8 Problems You Can Solve With $20

They say a dollar doesn't buy you all that much these days. But how about $20? Other than grabbing a bite to eat, what else can you do with it that solves a problem? Fill up your tank with gas (most of the way)? Buy some new underwear? Sure, but you can actually solve a lot more problems that are costing you time and money with just 20 bucks. Here are eight you probably haven’t thought of.

1. Get rid of garden pests using ladybugs

There are a lot of unusual items for sale on Amazon these days. But did you know for around $15, including shipping, you can have over 1500 live ladybugs delivered to your home? And not only that, you'll also get some nectar to feed them. Ladybugs are a great friend to the gardener, and when released at sundown, they will eat aphids, mealybugs, scale, leaf hoppers, and other pests.

2. Look smart anywhere you go with a travel steamer

If you travel frequently, you know the disheveled state in which your clothes often arrive. No matter how carefully you pack, even if you roll your shirts, you're going to have items that look wrinkly. If you're staying at a hotel, you can break out the iron and ironing board, but that's a long and arduous task for a suitcase full of laundry. Instead, spend $15 on a mini travel steamer. It fits nicely in any suitcase, is lightweight, and takes the wrinkles out of clothes in a third of the time that an iron can do the job.

3. Cut energy bills using foam weatherstrips

Drafts. They have this nasty habit of finding you wherever you happen to be in the house. You get comfortable on the sofa, and then you feel one. More than just being annoying or uncomfortable, drafts also cost you a lot of money. Proper sealing and insulating can save you hundreds per year on energy bills. So, do yourself a favor and pick up some weatherstripping. Amazon sells 60-foot packs of the stuff for under $4. You could buy enough to seal every window and door draft in the house, and still have a little left over. (See also: Shrink Your Utility Bill by Plugging These Surprising Home Energy Leaks)

4. Stop wasting money on batteries and buy a charger

Perhaps one of the most irritating drains on the family budget is the number of batteries we buy and throw away throughout the year. Batteries aren't cheap, and they never seem to last as long as we think they will. But that's a problem you can remedy with rechargeable batteries and a battery charger. They range in price depending on how many batteries you need to charge at once, and the brand you choose. For under $20, you can pick up a charger with four AA batteries included. Each battery can be recharged up to 1,500 times. Yes, that will add a little more onto your home energy bill, but it's a fraction of the price of a pack of batteries. You won't even notice it.

5. Get organized with a label maker

Junk drawers. Metal tins. Jars. Shelves. You name it, every house has a bunch of stuff that is disorganized in some way. And while we have every intention of sorting it out, we never seem to find the time. Well, a good label maker can really help, and they're under $20. Use one to label those boxes and cans that you're always rifling through. Add labels to drawers in the kitchen and garage. Add expiration dates to food you bag up and put in the freezer, or store in the fridge. Once you have a label maker, you find so many useful ways to utilize it.

6. Drink safe water anywhere with a LifeStraw

Whether you're a hard-core survivalist, enjoy camping and off-roading, or are planning a backpacking excursion, you will always need access to clean, safe drinking water. In the past, you have had to rely on kits that allow you to safely turn found water into drinking water. The LifeStraw is different. You can literally drink straight from the nearest puddle, stream, or lake, with no fear of contamination. This is essential for any traveler, camper, or first aid kit.

7. Find smelly pet stains with a urine detector

If you have pets, or live in a home that used to have them, there is probably some urine that has seeped into floors and walls. It may also be on the furniture. Chances are, these are small stains, not easily seen by the naked eye, but they cause odors. Now, you can find them and eliminate them by using a urine detector. This gadget uses ultraviolet light to illuminate the dry urine, so you don't have to get on your hands and knees to find it. In fact, it's really hard to see if it's years old. These detectors are under $20, cheap enough that you may be able to also pick up a bottle of stain remover without going over your $20 budget.

8. Eat in the car with a steering wheel tray

Most of us have, at some point, had to eat a meal in the car. Sometimes it's a necessity, like when we have to stop off for a quick bite on a long journey. Other times, we're getting out of the office for a break, or just want a little alone time to eat and listen to a few tunes.

Regardless, it can be a messy affair. How many times have you spilled food down your shirt, or tried to rest a plastic takeout plate on your knee with limited success? Well, the steering wheel tray solves that problem. It attaches to your wheel (you can't be driving while you're eating, of course) and gives you a great temporary table, complete with a drink holder. It can also be used to hold a laptop, tablet, or phone. And it's well under your $20 limit.

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