I like investing in things that save me time and money. And if it can help the environment, well, that’s just icing on the cake. This means spending your money wisely instead of just going for the cheapest option.
One of the misconceptions about being frugal is that it doesn’t mean you’re a cheapskate. In fact, I enjoy luxury things and am willing to invest in an expensive item if it gives me a better and longer-lasting experience. These are items that pay for themselves, depending on your lifestyle, and are worth the splurge.
Here are 20 products that will save you money in the long run. This list also makes great gift ideas too!
1. Slow cooker
Slow cookers are an incredible tool to have in any kitchen. They are convenient, easy to use and they also use less energy than oven do. You can spend 15 minutes in the morning before going to work (or the night before) and you’ll have a hot and delicious meal ready by the time you return home. Some of my favorite things to cook in my slow cooker are curries, stews and chili. You can find this slow cooker here.
2. A food saver that helps to eliminate freezer burn
Most people don’t realize how much food they throw away on a daily basis. Whether it’s spoiled produce or uneaten leftover, it’s essentially throwing money down the drain. If you’re preparing meals in bulk (such as using your slow cooker), you can use a food saver to save leftovers for months without spoilage. You can save food items whole or portion it out into individual meals. You can find this food saver here.
3. A water bottle with a built-in filter
If you’ve been reading Mint Notion for a while, you’ll know that I am a huge fan of reusable water bottles. What’s even better is a water bottle with a built-in filter. This is great for when you’re on-the-go. You can fill it up anywhere and enjoy filtered water. Protect the environment and save money by ditching bottled water. You can find this water bottle here.
4. A drying rack to extend the longevity of your clothing
I use my collapsible drying rack on a weekly basis to dry my clothing. This helps save money on the electric bill and preserves the life of my clothing. You can find this drying rack here.
5. A lunch bag with reusable containers
I used to spend up to $10 a day on lunch when I was working in an office. This was costing me about $200 a month – just on lunch. It wasn’t until I bought a lunch bag with reusable containers that I got excited about bringing a homemade lunch to work. Eating a homemade lunch is healthier and it saved me a lot of money. You can find this lunch box here.
6. A Brita water filter
If you’re still buying bottled water, it’s time to stop and get a Brita water filter instead. The water tastes great, it will save you money and help protect the environment too. It’s a win-win all around. You can find this Brita water filter here.
7. A pantry that’s ready for any meal
If you’ve been following me on Snapchat or Instagram stories, you’ll know that I LOVE to cook. A few years ago though, I was a terrible cook and hated making dinner. Instead I used to spend a lot money eating out and trying new restaurants.
In order to eat healthier and save money, I’ve recently taught myself how to cook and stocked my pantry full of staples, which makes preparing a meal at home quick and easy. Some of my favorite things to have on hand include:
- Canned Goods: Tomatoes, beans, coconut milk
- Spices and Herbs: Basil, Crushed Red Pepper, Chili Powder, Oregano, Cinnamon, Cumin, Soup Base Cubes, Vanilla Extract
- Oils, Vinegars and Sauces: Soy Sauce, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Honey (or Agave), Mustard, Hot Sauce
- Dry Goods: Flour, Sugar, Rice, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Cornstarch, Pasta
- Refrigerated Items: Non-Dairy Milk, Butter, Cheese
8. A bed tray to help your laptop last longer
I like watching movies from the comfort of my bed. Unfortunately putting my laptop on my bedsheets can make it overheat. This bed tray helps protect my laptop and makes it easy to watch movies while in bed. You can find this bed tray here.
9. A reusable travel mug
Instead of spending money on Starbucks each morning, I recommend bringing a reusable travel mug. If you’re a caffeine addict that makes multiple trips to the local coffee shop, consider using your travel mug in the morning and visiting the coffee shop in the afternoon. This will help cut your café visits in half. You can find this travel mug here.
10. A soy candle
Soy candles are natural and made from vegetable oil, whereas paraffin candles are made from petroleum oil. This means that soy candles do not increase the CO2 level in the atmosphere like paraffin candles do. Also soy candles burn 50% longer than regular candles, which makes them more cost-effective in the long run. You can find this soy candle here.
11. High-quality staples for your minimal wardrobe
I’ve talked about the dark side of fast fashion in a previous post. This inspired me to go an entire year without buying any new clothing. Fast fashion can be addictive, because it’s cheap and it gives you the feeling of being richer than you are. But fast fashion doesn’t pay off in the long run.
Instead I recommend investing in high-quality staples and building a minimal wardrobe. This means buying less, but more expensive items that will stand the test of time. It may sound silly to spend $100 on a top, but if it pairs well with many items in your wardrobe and you take care of it, it will only cost you about $0.50 per wear.
12. A cheaper cell phone plan
Canadians are paying top dollar for their cell phones and have some of the highest smartphone service prices in the industrialized world. Some of my friends are paying $70+ per month for their smartphones. While this may be okay for some people, I don’t feel comfortable paying this much for a smartphone plan.
Instead I recommend getting a contract-free phone plan or negotiating with your service provider to get a better rate. I currently pay around $7.50 per month for my smartphone service. This includes unlimited talk (evenings and weekends), unlimited text and some daytime minutes.
I use my home phone for calling during the day, which is cheaper than paying for a better service plan for my smart phone and connect to free wi-fi whenever possible. I know many people who cannot imagine not having a data plan, but it’s easy to connect to free wi-fi in my city, and when wi-fi isn’t available, I can wait until I find access to it.
13. Soda Stream
A Soda Stream allows you to make your favorite carbonated drinks or bubbly H20 at home. This is perfect for making cocktails, sodas and more. You can even add lemon or mint to take your carbonated water to the next level. You can find this Soda Stream here.
14. Gel nail polish and curing light
Ever since I’ve learned how to paint my own nails, I’ve stopped paying the high prices at the nail salon. Unless I feel like treating myself for my birthday, I just can’t justify the price of going to the nail salon when I can give myself a manicure at home for a fraction of the cost.
If you’re a big fan of gel nail polish, I recommend getting the polish and curing light so you can do it yourself at home. It may be a little pricey up front, but if you’ve been visiting the nail salon on a regular basis, this will save you lots of money in the long run. You can find the kit here.
15. A book that teaches you how to manage your money
Spending just $10-$20 on a book that can help you budget, pay off debt and manage your money is priceless. One of my favorite personal finance books is, I Will Teach You How To Be Rich. You can find it here.
16. A stocked desk drawer full of goodies
To prevent spending money on office lunches, I recommend stocking your desk door with essential goodies. At my previous job, I would keep tasty snacks on hand (trail mix, fruit, seaweed, chocolate), spices, a tea pot (yes, I would make tea at my desk), tupperware and even actual silverware (fork, knife and spoon). Of course what you decide to stock in your desk door will vary, but this will take your lunch hour to the next level and help save you money.
18. A coffee and spice grinder
We all know that brewing coffee at home will help you save money, but if you want to take your coffee experience the next level, I recommend grinding your own beans at home. Not only will your coffee taste better, but it gives you the experience of enjoying a fresh cup of coffee at a café for a fraction of the price. You can also save money by grinding your own spices at home too. You can find this grinder here.
19. Flash Drive / External Hard drive
I still remember the morning I had three essays due for school and my laptop decided to die (which meant I wasn’t able to print out my essays). I didn’t even own a flash drive or external hard drive at the time, so I nearly lost all my work. Investing in a couple of flash drives and an external hard drive has been a total game changer for me. I store all my movies, music, photos and work on them to help free up space on my laptop. I cannot emphasize the importance enough of using a flash drive or external hard drive to back-up and store your work. You can find this external hard drive here.
20. A food processor
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I use my food processor on a weekly basis for baking (making pie crusts and scones), making salad dressing, pasta sauces, dips, soups and more. Since I try to make everything from scratch, this baby has been a HUGE time and money-saver for me over the years. I honestly can’t imagine cooking without one. It also helps prevent me from eating processed foods since I can make delicious meals from scratch with this appliance. You can find this food processor here.
Over to you — what are your favorite things that you think are worth the investment?
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