Friday, March 30, 2012

Some of the best >$20 Purchases I've Made

Do you ever go through a de-cluttering phase where you feel like everything you spend your money on is crap?  As a frugal person, I get highly annoyed at the way that nothing seems to be built to last anymore, but I also get really annoyed with myself for often just buying something because it's a decent price and not really considering whether it's something I need or not--hope that makes sense.

The point is, I have huge buyer's remorse, usually because I just rip the band-aid off and grab the first item I see.  Sometimes that works out, and sometimes it doesn't.  Today, in the spirit of positivity, let's take a look at the few times I got it right.

1. Heating Pad
Leading off with the sexiest item in my house, my trusty heating pad.  Ladies, you feel me?  Sometimes, you just need one, and though I bought it somewhat on a whim, it has come in handy in countless ways.  Not only does it soothe my wounded muscles, but it also keeps me warm in a much frugal(er) manner that heating the whole house.  I keep it on the lower back of my reading chair, and turn it on when I sit.  Keeps me toasty warm and relaxes me.  Sometimes it makes me fall asleep, but hey, that's my perrogative.  I bought the heating pad on a total whim one late night at Wal-Mart (ew), but it has served me well for almost seven years.  It even has a safety shut off so I don't burn my house down through negligence.

2. LED Light.
Since I've moved to New England, we've had at least two power outages.  Compare that to the one in my entire lifetime in the Midwest, and I say: What the hell, New England?  I actually don't mind a power outage, it's kind of an adventure, but I realized very quickly that we only have two flashlights, which are the crank kind (frugal since they don't use batteries, but a pain in the ass for extended blackouts), and the only candles we have are scented.  Our house smelled like a day spa full of overly perfumed society gals and it gave me a terrible headache.  Then, one day at work, I got a call from a rather crazy person who was going on and on about this LED light that comes with a hook. It's super bright, the battery lasts forever, and you can hang it on things and just let it give you light while you busy yourself in other ways.  Sold.  Plus, it doesn't smell like cucumber melon.

3. Sweater Stone
I had been looking for years for the perfect sweater de-fuzzer thing, and I finally found it.  I've tried combs and those little fuzz eaters (which never work and always break). The Sweater Stone (my new best friend) takes the fuzz of my sweaters, doesn't require batteries, and only cost $7!  I recommend this to anyone, seriously.  My sweaters look so much better now.

4. Pyrex 14-piece storage set
Lest you think that I got the most amazing deal in the world on this set, I'll tell you right away--half of those 14 pieces are the lids.  Yeah, I thought it would be 14 sets--bowls and lids, turns out, not so much.  Still, I am really, really happy with this purchase and let me tell you why.

* They look good.  Prior to buying this set, I had been working my way through a collection of Ziploc and Gladware containers.  Those containers are plastic, and over the years have become discolored and cracked.  I still use them (though as they decay further, I throw some away), but I don't really trust them for liquids. My pyrex are unstained and just as good looking as the day I got them.  Maybe it's weird of me, but I just don't like to eat out of stained containers.

* They seal well.  See above, whenever I'd use ziploc or gladware containers for liquids, there was always some leakage.  As I am a girl who likes to make a large batch of soup bring it to work, this was a problem.  I almost got soup on a library book!

* Variety of sizes.  With this set, and a couple other pieces that I bought separately, I have pretty much all the sizes I need to store ingredients and finished prepared food.  At any one time, I usually have one medium bowl in the freezer with pre-cooked barley or something else in it (much faster to make a big batch and freeze half), and maybe a smaller bowl with pre-soaked beans in it (for the same reason).  I still have enough containers to store my daily food items, and when I start to run out, that's a cue that I need to eat up some leftovers.

5. Furminator
Not only is this really fun to say--also works as a verb i.e. "I'm going to furminate you, cat!"  If your cat is anything like mine, he/she will look startled but acquiesce-- but it pulls gobs of hair off your feline companion.  Wee Watson is a short-haired beast, but I still have to battle the constant kitty fur tumbleweeds that seem to blow through the house regardless of how often you vacuum.  This brush seems to pull out the under-layer of cat fur, and it actually works.
Picture from Amazon, not my cat, but
look at all that fur!!
Watson also acts really cute/strange when I furminate him.  It must work in that 'hurts so good' kind of way, because he seems to flirt with the furminator--walking away a little bit, then lying down, then biting it etc.  If he wasn't neutered, I'd swear he had a furminator crush.

Anyone else ever have a moment where you've looked at something that cost less than $20 and though my god, I'm so smart that I have that! ?


  1. I am with you on the Furminator and the Pyrex bowls! I actually got the bowls for Christmas and they are so sturdy and wonderful.

  2. I've never heard of the Furminator but now it seems perfect for my shedding little cat. Thanks for the tip! That goes onto my birthday list...

  3. Oh, yes, on pyrex bowls (just got larger set of 3 w. lids, too - microwave-cooking heaven) and the Furminator. Our shortest-haired cat has the sheddingest undercoat ever & "Furming" him helps so much.

    Best knife-sharpener ever is by AccuSharp, under $12 and usually cheaper. You cannot cut yourself, it sharpens regular & serrated knives, and is made in Texas (yay!). My husband has used electric sharpeners & whetstones of all sorts and sizes, but this handheld one beats them all. AccuSharp also makes sharpeners for scissors and for garden tools, and all have replaceable 'stones.' Try your local hardware store, then resort to those other biggie stores or Amazon if needed.

  4. marble rolling pin $18 on amazon. I'm never going back to the wooden ones! If you spend a lot of time baking or fending off intruders, this will save your forearm muscles, b/c its own weight smooshes out the dough. or the robber's forehead, as the case may be. I'm also with you on the pyrex storage set, and I got a set of 3 glass juice pitchers online for around $20 too. Ooh! And Redhead wool socks! They're about $15/pr with a lifetime guarantee. I have worn mine 2-4 days a week (don't worry, I wash them in between) all winter and they still look new. I need to get a sweater stone now too...thanks for the tip!