14 Affordable Life Upgrades You’ll Love Every Single Day

Face it, we spend plenty of money upgrading our houses, cars and appliances. Making affordable life upgrades on smaller every day items is a much more effective way of improving day to day quality of life at a fraction of the cost.

Truth is, we get used to being repeatedly disappointed by products on a daily basis.  That wears on you.   It adds up and we wonder why we’re a bit testy.

Its time to name them and dispatch with them.  The nice thing is you don’t have to break the bank for them and you’ll enjoy using these items every day.

1. Get An Awesome Pillow!

We spend an unbelievable 25 years sleeping over 75 years!  Do you really want to sleep for 25 years on a crappy pillow?  I didn’t think so.  This is one of the affordable upgrades you’ll enjoy most.

The problem is that we’re all different and one pillow does not fit all.  Or does it?  What if you could adjust your pillows loft so it was just right for you?  For instance the Coop Home Goods Premium Adjustable Loft Pillow  is fully adjustable and gets rave reviews on Amazon. Here’s a quick explanation of how it works:

Price Check the Coop Home Goods Premium Ajustable Loft Pillow

2.  Decent Clothes Hangers

Flimsy plastic and wire hangers are the bane of my existence.  You know the ones. The moment you put a sweater on them they droop and fold until it slips off.  Arrgh!!  Enough already.

Pull them all out…every single one!  Now get a full set of IKEA Hangers. Their good quality, will last forever and you’ll sigh with satisfaction every time you see your neatly organized closet with matching hangers. Price Check IKEA Hangers On Amazon


3. Nape & Vogt Under-Sink Dishcloth Rack

That pesky wet dishcloth and tea towel need a new home…and a less visible one.   Stop draping the dish cloth over your faucet and your dish towels on the oven door!  Stash them instead with this heavy duty stainless steel drying rack that slides away nice and snug under the sink without using up valuable space.  Brilliant! Just like that your kitchen will look cleaner. Affordable life upgrades aren’t rocket science.  They’re practical!   Price Check the Nape & Vogt Heavey Duty Towel Bar


4. A Decent Pair of Kitchen Scissors

Among the most disappointing instruments in kitchens are the junky scissors in the drawer.  Be done with it forever with these beautiful legacy scissors that will outlast you.

The Turton scissor has been hand made in the UK since the early 1900’s by Earnest Wright and Son’s.  I think you can see why. They’re so pretty I’m not sure they should even be relegated to drawer.  At 7″ long, they feature a serrated blade, including a twist cap and bottle opener integrated into the handles.

Turton Traditional 7″ Kitchen Scissors by Ernest Wright and Sons

5. Longer Cell Phone Charging Cable

Its the end of the day.  You flop in bed to relax and catch upon the news.  Of course by now your smartphone battery is low. Why in the world cell phones come with a 3 foot cable I don’t know, but confound them all!

End the tyranny!  Free yourself with a good quality 10 foot charging cable.

My “buy it once” recommendation are Native Union’s Night cables that come with a lifetime warrantee. These things are super tough and capable of fast charging up to 3 amps. They’ll outlast your device and take care of your new ones too.

A handy weighted knot keeps the the cable in place on flat surfaces when not in use. So, no digging behind your night stand to find it every night.

There are three versions depending on your device or tablet.  Choose your weapon:

6. Black Out Curtains

Shift work? God help you. I don’t know how you do it!  Make it a bit easier by getting black out curtains so you can get a decent days sleep when you come off the 12 hour at 7 AM.  Oh and get some earplugs too for good measure. They worked wonders for my sleep during my college days in dorms.

Nicetown’s Blackout Curtains have over 4000 glowing reviews on Amazon.  I’d start there.

Price Check It on Amazon

7. A Broom That’s Actually Enjoyable to Use

Brooms are super annoying…so are dust pans.  Well, most of them at least.  The Casabella Quick N Easy is brilliant for a lot reasons.  Honestly, brooms are so simple, why did it take so long for people to work this out?

Firstly, the Casabella has twice the bristles of the average broom for a more thorough coverage.  Secondly, no bending over with a dustpan.  It comes with a  long handle that clips to the broom for storage.

Thirdly (yes there’s more) the dustpan has little teeth on its back to comb off all those infernal hairs and dust bunnies that cling to the bristles without having to do it by hand!  That’s the selling point for me!  Ughh I hate pulling all that gross stuff off the bristles.

You can also remove the handles on the dustpan and broom for tighter spots.

Price check it on Amazon

8. Go With Artificial Plants

Who’s going to water your plants when your gone for vacation? What about the dirt and water thing when your little 2 year old nephew comes over? Exam week comes and goes and you find one of your plants dead.  Plant slayer!

Forget it!  Enjoy all the beauty plants afford, but ditch the work. Its a brilliant affordable life upgrade  Now I realize that some of you plant hobbyists.  That’s fine.  Just ignore me on this one. For many of us, though, plants are a more of a chore.  We like their looks, but not the feeding, watering, light/dark ratios…blah blah blah.

Artificial plants have come a long way and they look spectacular. Amazon has an amazing selection of artificial plants

9. A Curved Curtain Rod

Get some serious elbow room in your shower.  A curved shower curtain gives you way more space. Your elbows won’t stick to the curtain when you’re washing your hair and the curtain won’t magically creep in and stick to your shins either.    It doesn’t cost much and you can install it yourself- no prob.

Check out this Zenna Home Curved Shower rod.  It comes in three finishes: Brushed Nickel, Chrome and Bronze.  It fits most baths(45″-72″) and features a double bar that’s super handy  to have your towel close by.  The Curtain rod also comes with a lifetime no-rust guarantee.  I like!  For Sub $50 this is one of the best affordable life upgrades.

Price Check it Here

10. Hand Held Shower Head

So useful!  A fixed shower head, on the other hand, requires acrobatic contortions for rinsing and what not.  If you go to a handheld you’ll never go back. This is my favourite affordable life upgrade.

Wash your dog, rinse the shampoo out of your kids hair without stinging their eyes.  Clean and rinse the shower or tub in no time.

Just get one, you’ll thank yourself every day for the wisdom of it.  There are all kinds of hand-held shower heads. To each their own. 

A good place to start might be the Vida Alegria H5.  Over 700 amazon reviewers adore it.  It comes with lots of modes(It may even massage you and blow bubbles..who knows: ). 

What makes it great in my mind is its durable build quality including a steel hose (most are just plastic) and a 3 year unconditional warrantee. If you have low water pressure(or you just like to be buffalo washed) you can remove a flow restrictor for upgraded performance.  Price Check It.

11. A Good Quality No-Slam Toilet Seat

While we’re on the subject of washrooms, consider getting a good quality no-slam toilet seat.  If you’ve got guys in the house, this one is no brainer.

Just don’t get too spoiled.  You may forget and slam some one else’s toilet seat by accident when you’re a guest.(slightly embarrassing)

The Bath Royale Elongated Toilet Seat is the Mercedes Benz of backside comfort and convenience.  Its got a super durable build and quick release buttons to lift and clean under the hinges which is hard to do with most toilet seats.

There are a few things we can count on every day, eating, sleeping and…well you know.  Since we’re all so acquainted with the porcelain thrown.  We may as well make it comfortable and convenient too.  Price Check it On Amazon

12 A Great Chef’s Knife

Contrary to popular opinion, a top quality Chef’s knife does not have to cost over $100.  Swiss knife maker Victorinox (Swiss Army Knives) makes an 8″ chef knife that has no business being under the $50 price point.  It outperforms plenty of knives twice its price.

The Victorinox 8″ has become the darling of Buy It For Lifers and is consistently reviewed very highly by knife experts. You can get better, but the price spikes.  A chef’s knife is the most used knife in a kitchen.  You eat everyday don’t you?  It makes sense to put a good tool in your hand. Price Check it Here


13. A “Buy It Once” Can Opener

Enough with the crappy can openers right?  Is there such thing as a Buy It

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Once can opener?  They’re rare, but yes.  This can opener will permanently end your can opening nightmares.  Fortunatley this is the most affordable life upgrade on the list.

The EZ DUZ IT is an American made, classic can opener.  Statistics indicate that kitchen cussing dropped by 73% in America after this marvellous device hit the market.  Ok, that’s a lie… but maybe.

Be careful with cheap knock-offs that look identical.  Solve your can opener problems for under $15?  Yup! It’s one of the mose affordable upgrades you can make.  Buy It Here.



14. Get a Few Smart LED Light Bulbs

I’ve just settled into bed and my wife asks, “Hun, did you shut off the light downstairs?”  I never new how great smart bulvs were until I was given a starter set Phillips Hue light bulbs for Christmas.  Since then I haven’t had to get out of bed to shut off the downstairs light at all.  I program a few of the bulbs to turn on as we drive in the driveway at night too.

No more tripping on toys in the dark as i carry my with sleeping kids from the car to their beds.(bonus)

Set them to turn on and off at random times when you’re on vacation.  Dim them like nightlights for nightshift with sick kids.  At Christmas change the colours to green(if you get the colour bulbs). Set an alarm and your bedside lamp can slowly wake you up as it brightens.

Warm up the ambience in your living room with a sunset hue.  The colours are fun to play with, but really their more of gimmick.  All you need are the standard white bulbs.  It’s the functionality that’s the selling point. 

Hue Basic Starter Kit

Phillips Hue is the leading smart light manufacturer and are currently dominating the market. The main reason is that they are fully integrated with Apple, Google and Amazon.

You can control them via the Hue app(Iphone or Android) or voice command through Google Assistant, Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa.  “Hey Google, turn down the my bedside lamp.” Done.

Starting off, just go with an entry level starter pack which includes 2 white bulbs and the hub.  You have to have the hub, but you can always expand the system later by adding bulbs.  Its well worth the investment.

You can Price check it here

Bonus:  Darn Good Windshield Wipers

Decent Tires, good headlights and excellent having windshield wipers will save your life on darkrainy nights.  Stop putting up with those your infuriating wipers that streak, and skip.  The reason why you don’t find these wipers in most auto parts stores is because they make more money selling inferior wipers that you need to replace yearly.

PIAA silicon wipers will last at least twice as long and if you clean them regularly they could last for 5 years or more!  Auto Parts dealers will hate me for telling you this, but its true.  The reason is that these wipers use a patented silicon instead of the standard rubber that everyone else uses.

So kick your junky wipers to the curb and grab a set of the PIAA silicon wipers.  There the most durable wipers on the market.

Price Check PIAA Super Silicon wipers on Amazon.

Check out more affordable life upgrades and gift ideas under $50 


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Don Longworth

Don was born and raised in sub-saharan Africa. Now based in Canada, his extensive experience in non-profit work has served him well over multiple deployments in Africa. Don's experiences have made him a practical "to-the-point" type person. He is a no-frills, low-key guy who appreciates quality and simplicity.

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