If you think people take a break from shopping after the holidays, guess again. January was a productive month for our readers and their wallets. Judging from the most popular purchases they made on Amazon since the new year, people are being very sensible with what they’re buying right now.
Not only were a lot of these heavy hitters on sale in the past few weeks, but the top 10 items all offer solutions to everyday problems and help enrich day-to-day life. Did you buy (or want to buy) anything on this month’s list?
1. Anker Powerline+ charging cables
We saw a number of sales on Anker’s fast-charging cables in January, with discounts putting lightning, USB-C and microUSB cables at or below the $10 mark. Even at full price, these cables typically ring in under $20, making them a good deal any time (but best when they’re on sale).
The braided cables are a personal favorite for their resilient design, and they come in a variety of lengths (3, 6, and 10 feet) perfect for anywhere in your home. Right now, the 10-foot Powerline II lightning cables are 30% off the usual $15 with the code “ANKER434.” They offer fast-charging and come in red, white, blue, and black, too.
2. Instant Pot 9-in-1 multi-cooker
Our readers love cooking and convenience, so it’s no surprise to see an Instant Pot so high on the list this January. During the holiday shopping season, it was downright difficult to find any of the leading Instant Pots in stock without a major price hike (hooray for supply and demand).
But once the buying rush ebbed and retailers re-upped their inventory, Instant Pots came back at reasonable prices and everyone who waited patiently started snatching them up. It didn’t hurt that this popular model, which ranked second in our tests of all the best multi-cookers, was also selling for $10 off in the first half of the month.
Pro tip: Scroll down to #5 for a more affordable (and even better quality) option.
3. TurboTax tax prep software
Aside from making resolutions you’ll probably forget about in a few months, ringing in the new year is a reminder that it’s time once again to tackle taxes. And this year our readers are getting a jump on the annual chore. TurboTax really stood out from the pack in our comparison of the leading options, and when it went on sale earlier this month people jumped at the opportunity. It's still on sale right now too, so you can get ahead of that tax deadline for less!
Whether you’ve got fairly straightforward taxes or you’ve got a ton of stuff to claim, the right software is out there. You can choose an instant download or as a physical disc to install on your PC or Mac, and may wind up saving more on your tax prep than if you use the online option.
Get TurboTax Deluxe 2017 Fed + Efile + State for $39.86 and save $20
Get TurboTax Premier 2017 Fed + Efile + State for $54.86 and save $35
Get TurboTax Home & Business 2017 Fed + Efile + State for $64.86 and save $35
4. Rubbermaid plastic food storage containers
Judging by the popularity of our favorite plastic food storage containers this month, our readers have been making a bigger effort to cook at home in 2018. It helps that this set has been on sale for 20% off almost all month, too. But whether you’re making more dinners at home, or getting into meal prepping and packing lunches for work to save money, a good set of storage containers is a must.
5. Crock-Pot 8-in-1 multi-cooker
If you’re in the market for a good pressure cooker at a great price, you don’t have to shell out the big bucks. We just finished testing all the leading multi-cookers and found that the best options is not only not an Instant Pot, but it’s more affordable too.
The Crock-Pot Express multi-cooker bested all the Instant Pots in our tests, and it’s only $60—that’s less than half the price of the IP 9-in-1! You can read the full review here to learn more about why we rank it higher than the competition.
6. TP-Link smart plugs
A smart plug is the perfect way to test the smart home waters with a device or appliance you already own. So it’s no surprise that when the 2-pack of TP-Links (our favorite affordable smart plugs) went on sale in January, our readers jumped at the chance to give them a try.
Not only do these plugs allow you to toggle your devices on and off and set schedules, but you can also use voice commands with Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Imagine asking Alexa to start your coffee pot before you even open your eyes!
7. Lodge cast iron skillet
A smaller version of our favorite 12-inch cast iron skillet was on sale in January (and still is now). When a high-quality item that’s already very reasonably priced goes on sale for nearly $10, it’s not surprising that people are more willing to click that add-to-cart button. This pre-seasoned pan usually sells for around $16, which is already a “why not?” price. But $11 is barely more than a fancy latte at Starbucks for something that will last you a lifetime.
Pro tip: Check out #10 for the perfect thing to go with this skillet.
8. H&R Block tax prep software
TurboTax wasn’t the only tax software to catch our readers’ eyes this month. H&R Block set itself apart by offering a unique bonus on your refund when you buy it through Amazon. If you choose to get your refund as an Amazon gift balance, you get an extra 5% back. So, a $1,000 refund would get you an extra $50 to spend on Amazon.
This is a great way to not only save money on filing taxes, but also get what is essentially free money if you do a lot of online shopping. (Bonus points if you’re planning to use your funds to make a large purchase through Amazon anyway.) All levels of H&R Block software are on sale right now, and look out for the orange coupon flag on the product pages for "frustration free packaging" that costs the same as the other options to save a few extra bucks.
Get H&R Block Deluxe + State 2017 Tax Software for $34.99 and save $13
Get H&R Block Premium + State 2017 Tax Software for $44.99 and save $23
Get H&R Block Premium + Business 2017 Tax Software for $56.99 and save $26
9. Cozy down comforters
No matter how well you take care of your comforter, it will begin to show signs of wear and collect gross things like dust mites and skin particles and stains. It’s just a fact of life. So it can be good to replace it every so often, and a sale on this highly-rated comforter proved the perfect opportunity for many of our readers.
The sale is over for now, but we wouldn’t be surprised if the price dropped again sooner than later. And, truthfully, $33 for a new hypoallergenic comforter isn’t that pricey in the grand scheme of things, especially when it comes to getting every ounce of enjoyment out of naptime.
10. Cast iron chain mail
A good cast iron is a must for any budding home chef. But you can’t just scrub it with soap and water after using it. One of the easiest ways to get your cast iron clean is with a piece of chain mail. Not only was this a favorite among our readers this month, but it’s one of the products under $40 that changed my coworker’s life. And there’s even a coupon available for an extra $1 off right now.
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.