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10 practical things you’ll use all the time that don’t cost a lot

Most of us are doing quite a bit of online shopping these days due to COVID-19. Browsing the corners of the internet is a bit different than browsing the aisles of the stores, though. It can be easy to fill the digital cart up with items you don’t need or won’t use — especially if they’re priced at a steal.

I like to spend time browsing online retail sites too, but I want to make sure my purchases aren’t all impulse buys. It’s nice to buy things on sale, but it’s even better to buy things that are practical that I’ll use and won’t break the budget.

Luckily, there are tons of low-cost items available online that will help you fix those annoying issues with eye strain or back pain. I’ve come across a few practical things lately that I thought would be wise to share with you. So, if you’re looking for a way to read in the dark or alleviate back pain, the items below may help you out while keeping you on track with your budget.

1. Raise your laptop to eye level to ease back and neck pain


I like to work from different spots in my house or while traveling, but setting a laptop on different surfaces with varying heights can be a pain in the neck and back — literally. This Nulaxy Laptop Stand Easy is a practical way to resolve those aching muscle issues that occur from adjusting your posture when your laptop sits too low.

What I like about this laptop stand is it can raise your laptop up to 6 inches in height to bring it to eye level, meaning you won’t have to strain your neck to see the screen. It’s easy to set up, disassemble, and can accommodate laptops that vary in size from 10-15 inches. Plus, it won’t cost you much — but will save you a big headache from eye strain and neck and back pain.

Related: 20 useful, practical products under $20 on Amazon you’ll wish you had sooner

2. Magnifying glass desk lamp perfect for close work 

The text size used for newspapers and books can strain my eyes after a while, but I really enjoy picking up a good book or paper every now and then. I recently came across a practical gadget that I think might help. It’s called the Brightech LightView PRO, and it’s a magnifier lamp that works to both magnify text and illuminate the pages at the same time.

What interests me about this magnifying desk lamp is that it can be used hands-free, unlike magnifying glasses or headsets that require you to hold them or strap them to you. And, while it can help out for my needs, it would also be useful for people who have vision problems. This lamp can focus in on things that are up to 8 inches away, and the built-in lumen LED lights it uses can last up to 20,000 hours in total.

3. Charge your phone by simply placing it down

Tracking down the charging cable for your phone can be a pain — especially if you take it from room to room as you need it. I don’t like having to keep my phone charging cable on hand, which is why the Belkin Wireless Charger 10W caught my eye recently.

This charging station doesn’t require you to plug your phone in to charge it. All you have to do is set it down on the wireless charge pad and let the charger do the work. This wireless charger offers up to 10 watts to make sure your phone charges quickly, and it works with a Qi-compatible phone — including Apple and Samsung devices.

4. Laptop, phone, e-reader and more bed tray

There are some days when it’s nice to decompress, but I still want to be able to comfortably use my devices when I need them — even during a Netflix binge. What I like about this Sofia + Sam Multi Tasking Laptop Bed Tray is that it lets you create an impromptu desk wherever you’re lounging from, whether that’s the sofa or the bed.

It’s small enough that it won’t be intrusive to the people lounging with you. Plus, it’s stylish and it folds flat for easy storage.

5. Readers with LED lights to see great at night

There are times when I want to read or flip through a magazine but don’t have enough light to do so comfortably. I came across these Bright LED Readers recently that pair reading glasses with an LED light source — a perfect fix for when it’s too dark to read.

There are a number of scenarios when these could be useful. They’re stylish enough to wear as normal reading glasses, but the LED lights would be great for reading in a car, on a plane, while camping, or in a dark room when you don’t want to disturb the rest of your family. I can think of a ton of places I would use them, so if you’re someone who likes to read late at night or while camping in the great outdoors, they might be useful for you, too.

6. Cushion for your tush that eases strain

Most of us sit for hours on end during the workweek, and it can be a serious pain in the rear after a while. I’ve dealt with my share of back and tailbone pain from sitting in front of the computer for long stints, but I think this Everlasting Comfort Seat Cushion could help. You may want to check it out if you’re dealing with a similar issue.

What I found interesting about this cushion is the unique U-shaped ergonomic design, which is designed to alleviate the pressure caused by sitting in strategic areas. It also utilizes a heat-responsive technology in the foam cushion to mold to the shape of your bottom, which provides the support you need while sitting for long periods of time. I think this could also be useful outside of work, too — it could be tossed in the car for road trips, used while gardening, or while hanging out on the patio in the fall.

7. Mirror or extend your screen to HDTV, monitor or projector

There are times when I like to share what’s on my laptop screen with others, but that can be tough to do when multiple people are crowding around. I prefer to mirror or cast what’s on my screen instead — which is why I found the HooToo USB C Hub to be an interesting little gadget.

This hub lets you quickly and easily plug in and mirror your computer or device screen to another screen — like a TV or larger monitor — and it can be used to transfer movies and music or charge your devices, too. It works with a ton of different devices and offers a 4K USB C to HDMI port, a 100 watt power charging port, multiple USB 3.0 ports, and SD and TF card slots.

8. Smart pill organizer keeps you on track

If you’re someone who takes supplements or prescription pills on a regular basis, or if you’re in charge of keeping track of a family member or pet’s pills, you may be interested in the Sagely Smart XL Weekly Pill Organizer. This pillbox is perfect for people who need to keep track of a week’s worth of meds and will even let you set reminders via the app.

What I like about this pill box is that it can be organized to hold either 7 daily AM/PM medication doses or 14 days worth of daily pills. It’s easy to open — which makes it great for people who have arthritis or manual dexterity issues — and you can download the free Sagely Pill Reminder App on both Android and Apple devices to help remind you to take your pills.

9. Keep your laptop cool

I’m always using my laptop on the run, and I’ve noticed over the years that it can get very hot when placed directly on certain surfaces. I worry about the damage that can be done by overheating, which is why I thought this TopMate C5 10-15.6 inch Gaming Laptop Cooler to fix the issue.

It can cool your laptop with the help of five different fans, but it can also help raise your laptop to eye level if you’re dealing with neck or back pain or eye strain from a low-sitting laptop. Plus, I also like that you can adjust the cooling speeds and fan operation modes via an LCD screen and button panel, which makes it easy to crank up the cooling if you need to.

10. Track your blood pressure using your phone

Blood pressure issues are concerning, and it’s important to keep an eye on your it if you’re dealing with hypertension issues or irregular heartbeats. I like this GreaterGoods Bluetooth Full Set Blood Pressure Monitor Cuff and Kit, which gives you everything you need to monitor your blood pressure and track it over time via an app on your phone.

This kit comes with everything you need to measure systolic and diastolic blood pressure wherever you are. It can be plugged into the wall when you’re at home or used on the go with the backup batteries. The blood pressure readings will automatically store in your phone via Bluetooth and the app, and you can store up to 120 entries to share with your doctor and keep in your files. It’s perfect for people who want to monitor their blood pressure readings from wherever they’re at — and it works with both Android and iOS phones.

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