Our Favorite Thrifty Things of 2015 + Ooma Telo Giveaway

Taking a play out of Oprah’s playbook – we have decided to do another “Favorite Things” post – but with a little twist. All of the items listed are some of our favorite thrifty things from 2015 that (one way or another) help to save more money.

Along with our list, we are giving away one of the items (that will be revealed later in the post) to a TTG email subscriber. So if you’ve been delaying subscribing to our emails, now is a great time to get in on this!

So here are some of our favorite things. Feel free to share one or more of your favorite thrifty things from this past year in the comments section!

Tuft & Needle Mattress

tuft needle bedThis past summer, our son left the nest and is now living on his own. As a going-away gift, we decided to purchase a mattress for him. Not wanting to spend an arm-and-a-leg (and you certainly can) – we had heard some good things about a mattress selling on Amazon for a flat $600 (queen – they have a twin bed that sells for $350).

Everyone we heard from raved about this mattress. And, it is one of the highest rated mattresses at Amazon. It ships free and arrives in a large cardboard box (it’s quite heavy – so make sure you have some muscles handy). My son says it is the best bed he’s ever owned – and he doesn’t even use a box-spring.

It comes with a free 100-day trial (if you buy direct from their website) and if you don’t like the bed, Tuft & Needle just asks that you donate it to a nearby charity/thrift store and they’ll refund your money.

Since you spend so much time sleeping, I think a decent / fair-priced bed is worth it in the long-run.

Saddleback Leather ID Wallet

Saddleback Leather’s ID wallet

A thrifty guy has got to own a good wallet – and this one is hands-down, the best I’ve ever owned. I’m not against paying a premium for items that are going to last – because it will likely save you more in the long haul.

Enter the Saddleback Front Pocket ID Wallet ($39). This bad boy is tough and durable. I’ve had mine for a couple years now – and hope to never buy another wallet again. In fact, Saddleback products come with a 100-year warranty “against defects in materials and workmanship”. Now, that’s standing behind your product.

Credit Karma

We’ve had the opportunity to work with these guys in person and they are the real deal. There are so many things you can learn by going to their website. They offer tons of resources and aids, along with a two credit scores and two credit reports, from Equifax and TransUnion.

Credit Karma is even backed by Google. They hope to be the go-to stop for all your financial needs in the future – in case you need to refinance a student loan, finance a car or get customized insurance quotes.

Best of all, the site is free.


Intrigued by claims that he and his family could save as much as 30% on their home energy bills – Charlie investigated Nest thermostats and installed one at his house.

Four months later, he realized about 20% savings in his bills – and loves the new gadget. Aside from it’s initial upfront costs (currently $249 at Amazon), the Nest remains a thrifty device that can save you money every month. There are sure to be more of these “smart” objects coming your way soon as the “internet of things” expands and causes our homes to be more intelligent.

Ooma Telo

ooma teloEven though you probably have a cell phone, chances are there is a landline sitting idle at home. While they aren’t used as much as they were back in the day – landline’s are great to have in case of emergencies, when the cell phone is charging or if you want to take a break from all that radiation. 

Charlie and I both own an Ooma Telo – and love it. In fact, we’ve had the privilege to partner with them at the site and would recommend their products to anyone looking to lower their landline bill. Charlie has managed to save over $1,000 by dropping his regular provider and switching to Ooma back in 2012.

Win a Ooma Telo!
Ooma is graciously providing one Telo (a $130 value) to a lucky TTG reader. All you have to do is comment below and state your favorite thrifty gadget of 2015! One entry per person and you must be a email subscriber to be eligible. Deadline to comment / enter is 12/20 at midnight CST. A winner will be announced the following day.

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  1. Ruth says:

    My favorite thrifty item is TING. We switched our cell phones over and went from $80 a month down to about $30 a month and this is with two lines.

  2. Kat says:

    These are some good ones. I could use all of them today. I have always wanted to try the Nest 20% off bills? Sounds like a plan for 2016! . My daughter is ready for a “big girl bed” Tuft and Needle is the answer for a “big girl makeover” for her room! and I am soooooo ready to drop my landline provider since the landline is gathering dust.

    I love this blog!

    good stuff!

  3. Martin morin says:

    I haven’t tried it yet but I think credit karma is going to help me get my score up. After the holidays I will give it a try.

  4. Kent says:

    My favorite thrifty thing is Republic Wireless. The least expensive phone plan I could find with reliable service.

    Keep up the good work and Thrifty Christmas to you!

  5. Nancy Black says:

    Hi Guys! I don’t have a favorite gadget because while I will look and dream I can’t spend the money on them. I’d love any thing. My Mom had a heart attack in October and my funds are spent keeping her in her own home. I absolutely drooled over the Turf & Needle bed! I don’t know how many times I’ve visited their site..lol. I would estimate at least a hundred times! Everything you have tried I have viewed and dreamed of.

    Happy Holidays to ALL!

  6. Tamra H says:

    My favorite thrifty gadget is the Chromecast – you can stream video from the internet or Netflix. Good first step to cutting the cord!

  7. Banks B. says:

    Definitely the Nest thermostat. The intuitive, self-programming nature of the device has been helping tremendously thus far this winter. Being able to adjust the temperature without getting out of bed in the morning is a nice feature, too.

  8. Bjorn says:

    I will say two – the Roku Streaming stick AND Republic Wireless – two things we got in 2015 and really love them. In large part thanks to great bloggers like you Three Thrifty Guys! I also am interested in Ooma so that might be my next favorite for 2016 :) (would love to win)

  9. Rachel B says:

    I’m with Nancy – I don’t necessarily own many “thrifty gadgets” because I don’t have a lot of money. I have used a TracFone for the last several years, and I like that if I’m feeing exceptionally poor at a particular time, I can just not call anyone for a month. Though once my minutes run out next year, I’m going to look into Ting and Republic Wireless a bit more.

  10. Patrick McHugh says:

    My thrifty gadget of 2015 is the the Ooma Telo as it has saved us thousands of dollars over the years between a a home line and a business line, on the same device!! My runner up is Roku, streaming shows and movies from Netflix and Amazon!

  11. Judi in NJ says:

    This year, my thriftiest gadget is my car–I’ve been doing a year long purge and have filled my car many times over in order to donate those items to a variety of charities. It’s nine years old and keeps on chugging, and I’ll keep it until it no longer pays to fix it. Happy New Year.

  12. Lisa says:

    My Firestick and Plex! Got the Firestick for $20 last year and with Plex, I get free tv and plenty of movies by sharing my library with others!

  13. Dane says:

    Ooma is very reliable and very very cheap to have as your VOIP provider. With the basic rate around $3.50 per month for my area. Certainly beats what Comcast was charging me.

  14. Debra says:

    Ooma, had it for several years, very reliable and only about $5 a month. We use it in Mexico also. Next is Roku and Chromecast.

  15. John Braddy says:

    My thrift is Ooma. How good is it? I retired from Bellsouth Telco (now ATT) and my phone from them is basically free. And although I still have internet and Uverse with ATT, I have my landline with Ooma. Been with them for about 5 years now and have never had a complaint. The only cost is my monthly taxes which runs about $5 per month. I’ve sure sold a lot of other folks on Ooma too…

  16. TRACY SIMMS says:

    I found the Rabbit TV flash drive at the Dollar Tree. I like it because I can catch up on some tv shows for free and I can subscribe if I want to or not. I hope to win on my birthday 12/21 too so that would be funn! Thanks for all you do..Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

  17. Kristen Rush says:

    Favorite thrifty things are Roku & Amazon Fire TV Stick. We cut the cable cord about 6 years ago and have never.looked.back. Amazon Prime gets me a zillion fabulous movies and shows, both through the Roku and the Fire Stick, and speedy, free shipping (which I use and use and use).

  18. Andrea von Moeller says:

    My greatest thrifty gadgets this year were Apple TV and Ooma telephone.
    Unbelievable what you can save and do even more@

  19. Rachel E says:

    Not necessarily a ‘gadget’ but we started using You Need A Budget this year and it’s done wonders for us. Now my (former)’see money, spend money’ hubby and I are on the same page with money.

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