You’ve probably heard the phrase “it takes money to make money,” but have you heard “you’ve got to spend to save?” Probably not, since I just made it up, but in a lot of cases, it's true — buying a few good things can help you save money over time.
Most of my life, I've avoided buying things that I felt I didn’t really need, and kept it mostly to the basics. But sometimes, spending money wisely means using it on things that will cut your costs the longer you use them — like surge protectors that conserve your energy bill, or produce bags that will extend the life of your food. And in the end, I realized my frugalness could be wasteful when I’d use paper towels to wipe down my floors, or when I’d throw out the last bits of foundation because I couldn’t get it out of the bottle.
Investing in little things now that help manage your budget over time will keep your wallet happy in the future — and the best part is that most of these products aren't huge monetary investments, they're just smart choices that will save you the trouble of having to buy something over and over again.
1. A Spatula That Helps You Use Every Bit Of Food
Whenever I have to throw out a jar of peanut butter that clearly has usable but unreachable peanut butter inside, I shed a tear. It's such a waste! Well, this little spatula gets rid of that problem. You get a two piece set of small flexible spatulas that allow you to get every last bit from any jar or container. They're BPA-free and dishwasher safe, so feel free to use these all the time. Not just for food, but for makeup, too. The money you'll save on foundation alone makes this an excellent purchase.
2. This Surge Protector That Conserves Electricity
It's easy to plug stuff into a surge protector and then forget about it, but those appliances are wasting a lot of energy when they're left on all the time. This surge protector helps you avoid that. There are two "always on" outlets for things that need to have constant power (like your cable box), but the rest is controlled by an easy remote, so you can turn everything off in an instant. Though that might seem like a small thing to do, you'll be pleasantly surprised when you check out your next electricity bill.
3. The Steam Cleaner That Replaces All Mops
Maybe this says something about my cleanliness habits, but my floors never seem to be totally clean, even after I vacuum or sweep. This steam mop is a life saver if you have hardwood, tile, linoleum or laminate floors. The steam will give an amazing deep clean that kills 99.9 percent of germs without the use of chemicals or different cleaning products —things that add up in price quickly. Plus, you won't have to buy replacement mop heads ever again, which will save you even more money over time, and this one come with a Febreze insert to make your house smell amazing.
4. The Cloth That Eliminates The Need for Makeup Remover
Makeup removers and oil cleansers can add up in price real quick. So instead of having to buy a bunch of products to get all your makeup off, why not use plain water instead? These makeup remover cloths turn water into a miraculous cleaning solution, and get rid of every last bit of mascara, dirt, and oil. They're hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and since you're just using water, they're perfect for every skin type.
5. The Phone Case That Will Save You From A Cracked Screen
No matter how careful you are with your phone, everybody should get this phone case. Accidents happen all the time, and trying to use a super cracked phone is not fun. Remember, an iPhone has a glass screen, so it's not the greatest idea to keep swiping your finger over jagged glass all the time. What's great about this case is that it's thin, uses patented shock absorption technology, and has a 1.5 mm lip to keep your screen pristine. This case will protect from drops and scratches, and you won't need to buy a new phone before you want to.
6. The Light Switch That Lowers Your Electric Bill
Your mom might have constantly yelled at you to turn the lights off when you leave a room, but even the most energy conscious of us can forget sometimes. This motion sensor light switch eliminates that entire problem. The lights automatically go off when a room is empty, and they'll turn on the moment you enter. It uses top of the line motion sensor technology and is compatible with any kind of lightbulb.
7. A Vacuum Sealer That Preserves Your Food For Years
If you've ever wanted to buy food in bulk to save money, but know you'll never get to eat it all before it spoils, enter this vacuum food sealer. It promises to preserve meat or vegetables in the freezer for up to three years, cheese in the fridge for up to eight months, and flour in the pantry for two years. You can vacuum seal it in seconds and it won't freezer burn. Plus, the instant seal technology keeps delicate foods from being crushed and the whole machine is dishwasher safe, making cleaning easy.
8. This Shower Head That Uses A Lot Less Water
It's definitely a good idea to save water as much as you can, but it's not always possible to take a two minute shower. However, you can take longer showers and still conserve water with this high efficiency shower head. The nozzle saves 40 percent less water than a normal shower head while still feeling like a more higher flowing shower head. You'll still get the water pressure you need to feel your cleanest, and it claims it can save you hundreds of dollars on your water bill a year.
9. The Menstrual Cup For Those Tired Of Buying Expensive Tampons And Pads
I'll be honest — when I first heard of menstrual cups, I was skeptical. But cups are just as reliable as pads or tampons, they're comfortable, and they're reusable, so you won't have to spend money every month to refill your supply. This one by LENA is made from medical grade silicone, comes in sizes for normal or heavy flows, and is BPA and latex-free. Reviewers love this particular cup because it never overflows and is a great option for a beginner user.
10. This Water Pitcher Replaces Bottled Water
It's so important to stay hydrated but if you're not a tap water fan, that's ok. You can still have cold, filtered water without going broke buying a million bottles of Aquafina. This filtered water pitcher holds ten cups and puts clean, pure water in your fridge at the ready. The BPA-free pitcher is made from white oak and shatter-proof plastic, and reduces mercury, chlorine, and copper from your water. Plus, the filters are plant-based and every time you refill them, the company donates clean drinking water to those in need.
11. A Food Storage Bin That Keeps Produce Fresh For Longer
Have you ever went to the grocery store and bought tons of fresh produce — only to let it all rot away while you munched on takeout instead? Now, your lettuce stands a chance of surviving with this produce saver. It claims to make produce stay fresh 80 percent longer than any other product on the market, the lid is custom made to regulate oxygen flow, and it's filter never needs to be replaced. You can have salad for days without the fear of everything going rotten.
12. These Reusable Sweeper Pads Can Withstand Hundreds Of Washes
A wet mop might not be the most practical purchase for you at the moment, but you can still reduce your spending on pads you have to keep replacing after purchase. These reusable sweeper pads work either wet or dry (for sweeping and mopping), and then you can just throw it in the wash when you're done. It's good for hundreds of wash cycles, and you never run out of new pads or resort to cleaning your floors with a paper towel attached to your Swiffer (I have done this, and no, it doesn't work). You'll have less garbage and more money — that's a pretty good deal.
13. A Portable Laundry Rack To Wash Your Delicates In The Shower
If you throw delicate laundry into the wash with the rest of your laundry pile, there's no doubt that they get ruined much sooner than they should. With this simple laundry hanger, you can save some quarters (and your expensive bras) and wash your delicates in the bathtub, then hang them to dry. The hanger is collapsible for easy transport, the clips are rust free, and your delicate clothing will last much longer.
14. The Acupressure Mat That Saves Money On Massage Appointments
It's fun to think about what you'd do if you were super rich — if I was, I'd get constant massages. But since I haven't won the lottery yet, it can get a little pricey to keep shelling out for spa sessions to relieve back and neck pain. Thankfully, this acupressure mat is a great way to relieve stress and tension for less than the price of one session at a spa. The mat is covered in raised plastic bits that are designed to stimulate your body's pressure points, which help relieve pain, increase blood circulation, and basically give you reason to lie down for 20 minutes a day. It also comes with a carry bag for easy transport.
15. The Organizer That Keeps Your Expenses In Check
If saving money is tough, the best thing to do is face it — write down what you spend money on and figure out how you could cut back. That's all made a lot easier when you have a sleek and colorful expense tracker like this one. You can keep track of all your expenses, plus it has pockets to hold receipts, invoices, bills, and whatever else you might need. This will also make your life a million times easier come tax time and by then, you'll be a savings pro.
16. These Food Storage Bags Will Save You A Ton Of Lunch Money
Taking a lunch to work is a huge money saver, but there are other ways to cut back even further —these these reusable food bags will eliminate the need to buy those plastic snack or sandwich bags that you throw out after one use. They're sleek, leak proof, BPA-free, non-toxic, and easy to clean. Reuse these again and again and enjoy watching your savings account grow.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.