They say the best things in life are free, but let's not kid ourselves: money makes life a lot easier. It can't necessarily buy happiness, but it affords us a lot of comfort and makes many unpleasant aspects of everyday life easier. However, you need only be a thousandaire to attain all the life upgrades on this list inspired by a recent thread on Ask Reddit. Every item costs less than $100, and the benefit each item adds to your life more than justifies its modest cost.
Here are 23 total life upgrades you can get for less than one Benjamin.
1. Blackout curtains
If you live in a city with a lot of light pollution, blackout curtains are a true game changer, allowing you to enjoy a pitch dark room, day or night. They also somewhat dampen outside noise and provide insulation from drafty windows. For the price of around $20 a window, it's one of the best sleep aids an urban dweller could buy.
1. Weighted blanket
Quite a few of these suggestions are for items to help you sleep better, which makes sense. Getting enough sleep consistently is a huge factor in our overall health and yet it remains a struggle for many of us. Weighted blankets make you feel secure and tucked in all night long, without the downsides of getting overheated and sweaty.
1. Instant Pot
The last thing most of us want to do after working all day is more work in the kitchen, but the downside is spending too much on takeout meals that aren't very good and are rarely healthy. However, with a slow cooker or pressure cooker, you can get dinner going with just a few minutes of active cooking time. Instant Pot has both slow-cook and high-pressure settings, along with a few other helpful functions. It makes meal prep so convenient you could save thousands on dinner in one year.
1. Car mount for phone
Using your phone while driving is illegal in most places and unsafe no matter where you are. However, unless you have a new car with all the tech features built in, you may not have an onboard navigation system and rely on your phone for GPS. For about $25, you can get a high-quality car mount to fix your phone to the windshield. If you've ever gotten a ticket for having your phone in your lap or in your hand while driving, you know this accessory more than pays for itself.
Indoor heating and air conditioning tend to produce very dry air that irritates your eyes and nose. A cool-mist humidifier can drastically improve the air quality in any room for less than $50. They help combat dry skin, sore throats, and itchy nose to help you breathe easier through the night, especially when you have a cold.
1. Safety razor
Anyone who shaves any part of their body has experienced sticker shock when buying replacement cartridges. It's insane how much they cost, not to mention how bad they are for the environment. While it takes some adjusting, the old-school safety razor will save you a ton of money every year, because one box of 100 blades costs about as much as two or three disposable razor cartridges. They're also recyclable and plastic-free.
1. Toilet bidet attachment
Bidets are friendlier to the environment, your plumbing, and to your tush than toilet paper! If you aren't able to replace your toilet with a model that has an onboard bidet, there are bidet attachments that convert virtually any commode into a total luxury experience. They save you money on toilet paper and generally make going number 2 a cleaner and more pleasant experience.
1. Menstrual cup
Having a period can be expensive, and the materials used to make sanitary pads and tampons are bad for the environment. A reusable menstrual cup pays for itself within two cycles and can be used for a year or longer. They also have a bigger capacity than even the highest absorbency tampon and drastically reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
1. Vacuum sealer
I hate wasting food so much. It's terrible for the planet and it feels like throwing your money directly into the garbage. A $50 vacuum sealer keep leftovers fresh much longer and helps you better portion and freeze bulk items. You can also use them to quickly marinate foods and create pouches for sous vide preparation.
Some coffee lovers think you have to drop thousands on a professional-grade coffee machine for the best coffee, but as many connoisseurs will attest, a $35 gadget is all you need to produce an amazing cuppa. The Aeropress makes a super rich, bold brew that isn't bitter at all. It also doesn't have all the grit you get from a French press, and it's portable enough to take with you anywhere.
1. Good sheets
Nothing beats the feeling of getting into a bed with high-quality sheets that feel soft and cool to the touch. You can get Egyptian or Pima cotton sheets for $100 or less that make every night feel like a stay in a 5-star hotel.
1. Satin or silk pillowcase
Satin or silk pillowcases don't just feel nice, they also protect your skin and hair while you sleep. The lack of friction keeps hair from tangling, retains moisture, and prevents frizz. They also keep skin from overdrying and prevent creases and wrinkles, especially if you sleep on your side or stomach.
1. Musicians' earplugs
If you like seeing live music or frequent any space with a lot of loud noise, earplugs are key, and while foam plugs are helpful to protect your hearing, they don't provide the best listening experience. Acoustic filters like those musicians wear can protect your ears from damage and actually improve your enjoyment of live music.
1. Extra long braided charging cable
Hard fact: the charging cable that came with your phone sucks. It's not long enough and it's definitely going to fall apart at some point in the next few months, especially if you have a dog or cat that likes chewing on cords. So, get one of these braided chargers and you can save save yourself the tribulation of being at 2 percent battery only to realize your cable is now useless. Get an extra long one, too, so you can still use your phone while it's charging, no matter how few electrical outlets you have.
1. Under mattress bedsheet clips
Don't you hate waking up to find the fitted sheet torn from the mattress? These sheet fasteners are like little suspenders for your fitted sheet and help keep the sheet in place. They're also ideal if you live alone and struggle to get the sheet on by yourself.
1. Mandoline slicer
I love cooking, but I hate chopping so much. However, a mandoline slicer drastically reduces the time it takes to get even slives of onions, potatoes, and other veggies. It also ensures more uniform pieces.
1. Chainmail chopping glove
As much as I love my mandoline, I have to confess it has landed me in the ER for stitches before. They're really sharp! So, while you're upgrading your life with one of those babies, save yourself several hundreds in medical expenses with a pair of steel mesh gloves that will prevent you from slicing into your thumb. You can use t
1. Power bank jump starter
Everyone knows you should have a set of jumper cables in your car, but even with those you have to rely on the presence of a stranger to get your car moving again. But a rechargeable portable power bank will allow you to jump your dead battery all by yourself. They can also be used to recharge electronics on the go.
1. TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry
If you travel even a few times a year, it's worth the $85 fee for TSA pre-check to save yourself some hassle. Once approved, your status is good for five years. It entitles you to keep your shoes, belt, and jacket on as you go through security - you also get to use an expedited line in airports that have one, and you don't have to take your liquids out of your carry-on. If you travel internationally, it's worth the extra $15 to get Global Entry instead, which has all the perks of pre-check with the added bonus of expedited customs on your return to the U.S.
1. Windshield cover for snow
If you live in a colder climate, you'll thank yourself every morning after a snowfall for spending the $20 or less it takes to get a windshield snow cover. Instead of spending a good 30 minutes brushing and scraping snow and ice off the window, you just lift, shake and stow the cover. Many can also be used as sun shades in the summer to keep your car interior cool.
1. Bath sheets
Regular sized bath towels are for chumps. Get one that will envelop you entirely in soft fluffy cotton for a much smoother re-entry into the cool air outside your shower instead of rubbing yourself dry with a towel roughly the size of a dollar bill.
1. Heated mattress pad
Cool sheets feel amazing in the summer, but when it's cold out, they can be a little... bracing. A heated mattress pad will help you pre-heat that bed to toasty conditions and keep you warm all night. Some models have controls for each side so couples can adjust the temp to their preferences.
1. External phone battery
For better or worse, we rely on our smartphones, but the battery never seems to last all day. I keep one of these portable chargers in my purse at all times and it has saved me from having a dead battery numerous times during a long day out and about. Many hold enough juice to restore your battery to full capacity up five times or more before they need to be recharged.