If you want to save money, it might seem counterintuitive to spend cash to do it. Sometimes, however, you have to give a little to get a little. In fact, certain purchases can even save you money over time. Click through to find out how you can save money by buying certain items.
Did your Roku controller run out of juice? Before you dash out to buy disposable batteries, consider the alternative. Rechargeable batteries have come a long way in terms of capacity and price. Although there is still the upfront investment, research shows they’re a better value overall, according to technology review website The Wirecutter.
A Wirecutter study showed that after nine months on the shelf, all the tested rechargeable batteries (LSD and Eneloop) had more energy left in them than any disposable brand-new AA battery. Your first set of AA batteries will also pay for themselves after a few recharge cycles when compared to most name-brand disposable batteries.
Be sure to pick up the charger for continued use. You can buy rechargeable batteries and a charger on Amazon for $17.99. In fact, batteries are one of the many items that tend to be cheaper on Amazon.
Reusable Shopping Bags
You already know why using reusable shopping bags can be good for the environment. But did you know it’s another way to save money? Many retailers will actually give you a discount for using reusable bags.
For example, Target offers a 5-cent discount for each reusable bag used at checkout. The store sells reusable bags to encourage customers to use them. A set of two reusable Target bags costs $4.79. Just be sure you keep these money-saving tips in mind when shopping at Target with a reusable bag.
A Water-Saving Showerhead
Showering is one of the biggest sources of water consumption in our homes, making up about 17 percent of all indoor water use by the average family, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Trading your existing showerhead for a water-efficient model helps to conserve water — and save you big bucks on your water and energy bills. On average, a family of four could save $841 over 10 years. Showerheads with the WaterSense label generally start at $13.
A Protective iPhone Case
Even if you handle your iPhone with care, accidents can happen. Ask yourself what’s the lesser of two evils: spending nearly $20 for a sturdy phone case or forking over hundreds of dollars for a new iPhone?
Even if the phone still functions, anyone who’s dealt with a cracked screen knows it’s less than desirable to use with jagged pieces. Then you’re stuck attempting to read around the cracks to decode messages. Save yourself a headache and potentially save a lot of money by investing in a phone case. The Spigen Tough Armor iPhone case costs $18.99 on Amazon. The case's dual layers offer double protection.
Smart Power Strips
If you don’t like to pay for something that you won’t be using, then you’ll want to invest in a smart power strip. These power strips ensure that electricity is truly turned off when your electronics and appliances are not in use.
Many products continue to consume energy if plugged directly into the wall, even when powered off. This costs the average household $100 per year, according to Energy.gov. You can purchase a smart strip energy-saving and surge-protection combo with 10-outlet capacity on Amazon for $34.99.
A Coffee Maker
People like their morning cup of joe. Some people, however, make it a costlier expense by heading to Starbucks rather than brewing a cup at home. In fact, an Acorns survey showed 41 percent of nearly 2,000 millennials spend more on their morning brew than contributing toward their retirement plan.
Sounds a bit crazy, right? If this describes you, do your wallet a favor and invest in a coffee maker that will suit your caffeine needs. You can buy a basic coffee maker for about $20, which in the long run can be the best way to save money on coffee.
A Versatile Blender
Similar to a coffee maker, a blender can save you money just by providing you with the option to make a fancy protein smoothie at home. It can also save you the expense of buying pre-made baby food, which can easily cost over $1 per jar or packet.
If you buy one that is a jack-of-all-trades, such as the Nutri Ninja Blender System, you can save on buying multiple gadgets. They’re great for making other purees, dips, soups, dough (depending on the style), as well as chopping and mincing. You might spend around $200 initially, but you’ll reap the savings in no time.
An HDTV Antenna
If you haven’t cut the cord with cable or satellite TV, it’s never too late. For a flat one-time fee of $20 or so, you can purchase an HDTV antenna and get free channels. A tradeoff, of course, is not getting as many channels.
You likely won’t miss those extra channels if you spend most of your time watching Netflix anyway. Plus, this is a much better choice than paying double or more for cable or satellite TV each month.
A Filtered Water Pitcher
If empty water bottles are piling up in your recycling bin each week, it might be time to rethink your water drinking habits. One of the best ways to save money when you don’t like tap water is to purchase a filtered water pitcher.
For example, the Soma 10-Cup Water Filter Pitcher costs $39.45 on Amazon. The pitcher is shatterproof and the filter removes impurities such as chlorine and mercury from the water.
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Food Storage Containers
It's terrible when fresh produce goes bad before you get to use what you paid for. However, if you're trying to find out how to save money on food, you might want to invest in some good, solid storage containers.
For example, Rubbermaid FreshWorks storage containers keep produce such as strawberries fresh up to 80 percent longer, according to its product description. Little vents help the flow of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and the tray insert helps keep moisture away from the produce to prevent spoilage.
A set of two containers costs $16.99 on Amazon. Although it’s a little investment up front, you’ll see less produce waste and more green in your wallet in the long run.
Spending about $100 on an e-reader can be a smart investment if you’re an avid reader. After all, physical books are costly. Digital copies cost a few bucks or less.
Furthermore, you can download your local library’s app and borrow books for free. The other benefit is that you don’t have to store them — which is a great way to save money and space.
An Amazon Prime Membership
If you haven’t already gotten an Amazon Prime membership, now would be the time to do it. With Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, Prime members could essentially receive cheaper groceries.
The $99 membership fee will basically act as a customer loyalty program for the food retailer, with members receiving special perks and in-store benefits, according to a press release. And let’s not forget the many other perks of Amazon Prime.
A DSLR Camera
One of the best ways to save money on family portraits is to invest in a good quality camera. Professional photographs can be quite costly — a few hundred bucks or more for a family session. Meanwhile, prices for DSLR cameras start at $450 at Best Buy, for example.
If getting professional photographs are part of your yearly expenses, now might be the time to invest in a nice digital camera. You can ask a friend to snap a picture for your upcoming holiday card, or you can snap photos of your baby’s milestones for a one-time expense.
A High-Efficiency Washing Machine
One of the best ways to save money in your home is to purchase a high-efficiency washing machine. It can cost a bit more than a traditional one, but it will use less water, energy and detergent. The savings could be $490 over the lifetime of the washing machine, according to Energy Star.
A Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker
Every household worries about what’s for dinner. There’s nothing worse than having to prep a meal after work or be short on time to whip something up. A Crock-Pot or an Instant Pot could be a meal and money saver. Rather than ordering takeout or signing up for a fancy meal delivery service, purchase one of these products.
As for the slow cooker, or Crock-Pot, you can throw in your favorite mix, set it and forget it. On the other hand, an Instant Pot is a pressure cooker that reduces meal cook times and therefore uses less energy. An Instant Pot is a bit pricier than a Crock-Pot, but the Amazon bestseller can generally get your meals on the table faster. Either option can help you prepare good, cheap meals.
A Car Wash Kit
A professional car wash in some places might still cost under $10. But with options to upgrade, clean the interior, polish tires and more, even a basic car wash can get pricey.
So how do you save money? Purchase a car wash kit that supplies you with everything you need. It might take a little bit of elbow grease, but not having to make trips to the car wash can save you big bucks over the life of the car. You can buy an AmorAll Complete Car Care Kit at Target for $13.49.
A Stash of Cheap Snacks
Let’s be honest: Everyone has cravings and needs a snack every now and then. The worst thing for your waistline and wallet is to buy on impulse when you’re hungry. The better alternative is to stock up on snacks that you actually enjoy eating. That way, you can save a trip to the vending machine or local convenience store, which might cost you more than you’d like.
Reusable Snack Bags
So, what do you use to store all those snacks? Reusable snack bags would be the best way to save money. They’re not only more practical, but also cheaper than wasteful disposable sandwich bags.
There is a reusable bag option for everyone. Amazon offers products that might appeal to the little ones, such as stand-up snack bags. The price is relatively cheap — $10 to $20, on average. Better yet: Most are machine washable.
A Quality Wardrobe
Ask any clothing expert and they’ll say everyone should have a few quality clothing staples in their closet. For one, they’re timeless, meaning you’re less likely to replace them for being out of fashion. On the other hand, they’re higher quality, which makes them more durable in the wash.
So if you’re worried about your clothing showing its wear, and you want to save money on clothing — spend more upfront to save in the long term.
A Food Saver
You’ve likely opened your freezer door to discover your food has freezer burn. Rather than serve it, you have to throw it away — which is a waste of money.
Break the cycle of potential food waste, and purchase a food vacuum sealer system. That way, you can conserve a variety of food, such as meat, cheese, nuts, sauces, soups and more.
For example, a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer System sells for $89.99 on Amazon, which comes with a heat seal roll and a few heat seal bags in quart and gallon sizes. To restock, you can buy 44 FoodSaver bags for $19.99.
A Gel Nail Polish and Curing Kit
When it comes to manicures, it doesn’t get better than gel nail polish. At a nail salon, the service can easily cost $40 or more, however.
If you love gel polish and want to know how to save money on the look, you can buy your own gel nail polish and curing kit, and do it yourself. You can buy one on Amazon for $36.99.
A Space Heater
When you get a chill at home, do you immediately turn up the thermostat? If you’re looking for ways to save money, here’s a window of opportunity.
A better solution is to have a portable space heater. Maybe the bathroom is cold and you hate stepping out from a hot shower. Rather than heat the entire house, plug the space heater in where and when it’s needed. For $34.99, you can purchase a small space heater on Amazon.
An Herb Garden
Cross some items off your grocery list and invest in an herb garden. You can purchase rooted herbs at the supermarket or from a local farm stand — or grow from scratch for cheap. The startup costs are minimal.
Purchase a few herb pots and place them in your kitchen, so the next time a recipe calls for cilantro or basil they’ll be at arm’s reach. For more ideas to put in your garden, check out this list of foods you can easily grow at home.
A Gadget to Get the Last Drop
We’ve all been there, whether it’s getting the last squirt of ketchup or last drop of shampoo from the bottle. But investing in a Flip-It Bottle Emptying Kit could potentially save you money in the long run.
When the bottle is nearly empty, replace the regular cap with the Flip-It cap, which allows the bottle to stand upside down. Then, let gravity to do its work and get the last bit out of the bottle. For $12.95 for a four-pack, you’ll eventually make fewer trips to the store for condiments and toiletries.
Homemade Cleaning Solutions
One of the best ways to save money on cleaning supplies is to simply not buy them. Instead, stock up on some cheap pantry items.
You can use baking soda, vinegar and even lemon juice to whip up a basic cleaning solution that’s natural and budget friendly. Best of all, it's multipurpose.
Prices are accurate as of Sept. 1, 2017, and are subject to change.