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These Under-$25 Buys Are Kind Of Perfect

Life is expensive. Student loans, rent, phone bills, groceries — it's no wonder we spend our hard-earned paychecks so quickly. And, who could forget little splurges like Ubers, dining out, and, of course, shoes? We could go on, but let's talk about something decidedly more budget-friendly, instead: those small indulgences we purchase to brighten our days. Because, well, pug-print socks will do that for you.
We asked our staff for their go-to, under-$25 buys, and got some interesting responses. Some are kind of random (produce-preserving disks), some are super convenient (thermal socks), and some are seemingly frivolous (until now). Ahead, check out our favorite affordable picks. They're reason enough to treat yourself to Seamless tonight.
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"I got my Bobble water bottle as a stocking stuffer. It's the only water bottle that I've never lost. It's especially great because I'm terrible at staying hydrated, and I'm much more likely to do that when I have something cute and sustainable to use. And, with the colorful cap and replaceable filter, what's not to love?" — Julie Bogen, assistant social media editor
2 of 20
"I always pull on a pair of 'safety' micro bike shorts whenever I wear skirts. It allows you to do whatever you want in a skirt, without the fear of flashing anyone." — Jinnie Lee, staff writer
3 of 20
"Produce-preserver disks are like actual magic. They absorb the ethane in your produce drawer, making fruit and vegetables last so much longer. No more mushy apples! No more throwing out half a head of lettuce!" — Kelsey Miller, senior features writer
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"There are people who drop a month's rent on piles of luxury beauty products, but that's definitely not in my budget. Instead, I go for a multitasking product, like L’Oréal Paris’ Youth Code Pore Vanisher. It makes my skin look smoother, my pores smaller, plus it absorbs excess oil — all at a price that doesn't require I give up my firstborn. And, less stress on my bank account means less stress affecting my skin. Win!" — Ashley Mateo, staff writer

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"I get pretty into the holidays, starting with Halloween and going strong through New Year's. Naturally, themed cookie cutters are one of my favorite cheap buys whenever I stop into Sur La Table. A dollar and 99 cents for this three-pack — don't mind if I do." — Ellen Hoffman, associate shopping editor
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"I don't mean to go all Game of Thrones on y'all, but winter is coming. I have poor blood circulation, so my feet — especially my toes — go cold and numb during these months. Toasti Toes' adhesive heating pads are what I rely on to get my tootsies out of frozen purgatory. They work even better than a boyfriend’s hands: Stick them under your socks, and you’re all warmed up for the next eight hours.” — Venus Wong, living production assistant
7 of 20
"I have the coldest hands and feet, so anything that'll help me retain the little heat I've got in my limbs is insanely necessary. These Heattech socks from Uniqlo work wonders in the fall and winter, when Mother Nature refuses to play by the rules. They're also pretty cheap, so I don't feel guilty for buying another pack when I mysteriously lose one in the dryer." — Jada Wong, staff writer
8 of 20
"Dove's dry shampoo has pretty much changed my life. It's super affordable and smells amazing. Even on a third or fourth day without a real washing, my hair feels and smells fresh." — Alyssa Coscarelli, contributor network assistant
9 of 20
"Glade Apple Cinnamon candles are great. They're a super cheap way to brighten my mood, and make any room feel instantly cozy and smell delicious." — Emily O'Brien, software engineer
10 of 20
"This is the soap I've been telling everyone about — it's GENIUS and not harmful or full of chemicals." — Larissa Green, social media editor

Fels-Naptha Heavy Duty Laundry Soap Bar, $3.30, available at Soap.com.
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"The Boi-ing concealer is a great buy for $20 because it's super compact for on-the-go and a little goes a long way. The product offers a lot of coverage but is not heavy on the skin, nor does it cause breakouts like some concealers I've tried. It's often tricky for me to find concealer that matches my pale pink skin tone AND covers my under-eye bags, but this stuff is great for both. If I could only pick one beauty product to use every day, this would be the one." — Rockie Nolan, photo assistant
12 of 20
"The Swiffer and Mr. Clean Magic Eraser may not have changed my life, but they certainly have made it a lot easier. I honestly can't remember life before Swiffer (or I try not to) but I guess it involved a broom and a dustpan and maybe a Dustbuster (yikes). The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser has turned my bathtub from yellowish to white, removed scuff marks from my kitchen tiles, and ink stains from my leather wallet, and so on. Magic, indeed." — Cindy Augustine, entertainment content editor
13 of 20
"My life goal is to own a pug. But, at the ripe age of 21, I'm not at a place to be a dog owner just yet. These adorable Forever 21 socks give me a subtle (and incredibly cute) outlet for my obsession." — Ana Colon, shopping production assistant
14 of 20
"The BeautyBlender is practically every makeup artist's secret weapon, so when I first got my hands on a set, I fell in love. I now have five in constant rotation — one for concealer, one for foundation, one for blending contours, one for blushes, and one that I keep clean (you can dip it in a bit of loose powder to set your application before you walk out the door). A friend of mine, Melanie Inglessis, is known for painting the faces of Lea Michele and Olivia Wilde. She loves to soak hers in ice-cold rose water, then squeeze them out before using to apply foundation. It's also ideal for concealing zits — use the finer tip, because its rounded edges offer application a brush can't. (Think about it — it's covering the full surface area of a raised spot, whereas bristles would miss other parts!) If you're looking for lightweight, even coverage, you can't be without one." — Phillip Picardi, senior beauty editor
15 of 20
"While I don't consider myself a gym rat, having a little me-time with the treadmill every week is a big part of my life. Before, no matter what kind of headphones I used during my workouts, they never seemed to stay in place — and trust me when I say that taking time to re-adjust during a run is the most frustrating thing in the world. But, by some miracle, I found these guys, the only earbud headphones I can use during my workouts without ever having to fuss around." — Banu Ibrahim, shopping intern
16 of 20
"This iPhone case is literally the best and worst thing to happen to me. On one hand, it's definitely one of the best cases I've owned when it comes to being easy to carry. It's extremely convenient for me to just slip my fingers into the slots and carry it along with me easy peasy during my commute and it's perfect for when (if) I go on runs. On the other hand, I have to endure stares and even comments from strangers whenever I go out in public. If you're looking for some serious street cred (or are just looking for something to intimidate that creepy guy at the bar), you should snag this bad boy. It's also only $5 on Amazon so, like, why wouldn't you? I promise it will instantly make you the most popular person at every party." — Taylor Bryant, beauty production assistant
17 of 20
"I think part of becoming a woman is learning to take good care of your delicates. And, this stuff makes it really easy. Plus, it's free of any toxins and really gentle on your skin." — Ali Hoffman, L.A. editor
18 of 20
"I'm a huge fan of the Burt's Bees Lip Crayon in Redwood, its nice, lush red and adds the perfect amount of shine." — Betsy Mullinix, photo editor
19 of 20
"I've been hardcore stepping up my sock game as of late. Look at my ankles right now and you'll undoubtedly notice a higher cuff with exposed pop of pattern. And, Stance Socks help me achieve that. They're honestly the best stockings, ever: they're fun, fitted (i.e., no rolling down), and they actually do the job socks are supposed to do (keeping me fresh)." — Bobby Schuessler, senior fashion market editor

Stance Socks, assorted styles, $12 - $14, available at Stance Socks.
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"This eyeliner totally changed the game for me. On my commute to work one morning my eyeliner got super smudged so I ran into a drugstore to pick up something to touch up my cat eyes. Little did I know this under $3 liner would do the trick and last all day. After spending years buying the pricey stuff, I'm totally a drugstore beauty convert now." — Alison Ives, editorial assistant

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