10 Useful Items That Improved My Life This Year
Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about what I can share here on ken-saunders.com that would make a difference in the lives of my readers. I actually spend a lot of time thinking about this topic; it is, after all, the reason I started this blog. I want to share the things I come across that are helpful, fun, and useful in my life with the hope they will be in yours too.
I was out walking Mr. FancyPants, and it came to me. I started thinking about those products, and services gadgets that have made the most difference in my life, especially since COVID began, when we all had to retreat to our homes. From kitchen gadgets to health and wellness items. So here are the 10 most useful items that have continued to improve my life. It is my hope you find them useful as well.
Useful Item #1: Ninja Foodi
The Ninja Foodi has been an absolute game-changer in my kitchen. This useful item is one of those things I didn’t know I needed; this is not even an exaggeration. This multi-cooker takes the place of so many other appliances. I can use it as an air fryer, slow cooker, pressure cooker, and more. It’s so versatile, and it has made meal prep so much easier. With the Ninja Foodi, I can make everything from crispy zucchini fries and roasted vegetables to succulent pulled pork and hearty stews to a full chicken or pizza (keto, of course).
The Ninja Foodi is also incredibly easy to use. The interface is straightforward, and the instructions are clear. Plus, it’s dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is a breeze. I also love that I can set it and walk away. I can just put all the ingredients in the pot, set the timer, and let it do its thing. It’s so convenient, and it has definitely made mealtime more enjoyable. I don’t think I’ve turned on my stove since we got this. We started with the original and quickly moved to the fold-away ninja. We now have the one in the picture above. I always used to say that I believe every young adult going off to college should be given a crockpot. I still believe that, but I’ve since added the Ninja Foodi to that list.
Useful Item #2: DeeBot N8+
There are a lot of robotic vacuums out there. I compared functions, reviews, and prices before deciding on the DeeBot N8+. My house is now cleaner than ever, thanks to my DeeBot vacuum cleaner; her name is Hazel in honor of the Jetsons cartoon show (go look it up). This robotic cleaner is perfect for busy people like me who don’t have the time, energy, or desire to vacuum daily. The DeeBot has powerful suction, so it picks up dirt, dust, and pet hair quickly and effectively. Plus, it can be programmed to clean specific rooms or certain areas of the house. It is pretty smart, too; she maps out our house and “knows” where all of the furniture is, even Mr. FancyPants’ dog bed.
The DeeBot is also incredibly easy to use. Once you’ve set up the DeeBot, All you have to do is press a button, and the DeeBot does the rest. Like all smart devices, it has an app where I can view its cleaning status and adjust the settings. I can set a schedule, so it cleans the house while I’m away. This has been a lifesaver, and I’m so thankful for it. Once she is done, she returns to her base and empties out her dustbin automatically. The added bonus is the model I have also has a mopping function. I honestly don’t really use that feature; it is nice to know it’s there if I wanted to. Use this link for 43% off.
Use Item #3: YNAB
YNAB (You Need a Budget) has been a game-changer for my family’s finances. This budgeting app helps me stay on top of my finances and track my spending. YNAB makes it easy to set budgets and track my progress. I can also set reminders to stay on top of payments, and the app will alert me when I’m overspending or when I need to adjust my budget. The main principle of YNAB is that every dollar has a purpose, so you only assign money that you actually have to the category you’ve set up. Once you have assigned your money each paycheck, you will have a “ready to assign” amount, and it should be 0$ by the time you allocated all of your available dollars; this seemed kind of backward to the way I think. We now budget for trips, vacations, Xmas, and other things that are important to us. The available balance for these items continues to grow, and if there is an unexpected expense, you can transfer available money from one category to another.
The bottom line is YNAB helps me stay organized. I can track my spending in different categories, so I always know where my money goes. This has been incredibly helpful for staying on top of my finances and avoiding overspending. Plus, the app is user-friendly, so I can easily make changes or updates whenever necessary. There is a great online community of users that have always been incredibly helpful to me, not to mention their customer service who are outstanding. Use this link for a 34-day trial.
Useful Item #4: Factor75 Meals
Eating healthy can be difficult, especially when you’re short on time. That’s why I’m so thankful for Factor75 meals. These pre-made meals are made with wholesome ingredients, and they’re delicious. Plus, they take minutes to prepare, so I can have a nutritious meal in no time.
I also love that I can customize my meals. I can choose from vegetarian, vegan, keto, and paleo options, so I can always find something that fits my dietary needs. Factor chefs are always adding new recipes, which means I can choose from a variety of meals, so I never get bored. Factor75 meals have definitely made mealtimes easier and more enjoyable. Cost-wise, I felt like they saved us money in the end, especially given the prices recently in the grocery store. If I were to buy all the ingredients, prep, and cook the meals, the cost would come out to about the same. We are getting 10 meals per week, so that’s five days of meals for two people. It averaged out to between six and seven dollars per meal. Try them out with this link and get 150$ off.
Useful Item #5: Sutera – Contour Memory Pillow
I’ve always been a restless sleeper, but I finally found a pillow that helps me get a good night’s rest. The Sutera Contour Memory Pillow is designed to provide maximum comfort and support. It’s made with memory foam, so it molds to the shape of my head and neck. Plus, it’s adjustable, so I can customize the pillow to my needs. My main problem was always waking up with horrible neck pain due to a pinched nerve.
The Sutera pillow has improved my sleep quality tremendously. I’m able to get a full night’s rest and wake up feeling refreshed. Plus, I love that it’s hypoallergenic and dust-mite-resistant. It’s also super easy to clean, so I don’t have to worry about allergens or dust buildup. I even bring it with me when I travel cause who trusts hotel pillows?
Useful Item #6: Withings Sleep Mat
Sleep is an important part of my daily routine, and the Withings Sleep Mat has made a huge difference. This sleeping mat tracks my sleep patterns, so I can get a better understanding of my sleep cycles. I can also set sleep goals and get personalized insights to help me get better sleep.
The Withings Sleep Mat has a few other features that have been helpful. It monitors my heart rate and breathing, so I can get an accurate reading of my sleep quality. It can detect snoring and will alert me when I need to adjust my sleep position. This has been a great tool for getting better sleep.
Useful Item #7: Withings Body Comp Scale
Staying healthy is important to me, especially as I get older. My Withings Body Comp Scale helps me stay on track. I have owned several Withings products, including earlier versions of this scale. This scale tracks my weight, body fat, water percentage, and muscle mass, so I always have an accurate reading of my health. Plus, I can sync it with my phone and track my progress over time. It has Apple Health integration which is useful if you are using an iPhone.
The Withings Body Comp Scale comes with a year’s subscription to Withings Health+ service (and then a $79.00 renewal at the end of the year). Health+ provides tools and additional information to keep you and your health goals on track. I love my Body Comp Scale. It has been a great tool for staying healthy.
Useful Item #8: Travel Needs – Leather Carry-On Weekender
Since things have largely opened up. I’m always on the go, so I’m thankful for my Travel Needs Leather Carry-On Weekender. This bag is the perfect size for a weekend getaway, and it’s incredibly stylish. It has plenty of pockets and compartments to keep my things organized, and the leather is high-quality and durable. Last month I really put it to the test. I was going away for four days to Portland and wanted to see if I could manage to pack everything I needed into one carry-on. It was exactly the right size after I decided I really didn’t need 5 pairs of shoes for a 4-day weekend.
The Travel Needs bag has been great for air travel. It fits easily in the overhead compartment, and I can bring it on the plane with me. I’m heading to Mexico next week, and you can be sure I’ll be bringing this Weekender with me. This has been an indispensable travel companion. It’s 22% off now with this link.
Useful Item #9: SocialBee
Social media can be overwhelming, but SocialBee makes it easy. Once you go through the setup or Onboarding, This app really helps you manage your social media accounts all in one place. I can easily post updates, track analytics, and add fresh content more easily than with other Social Media management services out there. Social Bee operates with a really straightforward principle.
Once you have added your social media profiles, you next move on to the Categories tab, where you will be setting up your content “buckets”, as I call them. This is, in my opinion, what makes SocialBee shine. They have a saying Content is King, and it is true. A content bucket is basically a scheduled folder for different types of content you want to post to specific social networks. I’ve included a picture below to help give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.
This idea of a content category is really power. I have a Curate News category setup, as you can see in the image above. I know I want to deliver useful content to my subscribers and readers, but I only post 1 or 2 articles per week. This category resolves the issue. It is tied to my Pocket account, so when I’m browsing through my Feedly feed, and I see an article that I want to share, all I have to do is add it to Pocket with the tag “CN”. The article link and image will automatically get dumped into the Curated News Bucket and go out on the schedule I’ve set up. This is just one example of how SocialBee makes keeping things fresh and interesting really easy. This way of sharing also resolves the issue of attributing an article to its source.
SocialBee has been amazingly helpful in staying organized as well as reclaiming time. I can view all my accounts in one place and quickly switch between them. Plus, I can set up automated tasks and schedule posts. This has been a great tool for staying on top of my social media accounts. I wouldn’t be without it. You can signup for a free trial here. If you do, let me know what you think.
Useful Item #10: Toyfid – Minimalist Card Wallet for Men
My Toyfid Minimalist Card Wallet for Men resolved a problem most men have, fat wallet butt syndrome. This wallet is crazy slim and lightweight, so it fits easily in any of my pockets. It has plenty of compartments for cards and cash, and the RFID protection keeps my information safe. Plus, the leather is high-quality and durable.
The Toyfid wallet also has a few other features that have been helpful. It has an anti-slip money band on so I can keep my cash organized. Plus, I can easily access my cards without having to open my wallet. This has been a great tool for keeping my cards and cash organized. Use this link for 28% off.
The past year has been a reminder that it is often the small things that can have a tremendous impact. From kitchen gadgets to health and wellness items, the 10 items discussed in this article have made a huge difference in my life. Together, they have brought convenience, improved health, and enhanced my quality of life in many ways. It’s the little things that can make all the difference, and I’m incredibly grateful for all of them.
Let’s continue the conversation! What small things have made a big impact on your life? Share your stories in the comments below, and don’t forget to signup for my monthly newsletter – The Online Toolshed.