What's the coolest thing I can buy for $200?
August 27, 2008 3:28 PM   Subscribe

What's the coolest thing I can buy for $200?

I have $200 to blow. What's the coolest gadget, camera, household item, computer accessory, service, software, etc. that I could buy?

I'll consider just about anything. I have an iPhone and an iMac if that helps.
posted by andreux to Shopping (47 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
A tattoo.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:34 PM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Do you like to cook?

If so, you're halfway to a bloody good stand mixer.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:34 PM on August 27, 2008

Find an after school program in your town for at-risk or disadvantaged kids. Ask the director what things they don't have enough of (calculators? pencils? paint?) and buy it for them.
posted by phunniemee at 3:36 PM on August 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

A Utilikilt.
posted by Nelsormensch at 3:37 PM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

posted by Cosine at 3:38 PM on August 27, 2008 [4 favorites]

Buy your mother something really luxurious.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:39 PM on August 27, 2008 [3 favorites]

A Leatherman Skeletool CX.

...and a keg for you and your friends.
posted by clearly at 3:40 PM on August 27, 2008

A metric ton of seeds from your local nursery and a subscription to Sunset.
posted by mdonley at 3:42 PM on August 27, 2008

A container of liquid nitrogen, to make a lot of extra special ice cream.
posted by ijsbrand at 3:43 PM on August 27, 2008

A really nice messenger bag for you to throw all your crap in?

A nice jacket with plenty of pockets for you to throw all your crap in?

A Leatherman/Swiss Army knife of some description?

A cool little pair of quality binoculars and a smallish Mag-Lite?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:44 PM on August 27, 2008

well, going to a casino might fulfill the requirement of blowing.
posted by caelumluna at 3:52 PM on August 27, 2008


If you'd bought $399 of apple stock instead of an ipod in 1991, it would be worth $7,000 today.
posted by sharkfu at 3:59 PM on August 27, 2008 [3 favorites]


or two of these things.

or several of these things.

or hundreds of these things.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:59 PM on August 27, 2008

You could help 8 people to see again.

You could probably feed 70 children, give 18 fruit trees, buy a goat for a family, arrange some vaccinations and organise clean water for 40 people.

You could double your money if you invested it and compounded the interest over 10 years.
posted by b33j at 4:00 PM on August 27, 2008 [7 favorites]

All cooking related suggestions!

A magnetic knife rack

Good knives as per the above comment. Link for example - never ever buy a chef knife that you havent held in your hand.

A food processor. Life and the kitchen will never be the same again.

A mandoline - not the instrument. You'll impress the the hell out of everyone by even knowing what it is, and not slicing your fingers off using it.
posted by elendil71 at 4:02 PM on August 27, 2008

You can get Barry Dennen's voice on your answering machine.

/Okay ... $225. But you can probably haggle. Barry really hasn't done much lately.
posted by RavinDave at 4:08 PM on August 27, 2008

Find a friend to kick in $40.

Then buy pudding.
posted by klangklangston at 4:08 PM on August 27, 2008 [6 favorites]

A portable hardware-encrypted USB drive with wireless RFID keys? (Lots of manufacturers make these. Unfortunately, the encryption on the first generation of ICs that they all use is weak, which is plain silly in this day and age, but it'll at least keep your kid sister from reading your diary without your keys).

An hardware-encrypted thumbdrive that will SELF-DESTRUCT after 10 incorrect password attempts! The encryption is supposedly strong.

Or a bunch of toys and stuff at ThinkGeek.com
posted by -harlequin- at 4:18 PM on August 27, 2008

If you want to blow it on a charitable cause, I'd say check out DonorsChoose.org. I found some local elementary schools in my neighborhood that needed a few bucks here and there to buy art supplies and do science projects so I funded them and a few months later the teacher will mail you a packet and a report (often with photos/artwork) from the class detailing how the money was spent and how the things were used, and what students thought of the lessons.

I did a bunch of this kind of gift giving last xmas and all spring I got the rewards as these thank you notes would roll in. It makes you feel really good knowing some local kids learned how to garden, got to paint in a school district that canceled art years ago, and got to take a field trip somewhere cool.
posted by mathowie at 4:20 PM on August 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

That should be enough to get you about 100 litres of liquid nitrogen.
posted by demon666 at 4:29 PM on August 27, 2008

Get one hundred $2 bills and use them exclusively for tipping.
posted by milkrate at 4:33 PM on August 27, 2008 [5 favorites]

an old cruiser bike on craigslist.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 4:43 PM on August 27, 2008

Send it to Dorothy over at Cat and Girl for the Donation Derby. She'll draw a comic that illustrates how she spent the money, and send it to you. You get to feel like patron, and you even get a great piece of original, internety art that will be immortalized online and in the next Donation Derby book (assuming she makes another).

And shit, you're supporting a really excellent comic.
posted by dirtdirt at 4:45 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Well, it's money and it's valuable and powerful and so on. So you should do something responsible with it -- save it, invest it, give it to someone who needs it more than you obviously do.

But if you're determined to blow it: A Nokia N800 Internet tablet.
posted by notyou at 5:01 PM on August 27, 2008

Nintendo DS and a pair of games.
posted by baphomet at 5:47 PM on August 27, 2008

180 or so cookies for random people, 8 intimate walks, a kiss on a moon tree, 20 photographs of the sky, 1/4 of a balloon ride, 40 memories, and several other things (or a combination of things), all from this guy.
posted by mewithoutyou at 5:50 PM on August 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

Grand Illusions, the expensive oddball science/magic toy store, has some good stuff.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:52 PM on August 27, 2008

Nintendo DS and a flashcart.

posted by saxamo at 5:57 PM on August 27, 2008

How about a Hennessy Hammock?
posted by Netzapper at 6:00 PM on August 27, 2008

Foster four elephants for a year. Or four rhinos. Or mix and match. Or foster one elephant (or one rhino) for four years. It's awesome -- you get photos and updates and all sorts of cool stuff, and there's a rhino or an elephant out there somewhere and in some small way you are its dad.
posted by Shepherd at 6:04 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

The complete run of the greatest comic book ever written.
posted by jbickers at 6:14 PM on August 27, 2008

You might be able to use it to upgrade your electricity to green sources for a year or so. That would be my recommendation.
posted by andythebean at 6:19 PM on August 27, 2008

posted by philip-random at 6:28 PM on August 27, 2008

You can buy me! I'll do some fund raising and I'll record messages on your phone in my deep voice. I can also call lots of religious thinkers, like John Shelby Spong, and convince them to chat to you.
posted by parmanparman at 6:29 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Grand Illusions' mechanical toys section has some of the things I was thinking of; it looks like they have a lot more inexpensive stuff now than a year or two ago.

Wooden construction toys - eg an amazing marble run set. Dexterity games like Bamboleo or sac noir Bausack come with a huge array of weird interesting pieces and are wonderful for parties. Or you could get a really nice set of whatever game you already play - chess, backgammon, etc.

wall gear clock

digital sundial
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:44 PM on August 27, 2008

10 lbs of silly putty

this is what you can do with 50 pounds...
posted by porpoise at 7:00 PM on August 27, 2008

A backpack or bag from Booq - I have two and couldn't be happier.
posted by Ekim Neems at 7:25 PM on August 27, 2008

The coolest thing you can buy for $200 is a guitar.
posted by no1hatchling at 8:01 PM on August 27, 2008

Something you'll use a lot--nice sheets.
posted by Camofrog at 8:53 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two kegs of beer and a few bottles of vodka, it's like you'll be buying friends.
posted by BrnP84 at 9:25 PM on August 27, 2008

A pile of books, or a workshop.
posted by divabat at 12:25 AM on August 28, 2008

I agree with no1hatchling, $200 is enough for an inexpensive but good quality acoustic guitar...or keyboard. If you push yourself (possibly with caffeine) it will be a fantastic investment (assuming you don't already play something).

One day you could play like this guy.
posted by captain cosine at 1:59 AM on August 28, 2008

A GPS? I never would have thought to buy one for myself, but I received one as a gift, and it's amazing how much the thing comes in handy.
posted by saucy at 6:32 AM on August 28, 2008

Swiss Army Pocket Watch.
posted by dog food sugar at 7:39 AM on August 28, 2008

Get your local adult-ed catalogue, pick a course at random (a cocktail stick makes a good temporary dart) and voila! A new hobby!
posted by mippy at 8:24 AM on August 28, 2008

Um. My textbooks for the semester? *I* think it would be pretty cool.

But really, art. Try Etsy or Imagekind. Or just give out dollar bills to people on the street. That would make both you and many others happy.
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:57 AM on August 28, 2008

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