I'm a cheap person, generally. I don't spend a ton of money on the latest tech gadgets. I am, however, always in search of the products that find that elusive sweet spot between price and functional benefit. Turns out, there are more than a few cheap pickups you can make that will drastically improve life around your house.
This is by no means an all-inclusive list, so if you notice anything you swear by that I didn't write up, let me know in the comments.
This is my favorite tip for coffee drinkers in the hot summer heat: Refrigerate your coffee. Brew a big batch of your favorite beans, turn off the coffee maker to let it cool a bit, then pour it in a pitcher and refrigerate overnight. When you wake up the next morning, you'll have a cool, delicious cup of coffee ready to greet you. Refrigerated coffee keeps for about a week in the fridge, and a cool cup of coffee is magnitudes more enjoyable than its piping hot alternative when it's 90 degrees outside. This cheap pitcher from Sterilite is a great start on your refrigerated coffee journey, or you can spring for a nice glass pitcher for about $7 more.
This one will save you the headache of clearing out your pipes. Nobody enjoys a backed-up bath drain. The most common cause of a clogged drain is hair that's built up inside of it. A cheap, one-time purchase of a good metal strainer will save you from having to unclog the pipe with Drano every six weeks. This two-pack, for less than $4, can't be beat. (Or, go for an attractive stainless steel version for $10.) I bought one a year ago and haven't spent money on clogged pipes since.
I hate flossing. I never really got ahold of how to do it well. When I try to floss, it's a disgusting exercise. The floss always slips off my saliva-dripped fingers. Enter: the flossing tool. These little bow-like tools work wonders for those who aren't flossing every day. It's a simple, easy way to floss, and you won't have to deal with the erratic mess of used floss string. Dare I say it's almost fun to floss with these things, and your next trip to the dentist will be much more enjoyable.
Also, if you really want to flex on houseguests, nothing is more impressive than having a spare toothbrush around if a guest needs to brush. Nothing says "a competent adult lives here" more than having 12 toothbrushes available on standby. Best part? It only costs you $7.
I used to pack my iPhone charger in my bag before I left for work every day. Frequently, I would forget it at home and my battery would die during the day, or vice versa. I bought a cheap extra charger to keep wherever I wanted and haven't looked back. Now I keep one at work, and at home, and I don't stress that my iPhone is going to run out halfway through the day. Also, nothing says luxury like having a phone charger in both your living room and your bedroom. Pick up a few extra chargers to strategically place around where you spend your day and your phone will never die from lack of battery again.
These are the most versatile large bags on the market. They're cheap and ultra-durable. They'll put up with just about any beating that comes their way. I use mine for laundry, groceries, yard work and more. They're super easy to clean, and with a 19 gallon capacity they can handle large loads. Absolutely key to have around the house, and the price can't be beaten.
(Cool Stuff is a new feature at Willamette Week where we feature product reviews, roundups, sales and other commerce and shopping-oriented content. All Cool Stuff reviews are editorially independent, meaning we provide honest reviews and aren't paid by the brands we write about. If you do choose to purchase something after following one of our links, Willamette Week may receive a commission, which helps fund our journalism.)