What’s Your Favorite Thing That Costs Under $50?

I bookmarked this tweet the other day because I was enjoying the responses so much. A woman I follow named Caissie St.Onge asked people what products give them a cheap thrill. Her exact words:

“I’ve been going on about the Revlon One Step & Trader Joe’s Baked Lemon Ricotta because I want to share the joy! I want to know what gives you a cheap thrill. What’s your fave thing that cost under $50. (Don’t say family/friendship/nature. We’re talking material goods, here!)”

The comments are a full-on treasure trove! So many interesting recommendations. Most are in the food and skincare/beauty categories, with other random and fun items mixed in (including a surprising number of socks!). Here are three products I noted:

-Alvin Glass Inkwell Sharpener, $12. Suggested by Maggie Mason.

-Korean Skincare Toner, $40. Suggested by Eden Dranger — she says the toner is magic.

-Coty Airspun Loose Powder, $6. Suggested by Alice Anderson who is a poet.

Fun right? And there are so many responses, so I’m sure I haven’t even seen a lot of the recommendations. Of course, the tweet made me super curious. What would you add to this list? A few of mine are:

-This fabric shaver for lint and pills (it’s rechargeable!), $25. I find de-fuzzing a sweater, while watching a show or listening to an audiobook a deeply satisfying activity.

-Simple Flour Sack Towels with Colored Trim, $8 for 3. These are a really handsome basic.

-Honest Beauty Mascara, $13. Safe ingredients, cruelty-free, rave reviews, and a great price.

Now it’s your turn. I want to hear your recommendations! And I should note: Caissie mentioned a limit of $50, but many (most?) of the products mentioned are under $20. Can’t wait to read your picks!

92 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Thing That Costs Under $50?”

      1. That’s also my husband’s favorite morning tea. He buys it by the case and has it delivered to our rural NorCal home.

  1. I’ve often been surprised by how much a very inexpensive household item can perk up my space. Two examples: a colorful fabric case for my glasses–it’s on my dresser or my bedside table all the time, so I might as well have something pretty; and cloth table napkins in decorative fabrics.

    On a related note, I set myself a challenge in September of “Can I redecorate my living room for $300 or less?” and it was so much fun! I got a favorite map professionally framed and bought a new floor lamp, two new throw pillows, and a miniature orchid for the mantel. A cheap and easy lift for a space I’ve lived in for a long time.

    1. So true! If you’re going to bring it in the house, and use it/see it frequently, might as well make it beautiful!

      And congrats on the living room redo. I love a self-challenge like that!

  2. I love that list! I have done favorite things parties where everyone brings 3 of a favorite item $20 or under. The we draw numbers and each take turns picking an item. So you get to try 3 new things but see everyone’s favorites!

      1. A coworker brought an item to our office White Elephant that she’d received at a “Favorite Things” party this year. I absolutely loved the idea of the party!

        What cracked me up was that the “favorite thing” she received from someone else was the very odd, kind of ugly stuffed mouse/door-stopper thing? I think whoever brought that missed the memo, and had just found something at a craft show she’d been at right before the party. Made me laugh.

        1. PREACH IT AMY!

          Seriously. I gifted one of these to every woman I know for Christmas because it is that wonderful.

          You can get similar at Ulta and Amazon

  3. I like to make my own laundry soap. I think I spend less than $20 on all the items. I believe it saves me money, but even if it didn’t, then I would keep making it because it smells so good and I like knowing what it is made from!

    Here is a link to a simple recipe that I follow.

    1. In the instructions, it says it works in a front loading HE washer. Do you know if it will work in a top loading HE washer?

      1. Robin, in *my* experience it has worked just fine in HE top loader -with the exception of ZOTE** bars, for whatever reason I had horrid results with ZOTE while others I know love it. All in all the temptation is to use more than suggested because we’re all used to using that capful or whatever from commercial products, stick with the suggested amount and you should be fine.

        **ZOTE didn’t seem to melt for me and turned into very sticky gummy blobs, which wasn’t fun. I usually use Fels Naptha or Ivory.

      1. I love it on avocado toast (rice cake) with a little nutritional yeast and Sriracha. A perfect last minute lunch idea.

      2. We have multiple jars so our littles can sprinkle it on their veggies. They eat mostly anything with everything “sprinkles” on it :)

  4. I like to buy multiples of the $6.99 orchids at Trader Joe’s and arrange them together in a large basket. With these rules, seven would make a glorious arrangement. It’s so impressive looking and last for several months.

    Nars Afterglow Lip Balm is just luxury for the lips. Even the rose gold metallic case makes me feels indulgently feminine. The shade: ‘Orgasm’. Need I say more?

  5. Fresh Flowers from Trader Joe’s. I try to buy every week.

    Harem Jumpsuit for Women” on Amazon (the kid with spaghetti straps. These are always made by someone different but I think they are the perfect thing to put on after the shower, while I get ready, do my hair, etc. Also, sometimes when I’ve had a day, I sleep in one and say ‘It’s a onesie kind of night.‘ Haha

    An essential oil diffuser. I use mine every single day. Usually peppermint and eucalyptus.

  6. For a number of years, I hosted a favorite things party for 12 of my girlfriends. One year, the theme was “naughty or nice.” Everyone brought something fun for the bedroom! French ticklers, lotions, adventurous undergarments were some of the treasured items. Every item is under $10 since we each give away 12 of them.

    Other personal under $50 favorites:
    AlkaBath mineral salts by Dr Jentschura. Absolutely the best bath salts out there. Alkaline salts can truly make you feel well!

    Revlon cuticle cutters.

    A good CBD cream for any type of body pain or soreness.

      1. Charlottes Web is one of the most well-researched brands out there. Started from some parents who were trying to help their daughter with seizures. I like their products, they have a great selection and sell them at Pharmaca.

      1. Yes! And not so pricey that losing it would be the end of the world, though I haven’t lost mine in over a year of daily use. My kids are 8,6,3 so I still need an ear on them while doing dishes and laundry (which seems like 90% of the time)!

    1. This is genius! I always only wear 1 ear bud for the same reason (little kids) but now that they are wireless and have to pair together, I have to carry the other around within range!

  7. My bookclub has a “favorite things” gift exchange every year and it’s always so hilarious to see how much of our favorite things are coming from Trader Joe’s. Ha! This year I brought Trader Joe’s Lemongrass Body Oil (so good!), Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Mint Coins Cookies (taste exactly like Thin Mints), and a jar of homemade pickled onions (recipe from Sprouted Kitchen).
    I received a bar of Indigo Wild soap, a bag of locally roasted coffee, and chewable Rolaids (from the pregnant lady in the group. Haha!)
    Can’t wait to check out that Twitter thread.

  8. This is more than $50 annually, but I love my Scribd membership. It’s sort of like Netflix for audiobooks. You don’t get to keep them like Audible, but it’s only $9/month and I can listen to as many books as I want!

      1. Wee!! I love that! I never really go back and listen to old Audible books, but I often wish I could listen to more than one or two a month. Can’t wait to check it out!

  9. Oh, I am so ready for this! Years ago, when I was first living alone post-college, I bought a dual shower head from the nearby hardware store. It was no more than $40, and included a “fixed” shower head and a second head mounted on a movable hose. It’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made, and I’ve taken it to every place I’ve lived in since. It somehow improves the water pressure (!) by making the water stream feel more full, it’s great for sharing the shower so each person can have their own water source, and it makes bathing my pup so much easier. Can’t recommend enough!

    Something similar here.

  10. Blistex Lip Medex. Been using this for over 20 years. Only thing that keeps my lips from drying out, especially in the winter. Under $2, too!

    Trader Joe’s Spatchcocked Lemon and Rosemary Chicken. This brined chicken is super easy to make (just pop in the oven for about an hour), but is company worthy. My family loves it and requests it every time I go to TJs.

    Trader Joe’s chocolate hummus. Almost guilt free way to get my chocolate fix!

    1. Stephanie K Swain

      Yes. The TJ’s chicken makes an appearance almost every week in our house. I buy 4 or 5 at a time and freeze them so that we always have one. So easy. And it somehow stays moist for leftovers. (ugh, moist)

  11. These are the warmest, softest sweatpants. They are so amazingly plush that we all refer to them as the “teddy bear” pants. They are called velour in the title but they are more of a low pile sherpa. An added plus is that it’s fuzzy inside and out. We love them so much that we bought them for everyone we know for Christmas two years ago and they still look like new. ($15)

  12. Oops, I didn’t finish my post before I submitted! Some more favorite things from my home state of MI that have been around since the start of the 20th century:

    Stormy Kromer Hats: iconic ear flap hats that come in many sizes!

    Pewabic pottery: beautiful architectural ceramic tiles and pottery in classic designs. My house number tiles are perfect for my Craftsman style home.

  13. Fun!
    My cheap thrills:

    Weleda Skin Food–Under $15 and the BEST moisturizer for winter! I use it on my hands but also on my face in the areas I want to super hydrate and/or highlight.

    Trader Joes dark chocolate almond butter cups. The absolute best!

    My New York Times Sunday paper subscription. I am excited to dig in to it every Sunday morning and I slowly enjoy it all day. Plus, I enjoy the magazine and special sections all week long. So many hours of enjoyment from one newspaper!

    1. I use that moisturizer on my face in the winter too (I live in CO where it’s super dry), and it’s been life changing for my skin. And it smells so good!

  14. TOTALLY agree with the Sunday NYT subscription. Such a gift to myself, every single week. Love it.

    Also – I have used Philosophy’s Supernatural for DECADES to make my skin look flawless. But I think it’s recently been discontinued? (WHY do great things get discontinued??) You can still grab some online in some spots, but I’ve had no luck with Amazon lately. Here’s a link that might work.

      1. I remember you posted an article awhile ago about people who choose doomed products. That is me. :) OPI’s Sonora Sunset was my favorite polish of the early 2000s – a kinder, gentler red. I could go on and on. :)

        1. That is me too!! In my family it is a long-standing joke that I doom great product to extinction ;( Sad. But also kind of hilarious

  15. palo Santo sticks– I burn them constantly, but especially when I wake up, come home from work, or am about to host people in our home. the smell is rich and earthy and it’s the first thing people ask about when they walk in. I actually keep a stash just to hand out to friends :-)

    You can get them online but I just pick them up at Whole Foods for $7 per pack.

    1. Oops…didn’t finish:

      These everyday drinking glasses from Crate and Barrel: I just find them so satisfyingly chunky (and they’re sturdy enough that my wiggly first-grader doesn’t knock them over at meals).

      And this hand cream; I am not a big scent person, but this kind of powdery/vanilla-y/oatmeal-y smell is delicious.

  16. Tea from Phoenix Pearl Tea (in Red Lodge, MT but they also ship). They have the most amazing selection of teas and all have fascinating names like “Bootlegger Black” or “Dreams of Eurbus” or “King in the North.” Loose leaf tea was such a revelation to me.

  17. This post is SO dangerous! I ordered things twice before I got to the end!! Two things I’ve been loving recently are these watchbands for my Apple watch:

    Way cheaper than the Apple branded straps but still really good quality and lots of fun colors!

    I also bought some Method mens body wash for my husband but totally swiped it for myself. It’s Bergamot + Lime…smells SO good!

  18. I found this facial cleanser at Whole Foods and now get it from Amazon: TRILOGY Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm for $31 feels like an expensive facial and is super luxurious for half the cost of the popular branded ones. A tiny bit goes a long way and the tub lasts me forever. It even comes with a washcloth!

    The other one I swear by is an amazing glycerin based hand cream (the only great thing to come out of an ex-BF! Ha!) called Glysomed. The three pack on Amazon is $24 comes with two big tubes and one travel sized. It is a total lifesaver in winter!

  19. Not a physical product but my husband and I have been using this new service called jupiter.co They’ve fully taken over our grocery shopping. They determine what I need and stock the products in my fridge and pantry. Saves us a ton of time and stress :) We want to spend our weekends hiking and doing road trips. We are one step closer!

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