What are your 3 best purchases?


Ever buy something so useful you have to share your thoughts with others? Think spending big bucks on a product one day is dumb, but glad you went the extra dollar mile?

This week let’s Squawkback about those items you bought, perhaps spent a little more than wanted, but you’re glad for it. What are the three best things you ever bought, and why? What gets the most use in your home, closet, or car? What could you not live without?


Question: What are your 3 best purchases?

Fox’s Answers:

  1. Quality Shoes. Shoes of solid construction are not cheap, but they last. Besides, you only have two feet.
  2. Road Bike. I dumped some serious dollars on my road bike. I ride everywhere. I don’t own a car. Not paying for fuel and staying healthy have more then paid for this ride many times over. Besides, since my bike is awesome, I’m more likely to ride it.
  3. My Dog. My dog Tivo is not cheap, but she brings me so much joy. Since I got her from the Humane Society/SPCA she’s pretty much recycled, right?

Your turn! Share your best spends, quality purchases, and most useful expenses by Squawking Back!


  1. ABCs of Investing November 12, 2008 at 1:39 am

    One of my best purchases is also a TIVO – best way to watch tv ever!

  2. Mylo November 12, 2008 at 2:09 am

    I am afraid that my recent equity investments makes my worst purchases tally much higher than the best purchases. On a serious note, I think my best purchase has to be my house. It has delivered me monetary benefits as well as mental composure.

  3. NtJS November 12, 2008 at 3:19 am

    LCD TV: Love it, Love it, Love it! Especially since we saved up and paid for it with cash.

    Our Truck: A little hard on gas, but so useful that it is worth every penny. Seems like we’re constantly hauling something. Bought used, with cash of course.

    Our Dogs: Watching the girls grow up playing with out mutts makes every vet bill worthwhile.

  4. Margaret November 12, 2008 at 5:15 am

    1. Our house…we have been here 34 years this New Year’s Eve. It is ours and now it is just the right side for two old people.
    2. The mutt…he just turned 14 years old and still keeps us entertained.
    3. The S-10 truck…not very big, but good on gas. Bought it used too.

  5. Traciatim November 12, 2008 at 5:22 am

    A food processor, and a slow cooker. Both help amazingly in helping us cook things that were just too much of a bother before. More fresh food at home makes a great way to save cash.

    A quality bed mattress. We were previously on the 20 year hand-me-down regular cheap mattress. We decided to splurge one weekend and get a descent quality pillow top that was just right for the two of us and now I can’t imagine sleeping on our old one. A good nights sleep just seems to impact so much of your life it’s nuts.

  6. marci November 12, 2008 at 5:30 am

    Subaru Forester – it’s 8 years old now, a little mountain goat. Has been reliable and dependent, thru mud and muck, ice and snow, gravel roads, hunting trips, and firewood foraging, plus packs the grandkids around, and I’ve moved 4 times with it’s help:) Nicest thing I ever did for myself was buy this mini-suv, and gas is decent – 24-26 mpg. Helps me maintain my independence.

    Cast Iron Frying Pans and Dutch Oven: All bought at garage sales, reseasoned as needed, and will last forever. I use them everyday, as well as camping, and on the woodstove when the electric is out. Cooking just is not the same without cast iron pans!

    Woodstove: When I remodeled the house, my one luxury and necessity also was my new woodstove installation. This has saved me oodles on my electric bill (highest $45) and I have access to free for the gathering firewood. Keeps the house warm cozy and dry, and the dampness gone (which is a major problem in rainy coastal NW Oregon). And when the electric is out, which it often is, it provides heat, light, a cooking surface, and a place to warm water 🙂 My best friend in the winters here!

  7. GabeK November 12, 2008 at 6:37 am

    My queen size bed – a firm Serta Perfect Sleeper: I paid full price for it (almost $950!) a few months ago, but I’ll have it for the next decade. I have back problems, so a supportive, quality bed was crucial to my health and well being. Along with a snuggly toasty down comforter, I stay warm, happy and comfortable all winter long.

    Quality facial moisturizer – I know it sounds ridiculous, but my face is prone to splotchiness, dry patches and other ickyness. Mom always said spend the money on a good moisturizer, and use it every day. Right now I use Origins Have A Nice Day w/ SPF 15 and it is excellent. Smells like grapefruit, lasts all day, not sticky and does the job. (~$33 for 1.7 ounces)

    Also quality shoes – leather is more expensive, but lasts longer. I have three pairs of Born shoes and swear by them.

  8. Susy November 12, 2008 at 6:54 am

    I am all in on the pets as well. We also have a pound puppy and 2 rescued cats. They are expensive but they provide so much joy and entertainment.

    I’m also with you on the shoes. Buy good shoes and they last forever (Keen sandals, Clarks shoes).

    I must say that Mr Chiot’s and I bought a Kitchenaid pro-line espresso maker. It was expensive, but boy those perfect lattes every morning and cappuccino’s every afternoon make it so worth it. Not to mention their killer warranty. Every morning we enjoy this purchase and will drop the cash for another when this one dies!

  9. Jennifer November 12, 2008 at 7:25 am

    I have to agree on the dogs. We have two rescue dogs and they are the BEST investments I’ve ever made. They are expensive (last year we had to fork out $900 for a knee surgery alone) but they are so worth it.

    This isn’t really an item – but some of the best money I’ve spent has been towards traveling and seeing the world. We don’t live extravagantly at all so we save up, travel during off peak times, etc. We don’t buy knick knacks, but make sure that we see all of the sights. Like earlier this year we went to Italy. Standing in the colloseum and the vatican – priceless.

    And I have to say that we have the DVR with our cable. It’s an extra fee each month (like $4) but totally worth it. It cut out additional “entertainment” expense dramatically. Now, we just record what we are interested in, and instead of heading out and spending a small fortune at the movies, we chill at home and watch what we’ve DVRd.

  10. Alex November 12, 2008 at 7:30 am

    1. Budgeting spreadsheet from youneedabudget.com. Starting a budget changed my life.
    2. Indoor cycling trainer. One-legged drills opened my eyes on how bad my pedaling stroke is.
    3. Rainbow vacuum cleaner. Vacuuming my bed just once already made it worth the money spent.

  11. Sarah November 12, 2008 at 7:41 am

    1. DVR through Dish Network allows us to skip through all those annoying commercials and watch tv on our own time.

    2. A 61 inch HDTV that we bought used on Craigslist last year for $970, and it’s still running great!

    3. Various kitchen appliances allow us to cook/eat at home to save $$$. These include food processor, blender, stand mixer.

    4. 1998 Civic that we bought used and are still driving even though it’s not “hot”. It gets great gas mileage.

  12. Frank Costello November 12, 2008 at 8:07 am

    My Mac Book

    My Dog

    My Honda CRV…

  13. Hayden Tompkins November 12, 2008 at 8:13 am

    1. Glasses.

    When you are broke and have no health insurance, you tend to skip on the medical care. When I was finally forced to buy glasses (thank you Florida DMV) you won’t believe the difference it made. From driving, to studying, to a fashion statement – they have immeasurably improved my life all the way around.

    2. Trampoline. $50 off Craigslist. I LOVE IT.

    3. Briefcase. You’d be shocked at how much more seriously people take you when you have a briefcase versus a purse.

  14. bigasssuperstar November 12, 2008 at 10:58 am

    In terms of toys that were more than toys:

    – Digital camera. Cost hundreds at the time, is cheap now, but has definitely been worth the money spent.
    – Home-brewed home theatre PC. Changed the way I watched TV and used the internet completely.
    – Widescreen monitor. I don’t use the computer as much as I used to, but having the big LCD is fab.

    Just off the toppa my head.

  15. neimanmarxist November 12, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    * my mac. i had to get a computer, this was more expensive, i am a total techno-peasant and this thing is patient with me. it’s pretty too.
    * my home stair stepper. sometimes I’m working to hard to hit the gym, sometimes it’s too cold to set toe outdoors. but i never go bananas from the pent-up energy.
    * i’m going to go ahead and say, my ginormous princess party of a wedding. yeah, it was wasteful and ridiculous, but what a way to mark the joyous occasion. hey, it coulda been done frugally, it wasn’t, and i don’t regret it for an instant.

  16. jill November 12, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    1. My used subaru wagon. Total cost including mid-range and major repairs: 8000$. So far 125,000miles and expect another 100,000. Good gas mileage too.

    2. Dehydrator. I’ve saved hundreds in winter produce costs.

    3. Good shoes/boots. If you buy high quality, you can have them resoled and repaired so they last for years and still look good.

  17. Kathryn November 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    In the kitchen: JarPop!
    Just as the name implies, it’s used to break the vacuum seal on a jar so it can be easily opened.

    In the Living Room: Projector
    Our living room has a wall with three side-by-side windows that measures over 9ft. long and 6ft. high. We use the projector to screen movies. It’s a lot of fun and cheaper than taking 10-12+ girls out to the movies. Connect a computer or a DVD/VHS player to the projector, pop in a movie from the library, and enjoy.

    In the Bedroom: Flannel Sheets
    What can I say? They are warm and snuggly in the wintertime.

  18. marci November 12, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    Agree with the Dehydrator… but it was #4 on my list 🙂
    $10 garage sale find 13 years ago…. a Harvest Maid… worth it’s weight in gold and used Lots and Lots! And it dehydrated a blue ribbon winning dried soup mix at the county fair this year! Just for the fun of it!

  19. Treva November 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    1. I agree — pets are awesome. I have two cats, rescued as babies, and they have enriched our lives and especially that of my daughter who is 4 and already learning about compassion and how to care for them. I love to snuggle with my kitties!

    2. My computer. Obvious, I know, but paying my bills online saves $, making the changes to my phone extras or my cable package is easier online than with a rep, investigating and researching any and all major purchases (thank you consumer reports for helping find a good car and edmunds and kelly blue book for helping me not get ripped off), learning new and nifty ways to save $, making good acquaintances online so I can throw out a money saving idea and see if it’s worked for anyone else (b/c sometimes you have spend a little money to save a lot), shopping by internet instead of driving around town, and the list goes on and on and on.

    3. My digital camera and back up hard drive — b/c my daughter will be this age only once in her life and I want to remember every moment of it. So yesterday when her shirt was stuck on her head and she couldn’t hardly see anything and she came to me for help wearing panties and her cowgirl boots — sure it’s embarrassing at age 16, but eventually she’ll have kids and understand — I so desperately needed to capture that moment.

  20. Sid Koudis November 12, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    1. Our umbrella clothesline – I hang everything outside now. I can bring it inside during high winds and it doesn’t take up a lot of space.

    2. Energy Star front-loader washing machine – I never miss the rinse cycle, it’s quiet, and I can delay wash for the next morning. Cheaper on electric and water as well.

    3. Energy Smart hot water heater – I can put it on energy saving mode, vacation mode, or smart mode where it reads your usage.

  21. D November 13, 2008 at 4:07 am

    1. My Sony Mp3/cd player which was bought in ’01 to replace the ‘facorty’ deck in my new car It has been a rock with no problems and has delivered loads of entertainment.

    2. My basketball shoes have been ‘well used’ but are still alive and kicking for a good game of pick up.

    3. Many investing books (or library) that will provide years of further insight: Irrational exuberance, common stocks uncommon profits, the Warren Buffett way, the Intelligent Investor and a few others.

    ** honourable mention to my roller blades that are still with my after a decade and have seen several wheel and bearing replacements.

  22. guinness416 November 13, 2008 at 8:47 am

    Electric toothbrush, Wedding license, H1 and J1 visas when I moved to NYC. Not very exciting, I guess.

  23. ssmith28 November 13, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I appreciate my Programmable Thermostat-especially in the Winter!

    Onstar in my car-it’s paid for itself last year when I got a flat tire in an ice storm and the guy was there to change it in 30 minutes!

    This may sound really silly but last year we bought a rotating tree stand for the Christmas tree and I am guessing it saved us at least a couple hundred by keeping my cats from “climbing the tree” and knocking it over and destroying the ornaments & gifts like every other year.

  24. Bonnie November 13, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Number one without question–my nice bed and mattress. It’s aesthetically perfect and also comfortable as all get out. Spent about 1K for all of it. How did I sleep on a worn-out futon for so long? Also, I agree with the quality shoes comments. I’m starting to lean that way with clothes, too. Third, my immense vinyl and CD collection. Expensive over the years? Yep. Worth every penny for the years of past, present, and future listening pleasure? Absolutely.

  25. Lise November 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    1. My heated mattress pad. I can be toasty while the rest of my house is chilling at an inexpensive 60 degrees.

    2. My computer. So much information, inexpensively, right at my fingertips.

    3. My marriage license. My husband is so supportive and is sane when I can’t be.

  26. marci November 13, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Marriage license! Isn’t that cute! You go, Girl!
    Mine however would be under the worst purchases! haha – unless you count it as a wonderful, if hard, learning experience!

  27. Brian November 13, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    1. My digital camera. Canon sx100is, what a great camera. Took it to Germany, London, Paris and Rome and never missed a shot! great memories of a once in a lifetime trip.

    2. Our Toyota Matrix, bought it used and it was quite a bargin and it runs very well.

    3. Built our basement 2 years ago, and paid for the cost and furniture. Its a great space in our home.

  28. RoadBikes November 14, 2008 at 3:16 am

    Road bikes are a great investment! Not only do you get great exercise, but you also get to enjoy the outside air rather than being stuck in a hot and sweaty Gym on a machine that doesn’t move.

    I love my road bike and it’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made for myself and my health.

    I also agree with quality shoes. I’d rather pay twice as much for a pair of quality shoes that last longer. I’m a huge fan of Doc Martin shoes. They cost a lot, but are well worth the money.

  29. Beth November 14, 2008 at 9:56 am

    1. ergo baby carrier. a comfortable way to carry the little dude that keeps him close to me and keeps both of us happy for hours on end.
    2. my mac. i doubt i need to say more, but the ease of use is amazing and when i can’t figure out how to do something, i can just pull up an xterm and do it bsd style.
    3. my car. it was my first new car. it will likely be my last new car because it’s so much easier to buy used and fix it up. it’s not so much that my car has been fantastic to me, but with 0% financing i essentially got an interest free loan and that delighted me to no end.

  30. Reyn November 14, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    My laptop would be number one on the list. Of the few expensive things that I own, this is the one thing that’s helping me survive through the college works that I need to finish.

    My bike would probably be number two because it’s helping me stay fit, get to class on time, and be environmentally friendly at the same time.

    Signed copy of a book that I really liked :]

  31. Jen November 16, 2008 at 9:48 am

    My cruiser bike. I ride it everywhere and hardly ever drive.

    My 1991 Previa Minivan. It used to be my parent’s van, they sold it to me a few years ago and it is still running great (even after sitting for two years while my husband and I were living overseas)…but, we also don’t drive it much because of my favorite purchase, the cruiser bike!

    My laptop is awesome! I’m a grad student so I use it all the time and love how I can take it everywhere with me.

  32. […] The Fox asks in her latest Squawkback post — what are your three best purchases? Let me think about that for a moment; this deserves […]

  33. Jude November 17, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Hmmm let’s see…. A dutch oven, a baking stone, and a gym membership to burn all the calories off 🙂

  34. Mrs Pillars November 22, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Digital SLR – provides better shots and loads of fun. The grandparents live 5 hours away, and love regular email with photos.
    Food processor – I like to cook and bake and this gets used every week if not daily.
    Electric toothbrush – finally Mike is converting to its use as well. Now if only I could pick up some of his good habits…

  35. thekatiest December 7, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    1. Amazon Kindle – OMG, I read again. There are plenty of free books to download. I spend a little every month to get the NY Times delivered wirelessly every morning. Not only that, I don’t have to look for a hotspot to connect to the internet – the Kindle uses cell phone service to connect. I actually use it as a GPS system by pulling up Google maps before leaving my house.

    2. Automatic cat box – It cleans itself. What more can I say?

    3. Crockpot – I love to come home to a finished dinner that I’ve made on the cheap. I buy a roast on sale, throw in a can of cream of mushroom soup and an onion soup/dip packet, and cook it all day. With noodles and veggies, I’ve got a cheap, nutritious dinner.

  36. 26 Mountain Bike September 23, 2010 at 5:20 am

    I have to disagree on Dogs.

    My best buys so far are

    Sakura Binoculars
    HP Laptop and
    A Mountain Bike 🙂

  37. Ryan January 27, 2014 at 5:45 am

    My best purchase is Renault Duster. It looks a charming car. Most awaited car for me and family. Second is my 42 inch Led Sony TV.
    And third is planning for own “Home” or “Flat”.

  38. Intraday Tips April 13, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I am all in on the pets as well. We also have a pound puppy and 2 rescued cats. They are expensive but they provide so much joy and entertainment.

  39. Best Intraday Trading Software April 14, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Road bikes And Car are a great investment! Not only do you get great exercise, but you also get to enjoy the outside air rather than being stuck in a hot and sweaty Gym on a machine that doesn’t move.

    I love my road bike and it’s been one of the best investments I’ve ever made for myself and my health.

    I also agree with quality shoes. I’d rather pay twice as much for a pair of quality shoes that last longer. I’m a huge fan of Doc Martin shoes. They cost a lot, but are well worth the money.

  40. Free Intraday Trading Tips for MCX NSE April 14, 2017 at 1:37 am

    i Agree With Jude Hmmm let’s see…. A dutch oven, a baking stone, and a gym membership to burn all the calories off

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