How to buy happiness.
March 16, 2018 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Do you own something that is a little bit (or a lot) more than the basic or the practical, and it's just the best? Please, tell me about it! Examples inside.

My husband and I had slept on a queen size bed forever, but after we got married we made the leap to a king and holy mother of everything it has changed our lives. We could have survived with our queen bed and been fine but we sleep so much better on a king and our lives are truly better for it.

Also, dryer balls! For the longest time I had been putting my towels in the dryer with nothing else like a damn fool and they were emerging in sad, damp clumps and it was fine but not great. Dryer balls were a small investment but they have made a world of difference!

Finally, a Clarisonic brush. Wowowowowow I love my Clarisonic. It was a gift, and it wasn't something I typically would buy for myself because it seemed expensive and frivolous because why can't I just wash my face with my hands like a normal person? But it has improved my skin tremendously and I use it every day and love it .

Do you have things like this, small or large purchases that elevate your experience beyond satisfactory? (If you are so very practical and rugged that you consider, like, shampoo and a refrigerator to be extras then I'm very happy for you and wish you all the best but that is not exactly what I'm after). Please share your stories of things that you've bought that you love!
posted by rodneyaug to Grab Bag (75 answers total) 170 users marked this as a favorite
Thermapen. Not cheap but it's "the best" and it really does enable perfectly cooked meat. I find that I eat better because of it because I enjoy chicken and fish a lot more (versus food that is typically easier to cook, like pasta or pre-packaged processed stuff).
posted by lovableiago at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2018 [15 favorites]

Amazing bedding. The perfect pillows. A cleaning person once a week.
posted by beccaj at 12:10 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

I switched to flat pile towels. Like these.

They stay looking nice forever, they're big enough to wrap around you without falling down/off, dry faster, and I think my hair frizzed less drying with them. They also make my bathroom feel like a fancy spa.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2018 [8 favorites]

I buy the fanciest garbage bags they have (with flex and reinforcement and scent and everything) and my life has not yet had any kind of serious problem involving something going wrong with a garbage bag and I credit the fancy garbage bags.
posted by griphus at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2018 [25 favorites]

The best things I've ever bought have been expensive pots and pans. (I mean, I accumulated them on sale or second hand; the outlay was larger than for cheap new pans but not as large as one would think.) I have a big Le Creuset crockpot that has an invisible flaw of some kind, I have a Kitchenaid heavy-bottomed frying pan/sauce pan (it's the size of a frying pan but deeper and flat bottomed, I have a nice tiny enamel skillet and I have a couple of smaller Calphalon pans. What makes the difference is the heaviness of the pans - they heat evenly and hold heat in predictable ways. Even the newest of my pans is six or seven years old and I've had the oldest for more than twenty years.

That said, the really best thing has been taking time to find clothes that fit comfortably. For a long time I followed the fashion received wisdom that tighter clothes are the best and most flattering, and always felt super uncomfortable, was always having to re-tuck things, was always very conscious of my arms and shoulders because they were constrained, etc. Now I wear big clothes and I seldom think about them when they're on - my shirts button with ample room, my pants don't constrict my legs when I bike, everything is long enough to cover the waist and stay tucked in. Sure, I don't look as dapper or contemporary as some people, but let's be honest, I wasn't ever going to win any contests anyway, and now I basically never worry about my clothes. It's amazing. (Obviously, some people are more comfortable in clothes that fit tightly and loose clothes really bother them; the point is to figure out what is physically comfortable for you and actively seek that out.)
posted by Frowner at 12:19 PM on March 16, 2018 [12 favorites]

You might be interested in this thread from not too long ago.
posted by adamrice at 12:20 PM on March 16, 2018 [6 favorites]

Handkerchiefs by My Hanky. They are the best: soft, absorbent, 100% cotton, and wrinkle-free.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 12:21 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

Seconding garbage bags! Also paper towels (Viva!) and TP. Life's too short for anything less.

Also, I bought about 3 dozen plain white washcloths from Costco so I can have a fresh washcloth every single time I need one, and it feels like I'm a hotel all the time. They aren't fancy *at all* but they are always fluffy and clean and that is a psychological boost to me. I never pick a washcloth up off the side of the tub and wonder how long it's been since it was washed or what body part it touched last. :)

I also have a much older model of a very high-end car, which I paid for in cash and will maintain meticulously and drive into the ground. My peer group sometimes side-eyes me for having this fancy car, like I think I'm too good for a Honda CRV, but this thing is a high-quality, long-lasting beast and I will get my money's worth!
posted by mccxxiii at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

An nice rice cooker. I'd prided myself on nailing methods for cooking rice on the stove top and oven, but just being able to throw in brown rice or basmati or sushi rice and not have to think about it has freed up a lot of effort and mental space while cooking.
posted by bendybendy at 12:24 PM on March 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

I love shelter porn. There was a Scandinavian design classic lamp that I spotted on sale at a local shop several years ago. I had wanted one forever and I bought it. Every time I look at it, it pleases me. I know that experiences in general bring more happiness than objects. Still, for me, there are certain objects that bring me a great deal of satisfaction. This lamp may be at the top of the list. It brought beauty into my home, so it was worth the price tag.
posted by Bella Donna at 12:26 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

Vitamix (or whatever super powered equivalent blender). I use it daily, sometimes multiple times a day (I have more than one blender jar for it), and love it so much. I have a super delicious, milkshake-textured smoothie every morning and I'm always so excited to eat breakfast. It's also amazing for making quick dressings, fillings, etc as I'm making dinner.

I had one last about 15 years, and I only replaced it because I thought I broke it (turns out I only overheated it and it was fine after cooling down for a day, but I was so distraught to be without one that I bought a new one immediately and wound up returning the old one as a trade in once I realized it still worked).
posted by snaw at 12:30 PM on March 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

Also, enough pairs of plain black jeans (or whatever your wardrobe staple is). They're my favorite work pants, and I finally broke down and bought enough pairs that I can wear them every day if I want. The ones I like best are inexpensive, but it felt ridiculous to own 4-5 pairs of the same jeans. Turns out it's awesome if you really like those jeans and want to wear them every day (I wash every time I wear them because I invariably end up with dog snot or some other grody dog-related gunk on me at some point during the day).
posted by snaw at 12:34 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

I got a Turkish cotton bathrobe for Christmas, and I can't believe I endured so many winters without one. It's awesome!
posted by cakelite at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

Is it ridiculous to pay $14 for a tube of lip balm, and then follow it most nights with a coat of a $26 lip product before I go to bed? Why, yes.

Is this the first winter my lips have ever not gotten so dry that they've been painful and peeling? Yes.


Also on this list for me:
  • Always Infinity products
  • The Company Store cotton sheets
  • These cleaning gloves that were a revelation after a lifetime of cheap shitty grocery store kitchen gloves because not only do they fit, but I can scrub things out in very, very hot water without discomfort
  • This heating pad, which is big enough to do both of my shoulders at once AND doesn't turn itself off after three hours.

  • posted by joyceanmachine at 12:47 PM on March 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

    My wife and I are both very utilitarian, for the most part, and don't buy a lot of stuff, much less a lot of fancy stuff. But, when we sold our house a couple years ago, we took some of the proceeds and spent way too much on...a garbage can. And it's amazing. There's no world in which I can straightfacedly justify spending that much money on a box in which to put our trash, but spend it we did, and I don't regret it in the least. Garbage in the top, recycling in the bottom, and stylistically it fits in our kitchen really well, mostly because it doesn't really look all that much like a garbage can (we got the stainless one and it looks great).

    Also, not sure if this counts as "owning", since it's a consumable, but I started using good shaving cream instead of the $2 can of Edge Gel about 10 years ago, and to this day it's the one little personal luxury that I'll always spend more money on.
    posted by pdb at 12:49 PM on March 16, 2018 [9 favorites]

    I love my Fiesta ware dishes so, so, so much. They come in so many beautiful colors, they're made in America, well-designed, and sturdy. They make me happy every time I use them, which considering I eat several times a day is quite a lot. There are so many pieces, too, like bread trays and gravy boats and loaf pans and platters, and everything is thoughtfully designed to work well together (like, if you make bread in the loaf pans the loaves fit perfectly on the bread trays). You can easily find Fiesta for sale for 30-50% off at Kohls and Macys.
    posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:57 PM on March 16, 2018 [11 favorites]

    Good sharp knives.

    BUT do not buy stupid expensive ($150-$2000) knives. Buy good knives and pay to have them sharpened every so often. World of difference.
    posted by French Fry at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    An actual genuine KitchenAid stand mixer: accept no substitutes. My mom has gone through like 4 different mixers of various kinds in the time I've had my KitchenAid. (And we just recently got the pasta-roller and ice cream maker attachments for it and instantly put on 5 pounds.)

    And this isn't a thing, per se, but 5-star hotels. Hotels are just stupid expensive in general so if I'm going to lay out some serious cash just for a bed to sleep in for a night, it is worth it to me to shell out a bit more and also get access to a spa, a fluffy bath robe, a bathroom I could happily live in forever, a ginormous bed that is like unto sleeping on a cloud, and staff that treat me like a Kardashian.
    posted by soren_lorensen at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2018 [14 favorites]

    (Or you could learn to sharpen them yourself, which really requires only patience and a good sharpening tool such as this one from SpyderCo or this one from Benchmade. I have both, and actually somewhat prefer the Benchmade, but the Spyderco might be better for a beginner.)

    Aside from that, though, my vote would be a hella solid garbage can. We have a SimpleHuman that is AMAZING at containing odor, etc.
    posted by uberchet at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

    Chicago Metallic heavy nonstick baking pans lined with parchment paper or silicone mats. I don't even think they're particularly expensive; it's just that I had "perfectly good" other ones that I had to justify replacing... anyway, they're SO WORTH IT I can't even tell you, the difference in how cookies and roasted veg come off these things, vs other cookie sheets, is night and day.
    posted by fingersandtoes at 1:13 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    This simplehuman dish drying rack makes me happy every day. It doesn't get scummy! It has a knife drying block and an attachment for wine glasses! It looks nice, which is important, because even though in theory I could put my dishes away and stash the drying rack under the sink, I never did even when I had an ugly dish rack. It holds a huge amount of dishes, pots, and pans. I love this thing.
    posted by Kriesa at 1:15 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    It’s stupid, but wireless remote control outlets. I hate getting all comfortable in bed and then having to get back up to turn off a forgotten lamp. The remote solves this issue. All of our fans are remote controlled too and it’s genius.
    posted by PorcineWithMe at 1:15 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    oh and silicone oven mitts like these. Throw away any others you have. Buy these. Make baking great again.
    posted by fingersandtoes at 1:15 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    I love love love my weighted blanket. I can’t search my email right now, but I think the one I bought weighs 20 pounds. It’s a little tough to make the bed, but I never want to get out anyway. I got mine on Etsy. Note: be crazy careful buying for children or disabled adults. There have been some tragedies when people haven’t been able to move the blankets themselves.

    I also love my clear glass electric tea kettle. I love to watch the water boil. My old one died, and I just bought a new one, so I can’t recommend a specific brand. I liked the old one, but the current reviews on Amazon are not good, so they may have changed it.
    posted by FencingGal at 1:23 PM on March 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

    Philips Hue light bulbs. They are pricey, but I have really gotten immense joy out of being able to set routines to wake up and go to sleep with appropriate colors of light. Plus there's nothing like being able to yell "Hey Siri, turn on the lights," while coming in the door wrangling groceries and trying to keep the dogs from bolting.

    This salad bowl and chopper
    has exponentially increased my rate of salad-eating.
    posted by pixiecrinkle at 1:27 PM on March 16, 2018 [9 favorites]

    This is probably going on the extreme end, but I absolutely adore my Lexus RX 350. After always having older, sensible sedans I took the plunge into the luxury SUV world and I do not regret it one bit. It's a pleasure to drive, the seats have heating and cooling function (the latter is EXTREMELY nice after exercising on a hot day), AWD has been great on rainy days, and the dealership is the nicest one I have ever been to - I don't even mind waiting there when my car is getting service.

    Other things:
    Aesop resurrection hand soap and cream
    Dermalogica skincare
    Simple Human trashcans and their custom-fit trash bags
    Detergent pods rather than messing with liquid
    line-caught (troll) king salmon
    Mac rather than PC
    not a purchase, but: hiring a house cleaner to come every week
    posted by joan_holloway at 1:28 PM on March 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

    My Feathered Friends down comforter is soooooo light and fluffy yet warm, it's amazing. I also recently replaced some worn-out old flannel sheets with the L.L. Bean ones, so bed has become extremely luxurious of late.
    posted by praemunire at 1:34 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Heated mattress pad - it makes the bed so much more inviting when it is warm in the winter.

    Sock glue - this is my number one best item. It may be silly, but it keeps the no show socks in place in the summer and has eliminated so much irritation!
    posted by needlegrrl at 1:38 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    I say it in every one of these threads: custom earphone molds and custom earplugs. They will protect your hearing and provide unmatched sound quality. You can get them at your audiologist for like $150-200 (plus the cost of the headphones). World of difference.
    posted by Lutoslawski at 1:41 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Bluetooth trackers - I like the Tile personally, but there are others. I am one of those people who are forever misplacing things like keys, wallets, remotes, id badge for work, etc. I put a Tile on each and it saves me from so much stress. As long as I can find at least one tile-wearing item or my phone, I can (almost-always) find the rest. I never have to do the mad, stressful "oh F@CK where are my keys?" panic anymore, and it's definitely improved my life.
    posted by cgg at 1:41 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    Pilot Metropolitan fountain pens + an ink you like. Noodler's bulletproof black is a great start.

    I was a lamy booster for a long while, but for daily use I'm switching over to the Metropolitan from the Safari. The Lamy 2000 is some next level awesomeness though.
    posted by Dmenet at 1:43 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    This is actually kind of stupid, but over the ear headphones have made my work life SO MUCH BETTER. I'm very, very easily distracted by office chatter, especially when it's one-sided (phone calls, monologues, etc.) Blocking out the noise of conversation has made me less distracted and far less annoyed. I have the Sony MDR-7506, but it probably doesn't matter much what you get. I didn't find noise cancelling headphones to be useful for blocking voices.
    posted by cnc at 1:46 PM on March 16, 2018 [3 favorites]

    This one doesn't usually come up on these threads, because maybe it's obvious to everyone else already, but as a distinctively-not-audiophile, investing in good (enough) speakers for my living area has been a total game-changer. I didn't notice how bad it was until it was good, y'know?
    posted by mosst at 1:50 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Every time I need a kitchen gadget I check out the most expensive way of getting that function. I seldom buy that option but I often choose to buy something that does lots of things rather than just what I need. Sometimes it even replaces several things I already have.
    posted by kadia_a at 2:05 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    I have a sterling silver spoon that is over 100 years old (and thus alive, being a form of tanuki, in Japanese folklore). It is hard and razor thin at the edge. You can slice off a wafer-thin slice of ice cream with it and, like thin-sliced deli meats, it becomes a surface-to-volume-ratio explosion of flavor. It has doubled my chocolate chocolate chip Häagen-Dazs satisfaction, while simultaneously halving my consumption amount.
    posted by sexyrobot at 2:09 PM on March 16, 2018 [15 favorites]

    LOL I have to agree with the amount of joy something like a good garbage can will bring. Our old one was too small and and the foot pedal was broken, but I was ridiculously happy when we replaced it.

    A slow cooker is also a source of much joy.
    posted by Calzephyr at 2:10 PM on March 16, 2018

    For me, it was getting a good bluetooth speaker so I can listen to podcasts or music and take it wherever I go in my apartment. I love having it and it has made doing chores around the house way better. I had a crappy Jambox that sucked, but I love my Bose SoundLink.

    Also, a second computer monitor. I get so stressed when I have a bunch of windows open and I have to get tangled in the chaos of finding the right one. I love having two computer monitors so I can put one document on one screen and another on the other screen. Really awesome when I am looking at one document and working on another so I don't have to keep jumping back and forth.
    posted by AppleTurnover at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    I got my Scottish wife an Ember mug for her birthday, and it's pricy at $80, but she says it's the best thing she's ever gotten... instead of microwaving her tea multiple times to keep it warm, the mug keeps it at the exact temp she likes for hours. Useless if you don't drink tea/coffee all day, but a life-changer if you do.

    Anova Precision Cooker - I've gone through two, I use it almost every day. Pork chops and chicken are like a totally different food, and every protein is much easier, ready when you need it.

    Instant Pot - At least 3 times a week, amazing. Combine with a stick blender for some chunky, thick soups.

    I'll second the Spyderco knife sharpener... it's like a zen thing for me now, really relaxing. Plus my knives are SHARP.

    Amazon Echo and some smart plugs. I got a Dot and some nice powered speakers, it sounds much better than the big Echo.

    Cast iron and carbon steel pans. I hardly use anything else now, my 10 inch is basically non-stick.
    posted by Huck500 at 2:22 PM on March 16, 2018 [7 favorites]

    Sonos speakers to replace a bunch of Bluetooth speakers. I honestly didn’t know I could enjoy music this much.
    posted by third word on a random page at 2:22 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    These exfoliating cloths are so wonderful I never use washcloths anymore.

    On a lark, I bought one of these wooden spoons at an outdoor market in Anchorage. Then I fell in love with it. There is nothing better for sauteing or stirring in a frying pan, dutch oven, etc.

    Handmade functional pottery. It brings me great pleasure serving food or coffee in works of art.

    Not a thing, but a service: Having a pro wash the windows every few months. It is impossible IMO for an ordinary mortal to do as good a job as a pro and I love looking out of clean windows.

    Handmade furniture. We've been slowly replacing all of our case goods with Amish-made pieces that are so lovely to look at, wonderfully functional, and pleasing to the touch. This is the company we've used to have our furniture made.
    posted by DrGail at 2:27 PM on March 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

    Tweezerman tweezers, nail clippers, and nail nippers. SO SHARP. Very well made and they offer lifetime free sharpening services for most of their products.

    Urban Decay lipstick and eye shadow. $20+ but it looks and wears so much better than discount/drugstore brands. I mean, it WEARS.

    ThirstyCat handmade cat fountains. I have used lots of the plastic fountains over the years, and they were all so hard to clean I never did it. I also felt they held an excessive amount of water for the amount that was actually accessible for drinking. These are ceramic with copper spouts. Easy to clean, no nooks/cranies except for the motor itself. And they have lots of styles to choose from and look way better than a giant white plastic thing.
    posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:49 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    If you travel - Global Entry. $100 for five years, and TSA Pre is included. It's a bit of a time commitment upfront (you have to be interviewed in person by Homeland Security), but the time we have saved by skipping security and customs lines makes it so, so worth it. It feels luxurious!

    Actually, now that I think about it - spending money on anything that will save you time is a pretty great investment, IMO.
    posted by GoldenEel at 2:53 PM on March 16, 2018 [18 favorites]

    A set of locking, silicone tipped tongs like these. It's such a small thing, but they lock and unlock easily, stay locked when I want them to, and food doesn't get stuck in the tips like with the wavey metal tipped ones. I had lived my whole life just accepting the limitations of the standard kitchen tongs because I thought that's all there was in tong technology. Then I saw my best friend's locking silicone tipped ones and ordered a set on the spot. Theyy're amazing.
    posted by Weeping_angel at 3:01 PM on March 16, 2018

    Custom shelving for the kitchen. We had this little nook that I kept thinking would be great for some shelves but only got around to it when my mom came and complained about how difficult it was to pull out every day dishes and mugs. We got someone to come install some simple shelves, at exactly the right heights and also to install a wall rack for pots and pans. It's amazing how much more functional my kitchen became with that little change. I'm sure there's something like that in your home!
    posted by peacheater at 3:04 PM on March 16, 2018

    Oh! And a bidet attachment for your toilet!
    posted by GoldenEel at 3:07 PM on March 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

    If you’re left-handed, left-handed utensils! I had no idea that utensils weren’t made for me and things always felt a little off. Littledeer makes some and Williams-Sonoma carries them. Got them as a wedding gift and they feel great to use. Now my husband notices that these utensils feel weird to him. :)
    posted by vivzan at 3:43 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    If you have cats, an automated feeder makes mornings a thousand times less annoying.

    A turntable has made my music life fun in a way the death of physical media had stripped away. Shopping for and listening to dollar records is great fun.
    posted by Smearcase at 3:54 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    A large, powerful microwave with a moisture/steam sensor.

    Also second a rice cooker, a good one again with a sensor.
    posted by aerotive at 4:21 PM on March 16, 2018

    I have replaced every tank hot water heater in the houses I have lived in with a tankless on-demand. I love them and don't ever want to be without. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but these things are great.

    Seconding the Vitamix, I have one I use every day too.
    posted by chocolatetiara at 4:23 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Large expenses:
    A few years ago, my daughter came into some money, and decided she'd like to buy both of us laptops - new ones, to get away from the constant "does this refurbished thing have all the numbers I need?" She splurged and got us both 17" Alienware laptops, the last of the Windows 7 models, and years later we are both very very happy.

    Small expenses:
    Albacore tuna. I switched because it was presumably dolphin-safe, and it's one of the few food expenses that I've never reconsidered - the flavor is so much better.
    posted by ErisLordFreedom at 4:27 PM on March 16, 2018

    Knipex diagonal cutters. These happily cut things like steel wire and roofing nails without hesitation or even very much effort. For most hand tools, I'm okay with the philosophy of "buy the cheap one from Hazard Fraught, and if it breaks, get a better one". The Knipex cutters are so much nicer as to be a bargain even at 5-10x the cost of a crappy pair. This is a case where you should just start out with the good one.

    Get a keyboard with mechanical keyswitches. (I like the Cherry MX series; pick a color depending on your desired degree of clickitude. I use blues.) The specific keyboard the switches are in doesn't matter a whole lot as long as it's competent. The Monoprice ones are OK.

    Just about every electronic gadget you buy comes with a USB cable, and virtually all of them are garbage and toilets. Manufacturers will ship a cable that mostly barely works with their device, and causes random mysterious intermittent problems with everything else. (Special mention to the cables that only have two conductors, and can slow-charge but can't do data.) Cut them all in half (with your Knipex cutters), throw them in the garbage, and buy a dozen or so quality cables. I like the Anker PowerLine series.
    posted by sourcequench at 4:33 PM on March 16, 2018 [4 favorites]

    Up your sonic self care with a Sonicare toothbrush. Gets teeth really clean and cleans under the gum line.
    posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:55 PM on March 16, 2018 [5 favorites]

    That Brightsky LED Torchere lamp is on sale at Amazon now for $68 (I just bought one).
    posted by MovableBookLady at 5:21 PM on March 16, 2018

    A Kania designer sweatshirt. Washable! Pockets! Comfortable! Flattering! Stylish! I get compliments every time I wear mine. It cost a fortune but I wear it constantly and feel fabulous in it.
    posted by bighappyhairydog at 5:59 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    I got a robot vacuum and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I just got a simple one, but I have a cat and three children and a small combined living room/dining room, and it gets up all the fur and crumbs and it forces me to pick up the kids' toys at the end of the day so the vacuum can run and I looooooooves it!
    posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:27 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    I got a Patagonia down puffy jacket last fall for a trip up Kilimanjaro. (Which it was great for.) It's been my go-to jacket for the last few months as well, because it's so gd light and warm at the same time. And it's Patagonia: it's not disposable, if I grow out of it or wear it out, I can send it back to them and they'll recycle it somehow.

    So: it's worth it to get a really good down jacket.
    posted by suelac at 6:32 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    A body pillow made of shredded memory foam with a minky pillowcase. I never knew I could feel this cozy, let alone experience it every night.
    posted by gatorae at 7:21 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Thirding or fourthing a great kitchen trashcan. Mine is a SimpleHuman one with a hydraulic lid and a step pedal. Every time it hands-free opens and silently-glides closed, I cheer a little bit. Expensive but worth it. I also love my heavy duty Ames garden trowel. For years I gardened with a series of cheap crap ones that bent easily. Now, I can put some oomph into my digging, it never bends even a little bit, and it made so much more of a difference than I thought it would.
    posted by molasses at 8:04 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Robot vacuum and heated mattress pad as mentioned above.

    Also as mentioned above, weekly house cleaner. We are not wealthy but we eat out rarely and use the money for that instead - literally buys happiness.
    posted by raspberrE at 8:08 PM on March 16, 2018

    Viva paper towels. I knew I had finally reached adulthood this year when I realized what a difference good paper towels make. I just got a new pack from Target and am gazing at them very fondly right now.

    My cat is jealous.
    posted by Hermione Granger at 8:26 PM on March 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Oh my God I completely forgot my best purchase ever: a Tuft & Needle mattress. I wanna marry it. The only mattress that has ever come close to it in goodness was my first boyfriend's mattress and idk what it was but it was a California King and I think that was what made it so nice.

    Mine is better tho because first boyfriend hasn't slept in it and never will
    posted by Hermione Granger at 8:35 PM on March 16, 2018 [19 favorites]

    Not stuff but I always splash out on therapy and getting my hair done.

    Buying my own power cord for my work laptop so I don’t have to crawl under my desk every day to take it home. TIL that the company will buy you a spare power cord.

    Paying a bit more on rent to live in a neighborhood that ticks almost all of my boxes.

    Tiny purchases that make my life better. Like short HDMI cables to keep the out-of-control cords under my desk organized.

    If a little thing gives me comfort and gives me power I get that. I’m working on a huge purge of belongings to accomplish a life goal. For some reason the big blue IKEA bags make me want to fill them up and take them to the thrift store. So I spent $20 on IKEA bags instead of $5 on Hefty bags.
    posted by bendy at 10:02 PM on March 16, 2018 [2 favorites]

    Can't believe nobody's said socks yet. I pretty much only buy Darn Toughs at this point, and before that I only bought Smartwool. (Darn Tough is better quality than Smartwool.) They keep my feet much more comfortable than crappy old cotton socks. Warmer in winter, cooler in summer, and drier year-round. Plus they fight odor. The best part is that they last practically forever (Darn Tough actually has a lifetime guarantee, on socks) so over time they aren't actually more expensive than buying packs of cheap socks at Target or wherever.

    Also, if you live somewhere that it gets cold, toe warmers. I buy a big box of them at the end of Fall and wear them pretty much every day. I spent my whole life having cold, clammy, uncomfortable feet all winter long but now they are warm and pink and happy thanks to toe warmers.

    Basically I've found that it pays to spend money on having comfortable feet. You need them and they put up with a lot—stuffed into tight-fitting prisons and stomped on all day—so treat them right. If my feet are miserable, I'm miserable. I used to have a lot of foot-related misery in my life but no longer. It wasn't even that expensive.
    posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:49 AM on March 17, 2018 [8 favorites]

    Oh and this is more something that's cheap and amazing rather than pricy but worth it, but Showa Atlas 370 work gloves. They are a nitrile coating over a thin, stretchy, yet extremely tough nylon weave and they are incredible.

    They have excellent grip and are extremely durable, but the best thing about them is the way they fit. They cling to your hands like a coat of paint. (I am a male with medium-small hands and I buy size medium.) They also breathe extremely well. They're the only work gloves I've ever worn that were so comfortable I can wear them all day and not want to take them off. They're so thin you can text through them, but they also offer substantial grip and protection, and they last a long time.

    They come in 12-packs. If your job involves a lot of manual labor a pack of twelve will last you all year. If you only wear them when you're doing work around the house, it'll last you the rest of your life. Soooooo worth it, miles better than any other work glove ever.
    posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 5:59 AM on March 17, 2018 [5 favorites]

    I just bought a bread box and now my (from the bakery) bread doesn't get stale before we finish it.
    posted by Hypatia at 8:54 AM on March 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Last year we bought a Honda Accord, and to make up for me not being able to buy my impractical dream car, I upgraded the sound system. I put vibration dampening panels in the doors and trunk. I put sound insulating material in the doors. I replaced the stock speakers in the doors with really nice component speakers. I researched the shit out of subwoofer enclosures and designed/built a box for the sub I installed in the trunk. I added separate amplifiers for everything, added a digital sound processor to clean up the sound, upgraded the electrical system to power everything, and it sounds fucking amazing. It's loud if you want it loud, but I built it for sound quality, and I think it shines. No matter what type of music you want to hear, you hear the full range of sound, and it makes my commute so much better. It is stupid and impractical but I love it.

    I also recently got a pair of bluetooth noise canceling headphones (Sony WH-1000XM2) and they are great. My office is totally quiet now. I'll watch a movie on the iPad with them while doing dishes and I can't hear the washer/dryer going. On road trips and plane trips everything just goes totally quiet and I can listen to my audio at very low volumes and it sounds just fine.

    Other car stuff
    On the Honda Accord mentioned above, I took it to a place and had the nicest window tint I could find (Formula One Pinnacle ceramic) installed. It blocks so much heat in the summer. It's awesome. Expensive, but awesome.
    posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:59 AM on March 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

    I am prone to back troubles and have a job that sees me slumped over a laptop in meeting rooms a lot. Having regular ‚therapeutic‘ (as opposed to ‚wellness‘) massages makes my life much better.

    Also, good shoes. It was a revelation how much more comfortable and hard wearing shoes can be, down to being worth getting soles fixed.
    posted by koahiatamadl at 10:04 AM on March 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Fancy French lentils. I’m vegan, so I probably eat more lentils than average. It’s nice to feel kind of spoiled on the lentil front.
    posted by FencingGal at 10:12 AM on March 17, 2018 [2 favorites]

    They're not that expensive but Contigo go-mugs are a thousand times better than other brands. They legitimately do not leak - I throw mine right into my work bag and don't worry whether it's facing upward or upside down.

    Also, if you're a coffee drinker and you drink it at home, splurging on good coffee and having a great coffeemaker makes life so much more satisfying. I used to have a Bunn which was great because it brews in 3 minutes. Some friends got us a Zirojishi for our wedding and it is even better, because it has a carafe that actually keeps coffee hot all the day- really, brewed in the morning, stays hot until the evening.

    Finally, an online backup service. I love never sweating a potential power surge or hard drive failure. I can get it all back.
    posted by Miko at 1:19 PM on March 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Mesh wifi for the house. There are several to choose from and they're quite expensive (around 300). But compared to other solutions for dead spots or bad performance over farther distances in the house, it's the way to go. It's a whole category of problems that I no longer have to think about.
    posted by condour75 at 3:42 PM on March 17, 2018

    Taxi Wallet
    posted by jointhedance at 9:29 AM on March 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

    posted by turbid dahlia at 4:07 PM on March 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

    You might be interested in this thread from a long time ago.
    posted by unliteral at 6:36 PM on March 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

    Electric blanket (I think maybe what you call a heated mattress pad in the US?). Game changer in winter, so, so lovely to sleep on. There's something primal about the warmth.

    Knee length padded winter coat. Like being allowed to wear my duvet on the bus to work.
    posted by penguin pie at 5:12 PM on March 20, 2018

    These flip flops are changing my life right now. They make me happy.
    posted by jasondigitized at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2018

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