sugru moldable silicone clay

7 Cheap Gadgets That Make Life Easy—Fun, Too

I am nothing if not a cheap gadget lover. Ingenious items that make my life easier are great, but when I find something that’s cool and also has the potential to save money? Well, that’s cause for celebration. Here are a few of my favorite fun finds.



I don’t know where this stuff has been hiding (maybe I’m the one who’s been missing?), but my recent cheap gadget discovery has me giddy with joy. It’s called Sugru, or perhaps a better name would be Miracle in a Package. Think: silly putty without the silly part.

Sugru moldable clay


Sugru is a moldable glue; self-setting rubber, also known as Formerol, for fixing, modifying, and making stuff. You apply it, shape it and watch it transform into a durable, waterproof rubber with amazing properties. It comes in a bevy of colors, which makes it a crafter’s dream come true. I have so many DIY projects crying out for Sugru, I don’t know where to start. Hint: Watch the video!



Wake-Up Light

Call it a lamp or call it an alarm clock, either way, you’ll be right on. This gadget, Philips Wak-Up Light Alarm Clock wakes you up by simulating sunrise—not with a blasting, loud, annoying noise.


wake up alarm light clock

You set the time that you want to wake up then it gradually goes from dark to increased light for 30 minutes, allowing you to wake up naturally. And when you turn it off, the lamp stays on so you can get out of bed without having to turn on another light.

This thing is quite amazing and I love it. So does my son. He says it’s the best gift ever. WakeUp Light has 10 different settings so you can choose the intensity. Useful as a light therapy lamp.



Velcro Thin Ties

It would take a long time for me to count how many of these cheap gadgets hold my life together. They manage my cord clutter, which is extensive just trust me on that. They bundle and organize small stuff in my kitchen junk I mean “utility drawer!” so I can quickly find what I need.

thin ties keep stuff organized

Idea for indoor or outdoor use in the home, shed, garage, dorm, or office. These ties are ideal to organize drawers in too chests, desks, or cabinets. Keep pens, pencils, and markers neat and tidy. Velcro Thin Ties are simple one-piece design wraps and just the right size for almost everything.



Aqua Notes

I get my best ideas and solutions in the place I’m least likely to be able to remember them—the shower. Seriously! Maybe it’s because for a few minutes my brain can relax. Whatever it is, those great ideas and solutions used to go right down the drain, lost forever. 

A person standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera

But not anymore! Now I have Aqua Notes—a waterproof notepad and pen right there in the shower. Hooray for such a clever cheap gadget.



Dishwasher Magnet

So simple, simply brilliant, that is. Here’s the routine at my house: Dirty cup or plate. Person with said items in hand can’t tell if the contents of the dishwasher are clean or dirty, so why bother looking. He, I mean said person, opts to place dirty items in the sink, instead. Over and over again.

Design and Kitchen

This handy gadget solves the problem. No nagging, reminding, or dirty looks (who, me?). It’s so easy to flip the switch on the Dishwasher Magnet Clean Dirty Signto keep the current state of dishwasher contents in full but unobtrusive view.



Lock Laces

Oh my, this is so perfect for shoes with laces and people of all ages who are tired of lacing up and tying those shoes. You have to see this because it’s more of a “system” than what you might be thinking.

You can toss the laces that come with the sneakers and use Lock Laces instead. They come in a variety of colors and turn any lace-up shoes into quasi slip-ons. They can be pulled tight or left loose. Simply fabulous!


A tattoo on his arm

One size fits all, this is a cheap gadget for kids and adults. Elastic no-tie shoelaces! Bonus: Lock Laces are light reflective to keep you safe at night.



Big Ice Cubes

I discovered big ice cubes while living in California when our refrigerator’s ice maker was hooked up to our tap water (it’s a long story but it had to be routed around the reverse osmosis system). While I’m sure it was safe, the tap water tasted awful.

That’s when I found these awesome ice trays that make big, beautiful ice cubes. I simply filled them with filtered water. They stack perfectly and take very little space in the freezer. Love the big cubes because they melt so slowly.

big ice cube trays



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3 replies
  1. Diane O. says:

    Why waste money on a dishwasher magnet. Our family has used this method for years: If the soap dispenser is closed, the dishes are dirty. If the soap dispenser is Open, the dishes are clean.

  2. Jane says:

    Thank you so much for your web site. Your tips have helped me more times than I can count. Do you have a “recipe” or tip in your archives for cleaning grout between ceramic floor tile? Thank you!

  3. Donna Uffman says:

    Been an avid reader of Mary Hunt since the 90’s…could I get the info on the soft great sheet sets. I had bought a set severall yrs ago and needed to buy them again. Recommended by Mary. Thanks for your help and all your great wisdom and info❤️


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