Twenty purchases to save money

purchases to save moneyI know I tend to encourage people towards frugality and NOT buying things, but I was looking around for some new hairdressing scissors and it got me thinking about other purchases I have made that have saved me money in the long run. Here are twenty purchases to save money.

Hairdressing scissors

Mr S hasn’t let me cut his hair yet but he might, in which case I will invest in some clippers to go alongside the scissors. I always cut my own fringe, and occasionally do a whole head of DIY haircutting.

Bread maker

You can buy cheap bread, but if you like it fresh and crusty it is cheaper to make it yourself. Plus you can make dough for pizza. Ok, lots of you will say you make bread without a bread maker, but if you are super busy they save time as well as money.

A freezer

A freezer offers so many money saving possibilities. You can batch cook or just save left overs to eat instead of ready meals, you can freeze bones for making stock, you can make big batches of soup to freeze for lunches, you can buy yellow sticker reduced items and store them, you can buy gluts of fruit and veg cheaply in season and preserve it. I could go on…A freezer is one of my essential purchases to save money.

Tightwad Gazette

I know I have mentioned this book a lot of late but it is so inspiring! It is available from Amazon: The Complete Tightwad Gazette.

A slow cooker

These cost so little to run and are a good way to use cheaper cuts of meat to cook them very slowly until tender. You can make things like porridge and rice pudding in them too.

Heated airer

I got mine from Aldi but Lakeland do a better one I think. Tumble dryers are expensive to run and these are a good alternative. If you can’t afford a heated one then just an airer – try to site it near a radiator or wood burner.

Car-washing stuff

Buying a sponge and bucket and using a squirt of soap can save you £10-15 a time if you usually pay to wash your car.

A spade and some seeds 

If you have room for a veg patch and can grow your own you can save loads of money (growing your own is another good reason for having a freezer). A few good gardening tools will be great purchases to save money.

A drill and basic toolbox

Learn a few DIY skills. Being able to put a cupboard together, make repairs to furniture, reuse old materials, put up shelves or do a bit of plastering can literally save you thousands of pounds.

Some decent cookbooks

Delia’s Frugal Food, A Girl Called Jack and Save with Jamie are three of my go to books for budget recipes. If you can’t cook you will spend vast amounts on convenience food and takeaways.

Freeview box

Although you can beat the cost down, Virgin, Sky, etc. are still expensive. You can pause, rewind and record with the newer boxes too. Combine this with Netflix and you probably have all you need.

A tent

Think you can’t afford to go on holiday? Invest in a tent and some camping gear. There are some great value family breaks to be had under canvas and kids love camping. There are some other ideas for frugal holidays here.


Still a super cheap and reliable mode of transport, you can pick up a decent bike second hand on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.

Food processor

I use mine mainly to liquidise soups and bake cakes, both of which save money. I wouldn’t be without a food processor and it is one of my must have purchases to save money.

Pet insurance

Ok, you could do without and save money, but vets costs are astronomical. If your pet needs ongoing medical care you will wish you had insurance.

Low energy light bulbs

They last a long time and cost less to run.


Radiator foil, thermal curtain linings and polystyrene backed wallpaper are all cheap and cheerful ways to warm up a cold house. You can also fill your wall cavities and look at your roof insulation.

If you insulate and keep out the draughts you can turn the heating down. You can find more information at the Energy Saving Trust.

Soup carrier/ lunchbox

A leak-proof, airtight container is essential for moneysaving work or school lunches.

Reusable carrier bags

You only save 5p a time by not buying a bag at the till but every little helps and it’s good for the environment too. I always keep a fold up one in my handbag and lots of strong reusable bags in the car boot.

Bicarbonate of soda and vinegar

If you buy these in quantity you can clean pretty much your whole house. You save money and don’t live in a smog of nasty chemicals. This post explains the amazing power of bicarbonate of soda.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, more a starting point. As ever, if you do make any purchases, shop around to get the best quality for your money and buy second hand where you can.

What would you add to my list of twenty purchases to save money?

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. If you click through and purchase something, I will make a small commission. 

22 thoughts on “Twenty purchases to save money

  1. That is an excellent list but I had to give away my slow cooker as everything I made in it turned out tasting much the same. Maybe I was just using the ‘wrong’ recipes for us!
    We only have a small freezer as part of our fridge/freezer, but there are only the two of us and when I cook I usually make two portions, one for us that day and two for the freezer, I find that sufficient. I also make single-layer sponges which might look a little meagrely on the plate, but it means I can freeze half and we eat less cake that way, it not being a double layer with jam or cream through the middle. An almond sponge like this with just a little water icing on top and then sprinkled with flaked almonds is lovely.
    I gave away my bread maker, too, but it was one of the old original ones from about 25 years ago and I just didn’t like the bread it produced, nor the cube shape.
    Cook books? I have so many I am in the process of ‘weeding’ them! Hard to part with some, especially the first one I bought for my ‘bottom drawer’ when I became engaged in 1963!
    Our car doesn’t know what a car wash is! Husband deals with it’s ablutions. Ditto all the tools under the sun are in our garage, ready for almost every eventuality. But this is because husband has always been a v. practical person.
    We bought a lot of low-energy light bulbs in January but two of them have failed within a month and as I don’t have the receipt I don’t think I can return them to Morrisons, but I can try if I show them a print-out of my bank statement as I know which payment was for the bulbs.
    We re-use carrier bags all the time, they are returned after each shopping session to the boot of the car for the next shop.
    I’ve not put foil behind the radiators, but we do have lined curtains, and also Venetian blinds at most windows which certainly help – and we draw the curtains at dusk.
    When we worked we always took packed lunches – but it was usual then to do so.
    I use a vinegar spray – wonderful for cleaning!
    I really can’t think of anything else to buy that would ‘save’ money! A cool box, perhaps, for shopping and not just for picnics, so that you can put your frozen and chilled stuff in it to keep it frozen or chilled?
    Vacuum flasks for taking hot soup out for winter picnics in the car or on your bicycle.
    Margaret P

  2. On your recommendation from a previous blog, I bought a slow cooker last week – from a large retailer’s ebay shop. Buying through ebay, I managed to get a huge discount because the box was damaged, (no damage whatsoever to inside packaging or contents). It was lovely to come home at the end of the day to the smell of beef stew!!

  3. Have you heard of the site BuyMeOnce? It has a UK and US version, and features products that have lifetime guarantees – even socks! Of course, most of the items aren’t cheap – you just need to figure out which are good investments for your lifestyle.

  4. Super glue and shoo goo (cobbler’s glue which is really strong glue for fixing shoes and boots. I have used super glue to repair spectacles, the shower cubicle, the towel rail and many other items. I buy yellow sticker items a lot. Last week I bought two huge packs of casserole beef and two large chickens reduced to clear, and cooked three beef casseroles, two chickens and a defrosted mince round all in the oven at the same time. The chickens were portioned up and frozen and two casseroles were frozen, one we ate the following day. I use jam jars for freezing soup and sauces and old spreadable butter tubs for freezing food.

  5. I think decent undies and socks, I have found they fit better and last longer and wash better, no longer go for frills and bows but comfort and dare I say, control !

  6. This is a brilliant list Jane.
    I have been writing about how much I love my freezer over on my blog today. Along with my progress at this early stage of thriftiness.
    Thank you for your continued inspiring posts. My secondhand copy of the Penny Pinchers book arrived today and I’m off for a read :0)
    Jacquie x

  7. I have a stainless steel three tier steamer which makes it possible to cook several veg on just one ring.

    Another good purchase is a set of face flannels which can be washed over and over and do away with the need for disposable face wipes or cotton wool. As an added bonus, they exfoliate whilst cleansing. Although there is a cost associated with laundering, they can be popped in with any other wash and don’t need a separate use of the washing machine.

  8. For us it has been canning equipment and canning jars, bought at yard sales, etc., since we plant and harvest two gardens. They produce enough veggies for a year for us. We also freeze fruit and veggies in one of two chest freezers. The oldest freezer is nearly 40 years old, and was bought as a scratch and dent discount. We also heat with wood, and get our own. A new chainsaw cost about $800.00 34 years ago, but is still running with only minimal maintenance. It has provided heat all those years. Heating costs between $1,800.00 and $2,400.00 per year here. We spend about $200.00 to $300.00 on gas per year to go get the wood ourselves. My husband is very handy and is a millwright (a type of mechanic). He has bought a whole shop full of tools (second hand) over the years. He has saved countless dollars fixing, altering, repurposing items and renovating our home. Depending on your way of life, there are lots of investment buys that will save real money in the long run.

  9. Tools are an investment! I have a drill, power saw, table saw, wrenches and assorted other tools that have saved me hundreds if not thousands in labor costs. I buy them once and then there are then when needed to change the oil, do a plumbing, electrical or carpentry repair.
    Cut out cable television, internet only and have an antenna, plenty of free channels and access to entertainment and news.
    Planting a “farm” this year. Berry pattches, tomatoes, onions, peppers, kale, etc. will be doing a lot of canning this year.
    Invest in a good set of hair clippers, hair shears, capes, hair clips and take care of them. I sharpen the hair shears to keep them sharp at home. I do the children’s and my wife’s haircuts. Saves us hundreds each year. My mother-in-law was so pleased with my wife’s hair, she asked if would cut hers as well. My wife’s best friend got a really bad salon haircut I was asked to fix, and now she stops by to get hers trimmed. Doesn’t save me any money, but my wife likes me doing it for them and says it is fine, I get plenty of practice, so I will always give her a great haircut.
    Crock pot is awesome, saves time as I set it up, turn it on and can get chores and projects done, while it does the cooking. Betwwen the meat, vegetables, herbs and spices, always a tasty meal.
    Freezer saves me money as well, put a couple deer in the freezer and we are eating a lot of free range, antibiotic free, high quality meat.
    No bottled water, carry multiple stainless steel water canteens filled from the well water at home, free and no plastic taste or waste.

  10. My clippers have saved me a small fortune over the years. I have been clipping MrH hair for approx 20 years, I also used them on DS right up until he joined the Navy and he bought his own :o)

  11. Washing machine balls save a fortune, similar to the eco egg, got mine from betterware. Cost 3 years ago was £12 each. No need to buy washing machine powder or gel. They are going strong prob last another 3 years if not more crystals inside have not decreased in size. Washing sparkly clean.
    Wan,t to try the eco dishwasher tabs next.

      • They definately work!. I was dubious too. Was a vegan save the planet ex lodger who introduced me to them. At first i thought na they are just a gimmic but they work, would not go back to soap powder. Admit still use fabric conditioner more for the smell, thinking of trying essential oil in vinegar aparently leaves everything so soft n fresh. No vinagary smell next thing after eco dishwasher tabs.

  12. I’d add a basic sewing kit to that list. It doesn’t have t be anything fancy, but the number of times I’ve had to sew buttons back on or make small repairs!
    I’ve sewn up seams and trims on the kids coats which enabled me to pass them down to 3 younger brothers, and even sewed the strap back on my favourite (only!!) pair of sandals!
    I have never known how to use a sewing machine, but once hand made 3 sets of curtains with blackout lining for the kids rooms, from scratch, with my trusty needle and thread! 😀

  13. My hairdressing scissors cost £1 in the pound shop a while ago. Himself used to use clippers on his hair but stopped coz he thought it made him look like his Dad!
    I’ve never thought I needed a bread machine coz I’ve a mixer with a dough hook and an oven! And I don’t buy cookbooks anymore, everything I want to cook is on the internet!
    I think you’ve covered most of the basics. The only thing I’d add is our Vax which we’ve used countless times since we’ve had it! Maybe that’s just personal to us coz of our tendancy to adopt un-housetrained animals but we use it to clean up other marks, stains and spills too!

      • I almost never use my electric oven, and I cook from scratch all the time. It looks a bit like a saucepan with a plug in lid…it makes a sort of mini oven and all the heating comes from an element in the lid and spreads round the metal pan below, so you can bake (the best crispy potatoes!) or stew or braise…. all for very little cost. They’ve been used for decades in, I think, the Czech republic and I’ve had mine for about ten years, used every day. Not the most glamorous bit of kit, but small enough to keep permanently on the counter top.Invaluable for caravans etc. Quite expensive initially, but pay for themselves over and over. if all my electrical goods blew up at once (!) this and the kettle would be replaced within the hour….

  14. Clothes washer, if you have the space and plumbing in place! Laundromats are expensive! My son and his wife come over and do their wash every couple of weeks.

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