While the old axiom “it takes money to make money” is sometimes true, but I’d argue that it often takes money to save money as well.
For instance, a small investment in money for equipment to do a service yourself that you usually pay for can save you a lot of money in the long term.
Here are a few things I’ve personally spent money on that have since saved me far more than the cost of the item.
Generic pet medication / grooming tools
I love my sweet dog, but costs associated with her can get extremely expensive. I use a sinking fund to pay for her annual shots and check up, but refused to pay for grooming or overpriced, brand-name flea and heart worm prevention medication while I was getting out of debt.
Dog hair clippers take a while to get the hang of, but with some practice, your pooch can stay stylish and trimmed for only the cost of a good pair of clippers.
I’d advise getting a quality set here that will last you for years to come. A $10-20 set may not be able to handle the hair long-term.
Cost: Around $30-40 for a quality set
Nail clippers are also cheap and easy to use. My dog hates having her nails clipped, but it’s for her own good and she hates it the same whether I do it or the vet does.
Cost: Less than $10
Websites like www.petshed.com allow you to order generic flea and heart worm prevention medication for a fraction of the cost of stocking up at the vets office. Websites like these do charge for shipping, so buying in bulk saves.
Cost: Around $30 for 1 year of pet medications, varies according to breed and size
Basic Car Tools/ Jump Box
I have a 5-n-1 power pack in my car that cost about $65 and has saved me time and money over and over.
The little rechargeable box not only makes me feel safer when driving because it contains an air compressor (quarters at the gas station to top off your tires adds up!), flood lights, power plugs capable of charging a phone or laptop, a radio and, most important to me, jumper cables capable of starting a dead battery.
I also keep a hydraulic jack, which is much more powerful, reliable and easier to use than the jack that comes with cars, and a basic emergency kit in my car that contains a tire patch kit, multi-tool, tire iron, first aid kit, water and other supplies.
Cost: Around $60 for a power pack, varied cost for car emergency supplies
When I invest money, even just a few dollars, in organizing my spaces, I end up knowing what I have and where it is – which stops me from buying things I don’t need.
When I need something and can’t find it, I end up buying multiples, which wastes money and clutters my home.
You can often use free containers (shipping boxes, empty food jars and product packaging) to organize things as well. Money never spent is money saved. Simple systems tend to be the best and the results don’t have to be Pinterest-perfect, they just have to work.
Cost: Free to $5 per container
Having nice clothing that fits me well keeps me from constantly shopping and wasting time and money filling my wardrobe with disposable items.
But that doesn’t mean you should overpay or even buy the best quality on everything.
Check out our article on what clothing items to save your dollars, which to splurge on and how to get the best deal on them all. (link)
Cost: Varies (but less than MSRP)
Crock Pot/ Cooking tools
Crock pots (and now Instapots) are practically kitchen miracles, allowing people to cook in bulk, cook outside the kitchen, meal plan, manage their time and make cheaper meats and veggies taste amazing.
A lot of my generation eschews the trusty Crock Pot, but I adore it. It makes it so easy to plan dinner on busy nights and it’s already done when I get home. If I have something in the crock pot, I’ll never run through a drive-thru or pick up food. It forces me to eat what I have.
My favorite way to use the crock pot is to bulk-buy chicken when its on sale, separate it into plastic bags with different marinades on a weekend, and freeze them all. All I have to do day of is run some water over the bag to loosen (or put in the fridge overnight) and dump it into the pot. However many hours later, I come home to a delicious smelling house and a home-cooked meal.
Cost: $15+ (always on sale around the holidays)
- What have you bought that saves you money?
- What’s one purchase you regret?