Worth every cent!
June 4, 2015 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Name a purchase of yours that was worth every penny!

This past year I finally bought two brand-new pieces of luggage, a small carry-on as well as larger suitcase for checked baggage. After years of thrift-store finds and hand-me-downs, this practical thrill was worth every penny: the wheels spin in all directions, they pass new size regulations, and the cases are sturdy as can be. Alas, traveling doesn't have to be as gaudy and stressful as before (at least in this one way!)

Today I donated my old luggage to Goodwill and discovered just how many cheap, not-so-good pieces I'd accumulated over the years. This was a somewhat painful realization for someone who is generally quite thrifty, ouch. I'm inspired to invest in more good pieces, and wanted to ask for your experiences. What are some material goods that were perhaps more expensive at first but ultimately worth every penny?
posted by smorgasbord to Shopping (134 answers total) 268 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, let's see, shall we?

- kitchen aid stand mixer
- hammock + stand for backyard (it's a portable one that we can take to parks and camping)
- makeup that matches my skintone and covers what I want it to cover
- a hairdresser who is AWESOME

I'm sure I'll think of more - I comment things like this to Mr. Meat all the time.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 4:40 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Headphones are the big one for me. A $100 pair of headphones will last 5 times longer than a $20 pair, and will sound better and be more comfortable over their lifespan.
posted by 256 at 4:42 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Sonicare toothbrushes. It seems insane to pay $114 for two toothbrushes at Costco but... The timer means I brush for the full two minutes, and they are more effective than a standard toothbrush in the sense that a bulldozer is more effective than a shovel. I went from significant discomfort during dental cleanings to being able to sleep through them. It was a miracle.
posted by wnissen at 4:43 PM on June 4, 2015 [40 favorites]

My cashmere St John cape.
posted by crush-onastick at 4:46 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

A Vitamix blender. If I'm going to drink kale, it better be pulverized.

A couple of pairs of designer shoes, especially taupe Jimmy Choo pumps. They look amazing, fit vastly more comfortably than any other heel I've owned, go with everything, and I feel like a badass.
posted by HonoriaGlossop at 4:48 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

My roomba, although it's not for everyone. For me it meant the difference between vacuuming once or twice a year to vacuuming everyday.
posted by maggiemaggie at 4:49 PM on June 4, 2015 [11 favorites]

1. Tom Bihn bag. A little more expensive than the backpacks I'd been using, but immensely practical and incredibly tough. The only problem is that now I want another one.

2. SSD for my new computer's OS drive. Finally, after decades of cursing loud, slow, churning platters, it is all over! Everything is fast and just happens immediately with zero noise!
posted by selfnoise at 4:50 PM on June 4, 2015 [10 favorites]

Off the top of my head:

- A great suit (if you wear it enough and know a good tailor)
- Dress shoes with great uppers that you can resole
- Furniture that isn't made of particle board
- Breville toaster oven, especially if you have a bad normal oven or toaster oven. I use it more than my real oven--the temperature is more accurate, it uses less energy, and the heat is more evenly distributed
- On preview, the SSD, a good bag or backpack, and a blender are all seconded

Regarding your luggage, I went with Briggs and Riley, we are using the lifetime warranty as we speak. Even with shipping for repairs factored in, it's a great deal.
posted by melvinwang at 4:51 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

My Insinkerator. My VAX hoover. My house. My winter coat.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:54 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Basically, if you are going to use it every single day of your life, make it quality if you can. Like with my bag, the durability and the cumulative appreciation is what makes it worth it.
posted by selfnoise at 4:54 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

My iPhone. If this hadn't been invented I would have had to invent it.

It contains a satnav - which I wouldn't have bought as a separate piece of hardware because you can't leave it in your car and I don't want to carry extra shit around with me. The satnav (Navigon) itself was worth every penny and has saved me measurable hours of wrong turns and £££ in gas. Meanwhile, the iPhone contains my Bible, and the complete works of Shakespeare, and lots of classic novels, plus all the contemporary books I've bought recently. It lets me take pictures whenever I want to. It lets me scan barcodes. It lets me play any music I want at any moment. And on and on. I have the complete works of Shakespeare in my pocket. My POCKET.

My varifocal, photoreactive spectacle lenses. Plus my extended wear, varifocal contact lenses. I don't have to switch glasses to drive, I don't have to wear glasses more than one day a week and I don't have to be that person who sheds reading glasses wherever they go and meebles around going "where are my glasses"?

My MacBook Air, though it was paid for by my work. It lets me carry around the tools of my trade in the smallest possible space at the lightest possible weight. Also, my Cocoon Grid-It organizer for keeping the peripherals (which are bulkier than the computer itself) nice and flat.

A vintage 70s (pre-outsourcing to China) Burberry trench coat. It is the Coat of Glory.

Surprisingly, some Gap chinos. If you buy one size up from usual, the fit - if you are an hourglass-shaped woman with short legs, as I am - is remarkable.

The Mighty Purse, which is a leather wallet with a phone charger sewn into it.

Custom wallpaper from Spoonflower.
posted by tel3path at 4:56 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

A good mattress is more than worth it. What else do you use for a third of your life?
posted by The Gaffer at 4:56 PM on June 4, 2015 [19 favorites]

Kikuichi nail clippers. Best damned $20 I've spent in recent memory. Really.

And seconding the SSD.
posted by straw at 4:57 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

TOWELS. I registered for really high quality towels for my wedding twelve years ago, and while they are about at the point of needing replacing, they have been a joy to use. You use towels every day! On your body! GET GOOD TOWELS.
posted by KathrynT at 4:58 PM on June 4, 2015 [9 favorites]

An oven mitt! What the hell was I doing before...


Patio furniture
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:00 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

My ankle-length down puffy coat (I live in Chicago). My secondary monitor. My tiny wallet. My good kitchen knives. A dishwasher and a Sleep Number bed that are no longer mine, but were still worth every penny. The right bicycle can make all the difference and is absolutely worth shelling out for.
posted by katya.lysander at 5:16 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Vogue sunglasses. I broke several pairs a year before spending a lot of money on decent ones.
posted by guster4lovers at 5:18 PM on June 4, 2015

Rice cooker. I don't really like rice but it turns out I that I hate cooking rice more than eating it. So great just to set it up and make the good stuff while the rice is cooking. Doesn't use the stove. I can set it up in the dining room if I want.

One of those containers of bags on a roll to hang off my dog's leash. I feel like this is such a silly convinence and I could just use used grocery bags. Such an unnecessary waste that is worth every penny.

My Kindle.

Honestly, my dog. He's pretty expensive and curtails my social (and work) life a noticeable amount. But worth all the vet and food and dog sitting fees.

Arc'teryx backpack. Ten years I've used it and one strap is slightly unravelling in a non-load-baring location. I use it almost every day so I think the cost per use is down to a few cents.
posted by hydrobatidae at 5:18 PM on June 4, 2015 [11 favorites]

My Ford C-Max Energi. I have spent less on car payments than I used to spend on gas per month.

An efficient HVAC system.

Superfeet insoles. Spendy, but totally worth not being in pain when I walk.

My Husqvarna Viking sewing machine. It is a thing of beauty.
posted by Sophie1 at 5:21 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

A good mattress is more than worth it. What else do you use for a third of your life?

I agree! However, I have bought very expensive mattresses that were HORRIBLE and it turns out the best mattress I have ever owned is extremely cheap.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 5:22 PM on June 4, 2015 [8 favorites]

After a lifetime of sleeping on cheap mattresses and IKEA bedframes, a king size bed with a pillowtop mattress. Worth EVERY PENNY.
posted by lyssabee at 5:26 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

The roomba. I hate vacuuming, and having that thing around to do most of it for me is awesome
posted by surazal at 5:27 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

i will never stop talking about my heated mattress pad. NEVER DO YOU HEAR ME
posted by poffin boffin at 5:29 PM on June 4, 2015 [16 favorites]

also my electric toothbrush is rad and makes my dentist up to 50% less judgy-faced.
posted by poffin boffin at 5:29 PM on June 4, 2015 [9 favorites]

High-quality towels, dishes from Williams-Sonoma's Brasserie line, and the Marimekko sheets I just realized are almost 30 years old and are soft and beautiful.
posted by BlahLaLa at 5:30 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mainly my 1910s-era barrister bookcases, but really all of the solid hardwood vintage furniture from the flea market.

Glass-front bookcases are the bomb!
posted by jgirl at 5:31 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

On the off chance you didn't run across these questions:
Cheap but Bombproof
Cheap but Bombproof II

Tons of great suggestions on durable, useful objects.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:33 PM on June 4, 2015 [10 favorites]

A men's wallet like no other
posted by LonnieK at 5:34 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Good coffee and coffee machine. I also have a large marine aquarium that gives me a hobby that I can work around very young children, and once they're in bed, looking at it with a glass of wine is mesmerising and one of the best de stressors I can think of. I don't really watch TV any more.
posted by Jubey at 5:36 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

Hairband Bracelet

Also my Kindle.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:37 PM on June 4, 2015 [7 favorites]

Second Tom Bihn, add also a Midori Traveller's Notebook (passport size), a garden hod, this thing for weeding, Big Green Egg, a big heavy butcher block, and dog grate for the back of my Subaru.
posted by 10ch at 5:41 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

My Mustek A3 scanner, my Trash backpack, and my Hitachi magic wand.

My rice cooker is also pretty great.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:43 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

This is niche, I guess, but in case you knit or know anyone who does: an interchangeable knitting needle set. It is a hefty investment at first but so much less expensive than buying each individual circular needle or set of straight knitting needles. I started knitting seriously about ten or twelve years ago and I really wish I had just invested right away!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:45 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

Doc Martens shoes, but not the ones made in China. They still make a few styles in the UK. I was lucky I got my pair 20 years ago & they are still going strong. A good quality backpack that converts to a soft sided suitcase. I bought it when I was 18 to travel around Europe and I am almost 46 and just got back from a holiday with it.

I paint miniatures and investing in a good quality brush set changed my painting life. I then invested in top of the line make up brushes with similar results. I now love putting on my make up everyday.

Any tool you use a lot is worth investing in, if only for the pleasure it gives you to use it.
posted by wwax at 5:49 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

Kindle, yes.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 5:50 PM on June 4, 2015

My Al-clad stainless pots and pans. I bought a set and use every single one all the time. So much better than the cheap nonstick stuff I used to have.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 5:52 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Silk Pillowcase which helps with my skin and my hair.

Decent sheets and towels.

Chi Flat iron and Curl Secret curling iron.
posted by getawaysticks at 5:53 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

My Springbar tent. My only regret is that I didn't get the next size up. Extremely robust and tight.

My iPhone.
posted by adamrice at 5:53 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Thirding a rice cooker.
My TiVo.
Good shoes.
Quality chocolate. Also, cheese.
posted by rakaidan at 5:57 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

High quality pans and knives, which make cooking so much easier and enjoyable. A good stainless steel pan (like All-Clad or similar) transfers heat better and is so much easier to clean than crappy steel or even non-stick.

Shoes. I expect the shoes that I've purchased to last 20 years, with occasional resoling. I wear dress shoes just about everywhere, and the good quality ones are the most comfortable footwear I've ever had.

Going into somewhat more frivolous territory...

I had some very specific requirements the last time I was in the market for a bicycle, so I spent mumble mumble on exactly what I wanted. It's not the fastest horse in the stable, but it's supremely comfortable, I can ride it all day with a ton of gear strapped to it, and it's gorgeous. I consistently get compliments on just how dang beautiful this bike is. And because of those things, I ride so much more than I ever did with any other bike I've owned.

My airplane club membership. I rented from flight schools for a decade before saving up enough to do this, and it is the best thing. Flight schools have rental minimums, it's difficult to book time, and there are always students that get priority if you want to go out for more than a couple hours. Being part of the club, I can fly when I want for as long as I want; I take long trips, and overall it's more versatile. There's even the occasional trip where it saves me money compared to flying commercial or taking the train.
posted by backseatpilot at 6:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

Sorel snowboots
'94 Camry
posted by WesterbergHigh at 6:06 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Le Creuset cookware. A shiny new VW Beetle convertible with a six speed turbo diesel. Quality cashmere sweaters. A la Nuit perfume when I decided I needed the most jasmine-y of jasmine perfumes. Every vacation I've ever taken.
posted by ersatzkat at 6:16 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

These Haflinger Clogs are the best house shoes/slippers I've ever owned.
posted by belladonna at 6:18 PM on June 4, 2015

My Vitamix.

Quality hair straightener (H2Pro) that is the right width and plate material for my hair type.

Good quality sheets.
posted by DoubleLune at 6:30 PM on June 4, 2015

Shoes, I try not to buy a lot of shoes (I'm male if that makes a difference) but I only buy high quality ones.

Kitchenaide stand mixer (got luck and snagged one at garage sale for $30) but totally worth it when they go on sale.

Just about every recommended by Thewirecutter.com or it's sister site thesweethome.com. I the ASUS router that they recommended and it works much better than the ubiquitous Linksys one we replaced. The LL Bean sheets they recommend are THE. BEST. SHEETS. EVER. They're crisp, smooth, breathable, soft, the construction is excellent and they feel like they'll last forever. Even after sleeping in them for two weeks, they still felt as fresh as day we put them on. And, since they come from LL Bean, if they ever do wear out, you can bring them back and get a fresh set.

Sony MDR-V6 headphones. They can sometimes be found for as little as $50 (regular price is around $100). Supposedly, these are the headphones that most professional recording studio engineers use.

Uniqlo Airism boxer briefs and undershirts.
posted by VTX at 6:31 PM on June 4, 2015 [13 favorites]

La Canadienne boots! I think these are the ones I own, or maybe these. I wear them almost every day from late fall to early spring. They're warm, comfortable, waterproof, and go with everything. I haaaaate spending money on shoes. These boots are very expensive. I have no regrets.

Related: Smartwool socks, from Sierra Trading Company.

My Dyson vacuum is still going strong after five years of regular use. It is my favorite cleaning tool.
posted by Owlcat at 6:32 PM on June 4, 2015

custom earphones and custom earplugs
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:32 PM on June 4, 2015

Paying retail makes my feet sweaty, BUT I can say that that my vintage cast iron pans from an estate sale are fabulous. A Zojirushi rice cooker is tops but $30 gets you pretty good with Aroma at Costco. I have not owned it long , but the Breville toaster/convection oven has been great and I feed a family of five from it all the time. I am heavy with hardware and spend money to avoid lag of any sort so SSD, RAM and high end monitor. Now, I have bags from Mountain Equipment Incorporated that have lasted 20+ years and am about use one of the larger ones for international travel in two weeks, again. Life is short, be thrifty but not cheap.
posted by jadepearl at 6:33 PM on June 4, 2015

A ceramic kitchen knife (Kyocera). Be careful if you haven't used one before, the blade does what blades are supposed to do. You will have to send it back to Kyocera for sharpening from time to time, but it's a life enhancing object for sure—and what doesn't need maintenance?
posted by xaryts at 6:40 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

I love my Dyson. I feel like I breathe better after I use it.
Kitchenaid mixer.
Professional quality hair dryer. I rarely blowdry my hair, but what a difference from the drugstore dryer I used before.
The Surface I'm using right now. I like it so much more than the iPad.
All-Clad pots and quality knives.
Bed linens. Nothing beats slipping in between legit high thread count sheets.
posted by Ruki at 6:42 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

nthing the Kitchenaid. Also mandolin (the food-slicer, not the instrument), e-reader (Kobo for me).
posted by mark k at 6:46 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Over the years as an adult I've had the opportunity to replace a lot of cheap crap with nice things, and in almost every case it's been a net win. Anything you use frequently or that is intended to stand up to a certain amount of abuse will almost always be worth spending money on. In my experience this includes:

--cookware, such as pans and knives (and I've inherited things like bakeware and utensils that would be expensive if I bought the new model, that still hold up at fifty plus years, so if you're into baking or canning--just go for the good stuff!)

--winter clothing, camping gear

--sturdy shoes for standing and walking, that won't go out of fashion easily and that can be repaired. Hunter wellies, Sorel snowboots, Red Wing/Frye shoes, etc.

--nice pieces of furniture, the kind you can refinish and recover over the years.

--towels and linens that just get better with every wash. High grade long fiber cotton is more important than thread count, but thread count is right behind it.

--you already know about good luggage. Good handbags for women, a good wallet/go-bag for men is also a great investment.

--Sunglasses are like good shoes and good bags, they help finish even a cheap outfit.
posted by padraigin at 6:58 PM on June 4, 2015 [8 favorites]

My two dogs -- so much love.
Napster --> Rhapsody -- $15 bucks a month for all the music I can possibly listen to, with a surprisingly deep and wide selection of artists.
My Wustof Grand Prix II chef's knife -- hone it and it becomes an unstoppable instrument of vegetable death
X'ing the love for SSD's -- even a reasonably cheap Crucial model will improve your browsing quality of life
A T-Fal non-stick skillet -- has made my cooking so much more enjoyable
My carbon fiber Cannondale Synapse 3 Ultegra -- I feel like I'm only trucking my own silage up the hills, as opposed to that plus the weight of the bike.
posted by jpolchlopek at 6:58 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Seconding things people have already mentioned: Sorel boots, heated mattress pad thingie, new mattress, Breville toaster thing, Tom Bihn bag, Smartwool socks, Darn Tough socks

A few others: a good B&W laser printer (BrotherHL-2170 is mine and stop screwing around with those idiot color printers which are basically little factories to sell you ink), a good bluetooth speaker (soundfreaq sound kick is mine), a bulletproof no frills messenger bag (courierware), whatever footware is your thing.

I've found that actually ditching my crappy version of whatever it is so that I am forced to actually get the thing instead of just moping about how the thing I have is suboptimal helps kick my ass into actually getting the better thing.
posted by jessamyn at 7:00 PM on June 4, 2015 [10 favorites]

Oh and Darn Tough Socks, thick ones for the winter, super thin ones for the summer. Wool socks are the only thing that keep my feet from feeling and smelling like a swamp. Smartwool socks are a cheaper alternative and are still worthwhile.

Victorinox chef's knives. TheSweetHome used to recommend it, they have a different recommendation now and that site has never steered my wrong. The Victorinox knife makes for an excellent gift and I love it so the current recommendation is probably a bit better.

We also got the Weber E-spirit grill for $400 based on their recommendation after our nearly 10-year-old one that I got for free as part of a promotion at work (it was a leftover) finally gave up the ghost. I would spend another $400 on that grill before I used another free one. Everything about it works better and it easier to deal with.
posted by VTX at 7:02 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

Mazda CX-5
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 7:02 PM on June 4, 2015

Daily disposable contact lenses.

No more solutions, cleaners, cases, or forgetting any of those when traveling. Getting ready for bed takes 1 second. I can keep a extra pair everywhere (desk drawer, briefcase, gym locker) for backup. If one rips or falls out, I'm out 1 day's unit and not two weeks' worth.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:07 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

Stuff I own that never ceases to delight me, and which I would purchase again in a heartbeat:

Ducted evaporative air conditioning.

Instantaneous gas hot water system.

A Citizen Eco-drive watch.

RM Williams boots.

A Weber kettle grill with a chimney starter.

An Opinel folding knife.

A compressed air rocket launcher kit.

A Ronson multifunction pressure / rice / slow cooker.

Hanabi, Pandemic, Forbidden Island, and Love Letter.

Star San no-rinse sanitiser.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 7:18 PM on June 4, 2015 [5 favorites]

Prescription sunglasses!
posted by raspberrE at 7:18 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

Good bras that fit. The difference is unbelievable.
posted by sarahnicolesays at 7:20 PM on June 4, 2015 [23 favorites]

A good solid Dale of Norway sweater. You can wear it every single day of the winter for years and years (10x+) and, with proper (and very limited-involvement) it will still keep you warm and look sharp.
posted by mimi at 7:28 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

High-quality silk pillowcase! Ridiculous luxury, but so enjoyable.
posted by Gneisskate at 7:31 PM on June 4, 2015

Two pairs Danner Acadia made in Portland resole-able boots (black for work work, brown for home work)
MacBook Pro
TI-89 Calculator
Two gel memory foam mattress toppers (one for home, one for the camper)
Arctic Fox camper
Kitchen Aid mixer (been a workhorse for 25 years)
Cuisinart (ditto)
Wustof knives
Husqvarna mower
Kubota tractor
Birkenstocks (for the best high arch support for my poor feet, sandals and clogs, last forever)
Mini Cooper S Roadster
Divorce (not a ton of money but a bargain at twice the price!)
posted by Beti at 7:36 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

My winter coat. I've had it four years and every winter it makes me happy all over again.

My fall coat, which looks like this but has a wool felt lining.

There was a time I would have said my expensive knife, but truth is, I now have 3 cheap Ikea knives that get sharper and stay sharper than any knife I've ever had.
posted by looli at 7:44 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Blendtec turns virtually anything into smoothies. Noisy but powerful, and cleans with a quick rinse.

Smartwool socks. They last and last, fit is snug and cozy, and they're actually worth darning.

LED lighting under the cupboards in my kitchen.

Good haircuts can grow out for much longer without looking crappy.

Hardwood flooring.
posted by Frenchy67 at 7:56 PM on June 4, 2015

Tempurpedic pillow
posted by Kriesa at 7:59 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

My Tula baby carrier. I can carry my 8-month-old daughter for hours and hours on end without an ounce of pain, allowing me to use my hands to do other things.
posted by corn_bread at 8:03 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

My kitty is worth all the pennies. ALL OF THEM.
Seconding the Midori Traveler's Notebook, good bras, knives (buy a sharpener too), shoes, and towels.
Sheet masks have the novelty of being inexpensive and yet awesome.
Fountain pens, especially if you write a lot.
Cheap toilet paper is the enemy.
posted by Lemmy Caution at 8:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tilly hat.
Harley Sportster.
Fishing Pole.
posted by HuronBob at 8:14 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

A really well-fitted business suit

Actual "designed to walk in" walking shoes fitted by an expert

KitchenAid stand mixer

Most of the stuff in my kitchen is from the pro market (for restaurants and such.) Knives, towels, and implements like ladles last much longer, are easier to clean, and do their jobs correctly (they often also cost less.)

Bras are actually genuinely better from nice places (they last longer and are more comfortable from day 1)

Spices from spice stores instead of the supermarket

Gardening and landscaping equipment (even the spades and things)

Windows (like, for your house) and roofing - never go cheap on that stuff

Haircuts from a decent salon

Cables and cords for electronic gizmos (cheap sometimes means "will catch on fire")

Higher-quality soap and paper products are usually worth it, at least when going one or two steps up the ladder

Nice silverware (as opposed to extremely cheap Wal-Mart stuff) actually reduces injuries and makes the food taste better
posted by SMPA at 8:17 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

My dog herself was a freebie, but I make up for it by buying her ridiculously fancy dog food that she loves.

Interchangeable knitting needles, I have Denises. The company is also great to work with, I had a defective connector and they sent me two new ones for free.

Sorel winter boots, I have had mine since middle school!
posted by Elly Vortex at 8:19 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Smartwool socks.

I actually bought a ton of these because of endless mefi recommendations and within one winter season all the heels were worn through and thus undarnable. I've switched to Darn Tough and they've stood up much better, plus they have a lifetime guarantee.

A good solid Dale of Norway sweater.

i confused this with tom of finland and was very surprised

posted by poffin boffin at 8:20 PM on June 4, 2015 [9 favorites]

My Dr. Marten boots have so far outlasted any pair of boots I've ever had, period dot.

Combination phone case/wallet from China via eBay.

My SSD has sped things up to the nth degree - I don't know how I lived without it.

27" monitor from Monoprice that does 2560x1440. Two of them, actually. $300 each on sale.

My MetaFilter subscription. Best thing I've ever bought on the internet.
posted by ostranenie at 8:25 PM on June 4, 2015 [4 favorites]

My couch. It was maybe the second piece of real furniture I bought and I love it. I spend most evenings on it, the cat likes it, it's a solid piece of real non-IKEA furniture, and yet it's light enough to have been moved twice.

Additionally: rubber boots with foxes on them, windshield wiper blades, flannel sheets, and any time I buy cherries or flour.
posted by maryr at 8:31 PM on June 4, 2015

My induction cooktop and comically awesome AEG oven. They make everything in the kitchen quick, easy and precise.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 8:37 PM on June 4, 2015

LL Bean shearling booties. Insane amount of money to spend on indoor slippers but they make me happy every day from fall to spring because my toes are not blue with cold.

Also the lifetime guarantee is a real deal. A seam came loose after three years and LL Bean replaced with a new pair, no questions asked.
posted by kitkatcathy at 8:52 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Lowa Renegade hiking boots. Super comfy and waterproof in my experience, unless your feet get submerged..

Tilley hat.

Sonicare toothbrush - mine was ~$40 but it makes my teeth feel so clean.

Calphalon nonstick stuff - I used the springform pan recently for a cheesecake and it did not stick at all.

Kindle Paperwhite.

Sam Edelman shoes - I only have one kind, some pointed toe heels with an ankle strap, but they were comfy on my wedding day and will be useful for other occasions.

SOG pocket knife.
posted by cp311 at 8:53 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Although many answers are personal prefs, a common theme is- buy good tools, especially for common tasks. 30 years ago I thought I was extravagant to buy good screwdrivers. I have never bought any more.
posted by TDIpod at 9:11 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

A pair of Sennheiser Wireless headphones.

I got them because I live in an apartment and don't want to disturb my neighbors by listening to music loudly. I ended up using them almost daily, though - in addition to music, I can listen to podcasts and TV shows while I putter around without worrying about syncing an ipod or anything. It's almost like I didn't have to give up my stereo system...

I've had them for years and one of the buttons on the headset is just about to give out, which is disappointing, but I've definitely gotten $300 of use out of them. Once they break I'll buy a replacement even though they're a splurge on my budget.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:32 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

You will have to pry my Le Creuset Dutch oven from my cold, dead hands.
posted by killy willy at 9:34 PM on June 4, 2015 [6 favorites]

If one is serious about photography or recording/live audio, great lenses, microphones, speakers, consoles, etc. make a huge difference. Not necessarily expensive, though great and expensive tend to go hand in hand. I can and have made great work with cheaper gear, but my output is better, easier, and more consistent with great tools.

Similarly, high quality knives and cookware make cooking easier (and, in the case of knives, safer).
posted by Candleman at 9:41 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

InstantPot pressure cooker
Chrome citizen messenger bag
Hunter rain boots
posted by ainsley at 9:42 PM on June 4, 2015 [1 favorite]

Just in case you're not aware: there is an entire subReddit devoted to discussing items that are solidly built, high quality, and have long useful lives (in other words, having non-trivial overlap with the category your question asks about..): You might consider browsing there -- "Buy it for Life"
posted by Nerd of the North at 9:53 PM on June 4, 2015 [11 favorites]

A decent quality musical instrument. In my case this is an electronic piano. It feels and sounds better than a standard keyboard, so I'm more likely to play it, so it gets used rather than collecting dust. I wouldn't say I'm a highly motivated piano player, but I've made far more progress in a couple of years than I did with a lifetime of access to a cheap plastic keyboard.
posted by HumanBean at 10:05 PM on June 4, 2015 [3 favorites]

Shark Pro vacuum cleaner - and a cleaning service that sends someone to use it once a week.
posted by mibo at 11:18 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

1) More sets of sheets for my bed, more socks, and more underwear have been very worthwhile purchases. I have about a month's worth of each (I have to go to the laundromat to do laundry. YMMV on value for these things if you have a washer/dryer at home.)

2) Hitachi Magic Wand.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:47 PM on June 4, 2015 [2 favorites]

A good tent - after years of Wal-Mart tents I bought an REI store brand model about 4 seasons ago for ~$250, and it has been amazing. Modern tent technology is how I actually know I am living in the future, because now I can go camping without an entire rainstorm filtering itself through my sleeping bag.

A solar-powered Casio G-Shock with the "atomic" radio receiver. (Ugly as sin, but so far indestructible.)

Gaiters (of the go-over-your-hiking-boots variety).

Benchmade pocket knife.

A couple of really decent flashlights.

Hakko soldering iron.

All-Clad pans.
posted by brennen at 12:02 AM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Nth the Tom Bihn bag. The one I have isn't made anymore, but I've had it since 2003 and I have no plans to replace it.

Zojirushi rice cooker. Such better rice than any other rice cooker I've had.

Good short-grain rice. Koshihikari or a genuine Korean rice. Better in flavor and SO much better in texture than Winco bulk pearl rice.

Apple laptops. I'm on only my third since 2002.

A real spring-filled pillowtop mattress. The difference isn't immediately apparent, but after a few nights of painless sleep, it beats the pants off a $100 IKEA foam mattress with a memory foam topper.

Egyptian cotton sheets.

GermStar hand sanitizer, if you use it often. None of the stickiness or later sliminess if you get your hands wet like Purell. Even better with an automatic dispenser.
posted by WasabiFlux at 12:16 AM on June 5, 2015

With the caveat that "worth every penny" carries the implied addendum "to me and my specific circumstances in life":
  • my Sole E25 elliptical bought about 3 years ago when I was 60 pounds heavier, low impact aerobic exercise in my basement in front of a smart TV whenever I want to!
  • Costco reading glasses with super flexible arms, only slightly more expensive for a 3 pack than normal retail, but far more durable and pleasant to wear (and take on and off and on and off)
  • a mantle clock with chime sounds for my home office to set the tempo and atmosphere of my thoughts while I use all the technology arrayed along the opposite wall (mine was a gift and is powered by a C cell battery, and daylight savings time is an annoyance, but I would sorely miss this clock!).

posted by forthright at 2:15 AM on June 5, 2015

Even 30 Helens agree: you can't pay too much for a good pair of shoes. For me these are generally the UK Doc Martens.

The same is true for bras. Pay for the good ones and get better support and less stabbing with the inadequately-padded ends of the underwires.

I got my cats for free and was a little uncertain how they would feel about having an Armarkat cat tree but they were so excited that it was hard to set up and they use it constantly.

My iPhone has been incredibly useful and was the first device I saw that made me feel like I was living in the future. I do not think I would be able to do the travel for my job without a smartphone.
posted by bile and syntax at 4:07 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Good tools for around the house. Bosch, DeWalt, etc... are much nicer to use, align their function well, and last much longer than their competitors under heavy use and abuse.

The same also goes for hand tools. Over time the cheap ones wiggle and jiggle, but the good ones stay solid and live on for generations of hand me downs.

Outside of that, nthing all of the energy efficient equipment, good flashlights, cast iron, and other small pieces that seem extravagant to spend a lot of money on, but are really a one time purchase that will almost never need to be replaced.
posted by Nackt at 4:08 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Bose noise cancelling earbuds.

They fit in the purse and they cancel noise.

Now I don't spend my time in public spaces wanting to erupt into mass murder. The benefits to society as a whole are nearly incalculable.
posted by tel3path at 4:28 AM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


Worth every penny and more.
Better than the top Miele, Dyson, and Bosch corded IME.
For large house I would buy 2.
posted by claptrap at 4:55 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Dansko clogs.
MacBook Pro.
Vespa motorscooter.
Eddie Bauer raincoat with button-in liner.

I hope to soon add a basic Kindle to this list!
posted by BostonTerrier at 4:58 AM on June 5, 2015

This stupid shower organizer. I mean, it's only like 800 pennies, but it's definitely worth it!
posted by mskyle at 5:04 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I woke up this morning and thought of another one: my electric teakettle.

I heated up my water with a regular kettle or in the microwave for years (for my Aeropress) because the electric teakettle seemed like just one more kitchen gadget I would never use. Now my wife and I use it multiple times every single day. It's a wonderful thing and just having the water exactly right each time is a blessing.

(this is probably only a US thing, my understanding is that everyone in the UK has one of these already)
posted by selfnoise at 6:30 AM on June 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

Sorel boots. I bought them in 1993, climbed a bunch of mountains with them, and now use them for doing the driveway in the winter, among other things. They're still going strong.

L.L. Bean Maine Warden's Parka. This was an expensive jacket but it got me through last winter in Boston. Worth every cent and will probably be the last jacket I ever buy. An investment.

Big Agnes tent. Holy crap I love this tent. 2lbs, total.

Makita cordless drill/driver. The perfect tool. Has a little LED flashlight in it so you can see what you're doing. I love this thing.

Toro lawnmower. It's about 13 years old and it starts within two pulls. Every single time.

Fiskar's splitting ax. Not everyone needs an ax, but if you have wood to split this is what you want. I assumed the ax was perfected 200 years ago but I was wrong.

Craftsman Tools. The only thing I don't like about Craftsman Tools is that you have to go to Sears to buy them. Sears is awful, Craftsman are not.

Petzl headlamps. Even if you're not a hiker, a headlamp has a billion uses around the house.

Seagull acoustic guitar. Certainly not a Martin, but for $300 or so you get a very nice guitar.

Keens. Those sandal/sneaker hybrid things. I bought Keen sneakers and hated them but I love the sandals.

Prism stunt kites. You may think kites are toys and not worth investing money in, but then you've never flown a Prism.
posted by bondcliff at 6:50 AM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

Gas powered 2-stage, self-propelled snowblower. Worth it if it snows and you have more than a walkway to shovel. I bought mine from Sears (Craftsman brand); most of the mass market ones are all made by MTD and have only minor differences between the names on the sticker. An Ariens or Toro would be even better.

Cervical Traction machine from EMPI, after I injured my neck and ended up with a pinched nerve due to bulging disc.

My dad's Toro lawnmower is 20 years old and other than some drive belts and wheel bushings, hasn't needed anything and starts on the first pull.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 7:16 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Badger hair shaving brush: I have used it nearly every day since I got it for Christmas in 2006. Damn, I love that thing. It was a hundred bucks.

My good Benchmade pocket knife cost $80-something, and I carry it everywhere except the airport.

A hammock: it wasn't even very expensive, but when I go outside with it, it takes under two minutes to hook up and then ahhhhhhh. Almost every time I take a book, but end up dozing off in no time at all. Purists will tell you to DIY from a tablecloth, or order form someplace, but I just grabbed an ENO Doublenest at REI and a set of Atlas Straps and I am in hog heaven.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:54 AM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

A big, thick memory foam bed. Probably twice a week my wife or I will say, "I LOVE this bed. I am so glad we bought it." We don't even do it as a joke: we really mean it!
posted by wenestvedt at 9:55 AM on June 5, 2015

MAC chef's knife. I use it for cooking almost every day.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:11 AM on June 5, 2015

Things I'd save in a fire:
1) Wife
2) Dog
3) Cat (yeah, that's right, I have a favorite)
4) Surface Pro 2

As someone who values portability but also wants to be able to play the occasional game, the Pro2 is amazing. Lots of battery life, I like the touchscreen. The use of One Note and the stylus means I don't have to print out any of my writing to do the all-important "pen edits" that involve lots of scribbling over my writing with red ink to make myself feel like a real writer.

The Surface Pro 3 is better and cheaper... the Pro 4, probably even more so
posted by ghostiger at 10:16 AM on June 5, 2015

Wow ... ok let's see:

- Vitamix
- GreenPan non-stick frying pan (cheap and lasts with decent care)
- BonaVita drip coffee maker w/insulated carafe

- An open tool bag instead of the plastic hinged lid ones
- A set of color-coded, magnetic tip screwdrivers instead of random stuff
- the lightest possible stepladder and stepstool (pay extra for the lightness!)

- Sonos speakers + spotify premium = infinite great-sounding music
- Audio Technica turntable plugged into one of the above speakers
- a cheap Target end table for the record player, and record storage (note X shaped side bolsters which allow records inside)
- a Roland electronic drum kit so I can plug in my iPhone (Spotify) and bang along with my faves without bugging anyone

- Marmot down winter coat
- Ray-Ban sunglasses (I had never spent over $20 on shades before, but these are fantastic)
- A different men's Quiksilver short sleeve shirt for each day of the week - these last and last and pass the work and going out sniff test, and you don't have to tuck 'em in

- AAA membership for dead batteries, towing etc.
- if you have the money, services that save you time like lawn care, house cleaners, etc.
- Kindle paperwhite
- SSD drive to boot my PC off (for real, this is amazeballs)
- every penny I've ever spent buying flowers or dinner for my wife
posted by freecellwizard at 10:21 AM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Rancilio Silvia espresso machine and Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder. Essential for mornings.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:46 AM on June 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

The Chase Sapphire Preferred Card! The customer service is amazing. When you call the help number, it actually rings and a very nice, very polite person picks up after a few seconds and is very happy to help. I have never been put on hold, ever. Plus the card has a fantastic sign-up bonus and great rewards for hotels and airlines. I fly United, and just the sign-up bonus alone has paid for a US-Asia flight.

The annual fee of $95 is waived the first year, and if you call the second and say that you would like to keep it but you don't want to pay the fee, it'll most likely waived again. And I'd be happy to pay regardless.

If you're a business traveler, Lo & Sons has the most amazing bags for $200-300. They can fit anything and everything, with a bajillion pockets. Half the women at my firm have them. I spilled coffee on mine (waterproof!), and I can't even tell.
posted by hotchocolate at 12:11 PM on June 5, 2015 [8 favorites]

Cashmere hoodie
Waist-length gray blazers
Retina-screen iPad
This bag
Keen boots
posted by bendy at 12:43 PM on June 5, 2015

Okay, this has been an interesting set of responses to run down. I'm going to repeat what several people have mentioned:

* My iPhones. 3G, 4, 5S, 6 - couldn't imagine life without one now. It's actually superior to what the Hitchhiker's Guide was imagined to be.

* My MacBook Air - I use it every day for hours on end, and carry it as I walk to and from work. I'd never again go back to an 8 pound laptop, or to a laptop without an SSD (solid state drive).

* Our Vitamix, my AeroPress, our Sonicare electric toothbrush, my Hawkins pressure cookers.

* My first really waterproof and breathable rain jacket, back when Gore Tex was a new thing. It worked! I wasn't miserable after a wet hike! I was neither sweaty, nor soaked! I used that thing for 12 years until it simply wore out in patches, and then I paid good money for another totally waterproof and breathable rain jacket. (This one is from Haglofs, but I'm sure many others are just as good.)

* The first time we paid good money and bought a quality mattress, it was a total REVELATION. After years of futons and hand-me-downs, it was just ... wow. It put "sleeping together" in a whole new light.

* This sounds silly, but ... our Costco membership. We didn't have one within an easy drive, and still had a membership that we used during bi-annual trips. Now that we have one within an hour's drive, it's a no-brainer, even if I regret the stupid amount of money we spend there sometimes. (But it was such a good deal!)

* This sounds even sillier, but ... our Netflix membership. I am *this* close to kicking Time Warner to the curb, but they are our only broadband supplier, and the basic TV adds only a tiny amount. It's such a contrast, my loathing for our cable provider and my love for Netflix.

* And finally ... our Amazon Prime membership. I'm really conflicted by this one, because I'm growing to dislike and distrust Amazon more and more, but the staggering convenience of ordering diapers at 11pm and having them come to your door is amazing. I've actually ordered a Thule roof rack and bubble and had a giant truck back slowly down our cul de sac to drop them off at our door. So it's been worth every cent so far, even if I'm terribly conflicted by the company and its ethics and our carbon footprint. :(
posted by RedOrGreen at 1:09 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

This may sound trivial, but some decent (not even extravagant) clothes hangers.

It seems totally ludicrous to me how much a paltry number of dollars' worth of not-literally-the-cheapest-hangers-you-can-get improved the organization and functionality of my closet.

Cheap or "free" ones were always so easy to come by that for so many, many years I never thought to spend money on any better ones. That was a mistake.
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:05 PM on June 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

One more thing: You know that strainer basket in your kitchen sink? The one that always plugs up when you don't want it to? The one that is a total pain in the ass that has been the same in every kitchen you've ever been in? Well, you can replace that shit with one from Good Grips or Oxo or whatever for, I dunno, seven bucks or so. You can get one that will actually drain when you want it to drain and plug when you want it to plug and it will totally make doing dishes not as much of a pain in the ass as doing dishes usually is.

Totally worth it.
posted by bondcliff at 2:52 PM on June 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

My really good waterproof, stretchy running jacket.

I'm only a few days into owning it but I think my MacbookAir, maxed out on almost everything (yes, including SSD as mentioned above), is going to be in this category.
posted by penguin pie at 3:47 PM on June 5, 2015

Canari bib shorts. I love biking (and am a notorious cheapskate), but I have a bony butt and a tiny/sensitive bladder; bib shorts (which don't exert pressure on one's waist area so don't make you want to pee) with great seat padding were a revelation.
posted by psoas at 4:01 PM on June 5, 2015

I am 100% satisfied with my purchase of an Amazon Echo. I already stored my music in the Amazon cloud, so I now have access to every MP3 I own, plus a whole slew of other features.

In the past 6 weeks they have updated the firmware four separate times to add new features. Now it can access my Google calendar, read audiobooks from Audible (which can be stopped, then continued where it was left off on my Kindle), and suggest ingredients on a shopping list.

Highly recommended.
posted by tacodave at 4:13 PM on June 5, 2015

From a poem by Sara Teasdale:
"Spend all you have for loveliness.
Buy it, and never count the cost.
For one white shining hour of peace,
Count many a year of strife well lost."
The best moneys I ever spent, beside cataract surgery for my dog, have been for beauty - several antique armoires, a Orthodox cross, a poster bed, and a few others. I've moved frequently, so my collection of things is highly selective by now. But they remind me of the places I serendipitously found them, and I value them far more than appliances, etc. (though Aeropress really is wonderful).
posted by mmiddle at 5:02 PM on June 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

As selfnoise notes above, an electric kettle. (This is for US readers only--the rest of the world already knows)

A few years ago, I visited Ireland. Coffee is not much in favor there, and about all I got was instant coffee. Instant coffee in the US is incredibly awful, but the Irish instant coffee was ok. And it was the same substance as in the US. What gives (gave)?

In Ireland, hot water comes from an electric kettle. In the US, I had been heating water in a stove-top whistle-doodad. It seems the electric kettle turns itself off between 185-190 degrees F, while stovetop whistler is somewhat cooler. 185-190 is considered PERFECT for coffee. Somewhat cooler is perfect for crap. Whence the difference.

Since returning to the US, I have given electric kettles as presents to several friends & relatives. They have been uniformly amazed and appreciative.

Kettles are also much faster than stove-top boiling--I often start water in the kettle, and then transfer it to a pot & bring it to a rolling boil for, say, pasta. It saves a few minutes.

I have been using (& gifting) the cheapo Aroma brand kettle sold at Target & etc. It seems adequate. A little vinegar once in a while descales our hard water residue.

I also recently discovered Cafe Bustelo instant espresso. An espresso cup of water cooks in about 15 seconds--just enough time to dump a spoonful of instant into a cup. The result will not compete with 'real' espresso, but is deep into 'good enough' territory (note-I also generally add a 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to any espresso). And Bustelo (in the big jar) is cheap enough to feed to your enemies, who, of course, you are holding closer than your friends.
posted by hexatron at 6:57 PM on June 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Moving boxes, and people to carry them. Prior to my last move, I'd always prided myself on my ability to scrounge up free boxes from liquor stores, behind grocery stores, etc., but my wife insisted that we go to Home Depot and buy some boxes like grown-ups, and I must admit that the time we saved from a) not having to periodically go on box raids and b) having uniform-sized boxes that didn't need to be fit together in the moving cube like Tetris blocks made moving that much less of a hassle. And the guys we hired at our endpoint to carry those boxes and our furniture up the stairs for us were a godsend: we'd loaded up our moving cube ourselves and it took three days, seven stitches, and the loss of a glass coffee table (those last two were ... not unrelated); the two guys we hired at our destination had everything unloaded in about 2 hours.

Money spent to make life easier is always good in my mind.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:21 AM on June 6, 2015 [4 favorites]

- If you print stuff out more than twice a week: Brother B&W laser printer
- If you cook rice more than once a week: Zojirushi Rice cooker
- If you need to open electronics more than once a year: Boxer screwdriver set (insane deal for the $)
- If you want a coat to hand down to your grandson: Filson
posted by gwint at 8:46 AM on June 6, 2015 [2 favorites]

Todd Shelton jeans. I've bought three pairs over the past ~4 years. I had no idea how uncomfortable, flimsy, and basically disposable that all of my jeans were before I started wearing these.
posted by waldo at 11:21 AM on June 6, 2015

Turbie Twist
Continental Gatorskin Bicycle Tires
Brooks Bicycle Saddle
Brother Laser Printers
Zojirushi rice cooker
Levi's 511 Skinny Jeans in Black (Only from Macy's, ones I've gotten from Amazon seem to be made differently)
Freight Baggage Rolltop Backpack
posted by wcfields at 1:05 PM on June 6, 2015

Frye shoes. I've never worn out a pair of Frye's--just had them re-soled. The cost is more then compensated for by the security of knowing you'll never have to try to replace a pair of shoes you loved to death.
posted by MrBobinski at 6:37 PM on June 6, 2015

I'll nth Kitchenaid mixer, rice cooker, sheets, good screwdrivers, furniture.

My additions: a Leatherman multi-tool. I love it more every time I use it. It's been my sole tool available for multiple furniture assembly jobs, and I've never had to wonder if it would be up for the job.

A good pen. I couldn't tell you what brand I have, but I bought two $40 pens a few years ago. Part of my brain thought I was nuts, because you can buy a box of 24 pens for less than $2 at Wmart, but after test-writing with these good pens, OMG the difference! I occasionally have to pick up a new box of 24 for my business, but for all my writing needs, it's the good ones.

Not sure if this falls under the scope of the question, but I'll add them in anyway: a good medical practice. In my big-city doctor's office, everybody was nice, but everybody was rushed, and it took weeks to months for referrals, refills of prescriptions to be called in, phone calls returned, etc. In my small-town doctor's office, I'm greeted by name when I walk in, and that continues with the entire staff. Referrals are set up same-day, usually while I'm standing at the window. And if I have a concern that takes more than 37 seconds to describe, I'm encouraged with all sincerity to take whatever time I need.
posted by The Almighty Mommy Goddess at 7:25 PM on June 6, 2015

If anyone ever offers to give you a Kitchenaid, no matter how old, TAKE IT.
posted by maryr at 9:53 PM on June 6, 2015 [5 favorites]

As gifts to new parents: Lamaze baby toys. They're cute, they're supposed to help develop various skills, and I've heard back from several people whose babies got a lot out of them.
posted by rjs at 1:32 AM on June 7, 2015

Oh! And everyone always says good knives--we can all agree on that--but the block you use makes a difference, too. Someone gave me a 2" thick, footed maple board and I was amazed at the difference it made to me. With my carbon steel knife and this block and Netflix, I could stand at my spot in the kitchen and happily chop shit for -days-. I only keep some of the flimsy and annoying plastic ones around for guest cooks. (And sometimes I pull one out when I am feeling lazy, because the good block is heavy, and then I regret it.)
posted by mimi at 6:15 AM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Cambridge Satchels.
Michael Kors purse.
Dooney & Bourke purse.
All are well-made, and you can catch them on sale.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 8:15 AM on June 7, 2015

Flannel lined jeans from LL Bean. Forgot about those, since it's hot here right now, and those are in storage.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:41 PM on June 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Specifically cheap and from Aldi, a cast iron skillet (~$20) and an enamel dutch oven (~$25).
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:51 PM on June 7, 2015

A Courier bag from Courier Ware. Mine is from 1994 and still going strong.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:54 AM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

My Akubra cattleman's hat.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:50 PM on June 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

turbid dahlia, I have the same hat and it's amazing.

I wear it working in a farm field on a summer's afternoon and then stroll into the office under it the next day, and it looks fine both places. And it's goddamn saving my life by using its wide brim to keep the sunshine off my fragile, marshmallow-white hide. Love you, Hat!
posted by wenestvedt at 1:01 PM on June 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

Menstrual cup
Mirena IUD
Tom Bihn bag
Good bras
House expansion for my Neko Atsume kitties (ok so that one was bought with fish)
The interior designer who kept my renovation on schedule, on budget, and much less stressful (yay happy marriage DURING renos!)
Espresso machine
posted by heatherann at 9:45 AM on June 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I will say Laser Eye Surgery. I have had myopia and astigmatism for pretty much my whole life, at least 3rd grade (43 now). Had this done at 36 and it made my day to day life SO MUCH BETTER. No more dirty glasses, peripheral vision, ability to wear good sunglasses and NO MORE screwing around with contacts (my prescription is not made in daily disposals) and expensive glasses.

Seriously worth the cost. (4k or so).
posted by bartonlong at 2:10 PM on June 10, 2015 [2 favorites]

If anyone ever offers to give you a Kitchenaid, no matter how old, TAKE IT.

I'd go even further: if someone offers you a Kitchen-Aid, ESPECIALLY if it's old, TAKE IT. They were all-steel construction until 20-ish years ago, and everyone I know who owns one made before 1990 still has it in perfect working condition. If you see one at a yard sale, run don't walk, even if it looks beat to hell. You can mix cement in these things.

I'll also suggest, find your preferred alcoholic beverage of choice, and spend as much money as it takes to chase down the ne plus ultra version of it. Right up there on Mt. Nostalgic Rushmore for me (along with "wedding day" and "birth of daughter") are experiences with the absolute zenith of California syrah, brown ale, and Irish whiskey.
posted by Mayor West at 4:30 AM on June 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

My Globetrotter suitcases.

They were expensive when I bought them. I don't think I could afford to buy them now. But I'd definitely replace with second hand ones off Ebay if I lost them.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:52 AM on July 10, 2015

A recumbent bike - I ride bikes for transportation, and recumbents are designed with ergonomics in mind. Plus they're only uncommon because they got banned from UCI races for being an unfair technological advantage.

Generator bike lights. OMG it is so nice to never have to worry about whether my batteries are charged enough. My lights always just work.
posted by aniola at 11:04 AM on August 9, 2015

« Older How has marriage been used as a punishment?   |   Name that 60s or 70s cartoon! Flies and a matchbox... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.