The Best Toilets for the Money

Whether you call it the john, the throne, or any of dozen other names, the toilet is a pretty busy spot.  If you’re looking to freshen up the look of your bathroom, or maybe you’re even planning a complete reno, choosing the right new toilet can be tougher than it sounds, but can also make a huge difference in terms of comfort, water usage, and convenience.  It can also make as bold or as subtle a statement as you’d like in your redone restroom.


The first thing to do is make sure you know what size toilet you need.  Get accurate measurements of the space, including the distance from the wall to the opening in the floor.  This is especially critical if your toilet is tucked away into a small space.  There is no greater hassle than removing your old commode only to find that the new one doesn’t quite fit into its allotted space.

There are two main types of toilets available:  gravity and pressure assisted.  In the gravity version, clean water is stored in a tank above and behind the bowl.  When we flush, gravity allows this water to flow down, sweeping away the waste water and refilling the bowl with fresh water.   Pressure-assisted toilets store water under pressure in a tank.  When we flush, gravity and this pressure combine to wash away waste with enough force to use much less water than a gravity-based model.  Pressure-assisted models tend to be a bit noisier because of the added pressure.

If you’re going from one tanked model to another, you shouldn’t have to make any plumbing changes.  If you want to convert to a tankless model, that’s another story.  As indicated by the name, tankless toilets do not store water.  Instead, they attach to your home’s water supply.  Flushing pulls water from this supply.  Tankless toilets tend to take up less space, but many homes do not have enough water pressure to make them viable, at least not without major plumbing work.

Toilets in all three of these varieties are available with a number of cosmetic and comfort features.  You can find models in enough colors that you’ll have no problem matching your decor if you want something other than standard white.  You can get elongated or round seats, with elongated being the more popular.  There are different seat heights to consider, too.  People who are taller than average or who have back or knee problems or other mobility issues might find the increasingly popular higher seats easier to use.  Most models come with a traditional rigid seat, but most are easily removeable if you prefer a padded seat.

One feature that is very popular, even mandatory, in other countries and making gains in America is dual-flush ability.  One button provides a full (normal) flush to remove solid waste; another button provides a water-saving half flush for liquid waste.

In keeping with our growing need for more convenience, toilet makers have added some great, if sometimes pricey, added features.  You can get models with built-in nightlights and seats that automatically lower when you flush.  Some seats have a slow-lower feature to keep seats from slamming.  If personal cleansing interests you, but you don’t have room for a bidet, there are even toilet models that also offer bidet functionality (including warm air drying, if you choose).  Be sure you know what, if any, plumbing modifications might be required for such a model.

Given our increasing awareness of the importance of stopping the spread of germs, some toilet makers are offering hands-free models.  Sensors or foot controls allow for hands-free flushing and/or seat raising and lowering.

Since nobody likes cleaning the toilet, some manufacturers offer self-cleaning models to help make this chore easier.  Most state that the self-cleaning feature is more of a touch-up cleaning than a thorough one, so be sure you read the fine print about this feature before shelling out extra dough for it.

While you may not be willing or able to shell out thousands (yes, thousands) for the most blinged-out models, with basic versions starting under $100, you should have no trouble finding the best look for your bathroom redo.

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Things You Shouldn’t Buy at Costco

There are many products that you can save money on when you buy them in bulk from warehouse stores such as Costco and Sam’s Club, and in some cases these savings can be as much as 50%. However, it may not be a good idea to buy everything from these stores and some things that you should avoid are listed below.

Toilet Paper

Grocery stores usually have a sale on their toilet paper on the first and third weeks of the month and so this is often a good time to buy and you may get it cheaper than you would from a warehouse store.

Laundry Supplies

laundry supplies

Some laundry supplies have a relatively short shelf life and if you buy them in bulk you may not get the chance to use everything before it is past its best.


Once you have opened the condiments then they only last a few weeks and so there is often no point in buying larger sizes. If you do buy in bulk you may find that you can’t physically get through it all because the quantity is just too great.



When soda is on sale at a grocery store it can actually be very reasonably priced. It is always worth checking the prices at your local store before you make a purchase from a warehouse so you can be sure that you are getting the best deal.

Books and DVDs

Generally speaking online sites such as Amazon tend to be cheaper for buying books, DVDs and CDs. A good way to save even more money is to buy used products online, or to download digital copies onto the devices that you own.

Canned Goods


While you do not have to worry about canned goods passing their sell by date before you can use them, it may actually be cheaper to buy these at the supermarket.

It is worth remembering that both Costco and Sam’s Club have their own brand products and these may be cheaper than you will be able to buy in supermarkets. The best thing to do is check prices before you buy.

How to Get Affordable Luxury in Your Home

The decision to purchase a new kitchen is never an easy one to make because of the cost involved and the disruption it can cause to your daily life. The good news is that appliances do not cost as much now as they used to which means that you can add a touch of luxury to your kitchen without it being too expensive. The following five brands are well known for producing high end products for a reasonable price tag.


stainless appliance

Frigidaire was the first company to produce stainless steel appliances and this is still what they are best known for today. While some people may prefer a greater choice of colors, these appliances are still a very popular option as they offer great value for money.


If you are looking for American style refrigerators and dishwashers, then KitchenAid products are a very good choice. One of their most popular products is a dishwasher with a viewing window and this is something that is quite unique. They have recently changed the design of their handles and so if you have older KitchenAid appliances in your kitchen then newer products may not match.



Although Electrolux products have only recently been introduced to the US, they have been sold in most other countries around the world for several years. Their appliances are very user friendly and this makes them very easy to use, especially their cookers. They have a very modern design which some people are not keen on as they find it a bit much.


Bosch were one of the first brands to introduce high end products at affordable prices. Their dishwashers are probably their most popular products because they are very quiet when they are in use and they have a very distinctive design. There are rumors that they will be discontinuing their value lines soon which is a worry for many customers.


Jenn-Air appliance

Jenn-Air products are not as affordable as some of the other ranges on this list, but they do offer great value for money in terms of the features that their products have. Their pro range of cookers and dishwashers have many innovative features that make them easy to use, and the design of these products has improved dramatically in recent years.