6 Home Essentials to Invest In and How to Get Them Cheaper

Budgeting, Finances, How To Save Money, Lookin' Good, Shopping Tips

Being frugal doesn't mean buying everything on the cheap! Sometimes, the most brilliant move is to spend a little more. Today, we're revealing six home essentials that are worth the investment and sharing tips that will help you save money when you buy them!

Roomba vacuum on living room floor, from Fun Cheap or Free

Okay. Time for some real talk. We're cheap, but we're NOT cheapskates (yes, there is a difference!). While “cheapskates” will focus only on bottom-line cost, being “cheap” means finding a way to get a valuable item you want and need without having to pay full price.

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Some things are worth paying extra for because they not only work better, but they last longer and SAVE you money in the long run! So today, we're sharing some of our favorite “investments” with you, along with tips and hacks that will help you get them for cheaper. Save up, add these items to your Christmas list, just do what you have to do! Remember to use the 3-month budgeting rule and you'll be good to go. However you make it work, here are some of our favorite home essentials “investments” that we think are worth the splurge.


woman vacuuming floor, from Fun Cheap or Free

So, here's the thing. We once “invested” in a $160 vacuum that literally broke in less than a year. #LessonLearned

Do the math. You have two options: spend $160 on a new vacuum every year or spend a little more on a vacuum that will work SO much better and last. No brainer, right?! Here are a few options worth considering:

  • Dyson – If you have pets, get yourself a Dyson! We get it. The $500(ish) price tag feels like a tough pill to swallow, but remember what we said about those bargain vacuums? We LOVE this Dyson Ball Animal Upright. It's the best at picking up all the pet hair. (We've got plenty of experience with this!)
  • Roomba – Treat yourself, mama! While you're tidying up the kitchen (or reading, or doing something else fun!), set the Roomba free and let it clean for you. Is this a splurge item? Absolutely. Is it worth saving up to buy? We vote “yes!” You can even schedule this bad boy to vacuum while you work or sleep.

Bonus: if you have kids, definitely invest in a car vacuum, too! We got a VOTOR handheld vacuum on Amazon for less than $25. Think of all the money you'll save when you skip those pricey car washes! #WorthIt


Alright, now that you know it's time to pay for a high-quality vacuum, we bet you'd love to save a buck or two. We never pay full price, and these tips have helped us save a ton on vacuum cleaners:

  • Use a Coupon A 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupon can save you a TON on small appliances like a vacuum. Don't have a coupon? Google one! Shopping at a store that price matches? Bring their competitor's coupons.
  • Buy Refurbished Did you know Amazon sells used, refurbished items? Yup! We found a Dyson for $80 off once.
  • Costco You guys know how much we love Costco, right? FYI–they sell Dysons, and sometimes they go on sale, so keep an eye out.
  • Use Rakuten – Shopping online for that vacuum? Don't forget to use Rakuten! You get cash back, which helps recoup some costs.
  • Have Your Vacuum Serviced – Another way to save money on vacuums is to have them serviced. For example, we paid $35 to have our vacuum cleaned and tuned up, and after six years of use, it was working like a brand new vacuum again. So before tossing a vacuum, try to revive it first!

Ready to move on to home essentials item #2?


woman cleaning home with microfiber cloths, from Fun Cheap or Free

Keeping your house clean isn't easy with kids and pets running around, but a home is your most priceless investment of all! So, if you're looking for a few products that will help you keep your home in tip-top shape, these are the four essentials we think are worth the money:

  • E-Cloths – Stop throwing money in the trash! That's literally what you're doing when you clean with paper towels. And truth be told, they don't work nearly as well as E-cloths!
  • Steam Mop – If you have kids, do yourself a favor and invest in a nice steam mop. Ours cost less than $70. Is it more than an old-school shaggy mop? Yep. Does it make our life easier, though? Also yes!
  • Magic Erasers – Don't cheap out and buy the generic version. We learned this the hard way. Magic erasers WORK, and they are worth it! Save yourself the cost of a new paint job.
  • Carpet Sweeper – Using a carpet sweeper is a great solution in between vacuums and deep cleans, but not all carpet sweepers are created equal. Spend the extra $15-$20 to get one that works well. We recommend the Bissell Perfect Sweep.

Want to know how we save money on some of our pricer cleaning supplies? We've got a few tips for you!


  • Subscribe and Save – If you're an Amazon Prime member, bundle your most used items and save up to 15% through Subscribe and Save. You'll save a ton on things like E-cloths or Magic Erasers!
  • Use an Affiliate Code – When your favorite influencers share product recommendations, they often come with discounts, so pay attention! For example, with our code JORDAN, you can save 10% on your E-Cloth purchases. Stack those savings onto one of their discounted bundles to save even more.
  • Target App – If you're stocking up on cleaning supplies at Target, make sure to use their app! You can stack coupons and rack up rewards.

Alright, now that we've covered vacuums and cleaning supplies, let's switch gears for a minute! It's time to talk about keeping your clothing in tip-top shape.


woman using handheld clothing steamer, from Fun Cheap or Free

We bet you've still got the same iron your mom gave you before you left for college. Look, there's nothing wrong with an old-school iron, but once you try a steamer, you'll never want to go back! They're faster, more effective, and easier on your clothes. In our opinion, all signs point to “worth it!” Here are a couple of handheld steamers to consider:

  • PAX Steamer – We love that this PAX steamer heats up in just one minute! It's portable, too, which is convenient for travel.
  • Conair Extreme Steam – This steamer by Conair also kills germs and busts dust on your bedding, so that's a bonus!
  • Heavy-Duty Steamer – This PurSteam is legit! Sure it's a little pricier than the other two, but it's a great staple to have on hand in your laundry room.

Keeping your clothes and linens nice and tidy will help them last so much longer, and that's pretty much money in your pocket! If you're wondering how you can find a handheld steamer for a bit cheaper, we have some tips and tricks to share!


Before you pay full price for that steamer, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use Cash Back Rewards – If you have a rewards credit card like the Amazon Credit Card, you can rack up enough cashback to get a free steamer after just two grocery hauls!
  • Buy Used – Scan the Facebook Marketplace before you put that brand new steamer in your cart!
  • Shop Amazon Warehouse Deals – You'd be surprised what you can find for up to 70% less in the Amazon Warehouse. They have tons of home essentials!

And don't forget to check deal sites like Groupon, too! They offer discounts for top retailers in addition to local steals and deals.


family sitting on new mattress, from Fun Cheap or Free

Alright, if you decide to only splurge on ONE thing for your home, spring for a good mattress! You're going to use it every night, and good sleep is SO important. Saving a few bucks can lead to back problems, poor sleep, and poor health, and in the long run, that will cost you way, WAY more money. Here are two mattresses worth researching:

  • Purple Mattress – You guys. Your back will thank you for buying a Purple Mattress! They're so stinking comfy. It's like sleeping on a cloud!
  • Sleep Number – If you love a firm mattress and your hubby prefers the feel of memory foam, then the Sleep Number bed might be worth it to keep the peace!

Want to score a sweet deal on that new mattress? We have two quick tips!


Okay, before you pay full price for that new bed, check out these pointers:

  • Shop Semi-Annual Sales It pays to learn about sales cycles, you guys! Fun fact: September is often the best month to buy mattresses.
  • Take Advantage of 0% Financing – Many mattress companies, including Purple, will offer 0% interest payment plans. That means you can get the mattress of your dreams on just about any budget without racking up financing fees.

Need a little help saving up for a new mattress? Try a spending freeze!


Beddy's bedding set, from Fun Cheap or Free
Photo from Beddy's | Via Facebook

Okay, you've got a new mattress, now what goes on top?! Sure, you could scoop up a $20 comforter at Target, but is that the best way to go? We think it's worth it to invest in a high-quality bedding set that will LAST. Here are a couple of our favorites:

  • Beddy's – Save yourself SO much time. Just zip up your Beddy's bedding and go about your day. These comforter sets hold up so well, and they come in the cutest patterns.
  • Minky Couture – With the right blankets, you can save a ton on your heating bill! And keeping cozy blankets handy is just one of the most inviting ways to welcome guests. We're obsessed with Minky Couture blankets because they are seriously the softest on the planet! Oh, and they sell super luxurious pillowcases, too.

Want to save a whole bunch on these bedding sets and blankets? Well, lucky for you, we've got some discount codes to share!


Because we love Beddy's and Minky Couture SO much, we worked out some deals for you. Here you go, Freebs:

  • Save 20% on Beddy's – Use code JORDAN for 20% off your favorite Beddy's set. You can feel good about shopping with them because they give back to organizations like Make a Wish!
  • Save 45% on Minky Couture – How can you say no to this deal?! Use code PAGE45 for 45% off! These soft Minky blankets make great gifts, too, so go ahead and stock up.

Alright, drumroll, please….. We've got one more home essentials investment to share. Can you guess what it is?!


dog with muddy paw prints on carpet, from Fun Cheap or Free

Okay, we know we mentioned vacuum cleaners already, but carpet cleaners are in a league of their own! And if you have pets, kids, or both, you should consider investing in one! Why? Well, they help your carpet last so much longer, and they'll save you from spending a ton on commercial carpet cleaning services. And if you're renting, they just might help you get your security deposit back! Here are a few carpet cleaners to consider:

  • Bissell 3624 Spot Clean Professional Portable Carpet Cleaner – This portable carpet cleaner basically pays for itself after skipping one professional cleaning!
  • Rug Doctor – Rug Doctors are the creme de la creme of carpet cleaners. They're one of the priciest options, but they last!
  • Bissell Pet Stain Eraser – If you're looking for a bargain option that's perfect for quick fixes and small spaces, give this portable pet stain eraser a look.

You know what's next, right? Let's talk about a few quick ways to save on carpet cleaners!


Before you buy full-price, keep these tips in mind:

  • Check Zulily – Zulily isn't just for clothes! Keep an eye out for deals on home essentials.
  • Use Wedding Registry Fulfillment Incentives – You can add your carpet cleaner to your wedding registry, and if no one buys it, cash in on the registry discount you get within a few weeks of your big event! We've got all the deets in this post about wedding registries.
  • Search Yard Sales – Scan the yard sale ads for a carpet cleaner, and don't forget to check thrift shops, Nextdoor, and Facebook Marketplace, too!

And again, you can use credit card rewards to score deals on items like carpet cleaners, too. Don't forget to use Rakuten.


Don't worry, we didn't forget about those oh-so-handy kitchen essentials! They're so important that they got a post all on their own. Be sure to check out our list of kitchen essentials you should invest in and how to find them cheaper!

Well, there you have it, Freebs! Those are just a few of the items we think are worth the investment. Sometimes paying a little bit more pays off! Just be sure to stay within your budget when you're shopping.

What's on your home essentials must-haves list? Do you have any tips for saving on those items? Please leave a comment below and let us know!

Image with text that reads "home essentials" from Fun Cheap or Free

Looking for a few more shopping tips and tricks?

Remember, being frugal and cheap are NOT the same thing! Happy shopping (and saving)!


  1. Sarah Johnson

    Have you tried DKNY Be Delicious? I absolutely love it and my husband goes nuts when I wear it.

  2. EKM

    We got a vitamix. The price tag still kills me– i looked into getting a refurb, but doing the math it would only save me $15! For some reason, vitamix direct charges $50 extra for brushed stainless, where no one else does. They also charge one billion dollars in shipping. I couldnt bear getting not the color I wanted, having regret, and eventually ending up selling ours at a loss to get what i wanted. Here is how I saved– i ordered it from bloomingdales (after originally getting it at crate and barrel, i returned it) since bloomingdales is out of state, no sales tax, saving about $45!

    LOVE my dyson dc59 cordless. Watch out though, bed bath and beyond allows you to use a 20% coupon in addition to a dyson manufacturer’s instant rebate when dyson has one, saved us around 40%

  3. Alicia M!

    Ikea also has great and inexpensive cribs. We’ve had the Sundvik ($120) for 2 years and I love it. If I was buying another one from Ikea, I would buy their Stuva crib with drawers.

    • jenny park

      We have had a wooden Ikea crib for two rowdy kiddos and it is heading to a third and works great. It doesn’t have any bells or whistles but is pretty dang sturdy and the price tag was great. For each kid we just clean, lightly sand and then wipe it down with butcher block oil again and wa-la…brand new and ready to go.

      • FunCheapOrFree

        Awesome!! I haven’t tried the Ikea ones, i’ll have to check it out if we ever need a new crib! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  4. Breanna

    I have a dyson animal that my mom gave me (she hated it for some reason) when I moved out. It’s 9 years old and still works like the day she bought it. It’s survived two Labradors and now two German Shepherd/Golden Retriever mixes who shed like crazy. I don’t think I could ever not buy a dyson.

  5. Renee

    I totally agree with all of these but the crib. We are foster parents and so our cribs get a lot of use. We have never paid more than $100 for any crib and they are all still in great shape (minus some teeth marks from some baby chewing). They are just real simple black or white Walmart and Target cribs. Maybe we just got really lucky. 7 kids in less than 2 years have slept in them. 🙂

  6. Paulina

    You really nailed it with this post, I still have to work on purchasing a good blender in the future. One thing I would have added on the list, would be footwear. I don’t have excess footwear, but what I have is expensive, otherwise I feel my ankles and back immediately if I don’t buy good footwear. Also very true about the perfume. I am out of my Giorgio Armani Si, so I bought something cheaper. You don’t even notice your wearing it and about every time I wore my SI I received a compliment. Try that one it really knocks it out of the park. Also for my birthday I received the IRobot Roomba vaccum from my hubby. Best gift and invention ever!!

  7. Breanna

    The absolute best investment I have ever made was dishing out $130 for a steam mop. Most of my whole house is made of hardwood floors ( and I have two very furry cats) so mopping really isn’t an option for me. I used the swiffer for a very long time and don’t get me wrong it works great but each pad only mops one section of many and I realized that I kept having to buy the replacement pads (it adds up$$) so I started looking into a steam mop and they are a little pricey but totally worth it! I went to Sears and found the mop that I wanted. I researched prices and their website actually had it cheaper than everywhere else and in store ($40-$50 cheaper) and I signed up for an email and waited and I got a coupon (10-20% off) I ended up paying about $130 because I got the more expensive one ($200+). But not only do I not have to buy anything special for it (no sprays, no refills, no pads )all I have to do is use water and it kills 99% of germs and bacteria (and it is amazing on my floors) they have different settings are different temperatures for different floor types. Point being that was something that I couldn’t live without and now it makes mopping not as stressful and is not as tiring, I actually kind of enjoy it now. Thanks for all the helpful tips 🙂 I love this blog!!

  8. Jessica

    Ditto on DKNY’s Be Delicious. It smells great and I always get compliments on it. You should check it out.

  9. Jennifer

    Costco has the classic Blendtec $50 off right now, so it’s $250 for a NEW one!

  10. EKM

    I already commented earlier 🙂 but i just thought of something im a huge believer in

    do. not. buy. an entire knife set. Unless you *know* you will use every knife. You can save so much money making small, quality purchases! chances are you wont use and do not need a meat cleaver, boning knife, slicing knife. I totally thought you just had to get a whole set, and was very much intimidated by the 1000+ price tag, until i learned knife sets are rarely a good investment. I once read that the a paring knife, chefs knife, and bread knife (i think most could get by without the latter, but its commonly classified as an essential) is like your steering wheel and tires– you have to have them. Other knives (say a boning knife) are like AC. it makes it easier, but you can get by just fine without it!

    Some sets are exceptions, when you really have a need for every knife (this is typically your 5-6 knife small set). Some are musts (i bought a global brand chef knife + paring knife for the price of the chefs knife. the real price, not inflated– thats what you pay everywhere. so my paring knife was free!

  11. Joiee

    My uncles theory is invest in good shoes and a good bed because you’re usually in one of them!:) I love my Ninja blender I bought at Costco..have been very impressed and love the food processor u can also make dough in! Also good sheets! I got the best Ralph Lauren ones 80% off at Kohls for 40$ they are the best!! My girls are all really hard on their shoes and I found that buying them a good pair ( usually from Nordstrom Rack) is better than buying them a couple of cheap pairs that fall apart. Paint! Its not worth it to buy cheap paint (I love Behr):) We have found that its best to do research before buying anything and be patient for a good deal to come along..

  12. melissa

    Great post Jordan, I will definitely keep these tips in mind when making new purchases!

  13. Downstairs and in Debt

    Try Romance by Ralph Lauren 🙂 it’s my go-to everyday perfume and I have Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel for when I’m feeling fancy schmancy 🙂

  14. julie@frugallyblonde.com

    I recommend buying an quality backpack. We bought a swissgear for my son when he was in the first grade and he still uses it 7 years later. We not only use it for school, but to carry our laptops on trips. I am sure if we would have bought a cheaper backpack it would have never lasted this long.

  15. Allison Bodin

    Great post! I completely agree with the hair straightener! I’ve had a chi since I was 15…. It’s going on 9 years now, and I’ve never had any problems with it at all. I got it for Christmas, and my dad got it through our hair lady so we used a couple of your tips there. 🙂

    I’ve been wanting a nice vacuum, so thanks for giving me an excuse to go for it (with research and discounts, of course)!!

  16. Christy

    Pots and pans. We’ve gone through so many types and brands and found ceramic ones seem to be the best easiest to clean types.

  17. Laura

    Good post, girlie!

    We bought a highly discounted mattress when we first got married. Big mistake. Only 8 years into marriage, and we bit the bullet and bought the nice one we should’ve gotten in the first place. 🙂

  18. Amber

    Totally agree about the Dyson!! I asked my then-fiancee for the animal rollerball (DC41) for Christmas, and he thought I was crazy. 2 1/2 years later with 2 cats and my long, crazy shedding hair, it still works great! My mom even asks me to bring it to her house so she can vacuum with it. 😀
    As for perfume, I love my Dolce & Gabanna Light Blue. Smells like summer, a little citrusy and beachy! Lace is another really good one you can find at Cavenders and similar stores. The best way I can describe it is like a deep, sweet leather. I wore it on my wedding day- brings back such sweet memories.
    Really enjoyed this post! Keep ’em coming!

  19. Lori

    The tricky thing about perfume is it smells different on every person based on their individual body chemistry. A few of my favorites are FlowerBomb by Viktor&Rolf, Victoria’s Secret Bombshell, the CLEAN fragrance line, Jimmy Choo Flash, and Bobbi Brown Beach. Can you tell I like perfume? Haha I highly recommend checking out Sephora, they are really good at finding a scent you’ll like. Since I love fragrance, every once in awhile I’ll find a “retired” bottle in the back of the cabinet that is selling for more on eBay than I paid. Fortunately I store them well, so they last awhile 🙂

  20. Linda

    Never tried a Dyson, but after much research I purchased a Miele canister vacuum. One of the best investments I ever made. I will never switch. I also agree that a steamer mop is a tremendous investment. I’ve had mine for about 6 years and would never be without it either. I also vote for Be Delicious. It’s a wonderful fragrance and it lasts really well.

  21. jenny park

    Totally agree with your 1-4 choices. We bought our Blendtec at Costco and it broke after 2 years of super high green smoothie usage but since it was Costco we were able to get it replaced for a new one which has been dreamy for the last 5 years. Also we have the slim Dyson (pink one) from Costco also when it had a coupon on sale. That way if anything goes kaput with it we are covered. My hubby was also a Cutco sales rep (woop woop). We had two knives when we first got married and have added some as we saved. One time the knife blade just broke off the handle. We mailed it backed (wrapped up well) and for $5+shipping they sent us a brand new one. Also we had a Wustoff knife from good old Bed BAth and Beyond that broke and they also replaced it brand new with our year old receipt. So Where you buy from counts!

    I would make #5 my Bosch because it is super pricey BUT I make bread every week with it (and cookies, buns, rolls, pizza dough, everything with flour you can think of). And it is fabulous! Costco sells them sometimes but also the Bosch Kitchen Store gets deals sometimes. Once my plastic bowl warped in our crappy dishwasher and they replaced it for free. Plus there is 2 year warranty on the cookie paddles if you break one.

    Geesh it sounds like we break everything huh?!?! haha!

    • FunCheapOrFree

      Love the feedback, and I’ve heard Bosch’s are the best! I’m no baker so I haven’t needed one, but maybe someday! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. Anisa

    Way late to the party, but daisy by Marc Jacobs is amazing! Usually runs $90 but overstock had it for $40 on sale.

  23. Melanie

    We got a deal on a Dyson at Costco and would never buy one again or recommend it to anyone else. It’s the highest maintenance vacuum I’ve ever had in my life. We have to completely take it apart (tiny parts with tiny screws) and clean it out every time we use it. When we don’t, we have to have the entire head replaced because pieces melt and stop working. It’s obnoxious and I hate it. Still looking for a great vacuum – no matter what is costs. But I completely agree on the Blendtec. We LOVE ours!

    • FunCheapOrFree

      No way!! You’re kidding! We’ve had ours for almost 10 years and have only ever had to get it cleaned one time, it’s been super low-maintenance for us. Great to know, thanks so much for sharing!

  24. Ashley

    For perfume I have two scents that I have been wearing for 10+ years (high school ?), J’dore and Micheal by Micheal Kors. I have found the best time to buy is usually around Mither’s Day!

  25. Krista Sidhu

    I got my kitchen aid mixer refurbished and 8 years later still works great!! Totally worth looking into refurbished!

  26. Jay


    Please put me on your email list. Thanks.

    • Fun Cheap or Free

      You’ve been added! Thanks!


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