These items can change your life and cost less than $100

Originally published at: These items can change your life and cost less than $100 | Boing Boing


Surely the value of contraceptives is that they won’t change your life.


It’s a bonus if you go for a back scratcher/shoe horn combo.


I love pets, but anyone who thinks the real price tag for a “rescue pet” is less than $100 is deluding themselves very badly unless that pet is a short-lived goldfish or a pet rock.


Sure, there are lots of childless people that want to stay that way, but just as many married people with children would like to stop having babies to they can enjoy their adulthood and life after children. Contraception is for lots of people!


I get the joke but for those actively avoiding pregnancy, contraception is the difference that allows you to get laid. That really is life-changing!

One of Frank McCourt’s memoirs about growing up in Ireland (Angela’s Ashes I think) discussed a minor scandal when he was working as a delivery boy. It turned out that one of the publications he was delivering had run an article about contraception, which was both illegal and socially taboo at the time. When his employer found out he panicked and made sure the offending pages were torn out of all remaining issues, but once word got out the illicit pages quickly became a highly prized commodity that the delivery boys sold to sexually repressed adults on the black market.

Sometimes we lose sight of just how revolutionary the availability of contraceptives was to our society over the last century or so (and how much worse things will be if certain people are able to take them away again).


This topic comes up often on Reddit. The top thing that will change your life for under $100 is often “heroin”.

And they’re not wrong, they never put the caveat of positive change


The bidet, tho. Once you have one, you’re like “NOT using one is downright barbaric”.
I bought two of the Tushy simple ones for each bathroom and had our plumber install them.

As for the list, every house needs a cordless drill. Get a decent one (see below for a bargain, IMO).
A good blender.
A mircroplane.
A small lever citrus juicer (also see below).
A 10 or 12 inch cast iron skillet.
A Leatherman multitool.
Yeti mugs.

Edited because I forgot to add:


The single handiest thing I carry out and about with me is a Victorinox Manager. It’s about $40, and it’s a small Swiss Army Knife. Pen, 2 screwdrivers, scissors, tweezers and little knife blade. It lets me fix little problems all the time. Even the basic $17 Victorinox Classic SD is better than nothing, though.

Mark Frauenfelder has recommended so much useful gear over the years. The one that sticks out is a lemon squeezer by Chef’N. Link here. I get about twice the juice out of every lemon I buy because of it. I’ve had mine 8 years now.

I’d say that if you get a good kitchen knife (I recommend Mercer’s commercial line - usually less than $20) you should also get a knife steel. They are cheap, and they are the tool that you use regularly to keep a knife edge effective between sharpenings. It’s like 20 seconds to touch up a blade with one, and the difference is immense.


Yep; I’m looking for a new dog to adopt, and the adoption fees here in Ontario are up to $1700! They are transporting dogs from all over the world, so there are travel costs, and they need basic vet care like vaccines and spay/neuter and some of them need more drastic vet care like amputations. And that really has to get passed on to the adopters, because they couldn’t do this otherwise.


Ice cleats for anyone who has real winters; they’ve completely erased the fear of slipping for me.


I’m quite happy I bought a back scratcher.
The reddit thread has a few posts recommending rice cookers and slow cookers. So I’ll chime in and recommend an air fryer. 90% of my meals involve one in some way now.


OMG. I got my 2 kitties about 10 years ago in Texas for $30. I gave them $100 and said treat the rest as a donation, but daaamn.

ETA: and I had to add - Louie just crawled out from under my bed when I hit “reply”, chattering and making little bitty meows as he made his way to the food dish. I always interpret that has him grumbling under his breath “I’m hungry! Why do bad things happen to good cats? This establishment needs to get their act together. Hungry! How did this happen?”


Adding onto this, if you buy cordless tools, buy into an ecosystem that’s been around a long time. I think that Milwaukee set you posted has had the same battery for a long time. Others have also been around for decades. But you’ll have to replace the battery before the tool, and want it to still be available. Also, in a battery ecosystem, you can often get tools that come without the battery and reuse the ones you have. That’s where the real value is, because a “no battery” cordless tool often runs around $30 only


Anything from the Boing Boing Store, really.


Seconded. It’s one of those things that you don’t really think about until you have one.

I found this travel one which has made life even nicer. Now I can be a “work pooper” and not have to worry about it.


Dang, that’s steep!

But I wasn’t even talking about the adoption fees, I was talking about the overall long-term cost of keeping a pet. Even a “free” puppy is likely to cost many thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the animal.


You gotta rescue them the old fashion way! (ETA - Fair point on life time costs, though many people would say its worth it. Like feeding your kids!)


Oh, the cats I got for free; they all just walked past the house and nobody claimed them, so I kept them!


Send in two mice and an albatross?