Top 7 Inexpensive but Indispensible Things

4 min read · Posted on: Dec 1, 2009 · Print this page

I was shifting to a new house in Mangalore recently. I realised that some of the things that I value the most were not the typical big screen home theatre system or a luxurious jacuzzi.

Without sounding too cliched, let me say that some of the best things in life are not expensive. Here are some of the best things you can buy for less than Rs. 8K (around $160):

Wifi Router

This is a blessing for those with frequently off working hours calls or if you have multiple laptops. The convenience of being able to work near the balcony enjoying the quiet scenery and sipping tea is divine.

Small Water Heater

This is a pet peeve of mine. Hot water is absolutely essential for a bath. Even in summer. Yep. Nothing gives you a better satisfaction that a hot bath after a warm day. And in Mangalore it’s either raining in buckets or it’s hot and humid. I would recommend that you go for a 8l one if you want a good tradeoff between heating time and power consumption.

Portable Harddisk

I am sure most of us have tried using CDs for backing up all those wonderful photos and songs we have. The problem is - CD are not really great for organising data. It is readonly and once you burn it, there is no way to go back and change it. There are, of course, other problems like limited space and suceptibility to scratches.

Harddisk prices have gone down… a lot. So there is really no excuse for not getting one. There are sub-terrabyte ones at throwaway prices. I recommend the Western Digital’s handy Passport 500 GB.


Can anyone guess what’s the most heaviest thing to transport? Yep, it is undoubtedly books. The weight of a carton of books can exceed that of a TV, Microwave or even a carton full of iron boxes. I think everyone who love books would have had to part with them if they have had to travel a lot. They would have given away most of it to friends or relatives, never to see them back again.

This is sad. I don’t like giving away books. Neither do I want to kill my desire to create a personal library. I suggest an eco-friendly compromise - make a digital library. Do invest in Ebooks and Audio books. I have invested heavily in a collection that I am sure I can use anywhere once ebook readers become more cheaper. For now, I don’t mind reading them on my laptop. And yes, my library weighs less than a kilo ;)


I am a guy who is always tempted to buy game consoles. I have made up my mind a hundred times to buy a playstation or a nintendo, only to find that the latest PC is much better at it. And you know what PCs are always ahead in terms of sheer processing power. Except that they have clumsy input devices. Ever tried to play a racing game with a keyboard? Then you will know what I am talking about.

This is easily fixable. A USB gamepad (which looks like a PS2 Gamepad) comes in for less than Rs. 500. It is a great value for money. It has all the 4 way controls, shoulder buttons and 2 joysticks. Plus it has a built-in vibrator (no batteries needed)! I am planning to go for a second one. Now you can safely give your PC to your 5-year old cousin to play Mario Kart without fearing that he with smash your keyboard to bits shouting ‘Maaario’:)

Decent Mattress

Some one rightly said that we spend one-thirds of our life on a mattress. So why not in a really good one? There are cots in the market all the way from Rs 200 to branded mattresses worth several tens of thousands. Go for a really good branded mattress. It might cost a couple of grand, but you will not lose sleep over it ;)

Portable Home-kit

A briefcase sized kit that contains a small drill, spanners, measuring tape, pipe wrench, screwdriver set etc costs less that Rs. 2000 these days. I think it is well worth the price.

Those were, in my opinion, the best little things that don’t cost you a fortune. What are the ones you feel give you great value for money? Do add in your comments.

Arun Ravindran profile pic

Arun Ravindran

Arun is the author of "Django Design Patterns and Best Practices". Works as a Product Manager at Google. Avid open source enthusiast. Keen on Python. Loves to help people learn technology. Find out more about Arun on the about page.

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