25 Purchases You'll Never Regret
By Marla Walters
Over the years, I have made many a purchase. Some were big-ticket; some were under $15. Of course, there were occasions when buyer's remorse soon followed my shopping trips, but there were several purchases that I still stand by.
Here are 25 purchases that I think you would never regret.
Home ownership is still a sound financial idea. You can build up equity, claim mortgage tax deductions, and build a good credit history. I was a renter before I was a homeowner, and would never go back, but that's me. I like being able to put holes in walls where I want them, own pets, or dig up part of the yard for a garden. When you own a home, you are able to create the living environment you want — not your landlord's.
2. Four-Wheel Drive Pickup Truck
Not too long after my husband and I became homeowners, we bought a truck. It is now 18 years old and still runs well. Need green waste hauled? Buying large stuff? Going somewhere adventurous, where you need four-wheel drive? A truck enables you to do a lot of things that are especially handy if you are a homeowner. Ours isn't going to break any land-speed records, but we don't care. It's as handy as heck.
3. A Safe
There are paper records, and then there are really important records like birth certificates, marriage certificates, title to cars, valuables, etc. If it is important, it needs to be put somewhere secure. Sure, you could get a safe-deposit box, but it's handier to have things around — where you can get them when needed — and not subject to a bank's hours.
4. Fruit Trees
There is no instant gratification in planting fruit trees, but they are well worth the effort. Every time we pick avocados, oranges, bananas, or lemons, we are grateful we took the time to plant those trees. We cannot begin to eat all of what they produce, but part of the fun is to share the bounty.
5. Leather Furniture
When we began buying furniture, I thought leather would be bad to have, with kids and pets, but I was so wrong. It is extremely durable, and with leather cleaner and a little elbow grease, it cleans right up. Ours has survived beautifully, and we'll never go back to upholstered furniture. It is also easy to re-decorate with different throws or pillows.
6. Gas Stove
If you are interested in energy efficiency, gas is the way to go. It takes nearly three times as much energy to deliver electricity to your stove, according to the California Energy Commission. Savings aside, if you like to cook, it is so much easier to regulate stove temperatures with gas instead of electric. Plus, if the power goes out, you can still cook.
7. Outdoor Fire Pit
An outdoor fire pit was a bit of an impulse buy, but we have gotten so much use out of it. If you like to entertain, break out the marshmallows. Even if it is just my husband and I, it makes for an extremely relaxing evening — sitting in the yard with a glass of wine in hand.
Have you ever regretted spending money on a vacation? Even when things don't turn out the way you expect, there were fun memories and good stories. Plus, they're good for you. People need breaks from work and time for fun and relaxation. And vacations do not have to break the bank — try camping, a road trip, or renting an RV.
9. Plug-In Artificial Christmas Tree
We bought the plug-in artificial tree during a year when I just couldn't, for sad reasons, handle Christmas. For 16 years since, we have plugged it in, and it's bright, cheery, and works perfectly. We live in a climate where fresh trees are ridiculously expensive, so this tree paid for itself long ago. Amusingly, it has become a collector's item on eBay and is worth much more than we paid for it years ago. Now, I wouldn't trade it for a 10-foot Silvertip.
After a particularly bad storm, we lost power for a week and a half. We also couldn't get enough ice, and eventually lost the contents of our freezer and refrigerator. That was motivation to purchase a generator. They are noisy and give off exhaust when being used, but having weathered even more storms, we're glad we bought it.
11. Knife Sharpener
If you have a scout merit badge in the fine art of knife sharpening, and the proper whetstones, you don't need one of these. If, on the other hand, you have a drawer or cutting block full of mostly dull knives, like we did, get a good knife sharpener. It will make life so much better. Scout's honor.
12. Label Maker
People who know that we own a label maker actually ask us to make labels for them. Talk about a handy little contraption! You can go a little nuts with them. If you are into organizing, they are a must-have.
13. Meat Smoker
If you like tender meat, poultry, and fish with a smoky flavor, look into buying a smoker. We have a traditional charcoal-burning one (quite inexpensive) as well as a new electric one. We will never eat Thanksgiving turkey another way, and we're about to try salmon and bacon. I worried that cleanup would be a pain, but it's really quite easy.
14. LED Flashlights
Not only are LED flashlights longer-lasting than regular flashlights, but they are more energy-efficient, and they cast a very bright light. We have a more traditional, battery flashlight that is very heavy, and the tiny LED outshines it every time. It is now our favorite.
15. Good-Quality Multi-Tool
Do some research and invest in a quality multi-tool that will last. Mine contains 10 tools: Needle nose spring-loaded pliers, a wire cutter, a fine edge blade, a package opener, scissors, two screwdrivers, a bottle opener, tweezers, and a file. Although I would like to carry mine in my purse, I am afraid I will lose it to the TSA when I fly, so it lives in my car. And I have another in my desk at work.
16. French Press
We paid under $20 for our French Press coffee pot about five years ago. Not only is the coffee from a French Press really delicious, but if there is a power outage, you can still make coffee! That's basically the same as having superpowers. This is a very important thing, when you really need coffee. It even goes camping with us.
17. Ice Chests
I just went outside and counted, and we have three, in varying sizes. Since we live a distance from Costco, we take the big one along when we do bulk shopping. Another has wheels, making it perfect to drag to picnics. The smallest one is perfect for beverages. During power outages, they have also been used to store food.
18. Alternative Education
Not all kids fit into the same mold, and sometimes they do better in a setting that suits their interests and pace of learning better. My mother, a longtime public school teacher, recommended we try the Montessori method for our daughter. She was right, and that was a great fit. Eventually there were others, including charter and public. In retrospect, I think it was good to mix it up.
19. Camping Equipment
If you like the great outdoors, odds are, you enjoy camping. It's an inexpensive vacation, if you own your own equipment (or can borrow some). A site with no frills should be around $10; state parks with water and bathrooms can be around $15. Even if you go to a private campground, you should be able to get a site for less than $50 a night. Most of our equipment was purchased at yard sales. Our big splurge was to buy new, good-quality sleeping bags — which are worth every penny on cold nights.
20. Ceiling Fans
We are not fans of air conditioning, but needing to move air around, we invested in ceiling fans. They don't actually lower the temperature of a room, but air movement makes a room feel cooler. In the winter, you can run the fan in a clockwise direction, and bring that warm air down.
21. KitchenAid Mixer
The KitchenAid mixer is a beast. Mine will not only mix, but also knead bread dough, and whip cream. It is about 15 years old and works perfectly. One of these days, I'll invest in some of the attachments and make ravioli, pressed juice, or core apples.
22. Revere Ware
My mother-in-law, who burned, um, everything in the kitchen, taught me the value of buying Revere Ware. I have owned many sets of "celebrity chef" pans, and I'll tell you — nothing, absolutely nothing, has held up as well as this brand. I still have one of her stock-pots, and it's a treasured item.
If you burn something in one of these pans, no problem. Let it soak overnight, scrape it, and out it comes. If it's really major, there is a cleaning product called Bar Keepers Friend that will remove any residual gunk. If I were getting married and had a registry, I'd choose Revere Ware.
23. Wine Refrigerator
It's a shame when a good bottle of wine is ruined due to being overheated. The wine fridge also ensures that you drink wine at the proper suggested temperature. I had initial concerns about energy usage, but that has not been an issue on our bill.
24. Sewing Machine
If you want to save money, and think you might enjoy getting in touch with your creative side, a sewing machine is a great thing to have around. You can make repairs, cover pillows, make curtains or blankets, or even sew some of your own clothes. To be honest, I'm not very good at sewing, but I really like it. My daughter recently bought herself a machine on Craigslist and taught herself to sew. We get a kick out of copying trendy catalog stuff and making it ourselves.
25. Good Books
Despite having the ability to download books and use e-readers, I have never really enjoyed that kind of reading experience as much as a paper page-turner. I also like to re-read favorites as well as classics. Reading can be an inexpensive pleasure, and you will never regret the books you buy.