While those Chanel earrings or that dapper suit might make you look like the wealthy man or woman about town, the reality is that they’re actually making you poorer, as do most non-investment purchases. There’s nothing like an empty Prada wallet or tottering home from the MRT station in your Louboutins.
But there’s an exception—if a purchase ends up saving you money that you would otherwise have been spent, over time it can end up paying for itself—and even saving you money.
Here are three purchases that can realistically save you quite a bit of money, provided you don’t break it after one day or buy the “luxury” Swarovski-crystal encrusted edition.
1. Moka pot
If you’re pretty much a slave to coffee and rely on it to get you through the morning without accidentally getting yourself killed, but Nescafé makes you want to puke, brewing your own coffee at home might be the answer.
But espresso machines or coffee makers can set you back hundreds of dollars, meaning you’ll have to make a helluva lot of coffee before you start saving money.
The frugal man’s answer is the moka pot, the Italian way to brew a good cup of coffee at home. Although the coffee that moka pots produce isn’t strictly speaking espresso due to a technicality, it’s pretty damn satisfying. And they’re about as easy to use as preparing a bowl of cup noodles, unlike the French Press which you need to be a wizard to master.
There’s a reason virtually every family in Italy owns a moka pot despite the recession and unemployment—it’s relatively inexpensive. You can get one for less than $50 on Qoo10 or Amazon if you get free shipping through Amazon GlobalSaver. An electric moka costs under $100 if you don’t have a proper stove, and you can even bring it to work.
A good non-electric moka can last for years or even decades so long as you don’t ruin it through improper use. They’re uncomplicated devices unlike modern espresso machines, so you’re unlikely to run into technical issues or breakdowns.
2. Water saving shower head
If your water bill makes you balk every month, it’s probably time to replace your existing showerhead with a water-saving one.
This contraption basically makes you shower spew out less water while increasing the water pressure. In fact, some people report that the water pressure becomes much stronger than before, producing a spa-like effect. We all know how annoying it is when water trickles weakly out of the showerhead. Well, kiss those problems goodbye.
While one of these showerheads will probably cost you $100+, you can save more than $100 worth of water in a year, meaning the purchase will pay for itself in that timeframe.
You save more money if you everyone in your household uses the same shower, since you’ll only have to buy one in order to enjoy maximum savings.
3. Collapsible water bottle
If you find yourself sweating your brains out and having to stop at 7-11 to buy a bottle of water every time you’re out in the blistering Singapore heat, you need to start carrying your own water around instead of paying for a product with some of the most marked up retail prices ever, at 10,000 times the price of tap water.
Virtually everyone has a portable water bottle of some sort at home, but there’s a good reason they don’t carry it around everywhere. Sometimes you just don’t have a bag with you, other times you’re carrying one of those little purses or clutch bags that can contain little more than a packet of tissues.
With a collapsible water bottle, you can simply fold it like a sheet of paper when it’s empty and then stick it in your pocket or slip it into a clutch bag. If you’re on the go, you can just fold up the water bottle until you have access to a tap or a water cooler. Their teeny tiny size once folded means you can even take them into clubs with you (done that).
My first Vapur bottle, a gift I received in 2011, lasted two long years and started leaking only because I used to pour very hot water directly into it. If I hadn’t done that it would probably still be alive today.
One of these doesn’t cost much. You can pay a few dollars for one at a pushcart or $20 for one from Vapur.
Have you made any purchases that ended up saving you money? Tell us about them in the comments!