10 Cheap Purchases that Improved My Life

Whenever I have zero motivation to write a blog post, I remind myself to take a step back and think about the topics that have been accumulating in my rough drafts. I currently have 34 topics in my rough drafts but I have zero desire to write about any of them. I had to take a Marie Kondo approach and ask myself the following question: Do any of these topics spark joy? Sadly, the answer is no. Perhaps it is time to scrap my rough drafts and start over again.

When life gets too chaotic and hectic, I often feel the need to simplify my life. It is important to take a step back to appreciate the things that make my stupid, busy life a little less stupid and busy. And not surprisingly, the items on my list are inexpensive. Does it surprise you that I have a go-to list of 10 affordable purchases that make my life more tolerable? Keep reading if you are interested! 😊

•✽ 10 Cheap Purchases that Improved my Life ✽•

1. Tylenol I know, I know. Acetaminophen aka. Tylenol (everyone here calls it Tylenol) is not very exciting but for anyone who suffers from frequent ocular migraines, it helps provide some relief. I typically use 2 tabs each of 500mg per dose.

2. Hand sanitizer If COVID-19 taught me anything, I learned about the importance of hand hygiene. It would be a crime not to hoard hand sanitizer. I carry it around with me everywhere I go and learned to embrace the plain, boring scents too.

3. Baby wipes  These wipes are not just for wiping baby bums! Baby wipes are one of the most useful things to have around the house, whether or not you are a parent. Baby wipes are incredibly useful for wiping faces, cleaning sticky surfaces, and dusting. Yes – dusting! Need to clean something fast? Use a baby wipe!

Image source: http://www.thekitchn.com

4. Alarm clock I had one of those loud, obnoxious alarm clocks that could wake the dead from their sleep. I say *had* because it fell apart over the years. Still, I never missed a shift while I was using that alarm clock. Now, I use an obnoxious ring tone on my phone which works almost as well as the alarm clock.

5. The 64-ounce hydrator water bottle Not just any water bottle! This is a 64-ounce hydrator water bottle. I bought mine from Winners for $10 and it holds 8 cups of water. Personally, I don’t like refilling a water bottle multiple times a day. My goal is to refill my water bottle twice a day for a total of 16 cups of water. If you did the math, my goal is to drink 1 Gallon (128 oz.) of water per day. I seem to fail miserably at drinking water unless I am actively tracking my water intake.

Stayin’ alive and hydrated!

6. Sharpie highlighters This is my favourite brand for both markers and highlighters. I only buy this brand for highlighters because they don’t bleed through paper or smudge the ink. During back-to-school season, you can usually find Sharpie highlighters on sale at Walmart.

7. Sheet protectors It seems like my list is turning into a “Things Around the Office” Listicle. What can I say?😂 I spend a great deal of time using office supplies. Sheet protectors are another item that I love using for notetaking, clipping recipes, saving snippets from magazines, etc. Gone are the days where I have to worry about spilling coffee on my notes. I also want to mention that sheet protectors are waterproof!

8. Bubble Bath Hot baths are good for chronic back and neck pain. A bubble bath won’t break the bank and it is one of the few things that I have to look forward to on a typical cold day in Canada. My favorite bubble bath is Korres because it makes the best bubbles in my opinion, even though this brand is more expensive than others. Trust me, not all bubbles are created equal.

9. Planner A planner can be cheap or expensive depending on your preference. Personally, I like the $4 Dollarama planner which I can throw in my backpack at any given time. For habit tracking, I like the Habit Tracking planner which I got from Costco. I usually recycle my planners after 2-3 years to cut down on clutter. I used to keep ALL of my wall calendars as a kid and ended up with a drawer full of memorabilia junk. Never again.

10. Podcasts Personal development podcasts have changed my life for the better. I use iTunes to listen to podcasts. The best part about podcasts is that they are FREE! Free edutainment – what’s not to like about that?! I listen to podcasts on a daily basis and I love learning about psychology, philosophy, spirituality, entrepreneurial skills, and decluttering. In a previous blog post, I talked about The Mindset Mentor by Rob Dial. Admittedly, I don’t listen to his podcasts nearly as much as I used to, but his takeaway messages are very good. Also, a shoutout goes to my blogger friend Deandra from #TBPD. She also has a lifestyle podcast which I recommend checking out! 🙌

Overall, these 10 items help my life suck a little less. Did anything on my list surprise you? What inexpensive items would you add to your list? Please join the conversation by leaving a comment below ↓ I look forward to reading your comments.

Thanks for stopping by!

great-vibes.regular (1)

48 thoughts on “10 Cheap Purchases that Improved My Life

    • Hilary Tan says:

      My life is disorganized without a planner. I can probably get away with a cheap planner next year minus the habit tracker. Surprisingly, I hardly used the habit tracker this year.

      Some places here hand out hand sanitizer for free when the cases get really bad. I’ve got several stashed in my purse, car, and large bottles in the house. We’ll be good until Christmas lol 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nova says:

    I have to say, I can feel the joys in each one of these, too. I actually just stocked up on B&BW little hand sanitizers. Their scents are amazing.. Always! Also, I just found Dr Teals Melatonin oil and vapor infuses bubble bath additives!! They were exactly what I needed when I spotted then, too. Talk about joy!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. esoterica says:

    I love how excited you are about the seemingly small things! I also am a die hard Sharpie highlighter fan, and completely agree with everything on your list (though I personally don’t use Tylenol or baby wipes much). I would add pretty cards, which I sending to family and friends–it *can* be expensive, but I buy bulk packs with minor imperfections, so they come out to $1 a piece, but allow me to connect with loved ones and hopefully make them smile. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thank you for not judging me 😂 I’m like a kid when it comes to the small joys in life. Yes! Once you get Sharpie highlighters you’ll be hooked. Other highlighter brands are not the same.

      As for cards, I used to buy boxes of cards and mail them to family and friends. In an older post called, “Snail Mail, Anyone?” I shared a photo of said stash (you can search the blog post via the search tab). That year I sent 55 cards I think?!? However, 95% of people didn’t reciprocate so I kinda gave up sending cards. I didn’t know you were into sending cards and that is so cool!! Pen pals are always welcome 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. buddy71 says:

    im not sure about using baby wipes for anything but cleaning the skin as many have moisturizers etc that maybe not be good or will stay on objects other than our skin. hand sanitizer!!! yes. even before the pandemic i sued it (i am an RN) but now i find the bottle type harder to carry and have switched to the type in a wipe which i can carry a package nicely in a pocket.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      I use Kirkland baby wipes for everything. They’re gentle. My rationale is that they don’t contain harsh chemicals that could ruin furniture and/or other surfaces other than skin. There’s also unscented baby wipes on the market which is a nice alternative as well.

      Hand sanitizer really dries out my hands. Pair that with dry air and cold temperatures in Calgary. Some sanitizers have lotions in them which is better than nothing. I have yet to try sanitizing wipes. Thank for the suggestion.


      • buddy71 says:

        Using hand sanitizer too much will dry out your hands because of the sanitizer in them which is usually an alcohol-based sanitizer. It’s not a good idea to use it very often then you should be washing your hands this isn’t just with soap and water. How we make sure that I think Gold Bond has a lotion with sanitizer in it that’s pretty good. Or at least you some sort of hand lotion after using sanitizer. I do notice that using the sanitizer wipes on my hands that are made for hands don’t dry out my hands quite as much.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hilary Tan says:

        I feel like I sanitize my hands 50+ times a day, mostly d/t work. On the hospital floor, they have lotion added to the hand sanitizer. At first, I didn’t like it but the lotion really helps prevent skin cracking. I started wearing mittens outside which I am hoping will help save my hands as well.


  4. Wendy says:

    I feel this. I clear out my drafts every now and then. I type so fast that I often forget I’ve even started posts. One of these days I’ll get around to posting them lol. But like you said, sometimes you just have to scrap it because it no longer serves a purpose. As for the list of things – great idea. I bought a $20 black and decker rice cooker about four years ago and it has helped with so many meals! Love it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Wendy! 😄 I often hold onto drafts thinking that I will get around to it later, except later never comes! Like my mom says, “later means never!” She’s not wrong 😅 Scrapping drafts is a type of digital decluttering, right? Similarly, I try to keep on top of emails so they don’t become too overwhelming.

      $20 for a rice cooker is a great deal! I agree that a rice cooker is incredibly useful, and I remember reading how much you enjoy using your rice cooker for delicious meals.


    • Hilary Tan says:

      And yet I still forget to bring a mask with me when I leave the house. I have to keep a stash of them in my backpack and car or I will forget. Today I walked halfway to the coffee shop, only to realize that I forgot my mask, and had to turn around. A minor annoyance, but still. My brain has not registered that we need masks when we go shopping.

      Honestly, I don’t know what I would do with my basic $4 planner. Everyone needs a planner in their life, it’s not just for students!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Rebellious says:

    Love all these purchases. I feel like an animal if I don’t carry hand sanitiser with me everywhere now…
    I also use online planners as they feel much more portable and convenient to bring out if you need to take a quick look at something again…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      Right?! I love that… yes, I feel like an animal too! LOL It’s not necessarily a bad thing to stay vigilant about hygiene practices 👏 As for online planners, I keep leaning towards an old fashioned offline planner and pen – the kind that cave people probably used. I have an alternative to an online planner… it’s called Google Keep. I highly recommend using it to keep track of lists or important tasks. Occasionally I will add a note to the calendar on my phone, but more often than not it’s just a basic planner. If you read all of this, thanks for reading! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      See? I’m not crazy haha Korres has the best bubbles by far, and I highly recommend that brand. It’s kinda pricy but it’s worth it, especially the 1L bottle. There’s also sugar cookie and donut scent if you aren’t a fan of apple pie.


  6. Pooja G says:

    These are great. I need to go to Winners next week and look for that bottle because I really don’t drink as much water as I should especially in the colder months when I don’t feel that thirsty. I think having a bottle in front of me reminding me to drink water will help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hilary Tan says:

      There’s some cute water bottles on Amazon if you can’t get to Winners. They are $$$ though. If you’re able to wait until you go to Winners, I recommend going there. Sometimes Marshall’s carries them too. Try to find a water bottle that is half a Gallon. I drink a lot of tea during the colder months so I haven’t used my water bottle as much as I would like. Yes, even having a water bottle next to you at all times is a good reminder to drink more water! ✌️💕


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