Small but good
December 25, 2011 6:37 PM   Subscribe

I have fifty dollars to spend on Amazon, and I'm looking for ideas beyond books, ebooks, music, or movies. If you had had to pick 3-5 $10 to $15 dollar items that would make your life slightly better in some way, what would you pick?
posted by codacorolla to Work & Money (34 answers total) 97 users marked this as a favorite
I am a total freak for windshield cleanliness. A weird tic, trust me, I know. But Amazon is the only place I can find that sells silicone windshield wipers. I can't properly express how much I love them in a way a "normie" would understand.

Every single day I spray a little wiper fluid and marvel at how clean my windshield is, no matter what the Minnesota winter throws at me with sand and salt and dirt and snow. I truly think they are the best thing I could have bought myself last Christmas.
posted by sanka at 6:42 PM on December 25, 2011 [10 favorites]

Swiss Army Knife, or Leatherman tool. Best money I ever spent.
posted by davismbagpiper at 6:43 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

head/scalp massager - you will not regret it.
posted by raztaj at 6:46 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: serious magnets.
posted by jessamyn at 6:53 PM on December 25, 2011

Gloves that work with your iphone.
posted by empath at 7:00 PM on December 25, 2011

Microfiber screen cleaning cloths.
posted by matty at 7:06 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're a loose tea drinker, I'd recommend the Tovolo Tea Infuser.
posted by bluesapphires at 7:16 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Right now, according to my wish list? - Lego AM/FM radio.
posted by carter at 7:26 PM on December 25, 2011

A cheap ukulele. They'll run you closer to $20, though. (I splurged and bought the $40 one.)
posted by naturalog at 7:39 PM on December 25, 2011

Best answer: Not a wok, but a wok pan.
posted by Occula at 7:41 PM on December 25, 2011

Accusharp knife sharpener
posted by drlith at 7:58 PM on December 25, 2011 [6 favorites]

I can't believe how happy these two cleaning products have made me since I discovered them, and I'm not even terribly interested in housecleaning:

1. Method Smarty Dish dishwasher tabs. We have terrible water and our dishes never looked clean unless I scrubbed them with Bon Ami. All the tea cups were tea stained, all the glasses were hazed, everything was dull and ugly. One wash with these, and it all looks brand new. I can't shut up about it. I just placed an order for another case and signed up for "Subscribe and Save" automatic delivery, because I'm not taking any chances on running out.

2. Again with the Method products, this time the Method Multi Surface Wipes. I keep these in the bathroom and every morning use one to wipe off the mirror, the sink, then the floor, and another to wipe off the toilet. Sooooo much nicer than letting the grunge build up and then scrubbing it once a week. And the bathroom always looks spotless.
posted by HotToddy at 8:01 PM on December 25, 2011 [2 favorites]

Jessamyn, what do you use the magnets for?
posted by HotToddy at 8:03 PM on December 25, 2011

Belt cutter
Micro-light keychain
Bento box
Knife sharpener
Different sizes ziplock bags
Silicone kitchen utensils
Eneloop batteries
posted by leigh1 at 8:12 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Finally, a question I can answer: A case and a stylus for my new Kindle Fire; vitamins & supplements; dog toys; Dishwasher Magic: Naked Juice; Balance Water; a plastic holiday themed tablecloth, and pad to go underneath; flavored Stevia packets; a Halloween themed tie; pre-wash stain remover, dishwashing detergent cubes; a doll pram; a "healthy" fragrance roller ball in a vanilla/grapefruit scent; a holt dog walking collar; a CD called "Songs to Make Dogs Happy" and another one called "More Songs to Make Dogs Happy". I'm not sure about my dogs, but I love them!
posted by htm at 8:49 PM on December 25, 2011

For some mysterious reason, I received a shipment of High-Protein non-GMO Survival Seed Kit from Amazon.

It's great! I highly recommend it. For less than $50 and some exercise, it is a good hedge in case the world falls apart.

Also, it's storage life is marked as 15 years in a refrigerator or 30+ years if kept in a freezer.
posted by jchaw at 9:41 PM on December 25, 2011

Jessamyn, what do you use the magnets for?

Sticking things to my fridge, to my car, to my toolchest, to each other. They're just super strong and really small. You can make fridge magnets for other people too.
posted by jessamyn at 9:49 PM on December 25, 2011

Koss KSC75 headphones. If you listen to music in a moderately quiet setting in headphones and don't have anything more than stock earbuds or whatever came with your portable device or was an inexpensive "I need headphones" purchase, BUY THESE. I'm on my second pair (only because I fell asleep with the first pair on, and now one side is silent), and the only reason I don't use them more often is because I have earbuds that block the world out, and I've grown fond of music instead of general noise. Those earbuds cost more than $50 now (though I bought them when Musician's Friend had a sale), and I honestly don't think they sound as good as my $15 Koss headphones. But don't take my word for it: other MeFites like those little Koss 'phones, too.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:50 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jessamyn, what do you use the magnets for?

Duh. How do you think the mods delete the comments?

One thing about multi-tools. I own several, and I have discovered a great truth: none of them are of any use to me unless I have them when I need them. This led me to try a mini multitool, small enough to drop into my pocket for everyday use.
posted by dhartung at 10:17 PM on December 25, 2011 [4 favorites]

A pocketknife/multitool, mini Maglite, small Rite in the Rain notebook, Grandma's Lye Soap (my favorite!), warm winter hat, thermos/soup bowl.
posted by cp311 at 11:04 PM on December 25, 2011

Oxo Good Grips kitchen utensils, e.g. can opener, tongs, vegetable peeler, box grater.
posted by hot soup girl at 11:47 PM on December 25, 2011 [1 favorite]

I got tired of my Android phone always being low on power and bought 4 Motorola wall chargers. They were less than $3 apiece. I keep one at the office, one at the home office, one by the TV, one on the nightstand. My phone is always charged.
posted by LarryC at 12:24 AM on December 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

How about a Neti pot? Just don't use tap water!
posted by pimli at 1:05 AM on December 26, 2011

Pastry blender! I bake all the time and now making my own pie crusts is a breeze.
posted by mdonley at 2:14 AM on December 26, 2011

A vacuum wine saver. (I got one of these for my mum's Christmas present too.)
posted by daisyk at 3:50 AM on December 26, 2011

A lunchbox and lunch container that you LOVE.

Amazon is a great place to stock up on magazine subscription deals if you're into that.
posted by shortyJBot at 5:53 AM on December 26, 2011

Seconding Swiss army knife, the little $12 one that will go on a keychain--I'm about to order one for myself since I didn't get it for Christmas, durn.
And seconding the Accusharp knife sharpener. It's just a few bucks--a simple and brilliant piece of design, although not very pretty--and its the best I've ever had. I'm including a bunch of those pricey electric ones, too.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 6:22 AM on December 26, 2011

Best answer: The Kershaw Taskmaster Shears were such a noticeable upgrade on any other pair of kitchen scissors I've ever owned, I recommend them to everyone, and gave everyone in my family a pair for Christmas. Mine are about three years old, and still perfect.

External speakers for my phone, so I can use it as an MP3 jukebox when I'm futzing in the basement; adding music to an extra room for $20 was definitely worth it. The brand doesn't so much matter, as I definitely wasn't hunting for audiophile quality with my $20.

If you want to be warm in the winter, the Wigwam Thermolite Cap has earned the title of "secret weapon" from my friends; just a tiny hat that keeps your head warm when everyone else is strangely chilly looking. Amazon has it, but REI has it cheaper.
posted by talldean at 8:31 AM on December 26, 2011

It's a bit more than $15, but if you're sexually active (with yourself or a partner) good lube is wonderful, and Amazon is much cheaper than buying from a specialty store. The same with condoms.

Amazon actually has a lot of "adult" goods, but you'll have to go into the Health & Personal Care section to find them.
posted by catalytics at 12:17 PM on December 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Smartwool socks. Changed my life. Justin's nut butter packages - amazing for travel, work, or just to keep in your bag. Sno-Seal shoe protector - it's a cult favorite and will last forever. Dog poop bags that have little handles - way easier to tie and carry. Foam roller that will make you cry.
posted by barnone at 6:44 PM on December 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

So for about $10
Fluxx - Card game to kill all card games. Its a wonderful waste of time.
Swisstool multitool - Slips into keychain and you get a bottle opener, screwdriver and a knife in a small package.
Fenix Flashlight -Small flashlight takes AAA Battery and very helpful.
posted by radsqd at 8:47 AM on December 27, 2011

If you have a laptop, get USB speakers ($12).

Makes movies, tv, or just music actually listenable.
posted by Elysum at 12:48 AM on December 28, 2011

Response by poster: I ended up going with the wok pan, the thermalite hat, and the magnets. I'm really happy with all three. Thanks for the answers.
posted by codacorolla at 10:43 AM on December 31, 2011

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