeves is throwing away any product leftover inside its container. I enjoy using up all the products I paid for.
This includes toothpaste, you can squeeze or roll the tube with your hands, but there will always be leftover; using a squeezer, you guarantee that the very last toothpaste is used before discarding it.
The set I found is made of stainless steel and comes in a group of two; divide the cost with a friend or family to save even more.
I haven't talked much about shoes on my blog. Still, for a minimalist, the best quality shoes you can buy are essential because you invest in your overall health; you don't need a lot of shoes, just one for each activity or occasion.
Ideally, it would be best if you had a pair of sports sneakers, formal shoes, flip flops, cozy slipper for colder months, and depending on where you live or activity, other shoes such as winter boots or hiking shoes.
One of the essential shoes are your casual shoes, the ones you will wear most of the time when you go grocery shopping or travel overseas; this is why these shoes should be comfy and easy to slip on. Buy shoes in breathable fabrics that are lightweight for additional comfort.
To extend the life of your limited shoe selection, get shoes and a boot cleaning kit; you don't have to purchase anything fancy.
This kit I found by Gear Aid offers protection for suede, leather, and waterproof fabrics, the two set includes a water repellant spray, suede cleaner, brush, and eraser.
Save yourself the money spent on chemical peelings by buying this vegan brightening facial scrub, formulated with sea kelp and French green clay; this gentle scrub is recommended for all skin types.
Use it three times a week to remove dead skin cells, draw out impurities, and reveal a brighter and even complexion.
Buying a product that achieves two things in one step saves both money and time; there are many facial cleansers out there. If I could recommend any is the Cerave cleanser, the non-foaming formula includes hyaluronic acid for a gentle cleanse, and the lotion-like consistency moistens it.
The fragrance-free cleanser is recommended for all skin types, including acne-prone skin.
Having brighter teeth is possible without paying extra for specific dental treatments; a charcoal toothpaste will do both jobs in one go, clean your teeth, and help naturally brighten them.
One female can use up to 11,000 disposable pads/tampons during her lifetime; we are talking about tons and tons of bloody waste in the landfills and oceans polluting, even more, our already collapsed environment.
This doesn't only affect our planet, but the amount of money spent on such personal hygiene items is gigantic over time, all that money wasted on disposable pads could have gone to your retirement fund or to help pay for your house.
A single silicone cup will save the environment 10 years of waste per individual, and all that money stays in your pocket.
Just like a toothpaste squeezer, getting the last drop of body lotion or shampoo is such a rewarding feeling, I would even go as far as swirling a bit of water inside the almost empty bottle to use up all the product.
A simple gadget like this bottle emptier will let your bottles stay upside down, so gravity pushes everything down; use this little stand for other bottles like sauces in the pantry. Lotions that are too thick won't slide that easily. For those, there is a better solution in the Kitchen & Utensil list.
The last item in this section is a no brainer, as someone who used to shop a lot in fast fashion stores I know this is so true, buying fast fashion certainly makes us feel that we own more, thus making believe we are richer than what we truly are, and that's what marketing wants us to think.
Instead of filling your closet with cheap clothes that don't last at all, go for high-quality garments in neutral colors with little to no designs or patterns, surely they will cost more upfront, but if you take care of them, they will last you for years or even decades to come.
They are made of better materials. You will see they have better stitching and manufacturing; there are plenty of educational videos on YouTube to learn more about choosing the right clothes and creating a minimalist capsule wardrobe. I'd recommend learning a bit more about clothes before spending money.
2) Cleaning Supplies & Tools
If you don't own a dryer, I highly recommend buying a rack first and see if it works for you; these foldable racks don't consume energy and are the perfect solution for small places or when you are forbidden of hanging your clothes outside the window or on a balcony because it's considered a fire hazard.
Another benefit of using a drying rack is clothes dried this way tend to last longer, make sure the space where you place the drying rack has a lot of ventilation to avoid any moldy smell.
Going along with the clothes topic, a washing machine, unlike a dryer, is more versatile and useful. Even though there are plenty of expensive models, you can buy a compact washing machine perfect for small places.
Washing machines do consume less water and doing laundry by hand is time-consuming; a few tips to save while doing the laundry, including waiting until you have a full load, don't go crazy over water temperature, hot water is recommended for sheets and towels to kill bacteria, the rest can use cold water.
This one of the cleaning staples creates a wide variety of products instead of buying chemical and artificial fragrance-ridden products.
Borax is recommended to get rid of bad smells like mold or mildew, kills pests such as ants, you can use it as a substitute to commercial detergent, and softens hard water.
Another cleaning staple, these gentle soaps are incredibly versatile, in different combinations, can be used to create a handmade body wash, all-purpose cleaners, liquid laundry soap for delicate handwashing pieces, clean make-up brushes, even to wash your dog and your car with just a few drops on a bucket of water.
An excellent product to disinfect wounds, surfaces, and to create other cleaning solutions such as shoe deodorizer, homemade deodorizer, sanitizer for door handles, phones, electronic devices, keys, and any other item that is continuously touched.
Even though I would recommend checking out if a drying rack is worth it first, you can still save money if you already own a dryer; instead of buying a one use dryer sheet that creates more waste, you can get a dryer ball made of either wool or silicone, both are waste-free options to dry your clothes plus it reduces the drying time and the energy cost.
A miracle product that is not only linked to aiding weight loss and lowering blood sugar but also a complete household item, among the many things that can be done using white vinegar are; window and mirror cleaner, kill unwanted vegetation, removing foul odors, stainless steel cleaner, mineral residue unclogger, among many other uses.
You can always use an old t-shirt as a homemade cleaning cloth as long as it doesn't leave lint residue over the surfaces.
I think it is better to donate unwanted clothes as long as they are in good condition; buying a cleaning cloth that leaves your surfaces streak-free combined with your homemade cleaning solutions, will help save money.
Depending on the type of floor your house has installed, a floor steamer might be a better option than using hard chemicals to sanitize them.
Hard floors like tiles, granite or linoleum are ideal to be cleaned with a steamer; it can kill 99% of bacteria and germs; hard floor and laminated can also be sanitized with a steamer as long as a low setting is available, pushing too much steam between the gaps can warp and damage floors like vinyl.
Bissell's floor steamer includes a grout scrubber that will remove all the stubborn dirt trapped with a detailed cleaning.
Not all vacuum cleaners are the same, and the cordless kind not only is way more practical to move around the house, but they save energy.
Compared to the traditional vacuum cleaner, the cordless kind can save up 30% time because you don't have to maneuver around the cable or plug and unplug as you vacuum each room; this saves money as energy is used more efficiently.
The Moosoo cordless vacuum cleaner lasts for 5 hours and traps 99% of micro dust, creating a cleaner environment.
Forget about calling the plumber or using harsh chemicals to unclog them; the tubshroom fits inside most drains, collecting all hair without stopping the flow of water. Save hundreds of dollars by buying this simple gadget and cleaning it once a week.
With a curated wardrobe, one must take more care of each piece; accidents always happen, and this is why it is essential to have a stain remover at hand, keep it in your car, backpack, or purse.
In case wine or tomato sauce stains your white fabric, you can treat it away and remove the stain, remember that an untreated stain will be more challenging to clean afterward when it has settled.
Going through rolls of paper towels is easy and wasteful; using it to clean the food scraps from your dish or dry a water spill on your countertop, we are using money to clean with these one-use paper towels.
One roll of a reusable bamboo towel will replace 6 months of regular paper towel and save trees using this eco-friendly option; each sheet can be used and washed up to 120 times.
If you want to create your cleaning solutions that are chemical and fragrance-free, get a couple of spray bottles and label them, glass bottles are environmentally friendly. They will help you save money by not buying a bunch of different commercial cleaners.
The last household staple, baking soda, can also be used for many things such as natural deodorizer, unclogger, cleaner, sanitizer, and even to clean produce. Baking soda and white vinegar are two items that should be in every house.
3) Electronics, Computer & Accessories
Instead of buying a tv, get a mini projector cheaper than regular TVs, as you will get more screen size for your money.
They also take up minimal space. You can turn any wall in your living room or bedroom into a movie theater, and don't worry about quality; the modern projector has improved a lot; the AuKing projector has a contrast of 2000:1 and supports 1080p resolution.
Laptops can be quite expensive and if that's the only type of desktop you own, consider buying a laptop stand.
Even laptops with an excellent cooling system should use a stand that lifts them off the desk to allow airflow below them; think long term if you don't want to upgrade your laptop in many years.
Suppose you invest a lot in a new cellphone. In that case, you might as well put some money into a quality phone case that is capable of absorbing the impact of an accidental fall.
There's nothing worse than dropping your brand new phone and seeing the screen crack, and even the most careful people can drop their phone.
If you don't plan to upgrade as frequently protect your investment, a phone can last easily over 5 years if you take good care of it; most upgrades shown each year are purely cosmetic anyway. A brand I like is Supcase, they sell sturdy minimal design phone cases
For the ones who enjoy books but are starting to feel their space cluttered, Kindle is an excellent option. With their extensive book collection, you can read everything you want without having to buy storage to keep the book, plus it's nice to know you can have all your favorite books with you at all times.
Some people don't like Kindle because they enjoy grabbing a book and touching the pages to read; it's wholly respectable, but I feel it is a matter of getting used to it.
Even though Cloud Storage is standard, I still think owning at least one external hard drive is essential; for example, to obtain a security backup copy, you will need more space than the one free cloud service can offer.
There is also the accessibility factor; if the internet fails, you won't get to access your documents, and even if you have access when the internet is slow, downloading larger files could take more time.
It's safer to store sensible documents on an external hard drive than cloud storage, especially if you access it from a public network. Also, paid cloud storage services will add up over time, while an external hard drive is a one-time payment.
I'm not saying to ditch cloud storage as external hard drives can falter. Ideally, you want a good hard drive that will only be used to store files (especially those considered confidential with a second copy).
Just like external hard drives, a USB flash drive may seem outdated, but you will wish you had one when you need it the most.
Besides all the reasons similar to those from an external hard drive, USB flash drives offer portability and a second emergency storage unit for sensible documents.
A silicone cable protector is flexible enough and will protect any cable from fraying and breaking, including phone chargers, computer cables, headphones, mouse cable, among others.
This is not an item for everyone, but if you enjoy listening to good quality music, all you need is a good Bluetooth speaker and your smartphone to connect to it.
If you have any music streaming service like Spotify, Deezer, or Tidal, you can enjoy a gigantic music library without having to buy CDs or any other physical music copy, plus you can bring it anywhere.
We can go through batteries frequently, especially those who have kids; instead of paying each time for regular batteries that are difficult to recycle, get a rechargeable kind.
Each Energizer rechargeable battery can be charged up 1000 times and stored charged for a year, saving a lot of money and reducing the waste.
Unlike regular power strips, smart models can detect when a device is on stand by mode to cut off energy.
They don't cost more than regular power strips and save a lot of money if you have many things plugged in, and that draws a lot of power like desktop equipment.
Not only protects your equipment but also any sensible or essential information you might have stored.
All mattress are not the same, is essential to invest in the best mattress our budget allows because it helps us achieve an uninterrupted sleep that will repair our cells, reduce insulin and stress levels, and activates our growth hormone, all these things help us our body repair and look young.
The mattress by Tuft & Needle is made of adaptive foam, which helps provide relief in the pressure points most needed; the structure will adapt as you move or to your preferred sleeping position.
The built material is chemical-free and breathable for a cooler night rest during summer; you can also try their 100 free day trial and see if it's the right mattress for you.
Unlike regular incandescent light bulbs, the led bulb loses the least heat and saves plenty of energy, reducing CO2 emissions, they also don't contain any mercury making them safer.
Each light bulb lasts for 2000 hours, while a led light bulb will last anywhere between 20000 and 50000 hours.
Multifunctional furniture will save money and space in small homes; this coffee table doubles as a desk, perfect for a living room that has to double as a home office.
The design features large hidden storage space and the tabletops lift to comfortable use your laptop, which can then be stored inside the coffee table out of sight.
Taking care of your clothes will extend their lifetime and make you always look good; a small fabric shaver will help remove lint balls that appear over the fabric after a while.
Unlike traditional thermostats, the smart kind allows you to track your energy usage and build a personalized usage profile, reducing utility costs over time. In many cases, they can be remotely controlled.
The Google Nest Thermostat learns your habits and can auto-adjust to stop heating or cool off an empty home.
Another excellent option for micro-apartments or homes that don't want a permanent guest bedroom.
Buying a sofa that turns into a bed is perfect for any extra room that can be used as a home office, crafts room, or any other use and turn into a bedroom for that surprise guest or when your kid's friends stay over.
To help reduce the energy bill during winter, consider getting a fleece blanket to use during the day if you work at home; this way, you can keep warm while turning off the heater.
Towels don't last forever, and they will eventually turn rough or become thin and tear apart.
Instead of buying cheap, low-quality towels, purchase premium cotton towels; they are luxurious and absorb water fast, and last much longer; trust me, you will never go back to a regular towel when you use them.
Taking care of plants seems like a daunting task for most people unless you have green thumbs; for us, regular folk, a small indoor garden is perfect for venturing into gardening without blowing out the budget.
The minimalist design features LED lighting that promotes fast photosynthesis. You can save money by growing, not any plant but herbs like mint, parsley, cilantro, or green onions. It also helps decorate your kitchen and clean the air.
Regular paper napkins are, along with paper towels, one of the most wasteful items we could buy but also one of the things that are the easiest to switch and the one that will impact our savings the fastest.
Buy a set of cotton napkins to use them repeatedly. I choose the Ruvanti dark grey napkin 12 pack to hide any possible stain better that would show easily on a white napkin.
An item more geared towards those who light candles or camp frequently, instead of buying the regular plastic lighter, get this rechargeable kind; it will last you for decades if not a lifetime. Each charge will provide over 500 uses, and the design includes a battery volume display.
A shower head that allows you to adjust the water flow will help save a lot on your monthly bill; for extra savings, make sure only to open the faucet when you want to wet and rinse your hair and body.
During warmer days, it can become tedious to work, and the idea of sitting on a chair while sweating is not interesting.
For most buying an air conditioner is too expensive; in those cases, a small desk fan will do the job of keeping you fresh while keeping your monthly energy bill at a reasonable amount.
Instead of buying a bunch of artificial scents, get a good quality oil diffuser to scent your home; using natural scents not only helps perfume any room, but it's also an excellent aromatherapy option.
Invest in a set of essential oils, they might slightly expensive compared to a bottle of Febreeze, but they will last you much more; a few drops of essential oil mixed with water inside the aroma diffuser is enough to scent a room for hours.
Besides, most essential oils serve more purposes, use them to scent your homemade cleaning solutions or a warm bathtub; some particular scents are great to scare bugs, such as lavender is used to keep mosquitoes away.
Nowadays, single-use plastic bags cost money; long gone are the days those plastic bags were free, and the oceans are thankful for this change.
Get yourself a couple of sturdy grocery bags to use every time you go to the supermarket; the model I found comes in a pack of 5, each bag can hold up to 45 pounds, and the reinforced handles make the bag strong so no accidental tears as you carry the bag around.
To keep your clothes for longer, use a steamer instead of an iron; as steamers use just hot water, there is no risk of burning your clothes or using too much heat, thus damaging the fabric or the color.
Clothes steamers are also portable, and some models are even great to take with you while traveling; this way, you can remove wrinkles quickly from all types of fabrics, even the trickiest ones.
If you plan to renovate your bathroom, don't forget to buy a dual flush toilet; with this system, you can control how much water is released each time; the DeerValley dual flush toilet offers these two options, and the sleek and modern design features a soft close seat.
Just like a desk fan, a window fan is perfect for cooling down a larger room; the Comfort Zone window fan features two speeds and a reversible function to draw cold air inside your home.
The design can expand to fit most windows; it can extend up to 33" for a tight fit.
Depending on the gap between the floor and door, you may be losing conditioned air. To reduce wasting energy, consider purchasing a door draft stopper.
They are either cushions or plastic and prevent air-conditioned leakage, so keep warm air inside during winter and cold air during summer.
They also help isolate noise and odor and block out outside light when you try to sleep.
These smart gadgets detect when someone is in the room and turn on the lights automatically.
When you leave a room, the switch waits a few seconds before turning the lights off; gradually upgrading the controls in the most used rooms will reduce your monthly energy bill and extend the life of your lights.
The Lutron Maestro switch features XCT technology, capable of detecting subtle movement, and they won't turn on if there is enough natural light.
Some people might not protect their mattresses, but I feel that as we buy a phone case to prevent damage to our expensive smartphones, mattress covers also protect the costly mattresses from damage that would otherwise shorten its lifespan.
A mattress cover will protect your mattress from accidental spills (avoid drinking while in bed), but also from bad odors and allergens such as dust mites or bacteria. In the end, investing in a breathable and machine washable cover is a smart decision; it won't affect your budget and won't change the way the mattress looks or feels.