Help me blow some dough
December 11, 2008 11:37 PM   Subscribe

What is the coolest/greatest/best thing I can buy for $150 or less?

I came upon a little unexpected dough, and I'd like to use it for something really cool that I'd otherwise never be able to justify buying.

Suggestions that are not helpful:

Camera - Have one
Cell phone - Have one
Fancy pocket knife/leatherman
Charity - Got it taken care of
Save it

Things/categories I'm thinking of:

MP3 Players
Outdoor gear (backpacks, for example)
Misc. Electronics
Anything else you can think of.

Online is OK, but bonus points if it's something I can buy at a normal B&M store (Walmart, Sears, BestBuy, etc.)
posted by Autarky to Shopping (42 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
nintendo ds lite! tons of games, tons of fun.
posted by lia at 11:50 PM on December 11, 2008

Nintendo DS lite is actually very fun. Especially if you get that one special cartridge *wink* *wink*
posted by abdulf at 12:07 AM on December 12, 2008

An ultraviolet flashlight.

You'd be surprised how many things around you have secret printing in UV ink.
posted by Class Goat at 12:25 AM on December 12, 2008

shiatsu massaging cushion
posted by gnutron at 12:27 AM on December 12, 2008

(seconding Band of Brothers)

a really classy vintage coat
posted by liverbisque at 1:13 AM on December 12, 2008

Hmm, depending on if you get the older model or the new G2 it'd be somewhat more/less expensive than $150, but a slacker radio is kinda like an MP3 player, except it's also kinda like Pandora. It syncs up when you're around wifi, and then you can play your channels wherever you like; pretty cool.

You could get a really neat bag from Tom Bihn (their cafe bags tempt me, personally). If you want some daily inspiration of things to buy, you can check sites like

Also seconding a classy coat, although I wish I knew where to find them myself. :\
posted by closetpacifist at 1:26 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

A gasmask -
posted by watercarrier at 1:33 AM on December 12, 2008

If I had $150, I would buy either...
- A used drum set (because they are very fun to play)
- A nice mini-longboard (because it's a great way for getting around)
- A nice winter coat (because I need one)
posted by god particle at 1:41 AM on December 12, 2008

A good ice cream maker. Then you can make candied bacon ice cream. That or a jet pack.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 1:56 AM on December 12, 2008

Toasty waterproof winter boots

I wind up with half assed boots every winter and regret it. It brings out the cheapskate in me, but you really should spend the requisite amount of money on something that keeps your feet warm in the winter. Winter's a big deal. We forget when we're sitting beneath our cozy laptops.

I guess I find them unfun to spend money on because the really good ones are also not particularly attractive, so are an unsexy thing to buy. But I think they'd really improve life if I stopped being cheap about it.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:00 AM on December 12, 2008

It's 180$, but still: The Korg Kaossilator.
posted by ollsen at 2:07 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

check it out via youtube. really cool.
posted by ollsen at 2:08 AM on December 12, 2008

Thirding the nintendo DS.

No need to *wink* *wink* the special cartridge. I have a Slot 1 R4DS, with a 2GB memory card. I have 2 different operating systems there, and an internet browser, an IRC client, a a lot of homebrew apps. The cartridge can be used to play pirated games, but I use it to keep in one cartridge backups of the 2 or 3 games that I own, one or two that I am playtesting, and one of my favorites, a nice app that recognizes Japanese characters you input with the stylus and gives you an English translation. That plus a database of Japanese recipes make trips to the Japanese grocery teh awesome.
posted by dirty lies at 2:16 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

$140 will get you a Nooka watch, I think they're incredibly cool.
posted by gregjones at 3:21 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Planet Earth, and you'll still have 100 bucks to blow on something else.
posted by JaredSeth at 4:12 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Have you thought about using the money to do something, rather than buy something?
1. take a friend out to a really fancy dinner
2. get great seats to the opera/rock concert/NBA game
3. rent out a few bowling lanes or something like that

However, if you definitely splurge on a item, I'd vote for
1. a bottle of high quality scotch
2. One of those electric skillet thingines or some other snazzy kitchen item...rice cooker? slow cooker?
3. seconding the winter boots idea
posted by emd3737 at 4:49 AM on December 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

A record player!
(One from the current millenium).
posted by Menomena at 4:54 AM on December 12, 2008

seconding monomena's record player. my extraneous gift to myself this year was the crosley traveler stack-o-matic. two negatives - the stereo speakers are right next to each other, and it doesn't have an output or headphone plug of any sort.
posted by camdan at 5:17 AM on December 12, 2008

For extra cool points (and to scare your friends and neighbors) I recommend this wonderful Nightvision "Eyeclops" Goggle/Head Array...only 89 clams at ThinkGeek
(they are outta stock at the moment but will be coming back in January)

And with the extra bread leftover you can get an all black jumpsuit for super night ninga action!
posted by MeetCleaverTheatre at 5:18 AM on December 12, 2008

Another one for the nintendo DS lite. Probably my favorite purchase of the past few years, just a whole lot of fun. While not quite as cool as the Korg Kaossilator, the DS has a Korg MS-10 emulator available for it that does a bewildering amount of stuff and is a lot of fun.
posted by I Foody at 5:32 AM on December 12, 2008

A Chumby (bit over budget)
posted by Xhris at 5:48 AM on December 12, 2008

iPod Nano.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 6:06 AM on December 12, 2008

Okay, this is not so cool, but looking at your history, you might want to buy A Pattern Language. A lifetime of ideas and a hundred bucks left over.
posted by dragonsi55 at 6:33 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

A used original XBox, modded w/ XBox Media Centre installed. It is so choice.
posted by joelhunt at 6:51 AM on December 12, 2008

I bought a digital photo frame for my desk at work and have been so thrilled with it. More so than I ever expected.
posted by ml98tu at 6:51 AM on December 12, 2008

Silvertip badger shaving brush from Simpson or Rooney. A hundred and a half will just get you started at their low end, but ohhhh how nice they feel.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:20 AM on December 12, 2008

posted by Stewriffic at 7:38 AM on December 12, 2008

If I am reading you right, you don't currently have an MP3 player? Because if so, I would most definitely spring for a decent player. I love my sansa clip because it clips on and my exercise clothes don't have pockets. Also, my last player which was in my shirt pocket, fell into the pond when I bent down to pull a leaf out. I use mine to listen to books on CD when doing housework and music at the gym. My husband is giving himself a classical music education at work. My daughter uses hers to watch episodes of The Office at school with her friends.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:45 AM on December 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Buy a musical instrument (your choice) and teach yourself to play it.
posted by rocket88 at 8:09 AM on December 12, 2008

A bunch of books from your local (used) bookstore.
posted by symbollocks at 9:00 AM on December 12, 2008

However, if you definitely splurge on a item, I'd vote for
1. a bottle of high quality scotch

A little whole back, I was in the OP's situation, and I ended up buying the Port Charlotte PC5. I do not regret it one bit! In fact, I liked it so much that I just bought another bottle as a Christmas present for my dad. One of the most wonderful single-malts I've had.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:21 AM on December 12, 2008

An antique related to your personal interests.

Antique furniture; a chest or small piece would fit the budget.
posted by jgirl at 9:38 AM on December 12, 2008

A neocube!
posted by dhruva at 9:49 AM on December 12, 2008

If you have to ask Internet strangers what to buy, why not sock it away, and wait for something that you really, really want?
posted by theora55 at 11:14 AM on December 12, 2008

Eye-fi card

A tikitag reader and a bunch of tags to play with.

Some spectacular bedsheets can never hurt, either.
posted by icarus at 11:52 AM on December 12, 2008

I was just thinking the other day how my little Ipod Nano is probably the best purchase I've ever made.

MP3 player for sure.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:51 PM on December 12, 2008

I love my Nintendo DS. And my new R4DS card. My thumbs are a little sore these days from playing so much!
posted by radioamy at 12:55 PM on December 12, 2008

Seconding the Kaossilator. I picked one up for my brother for his birthday, and it is the most ridiculously enjoyable thing to play around with.
posted by Chionophilia at 3:24 PM on December 12, 2008

North Face makes good quality backpacks. I have the Recon, which is pretty popular and feels very durable.
posted by MeowForMangoes at 3:35 PM on December 12, 2008

GPS. Is there anything more amazing than communicating with satellites to find your exact position and find your way? And you can geocache!
posted by JuiceBoxHero at 11:10 PM on December 12, 2008

If you have a significant other, I would definitely go out for a fancy dinner. For $150 you can get a great three-course dinner and wine at a pretty nice place, or if you don't include the wine in the budget, you can get a fantastic dinner in some incredibly romantic setting. Seriously, when I get rich someday, this will be my #1 regular indulgence.

If you don't have an SO (and you're a dude)...Fleshlight and an Aneros? [NSFW, natch].
posted by folara at 9:27 AM on December 14, 2008

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