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The Best Things Under 20 Dollars that everyone should have 2015-2016

Updated on November 16, 2015

Pen or pencil while travelling

When you are travelling, especially internationally, having a pen can be a godsend. Not only for simple things like drawing, writing, crosswords, etc.. But sometimes pens are so in need on airplanes that you could end up letting many people use it to fill out immigration and other types of documents. As I said- the entertainment purposes alone for carrying a pen is well worth it, but it can also end up saving the day.

Flyswatter / Bug a Salt

I already broke the $20 rule by adding the Bug A salt, but that is for good reason! Just buy a flyswatter if you can't afford this pure awesomeness. It is awesome and fun to go around shooting flies rather than the flyswatter. You can just get a flyswatter-- or you can turn killing flies into a sport. My dad of 55+ years acts like he is in the jungles of Vietnam, hiding behind the corner getting ready for an assault. And so does everyone else, so fun. Not a joke, I love this thing.

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter

If you are out and about a lot. Traveller, camper, explorer, you name it.. This is something that should always be a stones throw away when you are in the wilderness.

What it does is turn most sources of drinking water into clear, delicious, lifesaving drinking water. Just make sure you read the directions on exactly what it does and what it doesn't do.

First aid kit

I don't even really need to explain why having a first aid kit is a good idea-- I hope. No matter where you are a first aid kit is extremely helpful. Most of the time it will just be used for band-aids, neosporin, and anything small. Depending on where you are means it could end up saving you from infection among other things.

Please make sure that you have one of these, especially when travelling or if you are always around kids. You never realize how much they come in handy until you actually have one.


Having a headlamp can come in handy. The obvious reason why it is so good is because points the light where you are looking. Most people now-a-days use their phone's light, which is great and very helpful.. But there is nothing better than having both free hands and being able to do whatever you need.

This is unbelievably helpful for almost any situation. Fishing, camping, looking for something, the list goes on and on. You wear a hat and don't notice it, so when you put this on you will forget it is even there.

Jumper Cables

If you don't have a set of jumper cables in your car then please get one! You may never actually need them, but if you do then boy will that save you a headache. The other reason it is good to carry a pair is because so many people don't bring them along. Consider this a PSA to get more people with jumper cables in their cars!

If you have an older car/battery and you don't have a pair, then you are nuts!

A Knife in your car

Of course the knife is a nice tool for self defense, but along with it coming in handy for almost everything else, it can end up saving your life in an accident. The blade could be used to cut your seat-belt or anything else in the way, the butt-end could be used to break your window to escape.

So having a knife is less about self defense and more about keeping yourself save in case you get trapped or anything else happens.

Please check and make sure that your knife is legal before putting it in your car, all states are different.

Car Hammer - Emergency escape tool

I am piggybacking the knife with the car hammer because it is essentially used for the same thing. Buying one of these can save your life if you ever get in a very dangerous situation. You can order one on Amazon for $10 and is certainly worth keeping..

Pretty sure it is a can be used as a bottle opener as well, so if you never end up using it at least use it for them

Carbon Monoxide Detector

This has saved lives and will continue to. Although a little away from mainstream having a Carbon Monoxide Detector is very smart. You are not going to be able to detect it yourself and by the time you figure out something is wrong you will probably be dead.

Get one of these for piece of mind more than anything. If you live by the saying "better safe than sorry" then there is no way that you should pass this up. Of course it is unorthodox, but it has saved lives and what is better than that?

Here is actual testimony from a firefighter when someone wasn't sure if they should call 911. Do call 911 right away if it CO is detected!

Firefighter here. Absolutely did the right thing. What a lot of people don't get is just how deadly CO can be. CO can be triggered by a quick sputter of your furnace and be no big deal, or it could be much more serious.

Speaking from the truck I work on, we have both a passive CO-only detector, as well as a larger, more sophisticated gas monitor that can read CO, H2S, the O2%, and HCN. So what we'd do is go through your whole house investigating some likely areas (furnace, any generators, garage, ect) before giving you the all clear.

100 Gallon Water Bags

In a disaster situation a bag full or water can end up being a saving grace and hold you off for at least a week when water may be very scarce.

This isn't something many people think about, but if you are in an area where disaster is prone to happen, then please do yourself a favor and cover your bases. You'll need water first and foremost which is why you need a 100 gallon bag that you can transport.

Carry actual paper money

You should almost always carry at least $20 in your pocket. Many places don't accept credit cards or checks, so bringing money along is always worth it. Especially when you need to give a tip or something, crazy how many people don't carry any money around.

Obviously don't carry around too much money.. Getting robbed and losing $20-$40 is nothing, when you start losing more it really hits you hard.

Streamer burns his house down

Mini fire extinguisher

Now this is something that happens more than you would think. People smoke in their house and put a match down, or have a cigarette that is still lit and throw it in the garbage(or whatever it is that happens when houses burn down).

Either way, it is safe to say that if the guy in the video had a can of fire extinguisher he'd still have his house. Also make sure you watch it to see everything that you ARE NOT supposed to do when putting out a fire.

Cheap back-up mobile phone

The reason you have a cheap cellphone is very simple, you can call 911-- even with no service provider! This rings true in the US, so check where you live to see for sure.

There are many different situations where this is a great idea-- especially if you have a kid. Also when you camp or anything else that involves you possible getting stranded, stuck, or anything other emergency. Think hard if having a cheap cell phone is worth having for your situation, if so, better safe than sorry!

Battery pack / Back-up phone battery

Running out of batteries sucks. Why not keep another one handy for your cell phone in order to make sure you will have enough life? Or even better bring a battery pack and keep your electronics going much longer than they would have had you not brought it.

Portable chargers are something that everyone should have-- you don't need an emergency to have these come in handy! This is one of my top picks for something that everyone should have.


These are just great for keeping your shoes from getting messed up when they are hard to put on. You don't have to bend over and the shoes go on so much easier. I can see this becoming more and more helpful the older you get. Obviously this isn't a life saver or anything, but it certainly can come in handy!

Oh, it also doubles as a back-scratcher(yuck)! There are many different kinds and sizes(believe it or not).


Your muscles need to be massaged at some point, taking care of them is very important. Many people absolutely love this thing and use it every day. If this is something you are interested in using then I highly recommend it-- especially if you are having trouble finding someone to give you a massage.

Here is a great video of what it does and how to use it. Make sure to stretch every day, there are not many things better for you!

Get a Bidet!

It will save you money on toilet paper and you'll wonder why you never lived without it.

Seriously though, why do you think you always hear about them? Because they rock! You can get them for $30, $20 if you look around.

Want more suggestions?

I'm a real person and actively monitor my pages. Please leave a comment below on anything that you love for under $20. I will be more than happy to add it to the list!

Here are more suggestions in the poll:

What else should be on the list?

See results


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