13 SMART purchases that will pay for themselves in under 6 months

Published on January 22, 2016 By Lauren

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  • There’s a difference between being cheap and frugal.

    Those who are ‘cheap’ are looking to spend the least amount of money right now.

    Those who are ‘frugal’ are looking to make the smartest financial decisions to save the most amount of money over time.

    Purchases that will, in time, pay for themselves illustrate this point perfectly.

    If you are trying to save money in the new year, making a purchase now may sound ridiculous. Why would you spend money when you are trying to cut back?

    Ask yourself, are you cheap? Or are you frugal? In the same way purchasing in bulk costs more initially but saves money over time, these 13 purchases will pay for themselves in the next 6 months or less.

    1. Water filter

    If you are a buyer of water bottles, you’ll save money and the environment by the purchase of a water filter.

    2. Cloth Napkins

    Thanks to thrift shops, yard sales, and just looking around your home, this purchase can be extremely small. You can cut up old shirts or flannel pants to use when you’re eating. Save yourself even more money and only buy some very nice cloth napkins for guests, you’ll find a quick return on your investment. As a bonus, cloth napkins help protect the environment!

    3. Dryer Balls

    Dryer balls will pay for themselves very quickly due to a triple impact on your budget! They make fabric softeners unnecessary. They allow your dryer to work more efficiently which cuts down on dryer time. Both of these save you money immediately.

    However, by discontinuing the use of fabric softeners, you are actually protecting the fabrics you are washing. Towels will absorb water better without the use of fabric softeners and clothes are better protected without the exposure to the chemicals found in them. Long term use of dryer balls means you’ll be replacing these items less often.

    4. Coffee Pot

    If you frequently stop for a coffee on your way into work each morning, the purchase of a coffee pot will save you money in under six months. You can often find these at thrift stores, yard sales, and for sale on Craigslist after Christmas (when other people are selling off their older models because they received newer versions as presents).

    If you have already purchased a Keurig to save yourself money, the purchase of a reusable K-cup will pay for itself in a very short time. This allows you to use loose grounds (that you roasted yourself!) which is much less expensive than the disposable, one-time use cups! (Again, better for the environment, too!)

    5. Cable Modem

    If you have high speed internet at your house, this one is a no-brainer. Take a look at your bill from your internet provider. Do you see that line item called something like “modem rental fee” for around $8.50? It seems they increase it every year.

    You can get rid of this by simply purchasing your own modem. They’re not expensive and are really easy to set up. This cable modem on Amazon will work as good or better than the one you’re renting, and it’s at just the right price!

    6. Slow Cooker

    The use of a slow cooker, or crockpot will save you money very quickly if you simply use it to replace the purchase of things like canned beans, canned soups, and jarred pasta sauce. You can make these in large batches on Sundays when you are hanging out at home to be frozen for later use.

    The slow cooker also saves you money by keeping you from impulsively dining out after a long day of work. If you have a meal already warm in the slow cooker,  you won’t be tempted to swing through a fast food restaurant for dinner. Slow cookers are great for making up larger meals that can be frozen for later and used for lunches at work, again saving you money by avoiding dining out.

    7. Hair clippers

    If you have someone in your home that likes their hair short, the purchase of hair clippers can pay for itself relatively quickly. Watch a couple of YouTube videos and you’ll be a master of cutting hair in no time.

    8. Space heater

    Why heat a whole house when you are only in one room? Purchase a space heater and reduce your energy costs. The same can be said for a fan in the summer.

    9. Programmable thermostat

    A programmable thermostat will adjust the settings automatically. No more heating an empty home because you forgot to turn it down before leaving for work.  Get more energy saving tips here.

    10 Bicycle

    If you live in a bike-able community, the purchase of a bicycle will pay for itself quickly by reducing fuel costs, parking fees, and even insurance (call your agent; if you aren’t driving to work, you may be able to reduce your premiums).

    11. Energy Saving Light Bulbs

    Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) will provide a quicker return on your investment and if your budget is super tight, they might be the best way to go. However, if you can manage to change one or two bulbs with LEDs, the long term savings will be greater. Consider changing one bulb every few months and eventually, your energy savings will be greatly reduced.

    I’m finally a really big fan of LED bulbs. The prices have come down considerably, and it might make sense to buy a 6-pack. The price for 6 is what you would have paid for just one bulb 5 years ago. And then you won’t have to replace them for a decade or so.

    12. TV streaming devices

    The purchase of a device like a Roku will set you back about $90 but you’ll be cutting the cable cord immediately, paying for that purchase in no time. There are many alternatives to cable that will be open to you now that will save you money each month.

    13. Battery Charger

    If you have a lot of items in your home that require batteries, the investment of rechargeable batteries and a charger will pay for itself in a very short time.

    Sometimes, it pays to spend a little bit of money. These 12 purchases will cost you a little bit of money now but find you saving money in under six months. What other items have your purchased that have shown you a quick return?


  • I have most of the things on this list.
    Modem was a must as time warner wanted $12 a month to lease theirs. The streaming device (roku) was the best yet. Ditching our sattelite carrier saves us over $100 a month! We pay for Hulu and Netflix and Amazon prime and don’t miss a thing.
    Dryer balls. Get rid of those chemical filled dryer sheets which shorten the life of you machines!
    Coffee pot is a must. Look up recipes for the fancy coffees. You can make them yourself and save tons and make them healthier as well.
    The only thing on your list I don’t have is a battery charger. I just converted to cloth napkins last week!! And make my own dish rags too (crochet then with all the extra cotton yarn I have laying around)

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