13 Stocking Stuffers They'll Actually Use

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On top of your holiday shopping this year? Prepared shoppers likely have a lengthy list of what to buy, but stocking stuffers don't always make the cut. Many people forget this gifting necessity until the last minute, then throw away money by grabbing useless items in the checkout line just to fill stockings. Don't make that mistake this year. Here's a list of stocking stuffer ideas that won't trash your budget or end up in the trash.


A toothbrush is a universal necessity, and electric toothbrushes can be found for a range of prices. Some, such as the Spinbrush Truly Radiant Toothbrush, cost $10 or less on Amazon. Even kids might get excited about a toothbrush if it has cartoon characters on it, like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles version from Colgate ($5). For someone who already has an electric toothbrush, consider stuffing a stocking with replacement heads -- if you know the correct model.


Who doesn't have multiple devices in need of charging these days? Connect all kinds of gadgets to a computer with a USB hub such as the Sabrent 4-port USB 2.0 hub ($7 on Amazon). These handy accessories come in a spectrum of sizes and prices.


It may not be an obvious item to add to your shopping list, but this gift is so practical that it's bound to inspire gratitude. A Dritz travel sewing kit ($4 from Jet) is small enough to slip into a purse or pocket and saves the day when a loose button or popped seam mars a favorite outfit.


Most everyone has some sort of protection on their mobile devices already, but swapping cases can be like switching eyeglasses or nail colors -- a fun way to accessorize. One of Cheapism's top picks among cheap iPhone cases is the Incipio NGP ($10), which is also available for other models such as the Samsung Galaxy S6. Choose from more than a dozen color options for iPhone 6/6S.


Throughout the year there are so many occasions to send thank you notes, get well cards, or birthday greetings that many people like to maintain a stockpile. Pick up a box or package of blank cards at the dollar store or snag a pack of 10 pretty peacock cards at Target ($4).


In a survey by the National Retail Federation, gift cards have been the No. 1 item on holiday wish lists for nine years running. Gift cards fit easily in a stocking and usually can be purchased in small denominations. For multiple stockings, consider buying in bulk. Costco offers members below-face-value prices on gift card multipacks, such as a four-pack of $15 iTunes gift cards.


There is bound to be at least one movie in theaters next year that everyone will want to see. Give a movie pass to a nearby theater chain -- another good gift to buy in bulk from Costco, which sells a 10-pack of movie tickets to Regal theaters for $90 -- or a gift card from the ticketing site Fandango. While there's a $2 fee to receive a physical card, a printout of the fee-free e-mail version also fits nicely in a stocking.


For jotting down notes or making a quick to-do list, a stylish notepad makes a cute alternative to a cellphone or tablet. Give recipients the satisfaction of physically crossing off each item as they go. Look for cover designs that reflect their interests and style, like perhaps a Van Gogh notebook ($1 on Amazon).


Small items such as an Oxo bottle opener ($5 at Target) or an Essential Home silicone spatula ($3 at Kmart) are useful for even the simplest home cooking. A basic one may not elicit squeals of joy, but novelty options abound.


Most people probably have a set of earbuds, but they tend to get lost or broken, so a backup pair is always good to have. One of Cheapism's picks for best cheap headphones is JVC Gumy Plus inner-ear headphones (starting at $6 on Amazon). Prices vary by color.


In many parts of the country, winter has arrived in force. Gloves, hats, and ear warmers are much appreciated in freezing temperatures. Grab a two-pack of toddler gloves ($1 at Kmart) so little kids have a spare, just in case.


These spiny rubber balls take the place of fabric softener and dryer sheets. They help clothes dry faster while reducing static and lint. Dryer balls can be found at most mass retailers under brand names such as Woolite (about $4.50 for a two-pack at Walmart).


With the holiday season comes cold and flu season. Help stop the spread of germs by putting a travel-size container of hand sanitizer in everyone's stocking this year. Three-packs of travel-size Purell ($4 at Walmart) come with Jelly Wrap carriers that attach to a purse, backpack, or keychain. Recipients can also keep one in the car or stuff it in a coat pocket while out and about.