Best and Worst Consumer Investment

Did you know you can get replacement lids? I did this last year for my lunch dishes.


Agree with everyone who has said shoes and bras.

I am glad I splashed out and bought myself a high-end food processor. I use it all the time and it is fantastic. It saves my arthritic hands from all kinds of pain.

I received it as a gift, but I feel similarly about my stick blender (immersion blender). It works so well! So much better than the $15 one I used to use!

Solid wood furniture that can be sanded down and refinished lasts indefinitely. I consider that great value.


Agree. My best furniture is the very old, solid wood stuff.


Yeah I’ve considered that but I feel like they should have lasted longer than they did so I don’t want to buy the same thing and have the same issue. Plus Wegman’s has glass dishes with sealing/locking lids that work better for leakproof lunch transport.

I feel like Pyrex quality in general has gone so downhill. We were also gifted a nice set of Pyrex measuring cups and the paint is wearing off and now they are useless for measuring because the scale isn’t etched. I wish I’d checked for that when we could have still exchanged them but I didn’t even think about it :frowning:


$$ and worth it:

  • the right mechanical keyboard. I have a totally ridiculous 68-key keyboard whose mapping is totally customized and it really is shocking how much better an experience it is over the mushy laptop standard. Also the narrower profile means I get less weird shoulder pain.
  • eggs. Eggs from pastured, corn- and soy-free chickens are worth eating, even at like 50 cents an egg. I can’t stomach cheap eggs (this may have to do with being allergic to corn though…)

Not worth the $$:

  • booze. What makes the $40 tequila twice as good as the $20 tequila? I can’t tell.
  • AAA video games. The best games out there right now are $0-20 indie masterpieces. AAA is boring.

Oooh this is a great question.

Worth it for me:
-brand name shoes (although I buy them cheap through like 6pm and similar).
-good spices. There is a world apart between McCormack’s garlic powder and Penzey’s. It’s nuts. It’s like learning to cook from scratch all over, somehow.
-good coffee beans. Especially for decaf, but just in general. Massive difference.
-correctly fitted bras. It was a REVELATION when I realized the 36C Victoria’s Secret has put me in was fucking wrong, and I in fact have a 30 band size. Night and day friends.
-I’ll totally second good eggs!

Not worth it:
-fancy bed linens. I like flannel for winter and stiff cotton for summer. Cheap to come by, and my happy place.
-expensive clothes, generally. I don’t go fancy places. I tend to luck out with fairly cheap items lasting me a long time.

Im sure I’ll think of more later!


Best: When I was working, St. John Knit jackets. They travel well and wear like iron. Fortunately, you can buy them on EBay for much less than the $1200. you’d pay at Nordstrom’s. Also: Frye boots.

Worst: Expensive makeup, shampoo, bath stuff and skin care. Revlon, Maybelline, generic dandruff shampoo, Epsom salts and Aquaphor work just as well for me as stuff that costs 10x as much.



I don’t think I can consider my fountain pens an investment because I now own three (a Pilot Metropolitan, a Kaweco Liliput, and a Platinum 3776 Century–guess which one I use the most and is also the cheapest), and also I keep using other pens because a) I have them and b) I don’t manage to put new ink in my fountain pens.

Hmm. I would like to have shoes that are worth it, but am unsure how to find good ones. I expect to spend $$$ on bras when I finally go bra shopping. There’s some fancy furniture I want, but haven’t bought yet.

Worth it:

  • Name brand (Systane) eye drops
  • Name brand Band-Aids
  • LL Bean winter coats
  • Flour (I kept finding bugs in my store-brand flour)
  • Chocolate

Not worth it:

  • Expensive clothes

Fountain pens - nice ones- were only $10-$20 in japan. Blew me away. My hostel roommate came home with a new fountain pen every day.


My car. My poor lost car. Little grey spitfire of love and loathing.


Worth it:

Instant Pot-I am able to cook something quickly even when I would rather just go out to eat.

Good Power Tools-We built a garage with mostly borrowed tools and bought many tools before remodeling our house. Having the right tools made working on the house so much better.

Our structured baby carrier-we had a wrap that was hard to figure out. Now with a 10 month old we can easily strap her on and go most anywhere.

Not worth it:

ianything- I’ve had an iphone, ipad etc and they are more expensive without actually being of a better quality.

Expensive Gardening Tools-I have inexpensive tools that do the job just as well.


It’s a Lamie (SP?) Though I forget what variety. I actually got it quite a while ago and only recently rediscovered the joy of using it.


This is a great topic.

For me, Best Consumer Investment:

  • My single speed bike. This was my first bike purchase since high school, and my first with drop bars, and I hemmed and hawed for months until the shop announced they were closing. That $800 changed my life in such magical ways. It allowed me and kiddo to do an incredible trip together for his HS grad present, and became a gateway drug to the greater bike community. More importantly, it’s indestructible, has thousands of miles on it, and is still hella fun to ride.

For me, Worst Consumer Investment:

  • My car, recently gifted to kiddo. I love the make and model of my car. It’s the perfect camping vehicle for me unless a pristine 74 split 23 window VW bus falls in my lap. But it was a total rip-off. I was so sick of car shopping and overpaid by several thousand. For a ten year old vehicle.

The flip side is that that purchase was the catalyst for turning my finances around. My credit union also recommended refinancing my mortgage when they ran the numbers for the car, and that will save me $60k over the life of the loan.


Oh! Put second hand slow cooker on the worst purchase list for me. 10 bucks but I’ve used it hardly at all. My waffle iron and paper shredder were both way better purchases (especially my waffle iron).


Oh, interesting timing… I’ve been thinking about the Vimes’ Boots principle this month (there’s those shoes again!). It’s mostly a hypothesis about socioeconomic inequality, but it has a positive corollary that pricier practical things are sometimes worth their higher costs. I’ve applied this to my life in a couple of ways lately.

Most significantly, I bought a very expensive office chair – one of the ones that’s often used as a punchline about pampered Silicon Valley types with more money than sense. But after some deliberation, and consultation with friends – and far too much back and shoulder pain, after my most recent Amazon-special cheap chair broke down – I decided to go for it at the start of this month. I’m really happy with it, and I hope to keep using it for many years. (I wrote about this in more detail over on my blog.)

And funnily, on one of our outings around town to look for an expensive-chair shop, my wife and I popped into a kitchen supply store just for fun, and also because we had a bunch of trashed-up non-stick pans from Bed Bath & Beyond at home. We ended up walking out with a carbon-steel skillet, which was less expensive than then the chair by an order of magnitude, but still pretty pricey as such things go. It’s also more expensive in terms of maintenance: it involves the whole deal with seasoning and hand-washing it without soap and keeping it oiled and so on. So this is a little more experimental, but I understand that once we get the hang of it, this thing should last us pretty much forever. I’m hopeful it’ll end up looking like a very good investment!


I season and treat my cast iron with care but never have my carbon steel, to no ill effect. Just don’t leave it soaking for hours or you’ll get surface rust (which you can remove with a weak vinegar and water solution).

1 Like

Best - My IKEA chair - Poang? So comfortable. Also the chaise we got there.
The garden swing we bought at Kmart about 15 years ago. I’ve had to make new cushions for it twice, but we use it so much in the summer.
Penzey’s spices - they changed my mind about bay leaves.
My Viking sewing machine. I’ve had it at least 15 years, and it’s from when they still made them in Sweden.

Worst - I bought myself a new knee. It cost a lot. I hate it.


I got fresh mozzarella. NOM.

1 Like

+1 to the Viking. I have an old one that was my grandmother’s sister’s. The thing is a beast and weighs a ton but damn if it won’t always sew a beautiful stitch.

A good knife. I think it was a present, but a good knife makes cooking so much more enjoyable and over almost 2 decades I’m sure it saved us a lot.

Also saving us money is our le creuset because I feel confident with my ability to cook the tougher and cheaper meats. Though there was probably a less pricey option, it was also a present.

Obviously shoes are important because otherwise my knees complain and knees are more difficult to replace.

Worst consumer spending is probably our house. And that really expensive chest with wonky drawer runners.