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1

Best Inexpensive: Can Openers—UPDATE

Can’t anyone make a can opener that’s easy to use, does a great job, and doesn’t turn into absolute junk in a matter of months? An opener that will latch on easily, twist smoothly, and give a clean continuous cut every time? Is that too much to ask? This post is an important UPDATE as our Best Inexpensive option has changed!

3

Crockpot Casserole Slow Cooker: A Review

Since I purchased my manual version in 2016, before a programmable version was available, I’ve been using it regularly to make desserts, casseroles, and lasagna and I could not be happier. While this doesn’t replace my traditional 7-quart slow cooker, it is my go-to option for recipes that are more casserole-like.

7

A Very Effective Way to Cut Winter Heating Bills

Until several years ago, I didn’t know something called a heated mattress pad even existed. It makes sense since I’d lived in Southern California for most of my life, where it is mostly warm all year round. Then we moved to Colorado, where the seasons are more pronounced—and winter heating costs can be shocking!

I’m excited to tell you what we discovered that takes care of both slashing our heating costs, but makes cold weather sleeping absolutely awesome! See you there! Love, xo m 😴 💤

8

Best Inexpensive: Space Heaters

The most efficient and easiest way to reduce your home heating cost is to heat only the rooms that are occupied while keeping your furnace set very low to say 60 F. Then use a space heater to make the occupied room comfortable; You can rely on this method during the day as well as at night. You could easily see your heating bill escape the surging cost of heating fuel, by simply keeping the main source of heat set very low, supplementing with electric space heaters. It’s such a simple way to make a huge difference in your home heating costs …

9

Best Inexpensive: Slow Cookers

A slow cooker is an ingenious appliance. It’s simple. It cooks slowly. Really slow—like it takes 8 hours to get a meal ready where other methods can take 30 minutes. But unlike that 30-minute meal, a slow cooker doesn’t require work. It doesn’t need a babysitter. No coddling required with a slow cooker. You can just throw […]

10

Best Inexpensive Home Security System

Several months ago, we had a serious home security wake-up call with the news of a home invasion in our sleepy town, population fewer than 20,000.

In the middle of the night, two young, hoodied thugs went from house to house in a beautiful new development until they found an unlocked window. Once inside, they held the terrified homeowners at gunpoint.

Eventually, the perpetrators were caught and charged with seven counts including kidnapping, grand larceny, and attempted murder …

11

Best Inexpensive Bed Sheets—UPDATE!

Let me tell you about my mission to discover the Best Inexpensive bed sheets. It went on for many months. It cost a fortune because as you know, when I test products for you, my dear readers, I purchase them myself. I do not want to be beholden in any way to a manufacturer, distributor, or company when it comes to determining what I believe is the Best Inexpensive option.

Today another update, as things do change quite often when it comes to purchasing bedding. My mission continues. Don’t worry … it’s all good! See you there, xo m 💤 😴 🛌

13

The Best Inexpensive Robot Vacuum (It Really Works!)

Vacuuming sucks. Literally. One year, my idea of giving our adult sons robot vacuums for Christmas was intended to help them with that odious chore.

What a disappointment. I learned much later that both guys used their robots for only a few months. They were ridiculously noisy, needed constant supervision, did a lousy job, and just more trouble than they were worth. They were annoying and couldn’t do the job. But that was then and this is now …

14

This Really Is the Best Inexpensive Car Trash Container

I’ve always thought that a car should come outfitted with some kind of incinerator that sucks the accumulation of trash and garbage right out of the car and into a holding tank somewhere that magically converts it into purified drinking water. Or gasoline. 😂

While waiting for that kind of invention to appear, I’ve tried plastic bags, plastic tubs, and every kind of frugal trick and tip you can imagine to handle the annoyance of car trash.

I’ve tested and tried. Some ideas are better than others, but nothing has ever proven 100% satisfactory. Until now …

15

Best Inexpensive Cordless Handheld Vacuum

Can’t anyone make a decent cordless, handheld vacuum cleaner that is convenient to use, holds a charge well, runs for at least 15 minutes before needing to be recharged, has powerful suction to pick up all kinds of stuff we need a vacuum to pick up including pet hair—will last for more than a couple of years AND not cost a fortune?

Well … Yes! And ta-da … here it is! See you there … xo m

16

The Best Inexpensive Skincare Products According to My Dermatologist

If the high-price of quality skincare is enough to give you a rash, good news. You don’t have to spend a fortune (or even a lot) to get the best.

Some years ago, as my dermatologist was wrapping up my routine office visit, I asked him what specific products he recommends I use for daily skincare. Without hesitation, he pulled out a notepad and wrote down instructions that include these products …

21

Best Inexpensive Phone Charger Plus More to Keep You Powered Up

It’s hard to imagine how we’d live our lives without all of the electronic devices we’ve come to depend upon. I’m talking about everything from mobile phones to portable computers, watches, tablets, headphones, earbuds, fitness and GPS trackers; eReaders, too.

The best way to make sure you’re always powered up and ready to go it to make charging convenient. Not necessarily expensive, but well-thought-out.

Today, I thought I’d give you a quick tour of the charging gadgets I depend on and wouldn’t want to be without …

22

Best Inexpensive™ Laptop Computers for 2020

If you or someone you love will be heading off to college soon, a laptop will be absolutely essential. But where to start? Nowadays, a student’s computer is just as important as his or her student ID. I’ve got you covered with my picks for Best Inexpensive laptops … for students, and others, too!

See you there …

Love, xo m

23

Best Inexpensive Small Kitchen Appliances

Recently, I heard from EC reader Douglas who wrote,

“Would you please repeat your column that describes the best inexpensive small kitchen appliances? I want to replace my mixer and small food chopper. Thanks. Your column is great. I look forward to it every day. Doug”

After a few moments of non-productive searching, my confused self realized that while I’ve included some small kitchen appliances in the past, the column Douglas was looking for didn’t exist. Now it does. Thanks, Douglas for that kick I needed and your nice comments, too.

Today … my picks for Best Inexpensive small kitchen appliances—11 of them! See you there! Love, xo m

24

Best Inexpensive Cast Iron Skillet and How to Love It

I must have been all of 10-years old the day I decided to surprise my mother by cleaning her old black cast iron skillet. It embarrassed me that over the years it had become so gross. Naively, I assumed that she’d burned too many Sunday roasts in it and that’s why it was never shiny with a copper bottom—like the rest of our pots and pans.

I started with household cleanser and steel wool. I scrubbed on a single spot for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t break through that burned-on “crust” to save my soul. Finally, I just gave up.

What I wouldn’t realize until years later was that I was working on a fine piece of cast iron—a skillet I’m sure I managed to un-do years of coveted “seasoning” that makes a cast iron skillet virtually nonstick.

Cast iron skillets never buckle, cast iron is virtually indestructible, lasting for generations—even at the hand of a 10-year-old wielding cleanser, steel wool, and sharp scraping implements. A cast iron skillet can be restored, and in most cases quite easily.

Food cooked in cast iron is fortified with iron—up to 20 times more iron than when cooked in a steel or aluminum vessel. When you cook in well-seasoned cast iron you use less oil. Cast iron is a chemical-free alternative to nonstick pans … and, as you are about to discover, super affordable …

26

Best Inexpensive Steam Iron

There’s something soothing and instantly gratifying about a good steam iron with a heft of heat and steam gliding back and forth over wrinkled fabric. Find the best steam iron with the best features at the best price—that’s the challenge. But fear no more: I’ve made all the mistakes, faced all the challenged, and come up with the best options for you …

29

Best Inexpensive Cordless Stick Vacuum

According to more than a few messages from you, my dear readers—and in the words of Ricky Ricardo—I’ve got some ‘splaining’ to do! Today, we’re talking about cordless stick vacs—again!

We’ve suffered the heartbreak of “discontinued” with both Eufy and Deik—especially if you didn’t get one or the other while they were still available. But not to worry. I’ve been searching, testing, trying, reviewing, and even returning.

I’m excited to introduce you to our latest Best Inexpensive Cordless Stick Vac. I’m certain that third time is a charm! See you there … Love, m xo ❣️

31

Best Inexpensive Essential College Dorm Gear

It’s been a number of years since I moved into a college dorm room. My memories of college life are both vivid and precious. For years, I’d been dreaming about how I would grow up and leave my childhood home and sheltered life to attend college in Los Angeles. I lived in the same dorm room from […]

32

Best Inexpensive™ Dishwasher

Just this past week I heard from my dear reader Penny who is frustrated in the face of needing to purchase a new dishwasher. She writes:  “Our dishwasher is more than 20 years old and every time I think I have decided on a new one and read the reviews, I back out. I know that you […]

33

Best Inexpensive™ Umbrellas

What we should expect are umbrellas that are waterproof, sturdy, and above all, reliable for a decent period of time. And of a decent size. And if something goes wrong—even super strong wind—we want reliable customer service that will make things right. Here are my picks for Best Inexpensive™ umbrellas.

38

Best Inexpensive Computer Printers

With so many technologies and capabilities available, choosing a printer isn’t easy. And don’t assume you’ll find the perfect printer anytime soon. No matter the cost, printers get paper jams. They run out of ink/toner. Network connectivity can be challenging. That’s just the nature of printers. I don’t know why, but it’s important to understand […]

39

Our Best Inexpensive: A Review

Before I bring up the subject of my email inbox, I need to tell you again how much I love to hear from my readers! Every letter, note, and message is an affirmation that I’m not speaking to an empty room. I love your tips, stories, questions, corrections and even the occasional argument. There are […]

40

Best Inexpensive Sewing Machines

Turning 7 years old is a big deal on its own but for me it was even better because I would be old enough to join 4-H—America’s largest youth development organization, which is still alive and well after all these years, empowering nearly six million young people across the U.S. with the skills to lead for a […]

42

The Best Inexpensive Double Stroller

There are few joys in life that rival the joy that children bring. But nothing has surprised me more than how that joy is multiplied when we get to add the word “grand” to the children in our lives. Double joy! There are affiliate links in this post. If you click through and make a purchase, we […]

43

The Best Inexpensive Overnight Deal in The OC

  I have traveled a lot in the past 22 years. My American Airlines account shows more than 1.3 million miles on that carrier alone. You can only imagine how many hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts and inns I’ve stayed in. While most have been adequate, a few were downright scary. And I can count on one […]

44

The Best Inexpensive Stroller

One of the best money management tools I know is this Rule of Thumb: Match quality with need. In other words, don’t buy quality beyond the need. Sometimes the cheapest option is the best choice. Other times, you’ll regret having gone cheap when you have to replace that item well before your need for it goes […]