Thrifty People Share The Sketchy Buy That Worked Out Surprisingly Well

September 10, 2019 | Christine Tran

Thrifty People Share The Sketchy Buy That Worked Out Surprisingly Well

Who doesn’t love a good bargain? The Internet is filled with cautionary tales about bad purchases that were “too good to be true.” The following stories are different; instead, a little price to pay went a long way for these Redditors. They took a chance on less-than-stellar-looking items at low prices, turning second-rate buys into first-rate investments. Save on these inspiring stories about sketchy purchases that ended up shockingly well.

1. This Cat Still Has Claws

I was traveling in Japan and I needed a pair of nail clippers. All I could find is this cheap pink Hello Kitty grooming kit. These clippers are the best I ever owned. They have stayed sharp and functional for 20 years. I'm very protective of them. Everyone in the house knows you don't touch Dad's pink Hello Kitty nail clippers.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

2. A Stack of a Steal

Guy said there were a bunch of bricks in his back yard he wanted to get rid of. Five bucks for all of them if you'd come pick them up because they were "larger than regular bricks and were very heavy." I grabbed a friend and headed out because I needed some cheap brick for the edging of my garden. Guy’s house was across the river and in some really run-down looking neighborhood...really glad I grabbed my friend at this point.

We pull up, and the guy is waiting outside. He looks like he's 80, but I know he must have been a 35-year-old guy who just smoked 10 packs a day...So, the guy takes us to his back yard and shows up the pile of bricks, which turn out to be 50+ antique Louisville Fire Bricks. So, I look at the guy and tell him, "I'll take half of them...and as payment, I'll give you $20 and some advice."

Of course, the guy is looking at me like I'm an idiot, but he accepts my money and helps me, and my friend load up about 30 bricks. After I close my truck and get in the car to drive off, I tell him to Google the antique fire bricks and adjust his craigslist listing...I went back to look at the listing a few days later, and he had changed the price from $5 for the whole pile, to $5 PER BRICK, which was the going rate at the time. Nowadays they go for $20/brick...


Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsNicepik

3. In the Garden of Savings

Seed packets from the dollar store. While in college, my boyfriend and I were broke. Really broke. But I still wanted to do something to celebrate spring. We were getting a few cheap things at the dollar store when I noticed they were selling these seeds packets from a big old bin that you had to dig through. Four for $1. No tax.

I immediately begged to buy one despite our strict budget. Boyfriend was incredulous I'd want to buy sketchy seeds but dutifully handed me a quarter. I ended up picking out tomato seeds. Well, we got home, and I carefully placed about three seeds in washed-out cans. I watered them and watched them sprout. I loved tending to my little garden. I ended up with three beautiful HUGE tomato plants. It was a bumper crop. More than we could eat.

I sold the extra produce to my classmates. Made like $25. Good seeds!

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

4. Survive to Play

I bought a Game Boy Color & Pokémon from a guy behind an abandoned building. Only after I told my parents did I realize I was in such a sketchy and dangerous situation. I played the heck out of that thing though!

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsNeedpix

5. Raise Two Cups to This Kind of Support

I was traveling from a different city straight into work, where my uniform was a white shirt, with a conspicuously black bra. I wasn't stopping at home, so I did stop at the first corner store I found and bought a five-dollar white bra that looked roughly my size, as they had nowhere to try them on. Just to wear for one night.

10/10, comfiest bra I ever owned, wore it every day of my life for about a year. It gave in at some point. It was still a five-dollar bra. But dang, I dream of the day when all my bras fit that well.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

6. A Killer Deal Without the Killer

I was giving these college-aged young women a Lyft ride. One asked how "that Craigslist thing went," so my ears perked up. The other said something like, "He complained it went back too far, just don't put it back so far, duh." Eventually I deduce they are talking about a recliner—which I've been looking for one for some time now.

I interject and ask about it. Lady has a Laz-E-Boy electric recliner, and she just wants 20 bucks for it. I'm like, "Listen I know it's sketchy, but if you've got Craigslist randos in your house, Lyft at least gave me a background check." We pull up, I end the ride, and follow these ladies into their house. I knew I wanted it as soon as I laid eyes on it.

So, this college chick is helping me stuff a recliner into my back seat and all I can think is this is how Buffalo Bill kidnapped that girl in Silence of the Lambs. But still, twenty dollars for a recliner? Not bad.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPxHere

7. Fur-Real Savings

Bought my kitty for 20 bucks on Craigslist from a legit meth addict. I had never had a cat before, and this little meow factory has been my best friend ever since.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPxHere

8. Look, Love, and Lose It

At the end of a long road trip with some mates, I bought a cheapo $20 pair of sunglasses at a gas station just outside Chicago. They fit me better than any other pair of sunglasses ever did, or ever will, and they made me look awesome. For years I constantly received compliments about them and was asked where I got them.

I lost them after five long years and have hated myself for it ever since. They were so no-name, they didn't even have a brand name on them at all, so I have no idea who made them. I have no way of finding that gas station, either. I've literally spent hundreds of dollars trying to find sunglasses that come close to that same perfect fit/style, but I can't.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

9. Picture Perfect for Perfectly Less

I randomly found a wedding videographer online and booked him for a very affordable rate for my wedding, assuming it wouldn’t be very good quality. Two weeks after the wedding, he emails me a high quality, well-edited video. He had a drone I hadn’t noticed because he was outside of the venue getting b-roll with it before I even started getting ready for the big day.

I was floored, and now I recommend him to everyone whoever plans to get married ever. He has definitely upped his prices since then (he did the videography for my wedding last summer), and rightfully so, because he does great work.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

10. Rewind and Unwind

I drive cars so old, they all still have tape decks. I bought this fake cassette tape with a headphone style plug that comes of it. You put the tape in the player just like it was a cassette and plug the jack into your phone, and it uses the car's speaker system as an external speaker for the phone. I was so skeptical of it working because it was all of $5, but I've been using it at least 10 years. It works perfectly and beautifully.

Plus, bonus side-eye every time I pull it out to use it with someone new in the car.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

11. Time is Money

I bought a fake wood (plastic) mantle clock from Value City for like $10 because I needed something to spruce up my first apartment. I received a surprising number of compliments on it and was asked more than once if it was a family heirloom because it looked so old. It also lasted for like 10 years until some movers broke it.

I was kind of proud of displaying that stupid cheap clock.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well facts Max Pixel

12. Not a Poor Tour

We bought an Ellis Island boat tour in New York from one of the guys on the street. We were led into a van and treated extremely well, so we weren't immediately sketched out too bad. We don't know New York, so we ended up getting driven through Manhattan for 20 minutes by three men to an apparently abandoned sketchy dock with no one there.

That's when we were convinced we were being scammed or sold into human trafficking. The guys Gave us a Post-It Note with a number. They said to go around the abandoned factory to the pier and they were waiting for us. So, we took our naive tourist butts around the building alone expecting nothing and they would just pull off and scam us.

Sure enough, we turn the corner and there was a big boat with a bunch of people, and it was legit. We had an amazing tour and a lot of fun with free food and drinks. So, overall great decision, but in hindsight, we should have been murdered...or at least scammed.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

13. The Unexpected Uprgrade

I was in a market in Shanghai, one of those ones that attract foreigners with knockoffs of nice brands and where you're supposed to haggle a bit with the store owner. Walking into an electronics store looking for a portable speaker. Negotiated the store owner down over the "JBL speaker" that is basically the size of a thermos.

I think she originally wanted 200 RMB, and I think I got it for 125. Exchange rate was about 6.50 RMB = $1, so like $21. The owner went out back got a blank white box and an envelope. Inside the box was a blank speaker without decals. Decals were in the envelope. She then proceeded to put the decals on the speaker in front of me using tweezers for precision.

This was my first time in China, so it really caught me off guard. Speaker is amazing. Very loud, six to eight-hour battery life and perfect for storing in a cupholder. I mostly use it on a golf course, which is perfect.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

14. Treasure at the End of Terror

I went to Mexico a few years back with my family, and it was our first time there. We only left the hotel once because it was so hot. On that day, after visiting an ancient temple, we decided to go to a cenote to swim and cool off. We arrived at the bus station, and this kinda sketchy taxi driver approached us and asked where we wanted to go.

My father mentioned a very popular cenote, but the taxi driver recommended a quieter place and said he'd do it for half price even though it was already dirt cheap. For some reason, my father agreed, which I thought was mad. So me and my family got in his taxi and drove off. We were riding down the freeway when he starts indicating left.

I see no road where he's indicating. We turn off onto a DIRT TRACK and into the jungle. For about 10 minutes, we’re getting deeper and deeper into the jungle until we reach a house. My father is told to get out and pay at this small shack and the rest of us aren't allowed out of the car. Five minutes pass and by this time, we were freaking out in the car. I didn’t really feel like getting kidnapped or anything, but my father returns and we continue into the jungle.

Soon, we reach a clearing with a few people smoking around a table and a couple with swimsuits on. Now I'm a bit more relaxed because at least there are other customers there. After getting changed, we have a short walk to this beautiful, crystal clear cenote with overhangs and plants hanging down. It was absolutely amazing.

We got out and thought money well spent, but we were led on a tour around four other cenotes where we swam under bats hanging in caves and learned about the history of the cenotes. To top it off, I got to jump off a 10ft drop into a pool where I could see the bottom about 20ft below the surface. Best experience we had in Mexico and I'd love to go back.

But, I have to admit, I don’t think I've ever been so frightened as I was going down that deserted dirt road.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

15. Like Taking Candy from a Baby

Went to a garage sale. Little girl was in charge. She’s like 12. I don’t know anything about turntables, but she has a set on a table. I ask how much; she tells me 20 bucks. I ask her if they work, she tells me she has no idea, her dad got new ones and wants to get rid of these. I wait for dad, she tells me he’s sleeping. She says, "Dude just take them.”

I’m like, no, $20 can’t be right, maybe $200? This little girl looks at me like I’m stupid, so I just say, "Fine, I’ll take them." I drive straight to a pawn shop and see what I can get for them, or if they even work. They freaking work perfectly. Dude looks up prices and comes back with an offer for me: $1,200. Best 20 bucks I ever spent.

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16. A Doggone Deal

I went to buy a used lawnmower and ended up buying their very old dog for $10. He had never been allowed indoors, never rode in a car, been to a park, had a bath...we had a good five years of "firsts." Best $10 I ever spent.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

17. Nothing Hugs Like Extra Money

Costco fluffy flannels. It feels like a chinchilla is hugging you, and I’ve had mine for three years with no signs of wearing down, despite almost daily use in the northeast winters.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

18. Hit Me Baby (With Those Savings) One More Time

Bought some Britney Spears tickets in a back alley near the Philips Arena in downtown Atlanta from this super sketchy guy. Our dumb asses were all excited because it was a great deal for the seating. Keep in mind, this is when tickets are printed from home and they’re huge to scan. The pair that we bought were the OG Ticketmaster tickets...ya know, the tiny pair that you had to wait at FYE in the mall for.

We get in line and go through the main first door, they don’t scan. Shoot. We knew we were scammed immediately. Then they physically examine our tickets and say, “I dunno why these aren’t scanning, but your seats are that way.” Walk all the way down to our numbered section, and there’s one guy sitting in a chair by this massive wall with a single door to walk through.

Homeboy physically examined our ghetto tickets. He’s like, "Hmmm, never seen these before," but still just said, "This way, please." And I'll be darned, we were seated in the section where local business buy the suites and stuff for their employees. Food and alcohol were free. We had phenomenal seats and got a free shirt and program.

I still can’t believe it happened.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsWikimedia Commons, Zakarie Faibis

19. Even Mules Need a Vacation

Flight cargo escort for discounted tickets. I flew to Shanghai from New York for about $200 total, on JAL business class. In return, I had to sign to take responsibility for cargo on the flight. I saw the cargo on the loading dock, it was a pallet covered in a camouflage tarp. I received my tickets in person upon arrival at JFK.

I'm pretty sure I helped traffic drugs or weapons across borders. I can't remember the name of the company. Also, I don't think it exists anymore, because it was sketchy as heck.

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20. A Breath of Fresh Air Shouldn’t Break the Bank

One of those square, window-sized box fans. Technically wasn't a purchase, I found it outside the dumpster of my junior-year college apartment back in 2008. I'm a fan of airflow and white-noise, so that fan ran 24-hours a day for nearly 11 years, aside from when I was away on vacations and for brief periods in winter (most of that on the lowest setting, but I mean, there were long stretches of literally months+ where it wasn't turned off).

It died earlier this year when I can only assume some critical component burned out. I'll miss you, completely free thing that provided me a decade of a light breeze and air circulation.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

21. What’s Old is New to Me

"Cheap" is a relative term. In the town where I live, there’s a slightly sketchy area. It’s not bad, but it’s not nice, either. There’s a pub around the corner, and all the buildings are dirty. There are some council flats nearby. And then there’s my flat. An elderly lady had lived in it before, and she’d moved into a nursing home.

The flat went up for sale. Few came to the viewings, and of the people who did, nobody wanted to show it the TLC that it sorely needed. It was built in the 1970s and had been refurbished once in the early 90s. Some details are still the fuse box, which sometimes has fireworks inside it. The floors were covered in an awful carpet—the color of a rotting peach—and the windows were dirty and covered with greasy blinds.

It was a piece of work. I got it for cheap; way below my budget. And I spent several weeks doing it up on evenings and weekends. I ripped down grimy old wallpaper and tore up the carpet. I painted the walls and got rid of the blinds. I contracted someone to do the bathroom and floors for me. Now it’s a mid-century modern type flat with a touch of Scandinavian minimalism.

It was a sketchy and cheap, but definitely my best buy to date.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPexels

22. I Take It All Back, Babies

Searched around for a vasectomy reversal. Everything looked to be $15-20 thousand. Finally found a guy in Rhode Island for less than $3,000. This guy was alone in an office in a strip mall. Took cash only, which was very sketchy to me. I was afraid I’d come to in a bathtub full of ice. That didn’t happen, but even after the procedure, I was certain it didn’t work and maybe the guy was a quack or scam.

This was over three years ago and my wife and I still could not get pregnant, and I figured the reason why was obvious: the cheapo procedure. Well, I was wrong. Turns out it was her the whole time, and my surgery worked perfectly. After a few visits to a fertility clinic, we are now 26 weeks pregnant with a baby boy due in November.

Definitely a sketchy cheap buy that ended up being one of my best purchases.

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23. The Stars are Small, But They Align

I bought plane tickets from Pittsburgh to Dublin from a sketchy website. It involved three layovers and two airlines. The company had a one to two-star review on every website I went to. I didn't find a single positive review, but I bought the ticket anyway. After 20 hours, four flights, and a really sketchy layover in Portugal, I made it. I flew across the Atlantic with no problem for $200.

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24. Get Your Motor Running

I bought a cheap outboard motor for $40 from Craigslist. It’s a 91’ Nissan 3.5hp. I changed the spark plug and greased her up and she’s been running like a champ for a few years now.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

25. Half in the Bag for Quadruple the Value

15 years ago, I was getting deployed for the first time. I wanted a backpack as a carry-on, but it had to be solid black. Went to a few places, ended up at Dick's Sporting Goods. I found exactly one bag that was solid black, and it was perfect, but it didn't have a tag. Went to the register and the guy spent 10 minutes with two managers trying to figure out which bag it was so they would ring it up.

They finally asked me, "How much is it worth to you?" I replied that I needed it to deploy in the morning, so I'd pay whatever they wanted. They charged me $10. It's a Kryptonics backpack that is no longer made. I've taken it on four deployments, three TDYs, all over the country, and it made it through my BS and MS degrees. I'm now using it as I pursue my PhD.

It's a little ragged, but I love this darn bag.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

26. Must-Save TV

Just a couple weeks ago, I saw a flat screen TV for $40 at a thrift shop. It might've been a computer monitor, I'm not sure. From corner to corner, it's about as long as my elbow to my fingertips. It had a PC input, all the video inputs, two HDMI inputs, some USB inputs, cable input, the whole works. So immediately, I wasn't sure if it was too good to be true.

It turned on and all the buttons worked, but there was no remote. Also, I was told there was no returns, only exchanges. Well, I went ahead and bought it anyway, and it works like a dream! I finally have something I can bring with me when I make my next move. I can change the volume and input with the side buttons, so that's basically all I need.

One day, I might get a universal remote so I can change the brightness, but I'm basically set.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

27. Good Service is Hard to Trust

I broke my key off in my ignition years ago. Only the metal snapped; the battery-operated part was fine. I called a few places (I live in a large city) and everyone told me to go to the dealership. The dealership said I’d have to get my car towed to them and they’d make a completely new one for about $500. $500 plus whatever the tow was!?!

I was so stressed, but one of my co-workers heard about what was going on and said he knew a guy that could fix it for $50. I called the guy, and he had me meet him on a less than desirable side of town. I pulled into a shady driveway that met a locked get. It was the back side of a warehouse or something. The guy drove up on the other side of the gate it an old van.

I immediately got super nervous, but walked up to the fence to meet him. He asked for the cast and broken key, so I handed it to him through the fence. He took it to his van for about 15 minutes and brought it back fixed and ready to use. It was the shadiest transaction I’ve ever made, but it totally worked out and was cheap!

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well facts Shutterstock

28. Crisis Breeds Renovation

I am late to the party, but in 2006ish, I purchased a home that was never gutted after Hurricane Katrina. Had lots of water in it for way too long and about two feet of muck. But the house only cost me $16k. I put $50k in parts into it and did 90% of the work myself. After 12 months, I rented it for $1,800 a month. After a few years, sold it for a bit over $300,000.

Was a lot of fun for 22-year-old me.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well facts Pixabay

29. Pocket Balls are Good on Your Wallet

A hamster. Thirty bucks, I bought him on a whim when I was in a dark place and fell in love instantly. It only took a few hours, and he was accepting food from my hand. By the third day, he sat on my hand for the first time. When I entered the room, he’d wake up, wobble out of his hut and hop up and down the terrarium’s glass front until I interacted with him.

He loved my cats as well. When they sat around or on top of his terrarium, he’d hop up and down and stand against the glass to check them out. Whenever I changed his environment, he ran around and checked out every nook. He really loved toilet paper rolls and the flowerpot that I would fill with a soft plant that he’d nibble on.

My dwarf hamster, Karl the Great, lived for two and a half years and spread love wherever he hopped and wobbled.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

30. The Sound of Savings

Went to a local store that was going out of business and closing shop forever the next day called American Appliance. Salesman was trying to sell me anything and everything. They had a set of 2300w speakers that looked amazing, but I knew nothing about speakers. I was 16 or 17 and this was before smartphones. He kept pushing to get me to buy them for $800.

I told him I can't. I'm young I have bills and I'm broke. He asked how much I had on me and for some reason, I actually answered "200.” He said sold. So, I said screw it and bought them. I still have them nearly 14 years later and they're in perfect condition. They were part of my entertainment system for a long time now they're in my office.

When I got home and looked them up on the internet, they were selling for $1,300 each. I got them for $100 apiece. Probably the luckiest buy I ever made

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31. Can’t Put a Price on Prayer

A tour guide approached us outside the Vatican, offering the best discounted Vatican tours. This guy was the definition of sketch. But we were like, “Oh what the heck, when in Rome” (Pun intended). It was indeed a discounted tour and it turned out to be a highlight of our trip to Rome. Tour guide was awesome, and we skipped all the lines to get right in.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

32. You Call That a Knife?

I got this KiwiBrand knife (made in Thailand of course) for like six dollars. It was over 10 years ago when I lived in Melbourne, and that baby can still be sharpened into a razor. It's the best freaking knife ever. You could cut silk with this thing; it's hacked through PVC, dismantled sooo many chickens, turned onions into confetti on the reg, and still it slices a tomato like it's a dang Katana.

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33. Why Budget on Eternal Youth?

Don't know if this counts because the product was expensive—but hey ho, it's an interesting story! Me and a friend were chilling in a mall when one of those beauty salesmen approached us. His salesmanship was so relentless that my friend and I both ended up buying the bare minimum each, just so he would leave us alone. He kept lowering the price, and we ended up both spending £48 GBP—which is still a LOT of money for a skincare product.

We still chalk it up to us being stoned and not firm enough with our answer. Anyways, a month goes by and I remember our stupid mistake, so I decided to Google the product. Turned out a lot of old rich people really liked its apparent anti-aging properties; it was listed on eBay for around double the price at its cheapest.

I quickly list it at the going price, and it's bought for a whopping £115, including the postage. Funnily enough, my friend had decided to open his bottle the second we got back from the mall to make the most of his purchase. He absolutely flipped when I told him the going price—and even more so when I sold mine. I'm glad I waited!

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

34. Lend A Helping Arm

An elbow buddy. We bought a new car, which we loved, but after a few weeks my hubby was almost in tears because the armrest on the driver’s left side was so uncomfortable, and he felt he had made a terrible mistake in buying a car that aggravated his arm and hand pain. I found an "elbow buddy" on Amazon for around $20 that solved the problem.

It's a foam cushion with an adhesive that vastly improved the new car. Still going strong after four years.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

35. One Pill Makes You More Independent

Birth control pills from an online international pharmacy. I know that there are some creditors that will make blissfully unaware recommendations, but there are many, many women who do not have easy access in the US. When I lived in SC, Planned Parenthood was a two-hour drive, and county health services meant a three-month wait for an appointment.

If you could wait three months, on the day of your appointment you would still wait for hours to see the doctor. This doctor would perform a brutal and cold tabby pap smear. This would then be followed by bullying. He would not prescribe birth control pills, but would try to coerce women into depo Provera or Norplant. I am so happy that I took a chance on the $3 a month pills that Indian pharmacy sent me.

They worked just fine for the 15 years that I lacked access.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

36. Man’s Best Friend Didn’t Break the Bank

When I was about 10 years old, my parents and I were in our backyard clearing out a ton of weeds that had gotten out of hand. I had trouble focusing because our next-door neighbor had this really adorable puppy and all I wanted to do was play with him. We found out that they were actually going to take him to an animal shelter because their son was not taking care of him like he promised.

I decided to ask my parents if maybe we could get him instead. I was an only child and never really had anyone to play with unless a friend came over. The thought of having a puppy to play with whenever I wanted to was great. My parents agreed and our neighbors offered to sell him to us for $20, which is really cheap for a dog, when you think about it.

I had that saved up and immediately agreed and promised I care for him and love him forever. So, he became my puppy, my brother. After a few days of debating I named him Snoopy. Snoopy became my closest friend. He made me laugh, played with me, and would just hang out and watch TV with me. He was always there for me, especially through some tough times in my life where I was extremely self-destructive.

He saved me from myself. He was there at my side through tough breakups when all I ever wanted to do was lay in bed. He was an amazing friend. He was there to see me graduate eight grade, high school, and college. I hoped he would be there on the day I got married and maybe be around for when I had kids, but unfortunately, as much as we wish for things, sometimes they don't happen.

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37. Small Package, Big Find

Bought some no-name Chinese brand earbuds for five dollars and waited three months for them to get shipped from China to America, then from America to Europe. A good friend of mine swore by these earbuds, and you could only buy direct from the supplier. As they weren't expensive, I decided to see for myself. Ordered them, forgot about it, then they arrived three months later.

When I opened the package, it was just hard plastic earbuds in a little plastic pouch and some bubble wrap, as well as a packing slip. My expectations were low to say the least. I immediately put them into my phone and played "Hotel California," and my GOD they were better than five bucks should have bought. My mouth was wide open, jaw to the floor.

I had to make sure my ears were not deceiving me. I plugged the cheap little earbuds into my Dad's prosumer grade DAC and played the smoothest rendition of ACDC's "Back in Black" I've heard to date. These things were stupidly shaped and hurt like hell in my ears, but they were beating out full-blown €110 studio monitor headphones.

The company that made them may be called like Monk or something, but to save my life I can't find any mention of them anywhere online. These earbuds come with me everywhere and I even accidentally put them through the washer, but they still worked fine. Perhaps my low expectations came into play, or perhaps products just cost a lot less to produce than I'm expecting, but I'm still gobsmacked by the quality of those tiny buds.

Refuse to purchase a phone without a 3.5mm because of those things.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

38. Hair (and Prices) That Can’t Compare

Saw an Instagram ad for a battery-powered hairbrush that, when powered on, emits negative ions into your hair to balance the negative/positive ions and instantly de-frizz your hair. I was skeptical at first because if something so useful and miraculous had been invented, why was I only just now learning about it via an Instagram ad?!

The ads and the website didn’t look super professional either. I also couldn’t find too many external reviews for it, which felt weird. But, I decided on a whim to order it anyway, not expecting it to work very well. After using it once, I decided there was no going back to regular hairbrushes. It’s such a game-changer!

People even notice that my hair is smoother and silkier! It totally WORKS, and I thought I was just a sucker, throwing my money away on a gimmicky piece of plastic that wouldn’t do anything. But it really does make a huge difference! I feel like a shill, but I’m really just so enthusiastic because it was an amazing purchase.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay

39. Mommy’s Little Venture Capitalist

Investment opportunity. I was 13 at the time, very naïve internet-wise, and my parents were dangerously liberal with their kids holding credit card information. I was surfing on a weird site and saw a link that promised a $600 payment to equal out to a $24,000 payment in a month. Me, being a naïve little jerk, put the credit card info in it, to an anonymous site that I don’t remember.

Parents were livid. Tried for hours to get money back, no luck. Credit card company wouldn’t refund it because it “was authorized by kejdfoirsnco” or some weird stuff. Anyway a few months later, my parents saw a transaction of $24,000 added to their account. Feel free to make theories.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

40. Sketchy Parts of a Cool Whole

About a decade ago, I bought a car titled “CAR FOR SALE” on Craigslist for 700 bucks. The person selling it ran a small little “business,” where he’d sell cars from lien auctions. There was one picture of the car, and when I opened the ad my jaw hit the floor: it was a 1988 Alfa Romeo Milano Verde—which is a pretty rare car in the US. Has an incredible engine (Alfa’s 3L V6h).

I called the guy and picked it up within the hour for 700 cash. The next day, I drove it from LA to Portland, and it made it just fine. I was there for two weeks, and as I was getting on the freeway to come back home, some kid ran a light and smashed into my car, killing it. I ended up staying in Portland for over a year because I didn’t really have a way back and at the time had nothing in LA that demanded my return.

But the kicker: because it’s a reasonably rare car, my insurance took a few months to pay out and when it did, I was astounded: I got a check for almost $10k. Later on in the year, I saw someone on the Alfa Romeo bulletin board had found the car at a junkyard, pulled the engine and put it in a racecar they were building.

So yeah. I think that sketchy purchase turned out alright.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsShutterstock

41. Turning Hate into a Home

I bought a $6,300 tiny house trailer from a MAGA guy out of state who said he’d take guns or cash and had a bunch of barking dogs. A little fixing up, and it has been a home for a homeless transgender youth for four months now!

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsFlickr, muffinn

42. Nothing Like a Heavy Hug

I bought a weighted blanket from a CVS. I needed a last-minute gift for my boss, so I got one for her on a whim. Turns out they had a buy-one-get-one-free deal, so I ended up with two. Boss lady loved it, so I opened the second one to see what all the fuss was about, and it is wonderful. It's like 50 bean bags sewn together and then covered in fleece.

I like to be the little spoon and my girlfriend hates cuddling. So, I let the blanket cuddle me. There is something about the bean bag weights that feels like you are being snuggled. I call it my hugging blanket.

Cheap Buy That Worked Out Well factsPixabay


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