Author Topic: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?  (Read 20854 times)

ChaseJuggler

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What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« on: February 18, 2015, 06:08:07 AM »
A huge part of the Mustachian life is not wasting money on the latest gadgets. But I'd love to hear what gadgets have actually saved you some cash over the years. (If you list one, please link to it!)

CFL Bulbs
http://goo.gl/judxJ1

Low flow, high pressure shower head. Really increased our water pressure, while decreasing the amount of hot water used. It's also my go-to holiday gift giving idea.
http://goo.gl/ddA7Z0

Oral B electric toothbrush. I've had nothing but perfect dental checkups since buying this thing! (get the replacement heads on ebay - much cheaper there.)
http://goo.gl/oNnsGH

Wifi black & white laser printer (more than $50, but if you do a lot of printing like we do, it pays itself off in a hurry!) We've had zero problems with the Brother HL-2270dw after printing about ten thousand pages. We get our replacement toner on ebay for about $8.50 each, and they're good for about 3000 pages each.
Toner: http://www.ebay.com/itm/161285879385
Printer: http://goo.gl/gBUelY

Would love to hear any other recommendations!

ChaseJuggler

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 06:41:26 AM »
Pasta Boat. This really helped me kick the restaurant habit. Make pasta or steam veggies in the microwave.
http://goo.gl/6cC7RE

benjenn

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 06:47:21 AM »
Reusable lids for used Keurig k-cups.  They are awesome and cost only $8.99 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FGFC9O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The Keurig was a gift but we loved it.  We would buy k-cups on E-bay and save lots of money over the stores but it was still expensive.  We saved a bunch of the k-cups, rinse them out, fill them with our favorite coffee and pop on one of these lids.  Now we still get the convenience of one cup whenever we want it at a fraction of the k-cup cost.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 07:02:46 AM »
$50 Wahl clippers. Haven't purchased razors in 3 years. And 6 months out of the year I shave my head with it. Saving $15 on a haircut every 4-6 weeks.

FarmerPete

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 07:05:57 AM »
Practically every tool in my toolbox.

sheepstache

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 07:06:25 AM »
Purchasing a modem rather than renting it.

Gone Fishing

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 07:16:20 AM »
I spend way less than $50 on vegetable garden supplies most years. 

GuitarStv

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 07:27:24 AM »
$50 Wahl clippers. Haven't purchased razors in 3 years. And 6 months out of the year I shave my head with it. Saving $15 on a haircut every 4-6 weeks.

+1

My clippers paid for themselves the second time I used them.  They've generated several hundred dollars of savings over the last couple years, and the amount is only increasing.  We have a son to clip as well now.

DoNorth

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 07:28:13 AM »
wife bought eye glasses from Zenni Optical for $27; saved about $200

I bought and replaced my furnace igniter for $25; saved about $250

built an outdoor table with about $50 of lumber/stain; has beer and wine troughs in it using garden planters; saved about $400 over buying a new one

took military space A flights to Europe for $0; saved thousands

bought modem on craigslist $35; saved about $50 + the cost of renting one

Ooma box was $105, but the savings there are significant over time; same with Republic wireless phone.


Rural

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2015, 08:01:52 AM »
If we can go over $50, one $5000 backhoe. Saved 20 or 30 thousand at least.

eae550

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 08:07:49 AM »
french press + coffee grinder, saves us money because we enjoy great coffee at home

costco membership $50/year but huge savings on household basics

back when i lived in a city, paying an extra $50 to buy both good boots and a warm coat saved me cab fare and metro fare when i was fine walking everywhere in winter

more than $50 but sewing machine for basic hemming, curtains, throw pillows

fiddlefaddle

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 08:12:56 AM »
Thermal curtains - keep the heat out in the summer and in during the winter.

flamingo25

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2015, 08:15:28 AM »
Slow cooker. Takeout is much less tempting when I know dinner is already cooking.

GardenFun

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2015, 08:25:44 AM »
Cuisinart Vegetable Chopper.  On busy days, I have skipped many a restaurant meal by having that machine slice and dice dinner.

+1 to the Wahl clippers.  Have easily saved $4500 on haircuts for DH and the boys. 

+1 to the Modem.  Still mad for not realizing that savings years earlier. 

Had a Krups Cappuccino machine that was a faithful servant for many years.  Cost $40 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  It paid for itself after 1 month. 

4alpacas

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2015, 09:25:03 AM »
Our rice cooker.  We bought a cheap one ~$20.  I cook a few cups of brown rice with vegetables on Sunday, and we eat it through the week.

TN_Steve

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2015, 10:17:19 AM »
Agree with the hand tool answer above.  Big time savings.

Also, although not a gadget, choosing to buy turbotax through amazon in years where we've messed up and get a refund gives us amazon gift card credit that exceeds the cost of the program (up to $200 credit if you direct up to $2000 of your refund to the amazon account).


2ndTimer

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2015, 10:20:11 AM »
Thermos.  We spent $35 on a guaranteed unbreakable thermos and it gets filled with coffee to take with us almost every time we go out.  Even the Hub who "does not cook" manages to fill the thermos for days when he will be away from the office.  Being able to take the coffee with us also means that we are much more likely to pack a picnic than stop for junk food.

Camp stove.  Cost about $50 and means we don't jump in the car and drive into town for coffee the minute we wake up.  Saves us both the price of gas and eating out.

Hair clippers just like everybody else. 

Three stamps to send away to Carlsfriends for free sour dough starter.  We used to go out for pancakes once in a while.  Having the sour dough just waiting to be made into pancakes means we never do that now.  The pancakes take less time to mix up than it used to take us to find our shoes and car keys.

Wool skateboarder hat, wools socks, sweatshirt.  Total cost less than $5.00 from thrift store.  Means I turn the heat on a lot less.  Has not actually saved me thousands yet.  Depends on how long I live.
 


neil

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2015, 10:45:11 AM »
Reusable lids for used Keurig k-cups. 

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/heres-a-super-easy-way-to-get-around-keurig-20-drm-restrictions-121214.html



I second the rice cooker.  While I got some warnings at work about the longevity of cheaper ones and that I should get a Zojirushi, I don't really use it like them (cooking several cups at once, leaving in the machine and using throughout the week).  I am not comfortable leaving it plugged in and using the timer, but I can get other things done while the rice cooks and the stir-fry portion only takes a couple minutes.

A subsequent purchase that goes with this are pyrex containers to take the leftovers to work.  They technically pay for themselves in one meal.

FabricStache

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2015, 11:30:23 AM »
Cordless Dremel for doing the dog's nails.  Pays off in a month or two.

Retire-Canada

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #19 on: February 18, 2015, 11:34:42 AM »
Shoe Goo = $8 which repairs 10-20 pairs of shoes.

-- Vik

OSUBearCub

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #20 on: February 18, 2015, 11:46:38 AM »
Shoe Goo = $8 which repairs 10-20 pairs of shoes.

-- Vik

+1 Shoe Goo is magic

Also +1 on the Wahl clippers - mine are still going strong after 5 years of bi-weekly use and have never needed sharpening.  I just bought a new red guard (the smallest) from Sally Beauty for three and a half bucks because I wore out the first one.

I would also add on that having almost no hair on my head (mostly by choice) has saved a TON on shampoo and I never need conditioner.  I use a pea-sized dollop of cheap Suave shampoo every morning.  A regular bottle lasts months.

SisterX

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #21 on: February 18, 2015, 11:54:03 AM »
Yes to the rice cooker.  I actually use ours more for oatmeal than I do for rice.

Also, mason jars.  They're just so versatile.

catccc

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #22 on: February 18, 2015, 11:55:56 AM »
Definitely YNAB.

Maybe outlet timers?  I admit I've never calculated the dollars in energy they save, but I feel like they are worthwhile.  Even if only to shut off the modem at 11 each night so I don't waste sleep time on other things...

rockstache

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #23 on: February 18, 2015, 12:00:02 PM »
Question about the rice cooker: we currently add rice and water to a pot, bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 20 min and it comes out perfectly. What exactly would a rice cooker save me? Or what benefits are there? I am really interested because so many people swear by them.

terran

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #24 on: February 18, 2015, 12:18:17 PM »
For all you with the hair clippers, do you just buzz the whole thing the same length? If not, any tips on doing a bit more stylized cut with longer top than back and sides?

2ndTimer

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #25 on: February 18, 2015, 12:22:49 PM »
I do the Hub's with clippers and I just buzz the his whole head.  He used to insist on a hair style until he saw himself on TV and realized he was getting bald. 

I use a Flowbee on myself and find that going all over my head at one length gives me very much the same style I used to pay for.  So much for the idea that hair styling is a secret art.  Didn't mention the Flowbee on this thread because it cost more than $50.

minimustache1985

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #26 on: February 18, 2015, 12:27:25 PM »
Question about the rice cooker: we currently add rice and water to a pot, bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 20 min and it comes out perfectly. What exactly would a rice cooker save me? Or what benefits are there? I am really interested because so many people swear by them.
When I used one it was for time-savings and that it clicks off.  The rice doesn't actually cook faster, but I don't need to be in the kitchen watching it so I could set the rice cooker up (and some rices take longer) then go shower and warm but not overcooked rice would be waiting for me to add to leftovers when I got out.  Nice after a long day when you just want to come home, eat, and fall into bed.  I'm no longer in commissioning mode at work and my pot is easier to clean so I don't really use it anymore.

KD

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #27 on: February 18, 2015, 12:28:23 PM »
Cloth napkins.

Wire mesh coffee filter.


seattlecyclone

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2015, 12:37:24 PM »
The hair clipper is a big one. No more visits to the barber.

Also my dentist got me on some prescription anti-cavity toothpaste a couple of years ago. At $17 for a tube it's expensive, but not as expensive as fillings, and I haven't needed any since switching toothpaste.

be

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2015, 01:01:27 PM »
clothes drying rack - don't have to use the clothes dryer.

crockpot - i just love pouring ingredients in, turning it on, going to bed, and walking up in the morning or coming home after a long day to nice hot food.

scissors that cut paper with a nice design.  i don't know what they're called, but a life saver.  I usually take a plain 3x5 index card and cut it in 1/2 so the design is on just 1 side.  punch a hole and presto, nice gift tag for practically nothing.

outlet timer - i have a very bad habit of falling asleep with the light on.  I set it to turn the lights off at a certain time, and if I'm still away by that time -- that's my reminder it's time to go to bed.

my travel pants and shirts.  yes i really do have clothes just for when i travel.  i realize it doesn't sound very MMM, but hear me out.  This pair of pants and 3 shirts get washed in the sink almost daily when i travel. I just hang them in my hotel room, and they're dry by morning for me to wear.  Because i can pretty much wear them daily (the items are washed pretty much daily) I can pretty much travel with just carry on.  And yes I do carry an extra pair of pants and shirt, but they don't usually make it out of the suitcase.



zoltani

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #30 on: February 18, 2015, 01:16:38 PM »
Reusable lids for used Keurig k-cups.  They are awesome and cost only $8.99 on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004FGFC9O/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The Keurig was a gift but we loved it.  We would buy k-cups on E-bay and save lots of money over the stores but it was still expensive.  We saved a bunch of the k-cups, rinse them out, fill them with our favorite coffee and pop on one of these lids.  Now we still get the convenience of one cup whenever we want it at a fraction of the k-cup cost.

God for you! More people need to do this. beyond the cost savings, those k-cups are are horrible for the environment.

"There were 60 billion K-Cups that have gone into landfills during Keurig's rise so far," Mike Hachey says. "Obviously, Keurig is the machine of choice for many people 13 million people have this machine."

IDK what the volume of one k-cup is, but that is a huge volume of unnecessary trash!
 


OSUBearCub

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #31 on: February 18, 2015, 01:19:34 PM »
For all you with the hair clippers, do you just buzz the whole thing the same length? If not, any tips on doing a bit more stylized cut with longer top than back and sides?

I buzz really short but there are great guides online for doing your own fade on the sides.

For me it's just the red guard:
http://www.salonguys.com/wahl-attachment-combs.html?sel=CL-95-02&gclid=Cj0KEQiAjZGnBRCOuJOUo9Xd0sUBEiQAPbicN6wnqPOILjsrXu3nRFjZpifJqUrJnXjgBL_OLLUpk1waAv7o8P8HAQ

The clippers have a long and short adjustment lever that I use.  Red guard/long on the top, red guard/short on the sides and back. The difference is subtle so it sort of blends itself in automatically.  I don't bother with any sort of fancy cut-in line in the back by my neck - too hard to do solo and I like it blended all the way out anyway.  Some kits come with a tapered left and right guard to help transition the sides if you want a bigger length difference.

Another bonus - the eyebrow guard.  It's just plain awesome lol

zoltani

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #32 on: February 18, 2015, 01:23:24 PM »
If you are gonna get clippers get the Wahl for sure, i've had too many cheaper ones crap out on me.

minimalist

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #33 on: February 18, 2015, 01:33:09 PM »
My $8 flask has saved me a couple hundred dollars.

epipenguin

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #34 on: February 18, 2015, 01:56:27 PM »
Aeropress coffee maker

GuitarStv

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #35 on: February 18, 2015, 02:04:44 PM »
For all you with the hair clippers, do you just buzz the whole thing the same length? If not, any tips on doing a bit more stylized cut with longer top than back and sides?

I use a #2 on the sides and back, a #7 at the very front, and a #4 on top.  Just blend it by eyeball while pulling the clippers away from the head slightly as you go up.  Usually I can cut the sides and top fine on my own, but I get my wife to even up the back properly.  I don't know if there's a special name for this haircut . . . it just looks like a generic men's cut.

GardenFun

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #36 on: February 18, 2015, 02:04:52 PM »
For all you with the hair clippers, do you just buzz the whole thing the same length? If not, any tips on doing a bit more stylized cut with longer top than back and sides?

This is how I cut my husband's hair.  He has coarse, straight hair.  I use a Wahl for the bulk of the cutting, then a smaller electric clipper called a Peanut for the more detail cuts.  You can do everything with a Wahl, but sometimes it is clumsy around the ears.

- Put a #3 guard on the Wahl scissors.  Buzz vertically up the sides and back of head, not rounding into the top part of the head.
- Use scissors to cut the top of the head.  I cut his around 1" - at the front side of my fingers when holding the hair.
- Stop the 1" cut as you approach the front of head - leave about 2" of space.   
- Cut hair in the front of the head to the best look for person's face (usually 1.5-2" long, gradually blending into the shorter hair already cut with scissors).
- Grab Peanut (or remove guard from Wahl clippers).
- Grab a comb.
- Using the comb as the guard, use the Peanut/Wahl clippers to cut and blend in the hair around the crown of the head.  This is the area where the original guard cut and the scissor cut come together.  Easiest to start closest to the face, then work to the back of the head. 
- Trim around the ears and back of the neck.
- Check eyebrows for stray feelers.  Cut with scissors.
- Demand money for haircut, get laughed at by DH.  :-)

terran

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #37 on: February 18, 2015, 02:24:07 PM »
Thanks for the tips 2ndTimer, OSUBearCub, GuitarStv, and GardenFun! Any preference for dry vs damp vs wet hair?

2ndTimer

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #38 on: February 18, 2015, 02:30:53 PM »
Thanks for the tips 2ndTimer, OSUBearCub, GuitarStv, and GardenFun! Any preference for dry vs damp vs wet hair?

I do both the Hub's and mine dry.  Then we jump in the shower and have a shampoo to get rid of the itchy bit that always falls down the neck.

Trudie

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #39 on: February 18, 2015, 02:37:09 PM »
Purchasing software to do my own taxes (and I'm a CPA).

I used to use Turbotax, but got frustrated royally with this year's product changes and the fact that the software no longer agrees with my firewall.

So, I switched to TaxAct -- an equally sufficient product at a fraction of the cost.

So, I saved several ways:
(1)  Using software helps me organize and maximize deductions.
(2)  I don't pay professional fees to anyone else to do my taxes.
(3)  The switch from TurboTax to the TaxAct Deluxe Package saved me over $50 in software costs and filing fees (TT=$75; TA=$20)
(4)  Oh -- and I bought the TT software at Costco, which has an excellent returns policy.  So, after spending 1 1/2 hours on the phone last night with TT techs only to realize that TT was no longer going to work for me (after 5 years of being a regular customer) I decided to say "screw it" and I'm returning the software this weekend.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #40 on: February 18, 2015, 02:43:25 PM »
Wow, this thread derailed into "how to cut hair" quickly.
Also, OP, you give shower heads as your go-to Christmas gift??

BPA

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #41 on: February 18, 2015, 02:48:03 PM »
toaster oven
drying rack
bread machine
"old lady" bundle buggy

Mr FrugalNL

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2015, 02:54:04 PM »
Wire mesh coffee filter.

Thank you! I didn't even know such a thing existed! It's on my wishlist now.

My bicycle tyre repair kit has saved me a few visits to the repair shop, but not that many. I'd have to drive over broken glass more often to get a better return on the investment. My drying rack's saved me much more.

seattlecyclone

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #43 on: February 18, 2015, 03:05:32 PM »
For all you with the hair clippers, do you just buzz the whole thing the same length? If not, any tips on doing a bit more stylized cut with longer top than back and sides?

I just do a #8 (1") over the whole head, and trim the sideburns shorter using the #3. This results in hair that is short, but still pretty combable. I let it grow out for a few weeks and repeat. I do the cut with dry hair and then shower afterward to keep the extra hair from getting all over the house.

LiveLean

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #44 on: February 18, 2015, 03:09:03 PM »
Wireless hot spot. It added $20/month to my monthly bill. Actually, I realized I could save money in other areas, so my bill actually went down $30. But I'm not counting that savings. Just the time I don't have to spend finding wireless and the added flexibility has been worth a lot.

ShaneD

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #45 on: February 18, 2015, 04:21:38 PM »
Mentioned this in another thread, but George Foreman grill. Gave my husband the ability/confidence to cook, and his pitching in has saved us on both the cost of cooking food and by reducing the tendency toward takeout.

KD

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #46 on: February 18, 2015, 04:42:13 PM »
Hahaha...based on the other thread I'm involved in....when I was younger?  Birth Control AND Condoms.

april_leigh

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #47 on: February 18, 2015, 04:50:48 PM »

my travel pants and shirts.  yes i really do have clothes just for when i travel.  i realize it doesn't sound very MMM, but hear me out.  This pair of pants and 3 shirts get washed in the sink almost daily when i travel. I just hang them in my hotel room, and they're dry by morning for me to wear.  Because i can pretty much wear them daily (the items are washed pretty much daily) I can pretty much travel with just carry on.  And yes I do carry an extra pair of pants and shirt, but they don't usually make it out of the suitcase.

Do you have a link to these? Thanks!

mjs111

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #48 on: February 18, 2015, 05:00:14 PM »
Like some other posters have already stated: Wahl Clippers.  I just cut my own hair.

Mike


ChaseJuggler

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Re: What $50 or less purchase has actually SAVED you money?
« Reply #49 on: February 18, 2015, 05:51:27 PM »
Wow, this thread derailed into "how to cut hair" quickly.
Also, OP, you give shower heads as your go-to Christmas gift??
This one gives you REALLY good pressure. Everyone always thinks it's a weird gift, until they install it and take their first shower with it.

I got my girlfriend one the week after we started dating. She couldn't believe the difference!