One Hundred Dollars
April 9, 2008 12:11 PM   Subscribe

When I was a kid I could buy the world for $20 but now with $100 I can’t get crap. What can I buy for $100 that’s fun?

$100 leftover over in b-day money and no clue how to blow it.

Ground rules:
I don’t want CDs or DVDs
I already have GH2 and 3 and Rockband
I’d rather not spend on clothes
I just bought tools

I just want something fun – some gadget or gizmo or toy that I would not normally buy for myself for a $100.
posted by doorsfan to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (61 answers total) 49 users marked this as a favorite
A roomba!
posted by bonheur at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Twenty Metafilter memberships.
posted by box at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2008 [5 favorites]

It's slightly more than $100, but it seems like all the cool kids these days are getting Flip camer
posted by stefanie at 12:17 PM on April 9, 2008

Five pounds of Silly Putty?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2008

err... I meant, Flip camcorders, there.
posted by stefanie at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2008

posted by contessa at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2008

What about a fantastic comforter?
posted by craven_morhead at 12:21 PM on April 9, 2008

Donate it:

UNICEF's Tetanus Program

It's fun. And that's just two!
posted by spec80 at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2008

water balloons!
posted by marxfriedrice at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2008

posted by captaincrouton at 12:28 PM on April 9, 2008

oops, you asked for a gadget. Mini-keg cooler or beer taps.
posted by captaincrouton at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2008

Some LEGOs?
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

You can get a decent hiking GPS unit for under $100, especially if you buy an older model or a used one. The GPS receiver itself isn't very fun, but you can use it for fun things like GeoCaching.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:30 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Pyro Pack.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:32 PM on April 9, 2008

A mandolin, obviously
posted by stubby phillips at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2008

3 radio shack dragon flies. especially if you have access to a cat.
posted by cda at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2008

I would buy $100 worth of marbles and release them at the top of a mall escalator right when the Cinna-Buns come out of the oven.

Then I would go home and prepare for lawsuits.

How about blowing it all on a great meal somewhere you normally can't afford to eat?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:39 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Used Guitar.
posted by Science! at 12:47 PM on April 9, 2008

The larger Lego sets go around $90...they have Indiana Jones ones now!

It's a little over $100 but I *heart* my Nintendo DS
posted by legotech at 1:03 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

you could buy two or three of the items listed here!
posted by ddaavviidd at 1:07 PM on April 9, 2008

Gym membership
posted by tiburon at 1:10 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

You can have all kinds of fun with a handheld GPS receiver. Start geocaching!
posted by Nelsormensch at 1:12 PM on April 9, 2008

A massage at a nice spa.
posted by Perplexity at 1:14 PM on April 9, 2008

Buy enough parts to build five pocket theremins.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:24 PM on April 9, 2008 [5 favorites]

Swiss Champ. Seriously. I use it every day. It's something you don't realize how handy it comes in until it's always there. And it's big enough that it makes people go "woah", but small enough to always have it in my pocket - as opposed to the impractically awesome Champ XAVT
posted by yeti at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2008

yeah, definitely a nice dinner somewhere you can't normally afford.

or have an ice cream party with friends.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:25 PM on April 9, 2008

Take neighborhood kids to zoo and pizza!
Help someone who is down and out!
Make kites and give them to friends!
Surprise your mom with flowers, but don't leave a card!
posted by Dizzy at 1:40 PM on April 9, 2008

Personally, I'd go for a super-nice dinner, and take a friend or someone special.

Other ideas from my personal wishlist:

Throw a party for your friends. $100 is a lot of beer and pizza. Or you could buy a couple different bottles of some kind of liquor, and host a tasting - tequlia, perhaps?

Have you got a good mp3 player? If so, do you have an aux line into your car stereo? The sound is way better than using an FM transmitter, and you could probably get one installed for under $100.

If you're into outdoorsy stuff, I'd say put it towards a great pair of hiking boots or a really high-end rain jacket (i.e. very waterproof and very breathable and very lightweight).

Do you like cooking? Maybe you could use a really nice pan of some sort.

Please note, you could also get several Slip 'N Slides for that price. Line them up in the yard and have races all summer.
posted by vytae at 1:43 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

It's $129.95, but I'd get an AeroGarden!
posted by iguanapolitico at 1:47 PM on April 9, 2008 [2 favorites]

I've made the suggestion before, but take a friend to a good arcade - that's hours of pure entertainment.
posted by pupdog at 2:06 PM on April 9, 2008

I've built a potato cannon for less than $100. With $100 you could probably build a CO2 powered one.
posted by kookywon at 2:14 PM on April 9, 2008

Don't blow it just yet! Set it aside (like, in a sealed brightly-colored envelope with silver stars and "AWESOME FUND" written on it) and save it until you come across that one fun gadget that you never thought you needed until you learned of its existence.

I always find the best stuff that I can't live without approximately two days after I've burned through my birthday cash.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:15 PM on April 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

posted by cazoo at 2:21 PM on April 9, 2008 [3 favorites]

A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 16 year old bourbon.

If that's not available, the 18 year Black Maple Hill bourbon is pretty damned tasty too.
posted by slogger at 2:29 PM on April 9, 2008

I would either take the money and *do* something really nice (fancy dinner at someplace I can't otherwise afford, as others have said, or a massage or something like that) or save it 'til I find that "thing" that i need but don't know about yet. I know... BOring!
posted by indiebass at 2:42 PM on April 9, 2008

Remote control plane/helicopter. Actually anything remote controlled that comes in under budget.
posted by Elmore at 2:46 PM on April 9, 2008

Oh wait you got me thinking. I was going to say a fishtank and some fish. But you could blow twenty like you would have as a kid - some fake blood, a fake turd, one of those cut off fake fingers, itching powder, stink bombs, sea monkeys, x-ray glasses, etc. and then take a friend out to dinner and have a nice bottle of wine with the rest. Best of both worlds.
posted by Elmore at 2:50 PM on April 9, 2008

Oh, you know you need the Uncle Milton HomeStar.
posted by Vervain at 2:53 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

something off of
posted by jinatrix at 3:07 PM on April 9, 2008

Mini helicopters or similar RC aircraft
Delicious food out with good friend\SO
Gym membership if you don't have one
Lego Mindstorms kit (if available for around this price)
Other sorts of legos
GPS unit
New cellphone\PDA type device
Wood or metal to build some sweet furniture
Parts to build some kind of weapon (paintball turret, missile launcher, potato gun, etc.)
New rifle
posted by !Jim at 3:09 PM on April 9, 2008

29 book credits on (i.e., you can request 29 books from what's available, and they'll be shipped to you at no further expense)

A refurbished Xbox and a modchip

A Logitech Harmony universal remote

a decTop low-power computer

lots o' Legos

an aeropress coffee maker, a hot-air popcorn popper (for roasting coffee), and lots of green (unroasted) coffee beans
posted by Zed_Lopez at 3:10 PM on April 9, 2008

Juggling bags or pins (maybe $30 total for either)

Crazy Aarons Thinking Putty - - great fun! (maybe $15 tax and shipping)

A giant cigar pillow (about $40)

and a sixer or two of the beer of your choice to enjoy them all

= about $100.
posted by elendil71 at 3:17 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

If I had $100:

*Get a massage

*Get a facial

*go with a companion for a nice dinner

*donate it to charity

*save it for a rainy day
posted by nikksioux at 3:23 PM on April 9, 2008

I have self interest here, but you could buy several pieces of art on
posted by raulgutierrez at 3:50 PM on April 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh oh, buy a bunch of bottles of wine (maybe 4 $20 bottles and a couple $10 bottles) and have a wine tasting. And cheese, grapes, and apples.
posted by craven_morhead at 5:16 PM on April 9, 2008

Rock Band Setup! A mic stand will cost you twenty bucks, a drum stool is thirty, an Uncle Milton Lightshow is forty, and a case of cheap beer is ten!

Or, if the light show is not your thing, for under fifty bucks you can construct your own kick pedal using a real drum kick, some reed switches from Radio Shack, some speaker wire, and some scrap wood.

You can customize your GH or RB guitars with some Krylon paint and a steady hand, too.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:19 PM on April 9, 2008

One of the more expensive space pens.
posted by aerotive at 5:28 PM on April 9, 2008

Can't believe I forgot this, a Swissmemory USB key multitool. I got a 512MB version a few years ago and it's come in handy many, many times. It's a nice conversation starter too--when I use it in a store or something people will start talking to me out of the blue about it.
posted by aerotive at 5:44 PM on April 9, 2008

You don't want CDs, but what about an iPod Shuffle for $49, ($69 for a 2 gig version)?

Random suggestions:
-Hot Wheels sets to relive you childhood. (I bought some about a year ago. I won't say how old I am.) For $100 you can have the dream Hot Wheels setup you always wanted. I set mine up to run from my bedroom, through the hallway and kitchen, and into the living room. (It also instantly made me World's Most Awesomest Dad to my teen daughter's friends.)

-I like the Flip-camera idea. Easy to use, fun, and you can challenge yourself to make some movies tat tell a story, and upload them to YouTube.

-Radio-Controlled "off-road" cars. A set of 2, with different frequencies, and you can race a friend.

-A cheap bike from a big-box retailer (I know it's not a "gadget" but if you don't have one... now is the time.)

-An electric scooter (you'll need about $20 more.)

-A nice watch

-An advanced universal remote control.

-A Palm Z22.

-An awesome nylon kite with dual lines for flight control.

-A great messenger bag.

-A collection of funky plants for a windowsill garden: Venus Fly Traps, cacti, and other unusual and easy-to-care-for plants.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 5:54 PM on April 9, 2008

A bottle of the best Post-Ban absinthe on the market.

This. I got a bottle of this for Christmas and have been completely pwn3d by La Fee Verte.
posted by jquinby at 7:13 PM on April 9, 2008

Go to a thrift shop or a cool dollar store and go nuts.
posted by orange swan at 7:25 PM on April 9, 2008

Carbon 14
Or Polonium 210 (same page): the choice of government hitmen, but it only has a half-life of about 6 months.

Barring that, stupidly powerful supermagnets to crush your enemies.
posted by dirigibleman at 8:01 PM on April 9, 2008


Buy some (expensive)
Make your own (cheap)
Do neat stuff (get some electromagnets!)
posted by lalochezia at 10:52 PM on April 9, 2008

Buy an mp3 player. Listen to your favorite music and podcasts all day long.
posted by zardoz at 12:18 AM on April 10, 2008

If you like cooking, consider getting a Kyocera Ceramic Knife. I bought one a while ago and I constantly marvel at it. It's sharper than anything else I have, and translucent.

It makes me feel like I am living in some amazing future world - a future world filled with perfectly sliced tomatoes.
posted by tomble at 3:29 AM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]

seconding weed.
posted by borkingchikapa at 7:17 AM on April 10, 2008

Response by poster: EXCELLENT ideas all!

I think I am going to go with a mtn. bike ($100 at Target or Wlamart) or tickets for me and 2 friends to go to a AA ball game and I'll use the balance on beer.

posted by doorsfan at 12:43 PM on April 11, 2008

I'd go with ball game and get a solid bike instead of a Wally Mart Special, but that's speaking as a bike snob.
posted by craven_morhead at 2:11 PM on April 12, 2008

You could do what I did with my birthday money last year--donate it to a group that gives free medical aid to the needy. The memory made me smile all year.
posted by moof at 9:40 PM on April 12, 2008

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