10 Refillable Things That Will Save You Cash
Instead of buying container after container for commonly used items, buy one and use it over and over again by refilling it. Here are 10 refillable items that can save you money.
1. Water Bottles
This is a no brainer. Bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment. Stop picking up a new bottle at the convenience store every time you’re thirsty, and start packing a refillable bottle in your bag or leave one in your car. If you can’t decide which water bottle is best for you, perhaps my post on eco-friendly water bottles will help. (See also: 25 Things to Do With Reusable Water Bottles)
OK, so you may not use a lighter on a regular basis — unless you’re a smoker — but it’s still cost efficient to buy a refillable lighter instead of a disposable one, even if you’re just keeping them around the house for emergencies. Bic makes refillable lighters, but I personally recommend Zippos because of the cap that keeps the wick dry and protected. Zippos are also much easier to light, and the flame is easier to maintain than plastic lighter, too.
After years of stocking my guest bedroom with disposable K-Cups, I finally broke down and bought two refillable K-Cups from Groupon recently. I paid $16 for the pair, and I picked up a pound of coffee at Home Goods for $6. Those initial investments alone saved me about $10 off the price I would normally pay for a box of 48 disposable K-Cups. I expect that a pound of coffee will produce a similar amount of single cups of coffee. Next time I’ll save even more money because I’ll only have to buy the $6 coffee.
4. Printer Cartridges
Anyone with a home office knows that one of the most expensive items to keep it up and running is printer ink. The cartridges I use cost about $35 brand new for the black and colored ink bundle. Instead of buying them new every time, however, I have them refilled for about $13 each. Each time I have them refilled, I save about $9 — and then I treat myself to lunch for being such a wise guy.
Ink pens aren’t terribly expensive individually, but if you’re constantly buying new pens, the cost can add up. A pack of 12 disposable pens can run anywhere from $4 to $20, while refillable pens cost in the area of $28. A two-pack of refills for the latter is between $2 and $4. If you use a lot of ink, it’s a wiser investment (for your wallet and the planet) to pick up the refillable kind. Or you just do what I do, and get your pens for free by taking them from wherever they’re handing them out.
6. Mechanical Pencils
Does anyone use pencils anymore? I suppose kids do, but I haven’t picked up a pencil in years. A pack of 12 store-brand disposable pencils from Office Depot cost $1.49, while a Paper Mate Mega Lead mechanical pencil costs $3.24 and comes with 12 lead refills. Separately, the refills are only $2.29 for a pack of 36 leads. The numbers speak for themselves.
7. Soap Dispenser
Instead of buying a new, pre-filled soap dispenser from Target every time the ones in my bathroom or kitchen run out (which is often — I wash my hands A LOT), I buy a single dispenser and purchase a gallon jug of hand soap at BJ’s that I use to fill the dispensers when they’re empty. One jug lasts me for the better part of a year.
I learned a new trick recently while researching information for another article — when you ask your doctor for a prescription, have him prescribe pills that contain double the dose of your medication. The prescription will cost the same as the single dose pills (or close to it), but when you get home you can split the pills in half so they last twice as long. Fewer trips to the pharmacy and more money in my pocket is music to my ears.
9. Travel Mugs
If you’re a Starbucks junky without a travel mug, your carbon footprint is through the roof. So. Many. Wasted. Cups. Tread a little lighter with a reusable, refillable travel mug. KeepCups are my favorite. Plus, to make each day even brighter, Starbucks will discount your morning Joe for doing your part to save the planet. Win-win.
10. Gift Cards
Nobody is refilling their own gift cards — when mine is empty, I simply recycle the plastic — but refillable gift cards are a great idea for parents. Parents can give their kids the cards — for iTunes, their favorite clothing store, or the local cinema — in lieu of cash or credit cards. Refillable gift cards can also be used as a rewards or incentive program at home; when the kid does something helpful, you can surprise him or her with a deposit on the card.
Do you have other refillable items to suggest that will help us save money? Let me know in the comments below.