It’s common sense to be skeptical of any household product that promises to save you both time and money as it lights up, spins around, or talks back at you. Stores are inundated with crazy products that are in no way worthy of even the slightest percentage of your paycheck.
But other items are worth buying when considering the time and money they’ll give back. Not only are they inexpensive, but they’ll likely pay for themselves almost instantaneously. Sure, these 15 products are wacky, but they’re also all-around good buys. How have you lived without these ingenious inventions for so long?
Editor’s note: Prices are good as of Sept. 1, 2017.
1. Fake fruit-saving apples
- Price: $13.40
It’s a real downer when all that delicious fruit in your fridge turns moldy and brown before you get a chance to use it. And not to mention it’s a massive waste of money to throw away such large quantities of fresh produce. Luckily, these Bluapples absorb the chemicals that cause your fruits and veggies to go bad faster. Just place them in your fridge, and they’ll pay for themselves almost instantly. The product boasts it will save you $600 per year on wasted food, and the positive reviews speak for themselves.
Next: We could all benefit from one of these genius inventions.
2. Grocery carrier
- Price: $19.95
Americans across the country have accepted the challenge when it comes to carrying all their grocery bags from the car in one trip. But one busted bag and countless wasted dollars later, you regret such an ambitious decision. This ingenious strap transfers weight from your hands to your shoulders, making those dreaded trips up the stairs much easier with multiple bags. But if you’d rather continue channeling the Hulk while attempting to lug all your groceries in one trip, then by all means carry on.
Next: Something all travelers should buy
3. Luggage scale
- Price: $9.98
The airport is one of easiest places to commit costly mistakes — oversized luggage being one of the worst. With airlines charging anywhere between $30 and $450 for oversized luggage fees, a scale that ensures you’re within weight limits is well worth the cost. Plus, reviewers on Amazon rave about the potential savings, giving it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Next: An airport staple we’d all use
4. Portable armrest divider
- Price: $25
There’s likely nothing worse than fighting for arm space on a cramped flight. If you’re too broke to splurge on a first-class ticket, a one-time fee of $25 for this portable divider will give you more space on the arm rest in coach. Whether you have enough guts to actually whip this out on your next flight is still up in air, but you can’t deny we’ve all thought about using something like this in the past. We deem this product worthy of cash — if just for sheer protection against in-flight anger issues.
Next: Something well worth its cost in the bathroom
5. Toilet night light
- Price: $9.99
Sure, you might be thinking this is yet another useless bathroom product designed to prey on weak consumers. But one painful toe-to-wall encounter at night will have you rethinking your immediate dismal of a motion-censor toilet light.
The reviews on this crazy gadget are pretty telling. Moms love that it helps young children make their way to the bathroom at night, and just about every money-conscious parent appreciates the energy-efficient lighted timer that shuts off when the bathroom is uninhabited. What a time to be alive.
Next: A product all spouses should have
6. Silicon wedding band
- Price: $9.99
Looking to spare yourself an argument with the spouse? Keep your wedding ring on your finger. That said, it’s not necessary the brightest idea to wear a ring built of precious metal while working on cars, doing CrossFit, scuba diving, or in any other place that puts your hands in harm’s way. A $10 purchase is a small price to pay to avoid replacing an expensive ring worth hundreds of dollars. And before you dismiss this seemingly futile product, it’s probably useful in far more daily situations than you think.
Next: An easy solution for clogged drains
7. Turbo snake drain opener
- Price: $10.35
Those with long, thick hair know all about the drainage struggles that accompany such luscious locks. This plastic drain opener is a bit more sophisticated than the old deconstructed metal hanger trick. And with just two cases of replacing Drano with this product, you’ll make your money back. One user said the extended reach “grabs a ridiculous amount of debris” from her sink drain without mess.
Next: A must-have for all the wine drinkers out there
8. Wine saver
- Price: $8.14
Unless you’re one of those millennials downing around 3.1 glasses of wine in one sitting, you’ll want to pounce on any product that preserves your open bottles for longer. The wine air pump sucks the air out of the bottle, allowing this wine to last for up to two weeks longer. Without this product, wine is only drinkable for five to seven days after opening. This crazy, yet useful gadget is a must have for any wine drinker. And depending on your taste for wine, this crazy gadget could save you from wasting $10 to $20 on your next half-drank bottle.
Next: A product worth buying for the name alone
9. Hose hooker
- Price: $19.95
Anyone who has tried to bathe a large dog with a garden hose knows just how much water is wasted in the process. The hose hooker is basically an adjustable water spigot. Whether it’s washing the dog, watering plants, or cleaning bulky sports equipment, you remain hands-free while this elevated hook keeps hold of your finicky hose. The verdict? Four out of five buyers on Amazon would recommend. Eliminating the sheer aggravation of untangling a hose is worth the investment alone.
Next: A surefire way to cut back on your energy bill
10. Light sensor switch
- Price: $17.25
When the guests in your home can’t seem to remember to turn the lights off, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. This light sensor switch is endorsed by Bob Vila himself and is perfect for energy-efficient savings in areas, such as the laundry room, garage, and bedroom. A light sensor is not as crazy as, say, the toilet nightlight. But what is crazy is the almost instantaneous savings that comes with a product so influential for your electricity bill. Lutron claims this product will reduce your energy by at least 15%, meaning it’ll likely pay for itself in just a few short months.
Next: Breakfast, anyone?
11. Mini waffle iron
- Price: $12.97
Not all kitchen gadgets are worthy of prime shelve space, but a mini waffle maker that will help save on your grocery bill deserves a spot in your home. Customers on Amazon praise this product for saving busy families countless dollars on breakfast foods. Parents recommend buying two machines to expedite making bulk batches and freezing them for individual use.
Next: Every kitchen needs one of these.
12. Herb keeper
- Price: $10
When stored conventionally, most supermarket herbs don’t last longer than a few days in the fridge. What good is guacamole with soggy cilantro? This herb saver is known to triple the lifespan of your herbs just by debunking conventional storage methods. Stick this little guy in the door of your fridge, and your dill will still be “bouncin’ and behavin’” weeks later, according to one satisfied user.
Next: A no-brainer buy
13. Water aerator
- Price: $6.29
According to Poplar, 30 minutes of faucet use wastes about about 66 gallons of water each day. If you pay $2 for 1,000 gallons of water, you’d spend about $48 per year on water. Faucet aerators, such as this one, cut your flow by 55% and can save tons of money per year. So spending a little over $6 on a bathroom gadget that will keep you in the conservation mindset is a no-brainer.
Next: A product that ensures you waste no money on delicious dairy
14. Cheese paper
- Price: 2 rolls for $17.50
Lovers of cheddar, brie, and Gouda, unite! The cheese counter at the supermarket is no joke. With fancy cheeses getting exponentially pricier, there’s no room to waste money on moldy partial blocks resting in the back of your refrigerator. Reviews claim this specialty paper works better to preserve your cheese than plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and storage containers combined. Some even claim this will extend the life of your cheese for up to two weeks. A noteworthy deal indeed.
Next: A meal prepper’s dream.
15. Reusable sandwich bags
- Price: $13.07
Anyone who’s into meal prep will want to purchase some of these reusable sandwich bags. They’re both freezer-friendly and leak-resistant and will dramatically cut back on the Ziplock bags you buy all year. Customers love them even, claiming it might persuade you to take your lunch to work every now and then. That’s what we call a win-win.
Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.