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These Cheap and Useful Items Will Make Your Life Easier

 

Stainless Steel Spoon Rest and Pot Holder

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Rechargeable Flexible Wand Lighter

collage showing uses for rechargable wand lighter

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Best Drugstore Makeup Brands

My frugal philosophy is pretty simple: Scrimp on things that don’t matter to have the money for things that do. Makeup is important to me. I’ll forego other things that aren’t that important to afford quality makeup.

For years, my makeup of choice was M.A.C., sold online; at cosmetics counters in high-end department stores and in exclusive M.A.C. stores, worldwide.

It’s been some time since M.A.C. and I parted company and for one reason only—the ever-increasing cost of the M.A.C. line of cosmetics is enough to give me a heart attack!

It took a while, but with considerable research and many trials (and errors), I replaced each of my M.A.C. items with one of these best drugstore makeup products. My criterion was that the replacement had to be cheaper, but of an equal or better quality.   Read more

25 Items to Simplify and Organize Your Life

Getting organized isn’t easy. But staying organized can be even harder. A place for everything and everything in its place. That’s the mark of an organized home.

woman buried in closet clutter

As a natural-born messie with a bent toward hoarding, I know the struggle. But I’ve learned the joy of decluttering and gaining control over my disorganized self—one drawer, cupboard, closet, and room at a time.

Today I want to update 25 of my best organizational helpers that can help organize your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, handbag, and car, too. These organizers can quickly turn chaos to calm.

1. Makeup Organizer

organize itemsThis professional vanity makeup organizer is clear acrylic so you can see exactly what you have and exactly where everything is because it is large enough for everything to be assigned a place!

Holds makeup brushes, skin care products with lots of room for lipsticks, eyeliners, shadows, powders, and more. Easy to assemble. Adjustable shelves.

Brush and Beauty

 

2. Classic Shower Dispenser

This Classic Shower Dispenser is perfect for eliminating shower bottle clutter. Fill the chambers with your shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Pumps pre-measure just the right amount, eliminating waste and saving money. Installs in minutes without tools, using silicone.

A close up of a device

3. Hair Styling Tools Organizer

This compact Style Station holds a hairdryer plus two more tools such as a flat iron and curling iron—or brushes and other tools.

Designed for safely cooling down and storing styling tools. Can hang on a towel bar, sit on the countertop or store in a cabinet or drawer.

Brush and Hair

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Best Inexpensive Small Kitchen Appliances

Recently, I heard from EC reader Douglas who has kitchen appliances on his mind:

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

middle age male taking notes on the sofa

Everyday Cheapskate participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon affiliated sites.

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 Doug was looking for didn’t exist. Now it does. Thanks, Douglas for that kick I needed and your nice comments, too.

Best Inexpensive small kitchen appliances

1. Food processor

The Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor is simple to use offering 2 speeds, a powerful 450-watt motor, and a large feed tube. Just the perfect size and a great price, too.

Hamilton Beach food processor

 

2. Hand mixer

When selecting an electric mixer, consider carefully your specific need. If you often use a mixer for small jobs, my pick for Best Inexpensive is the KitchenAid 5-Speed Ultra Power Hand Mixer. Comes complete with a 1-year hassle-free replacement warranty. If you require a more robust kitchen appliance for mixing, read on.

KitchenAid 5-speed hand mixer in bright red

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Best Inexpensive Bedsheets

Let me tell you about my mission to discover the Best Inexpensive bedsheets. It went on for many months. It cost a fortune because as you know, when I test products for you 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.

A close up of a flower

 

Sheet snob

When it comes to bedsheets, I am particular. Call me a sheet snob and you’d have me pegged, which means that my personal standards could be too high to be considered affordable.

It’s not a matter of decor or brand. It’s the way the sheets feel. They should be smooth and wrinkle-free. The sheets need to breathe and not stick to me. But they can’t be slick, slippery, crunchy, or noisy. The weave has to be tight and sheets can’t feel like sandpaper.

For me, sheets have to fit well, too. The fitted sheet cannot pop off the corners of the mattress; but it can’t be too big, so as to become baggy, which can lead to bunching up. Above all, my sheets must be 100% cotton. Not linen, not microfiber or polyester or any other type of fiber or blend thereof.

Seriously, if the sheets are not right, I don’t sleep well. And by well I mean sound asleep—not tossing, turning, and continuously waking up.

Where did the percale go?

There was a time when decent sheets were common and affordable. I don’t know for certain what’s happened there, but I  blame it on synthetic fibers—microfiber, polyester, lyocell, and their manmade fiber-cousins that are cheap to manufacture.

We used to depend on the word “percale” to be the sign of a great sheet, but truth be told percale has nothing to do with fiber content. Percale refers to a type of tight weave, most often made from cotton, but not necessarily so. I’ve been fooled by percale sheets that turn out to be polyester percale or microfiber percale—not the fine cotton percale I  remember from childhood.

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Best Inexpensive Home Dehumidifiers and How to Choose

Humidity, or the lack thereof, is a popular topic this time of year. Where I live in northern Colorado, it’s dry! We have like no humidity. Well, not exactly, but it averages in the low mid-20 percent during the summer and fall months. We have a humidifier in our home, and it runs 24/7 year-round for health and comfort.

Recently, lots of readers have inquired about how to deal with the opposite—high humidity, which can get pretty miserable. A dehumidifier can be a godsend for those who live in high humidity areas to remove excess moisture from indoor air.

A man wearing glasses

 

What is a dehumidifier?

Think of a dehumidifier as a vacuum that sucks the air from a room, removing the moisture and blowing dry air back into the room again. The condensation drips into a collection tank inside the machine that must be emptied from time to time.

Many people find that a dehumidifier works together with the air conditioning system to keep the rooms in a home comfortable even on the hottest days with super high humidity. Others rely on a dehumidifier in place of an air conditioner.

Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes, typically rated according to how many square feet they can dehumidify and how many pints of water they can produce in a day. Most home dehumidifiers are controlled by thermostats and humidity sensors so you can make the room as hot and dry as you wish.

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