Quality and utility don’t always come with a high price tag; if you know where to look, you can find products that are useful, enjoyable, and inexpensive! Following our previous list from 2018, today we’re sharing 9 more cheap but awesome things.
9 (More) Cheap But Awesome Things
1. Feather Razor Blades
You always like it when you look sharp and so we’re starting off with Feather razor blades. We’ve talked many times about the benefits of the double-edged razor on our website as we are fans of this shaving method. Personally, my favorite blade is the Feather blade because it is the sharpest, and I have relatively thick beard hair.
Feather blades are made of platinum-coated, high-quality Japanese steel, and the company is headquartered in Osaka and was founded in 1932. Feather double-edge razor blades are famous for being extremely sharp, so if you’re still perfecting the art of shaving, it’s not a blade we’d recommend. Also, if you have very thin hair, it may not be the best blade.
Some men, even though they may have sensitive skin or very thin hair, still like the Feather blades because it gives them the feeling of a very close shave with a baby butt result. To prevent any razor burn, you want to change out the blade after a second or third shave.
No matter if you use a Feather DE razor blade or one from a different manufacturer, it’ll always save you money. Among the DE blades, Feather is more expensive, but it’s also the sharpest. So, a box of a hundred blades costs around $35, which means 35 cents a piece. If you shave three times with it, it’s a cost per shave of 12 cents, which is extremely cheap. Other cartridge systems will cost you a multiple of that, sometimes even more than a dollar per shave.
Apart from that, double-edged razor blades produce a lot less waste. So, it’s better for landfills and at a cost of just 12 cents per shave, you get a fantastic product. Now, that’s what I call cheap but awesome!
2. Smoked Maldon Sea Salt
Why smoked salt? It helps to enhance the flavors and aromas of your food. The Maldon Salt Company comes from Essex in England and was founded in 1882. The special thing about their salt is that it has these relatively large crystals and if you look at it, you might think it’s extremely salty but, in fact, it’s not, which is why it’s a wonderful finishing salt that looks really nice on your dishes but it’s not overpowering.
Yes, it’s still salty but compared to conventional salt, the same volume is less salty. They only use natural ingredients, as well as oak chips to get that subtle smoky flavor that’s not overpowering, but just rounding out the flavors of your meal. I love pairing it with all sorts of red meats, but also use it for stews and you can use it for basically anything you want.
If you don’t like the smoky flavor, they also have non-smoked sea salts, which are also really nice as a finishing salt. Price-wise, you can buy a container for around $5 for around four and a half ounces, which gets you to about $17 per pound.
3. Sleeve Ironing Board
Let’s jump from food to clothes maintenance with a sleeve ironing board. If you ever wear a dress shirt without a jacket or if you have a jacket and it needs to be ironed, then you must have a sleeve ironing board. It’s the easiest, quickest, and pretty much only way to get a sleeve without a stark ironing crease. While some people might not mind them on a dress shirt, I certainly do. And if you have a jacket, a crease down the center of your sleeve just looks terrible.
Considering it costs just $12, an ironing sleeve board is one of those tools every gentleman must have in his collection. Want to learn more about how to iron like a pro? Discover the other tools that are useful when it comes to ironing from our guide!
4. Flexible Measuring Tape
If you ever want to order clothes online or if you have close alterations, you want a quality flexible measuring tape that doesn’t get longer or shorter as it ages.
You may assume all measuring tapes are created equal, but that’s not true. Some are super flimsy, others are quite rigid. Some have numbers that rub off and others change their size over time. We found that the Singer brand measuring tapes have stayed in good shape for years, and we can use them over and over again.
Sometimes, they can be hard to find. You might spot them at antique shops or at flea markets. If you can’t find them, vinyl or fiberglass tape is a good substitute. Cost is around $2 to $4, so it’s extremely affordable. I own many different measuring tapes. I even have some in my computer bags whenever I travel, so I’ll always have a measuring tape, in case I need it.
5. The Laundress Stain Solution
As noted in our guide on stain removal, it is best to apply a stain solution as soon as you can after the stain hits the garment, otherwise, it has more time to set in.
The Laundress offers many high-quality products, but we like their stain solution because it works for so many different stains. It’s a solution that works best on organic stains, such as tannins and proteins. So, that would include wine, coffee, ink, grass, blood, or tomato stains. Personally, I love to cook, and I’ve definitely gotten cherry juice on my clothes or pomegranate stains, and this Laundress solution has always helped to get them out right away.
I also have a toddler, so sometimes she touches me with her greasy or dirty hands, and I get stains on my clothes. The Laundress Stain Solution has always been a lifesaver for me. If I have stubborn stains, I apply it onto the garment and rub it in with a little brush. Then, I just add the garment to the regular load of laundry.
A bottle costs about $18 for 16 fluid ounces, which may sound like a lot, at first. But, I found that it lasts for around 200 stain treatments, which is quite a lot. And so, it’s less than 10 cents per stain, which is totally worth it in my book.
6. CeraVe Lotion
We’ve mentioned moisturizing, grooming, and skincare many times on our website, but if you go to the very base level, you need something that provides a good amount of moisturization for your skin. Throughout the day, there are many opportunities for the skin to dry out. It can be the summertime heat or the dry air during the cold winters. It can be your excessively hot showers or the wrong soap that you use when you wash yourself.
If your skin is insufficiently moist, it leaves it dry, itchy, and uncomfortable. It’s also unsightly. While you can spend hundreds of dollars on brand name moisturizers, we found that the CeraVe does a really good job, and it doesn’t break the bank.
So, how does it keep your skin moist? Well, first of all, it’s through ceramides. These are naturally-occurring, fatty molecules that basically insulate the moisture inside your skin. Secondly, it relies on hyaluronic acid, which is a naturally-recurring acid that helps to retain moisture in your skin.
CeraVe is also hypoallergenic oil-free and fragrance-free, which is important, especially if you have sensitive skin. It also means there are no weird smells that conflict with your cologne and not a fatty or greasy film that remains on your skin. A bottle of about 19 ounces costs around $18.
7. The Criterion Channel Subscription
For a long time, there was a joke: hundreds of channels on TV, but nothing to watch. Lately, it has become a dozen subscriptions, but nothing to watch. Most major subscription services out there like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime try to clasp a really wide net and offer various shows in various formats to just interest everybody.
The Criterion Channel is different in the sense that they take a quality-over-quantity approach. Cinephiles may be already familiar with a Criterion Collection, which was started in 1984. The goal was to make significant, important, classic, and contemporary movies available to a large number of people.
In 2019, they entered the subscription service game and started The Criterion Channel. There are a thousand titles from the collection itself that include classics, art, foreign, and experimental movies. It’s also one of the few streaming services where you can find works of Akira Kurosawa, Michelangelo Antonioni, Busby Berkeley, and John Waters.
Every month, they offer rotating collections of films focused on a subject-matter genre, which can help you find new things that you might otherwise not have found or search for. Because, after all, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Nearly all the films also contain bonus features, such as interviews or behind the scenes documentaries. So, if you’re really into that stuff, this is the channel for you. With a price of $10.99 a month or $99 a year, it is definitely on par but less expensive than Netflix, which costs $108 a year, and the base version for Amazon Prime, which is $120 for the year.
As a clotheshorse, you can also find clothing inspiration for movies of Cary Grant, William Powell, Marcello Mastroianni, and Sidney Poitier
8. Martini & Rossi Vermouth
Vermouth is basically a fortified wine, meaning liquor is added to wine and it is enhanced with botanicals to achieve a different flavor profile. There are basically two main varieties: the dry, pale, or white vermouth, which is just slightly aromatized; and there is the red sweet vermouth, which is more heavily aromatized, sometimes also with beets.
Vermouth, in general, is a very versatile drink that can be enjoyed on its own. Personally, I like to mix up Manhattans or whenever a cocktail asks for vermouth. One of the oldest manufacturers of vermouth is the company Martini & Rossi from Italy, which was founded just outside Turin in 1863.
The company is famous for its vintage ad campaigns, and you can find many great posters, which make great wall decorations. It’s theorized that the name of the martini cocktail came from the Martini & Rossi vermouth. In the U.S., you can buy a bottle of 750 milliliters for around $12. It’s good quality vermouth that I personally enjoy and have used.
Is it the best vermouth in the world? In my opinion, no. I prefer the Carpano Antica Formula, which, in the U.S., costs $35 for a 750-milliliter bottle or $20 bucks for a half-size bottle. Of course, as with everything regarding your pellets, taste is very subjective. So, you have to figure out for yourself what you like.
Another contender to throw in there is the Dolin vermouth, and it costs also like $12 for a 750-milliliter bottle. Also keep in mind that while vermouth is a fortified wine and it won’t spoil, per se, like regular wine, it will definitely deteriorate over time. So, it’s best to either consume it quickly, which means within two or three months, or to just go with smaller bottles so you can achieve that goal.
9. Peter Pauper Journals
The last but not least cheap but awesome item is the journal book by Peter Pauper. Yes, we may live in a digital age, but there truly is no substitute for an old school journal.
Of course, there are many uses for a journal. You can use it as a commonplace book. You can utilize it to just write down any notes or things that are on your mind. You can actually use it to journal, meaning you write things down so you kind of take the pressure off of your mind, and you can unwind and relax and not think about thousands of things all the time. It also makes for a great gift and newlywed gentlemen should keep in mind that traditionally paper goods were the traditional one-year anniversary gift.
Peter Pauper Press has been producing journals since 1928, and they all have a unique kind of artistic look with gold edging. And considering they’re just $10 to $20, most of them being around $13, you really get something that looks a lot more impressive than that.
Each journal features a unique cover image that’s either inspired by works of art or vintage books. The binding is solid and durable and has the right amount of give. Our scriptwriter Eb Daniels has been using the journal for months, and he hasn’t found any loose folios or cracked bindings. So, it’s definitely a solid, quality product.
Also, the acid-free, archival-quality paper takes ink from a fountain pen extremely well, which can’t be said of all journals. The pair is also thick enough so it doesn’t bleed through to the next page. So, if you like fountain pens, it’s definitely one thing to consider.
Sized at 8.5 by 6.5 inches or 21.6 by 15.6 centimeters, they’re portable, yet big enough to actually write things down without feeling cramped. Honestly, looking at them, you never think they’re as cheap as they actually are.