Lower-cost Alternatives to Popular Household Items For My New Home

My tenant’s lease is finally running out and it’s a matter of days till I get my apartment. Having wanting to move out for years now, I cannot be more excited. Unfortunately, I also have a rather limited budget, so I have been doing my research on stretching my dollar. Does one really need an OLED TV or Dyson vacuum? Here are some alternatives I think is more sensible to the wallet.

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The TV is first thing I thought of getting for my new home. I’m really into tech stuff like this, and a television is a tech product that is the centrepiece of our home’s living rooms. I assumed I’d get the best – an OLED, right? But as much as the mile chaser in me salivate at getting miles for a $4,000 flatscreen, I think my sensible self quickly dismissed the idea for more practical alternatives.

OLED may have truly dark blacks which result in a better picture, but I feel like such nitpicky details are too esoteric even for someone like me. I’m pretty sure that the size of the TV is the one and only thing most people would notice, and LCD is such a mature technology that the picture quality is simply good enough for non-purists.

So goodbye LG and your really black blacks, and accompanying LG out the door are name brands like Sony, Samsung etc. If I’m getting LCD for cost savings, brand probably matters the least, right? Well… not really.

I considered getting a Prism TV, which has aggressively marketed on Facebook. 65” LCD for $999 isn’t too shabby. Then I found that there’s this local brand named Toasty that sold a 65” for $839. Unfortunately, I just can’t take a brand called Toasty all that seriously.

It was then I found the perfect compromise between branding and price – the Xiaomi 4S TV was recently released for international markets, which means it now has full English menus and the Google Play Store unlike sets sold in China.

Actually, it wasn’t even a compromise on price because at $838, this was really the cheapest 65-inch TV I can find, and Xiaomi is a brand that I really like. I have since placed an order and really look forward to doing a more in-depth review! It also comes in smaller sizes if you think 65” is too big.


Dyson holds the greatest mindshare when it comes to vacuums, and their influence is obvious from the countless number of clones of their appliances you can find online. I was quite keen on getting a Dyson myself, but again – as I am wont to do – I did a cost-benefit analysis and feel like something that costs 3 to 5 times the competition should really be at least 2 times better.

Please let me know if you feel otherwise, but based on my experience with lower-cost knock-offs alternatives and Dyson, I don’t see a discernible difference and both perform their jobs well.

My friend swears by Dibea, while I – at the risk of appearing too pro-Xiaomi – prefer the sleek white look of Xiaomi vacuums. More research is in order, but it won’t be a Dyson for me. Let me know if you have any suggestions!


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Here is where I think people will vehemently disagree with me, but I don’t see the point of getting a really expensive mattress. I do think that quality matters, but I think price is conflated with quality far too often.

Personally, I would start with something cheap first but well-reviewed one first. If that really causes discomfort or back aches, I’ll get something pricier, but I really don’t feel like I would be willing to spend more than $500 to $700 on this.

I actually bought something for less than $150, and I even managed to get a bolster and pillow along with it. Wish me (and my back) good luck, but I feel I’ll get the same quality of rest as I get with the $4,000 mattress my parents got for me years ago. 4 digits for a mattress? No way.

Suggestions (or disagreements)?

Any other suggestions how to save money on household items? Or perhaps you swear by a particular name brand? Let me know in the comments below, or in our Telegram group chat!

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5 thoughts on “Lower-cost Alternatives to Popular Household Items For My New Home

  1. I wrote a moving saving article when i move into my bto house: https://compoundingdividendxdividend.blogspot.com/2019/10/money-saving-tips-during-renovation-and.html?m=1

    As for Vacuum, why not consider vacuum robot? It just cost $300+ and save you time and energy especially after working hours to do the house chore. One of my best buy ever 🙂

    1. I tend to be sceptical about vacuum robots but I might reconsider if manually vacuuming becomes too much of a chore. Thanks for your comment!

  2. I second the Dibea recommendation. Been using it for more than a year and works well for me for spot cleaning and the dust mite attachment is great for sofas and mattresses. For TVs your viewing conditions matter – if you watch often in a bright room, dark blacks won’t matter that much if at all. Xiaomi is a good option but the warranty is rather lacking most of the time for export sets.

    1. Right and OLEDs aren’t as good as LCDs in bright rooms, so paying more to get a better picture in some conditions but worse in others just makes it unpalatable to me.

      I think warranty isn’t much of an issue to me because TVs tend to last really long. And as far as brands go I think Xiaomi is still okay for reliability. Fingers crossed!

  3. Got Dibea during a promotion, costs less than 100 SGD and it worked just as well.

    For TV as I rarely watch TV during day time and the size matters, so I chose a projector over TV, which also has a function to convert certain source of files into 3D. It has its own platform with different TV channels combined with Google Chromecast 3 Ultra worked nicely.

    Just moved in for less than a year and slowing buying stuffs in. Now considering repaint the wall into other color than white lol.

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