Retail therapy is a thing for a reason. In a capitalistic culture, we get used to using money as a means for comfort. So we think, let me buy some "comfort" food. Let me buy this new video game, because I deserve it. Ooh, this hat is cute. Buying this will make everything better.
But sometimes the usefulness of a purchase actually outlasts the simple thrill of just buying it.
Here were some of those answers.
Just A Quiet Moment
We were at the tail end of a 32 hour road trip with our 5 kids ages 5 to 15 years old at the time. I love them but I needed silence. I bribed them with a dollar for whoever could be quiet the longest. I thought I'd buy myself perhaps 5 minutes of quiet tops before someone breathed someone else's air. Nope. Complete silence for just over an hour until we pulled into our destination. I declared them all winners so they all got a dollar. By far the best $5 I've ever spent.
I Want To See
Got LASIK 4 years ago and continues to be the best money I ever spent. I wake up, and can just...see? With no glasses or contacts? Amazing
My Own Coffee Shop
Bought a Breville Barista Express espresso machine 5+ years ago. I drink at least 2 americanos or lattes a day. It has never failed in any way shape or form, and at this point has saved me approximately eleventy billion dollars at Starbucks over this time period. I absolutely love that machine.
Paco The Horse
I bought a horse named Paco for $500. My mom's hairdresser kept trying to sell him to me, starting at $3500 and every few months she would lower the price $500. When she got to $500 I said I would look at him. That was 18 years ago. He was the first horse my daughter was able to get out and ride on her own. She took him to the county fair the first year she showed there and won numerous ribbons on him, including hunter over fences jumping him over 3 foot fences. We didn't know he could jump.
After she moved on to other horses we kept him and many different kids showed him at the fair all doing very well with him. Another lady had a parade horse get sick, and borrowed Paco and took him to the Kentucky derby parade and the Indy 500 parade. He proudly marched in both.
He also became a lesson horse and taught hundreds of beginners how to ride a horse. Never once has lost his patience with anyone. The only thing he asks in return is some peppermint candy.
He's in his late thirties now and is still going strong. He doesn't do many lessons anymore, but every once in a while someone is lucky enough to get to learn on him.
When You Live In Suburban America
My car.. It isn't even that great (96 Camry).. But going many years without a car was a daily struggle. Now I can get anywhere I need to without having to bother friends and family. Something as simple as grocery shopping went from being embarrassingly difficult to not a big deal.
Our Best Friend For Life
When I was about 10 years old my parents and I were in our backyard clearing out a ton of weeds that had gotten out of hand. I had trouble focusing because our next door neighbor had this really adorable puppy and all I wanted to do was play with him.
We found out that they were actually going to take him to an animal shelter because their son was not taking care of him like he promised. I decided to ask my parents if maybe we could get him instead. I was an only child and never really have anyone to play with unless a friend would come over and the thought of having a puppy to play with whenever I wanted to was great.
My parents agreed and our neighbors offered to sell him to us for $20, which is really cheap for a dog when you think about it, but a lot of money for a kid. I had that saved up and immediately agreed and promised I care for him and love him forever. So, he became my puppy and like a brother. After a few days of debating I named him Snoopy.
Snoopy became my closest friend. He made me laugh, played with me, and would just hang out and watch TV with me. He was always there for me, especially through some tough times in my life where I was extremely self-destructive. He saved me from myself. He was there at my side through tough breakups where all I ever wanted to do was lay in bed. He was an amazing friend. He was there to see me graduate 8th grade, high school, and college. I hoped he would be there on the day I got married and maybe be around for when I had kids, but unfortunately as much as we wish for things, sometimes they don't happen.
This is the first picture of I have of us together and this is the last. He died 5 years ago after being by my side for almost 17 years. That little ball of fur in the first picture made such a huge impact on my life bringing me years of happiness, friendship, and love.
There And Back Again
I broke up with my HS sweetheart near graduation for reasons. She got a new boyfriend and I a new girlfriend (mine didn't last but 2 weeks). Months go by, I started college, and we remained in touch. I missed being with her and as our initial anniversary date neared I knew she was single again. So on that day I dropped by her job as a supermarket cashier and bought a pack of gum. As she rang me up I asked her if we could get back together. She said maybe, but would call me later. Of course she said yes and we've been together ever since, got married, & have 2 kids. Easily the best $1.07 I ever spent!
Halving My Size
The food and fees for the medically supervised diet I'm on right now. I've lost 121 pounds so far and only have 36 to get to my goal. I feel so happy with myself and very proud that I've managed to do this. And of course I already look damn good, I started at a size 26 and I'm a size 14 now, there's so many small and large benefits I've noticed from being a ton thinner. From no longer worrying about being able to fit in chairs to simply being more comfortable in my own skin.
It All Worked Out
My divorce. I didn't even know how miserable was until one day, I was planning how I could successfully abandon my whole life.
I was going to apply for jobs across the country. I was mentally making lists of what I could fit in the car with the dogs so I could ghost. I was going to abandon the house I just bought, figured my parents would disown me based on their anti-divorce stance and years of telling me "marriage is forever. You vowed good times and bad." I was going to change my number so no one would know where I was. Started trying to figure out how I could save the deposit for an apt. I would stay married but live separately and I'd just start life over as if I was an orphan.
Had this moment of clarity that to go through all that to get away from him, i should just divorce him anyway. My parents didn't have to live with him and it was worth severing ties with them to get away from him. Why was I giving up the home I'd bought, and the life I'd made?
Things came to a head one day, the next week I had a consultation with a lawyer. Took off work so as not to rouse suspicion. He told me I could think about it and I was like "dude, I've done nothing but. Here's my cc." I called my mom on the way home and let her know. I was expecting "we're disowning you" and was shocked and in tears when she said that she had been wrong, if it was that bad they would support me and help me pay the lawyer fees. I hung up with her, my dad called me not 2 mins later and said it was about time.
I was expecting this bitter divorce and... when I broke it to him he's like "I'm going to let you go." We had an uncontested divorce, I gave him an, as my lawyer phrased it, "overly fair", settlement. It's been 8 years, I'm still paying off the divorce settlement, but I am in a better place mentally, a better relationship and it was worth getting out of an extremely toxic, emotionally abusive relationship.
Puppies Are Good For Your Health
I was living with my mum when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had her surgery and had started the first of three years of chemo and radiation.
I drove her anywhere she needed and went in with her. Doctors visits and chemo can be really boring, so I always had two bags full of different things depending what she felt like doing.
We were in our way to a chemo visit and instead of going in with her, I felt like visit the animal shelter. No idea why, I had never left Mum during a chemo visit before.
The shelter was five minutes from the hospital and there were plenty of animals but I had my eye on one. A six month old lab x border collie puppy that was just terrified. Would not come anywhere near me. I couldn't leave him in that outdoor concrete kennel. How can a puppy be so terrified.
I drove with him back to the hospital. The chemo ward had a garden with windows, so we sat there waving at Mum. Mum came out and wasn't happy, there was enough going on let alone a puppy. But this dog was so quiet and timid. He curled into mum's lap and I never heard her complain again.
The best part was mum would walk him every day along the beach (she was covered head to toe in clothes and sun block) and she became stronger and healthier each year. When I was at work, I was comforted in knowing he was by her side.
He was $360 but easily the best purchase I've ever made.
"Bought my dog..."
Bought my dog during severe depression and loneliness. She's been a great friend so far and makes most days fun. Even when she shits on the carpet (she's still a puppy).
"Lived like a miser..."
Lived like a miser for 10+ years to afford a down payment. The feeling of putting money into the house instead of rent is fantastic.
18 pack of toilet paper a month before the pandemic began.
Thanks to a Costco membership and basement shelving, My family of 3 were packing 60+ Charmin triple rolls when the shortages started. We just stock up whenever it is on sale and there had been a sale not long before. I wouldn't call myself a prepper but when at the prices costco has for things like 25lb boxes of high quality rice for around 10 bucks, you would be a fool to not keep one of those bad boys in the bottom of your pantry.
Invested $20,000 of an inheritance into a weed grow. Now I've been working in the Cannabis industry 4 years and have made probably $300k on my investment.
"No one is allowed..."
The Complete Calvin & Hobbes, bound, three volume set.
No one is allowed to touch it. My daughter reads all the cheaper paperback collections I received over the years every xmas. She 17 now, I might just let her have a peek.
Also, a close second is a painting of a Hawker Hurricane I found in what I thought was a nice art store. I just felt like I should have it. I looked it up after i bought it and it appears to be commonly replicated. But I liked it, I love military history, and its one thing in our house that can be pointed to and said "that's here because of Kurt_Go_Bang."
"They will change your life..."
Birkenstocks! They will change your life, especially my high-arched comrades.
"I never had pets..."
The pet adoption fees for my cats.
I never had pets growing up (my mother is allergic) but my wife always had cats. So after we were dating for awhile and living together we adopted two cats.
I never felt so much unconditional love or had a stronger feeling of having a home until they lived with us.
"They didn't have much money..."
Laptop for my younger brother and his wife. They didn't have much money and really needed one. Started breaking down crying in Starbucks. Made me start tearing up as well.
"Got drunk once..."
Got drunk once on holidays and thought it would be a great idea to buy a dog. Woke up later that afternoon in my hotel room with a 10 week old Alaskan Malamute puppy I had somehow managed to sneak in.
It's been 6 years now and she is the greatest thing to ever happen to me.
Squatty potty. Only $25 and I poop so smoothly now!
A tackle box I got when I was 10. It's still functioning and I'm 49.
"While on unemployment..."
When I was 23, I got let go from my job as a groundskeeper. While on unemployment, I bought a $2 scratch off ticket. Turned out, I won $2500! I used that money to purchase the parts to build a gaming PC, which I had no experience with. After buying all the parts, and with a little help with wiring, I found a love for computers, and how they work. I am now working at an engineer level at my current IT job, and am doing very well, mentally, which I was not before that $2 scratch off purchase.
"I can take a bunch..."
A crockpot. I can take a bunch of vegetables and meats or beans or whatever , and some water or chicken stock, throw in a pack of frozen seasoning vegetables (bell pepper, onion, celery), toss in salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, put it on medium to high heat and go to bed and literally go to work the next day and never worry about it. The roast and veggies? Perfect. The chicken fiesta soup? Immaculate. The red beans and sausage? Food of the gods. The vegetable stew? To die for.
All I do is throw things in it and then literally ignore them and the next day dinner is just ready, like I actually did something.
I suffer from severe insomnia and I'm currently pregnant.. So I'm a person who already doesn't sleep, who can't take any of my medication for this and I'm growing a human inside of me, which isn't comfortable.
I bought a new mattress about a month ago and have gotten the best sleep I've ever had in my life! Definitely agree!
Graduate school. Switched from an undergrad of Microbiology to Computer Science masters. I've worked for some of the top companies in the world, done some pretty cool stuff, and had a lot of fun along the way. Far and away the best purchase and 2 years of my life.
"I grew it..."
I purchased a pizza shop in 1999. I grew it to 4 pizza shops and then sold them all. I now own 8 restaurants in another concept and am financially set.
"She still hasn't..."
The engagement ring for my wife. She still hasn't figured out how far beneath her that she married. Please, nobody tell her!
"My old boss..."
My car. '08 Prius in 2014, 50k on the clock, perfect service history, 1 previous owner, $7.5k. My old boss had more money than sense.
A guitar. If you give it some time, any instrument can be great. It's calming and stress relieving.
"Trust me people."
King Size Casper Matress. Trust me people, it's LIFE changing. LIFE CHANGING. Second prize: an attachable bidet for 32 bucks off amazon. LIFE CHANGING.
"This little pug..."
Most stories here are a dog. And I agree that's the best purchase I made. My pug is my wife's and I kid and for all sakes, it behaves like one. We've been married for 5 years and got him after our first year married as a prelude to kids. Neither one of us would think that we would go thru infertility and the possibility of kids may not happen. This little pug has allowed us to fill that gap, not in an unhealthy way but definitely in the loving way. A little source of constant happiness while dealing thru the shittiness that's comes from infertility. It's the little things that allow for us to always maintain perspective.
Recently? An herb garden. Got parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, dill, cilantro, and of course, catnip. Watering and watching them grow is extremely soothing. Plus, freshest possible herbs! And cat drugs for my kitties, because they should benefit, too.
"After driving nothing but..."
A new car. After driving nothing but crappy old cars with tons of mileage on them I got a new one. Crazy how nice it drives and how often it DOESN'T break down.
"My then girlfriend..."
$10 for a Kappa duffle bag.
My then girlfriend (now wife) bought one at the same time. We picked them up at a Kroger almost 20 years ago when we were in college. We use them nearly every other weekend to pack clothes and supplies to visit family and friends. Hell, my wife damn near lived out of hers for 3 years for her job. I would not be surprised if they last another 20 years.
"The kind that comes..."
Compact floor jack. The kind that comes in a plastic case and fits nicely in the trunk of your car. Makes changing a tire on the side of the highway a speedy, safer affair. Those scissor jacks are not good.
"I love being able to..."
My guitar has given me more pleasure than anything. I love being able to pull it out and play something to speak with people
"I almost never..."
An InstaPot. I almost never cook without it now.
Honestly, if I think of time used, reliability and just never breaking down in 12 years, it has to be a white Sony VAIO laptop. Astonishing in it's durability... shame they stopped making them, was the best $700 I think I've ever spent.
"Where I live..."
My central air conditioning. Where I live, we get two-three months of summer, but totally worth it. I hate trying to sleep when it is hot.
My hiking bag. 2012. Decided I was going to get one, hopped onto Kijiji knowing almost nothing about hiking backpacks and found a large mec brio for $50. Apparently you are supposed to try on different ones until you find the right size, well I just impulsively bought it and it fit like a glove.
It's carried me from memory to memory, bursting at the seams with tent poles, punctured beer cans, clothes, gear. Whatever I want to bring I can find a way to stretch the bag to accommodate. I have abused the hell out of it and it just doesn't break.
Regular visits to the Bruce Trail, Lake Superior, Kawarthas, Algonquin, Ganaraska trail. That thing took me through so many of the experiences of my 20's that made life worth living.
Heading out for my first hike of the season this Saturday, these days I store it prepacked with gear and whisky and add food and batteries the night before a hike.
"Maybe not the best..."
Maybe not the best but I recently bought a convertible sofa for 30 dollars. There was an error on the site and it was 94% off.
My computer bag. I finally bought a good leather bag and it'll be the last one I ever have to buy.
"I've been sewing..."
I've been sewing for a while now, and my brothers birthday is coming up, so when my grandma dragged me into a fabric shop, and I found the best thing for his birthday, he's a cyclist, and I found a peoce of material with bikes on it. I bought it, and I'm really excited to get started! I've never given my brother a proper birthday gift, and I'm sure hell love it, at least I hope so!