How To Do Life

Fresh ideas about career and personal issues

My 9 Favorite Purchases

Items that yield remarkable pleasure for the money.

What have been your favorite purchases? Your list could reveal something about who you are.

To trigger your thinking and to suggest some wonderful products, here’s my list.

1) Memo pad.  For under a dollar, I have a highly portable idea-storage device that never runs out of battery juice. I take a memo pad with me everywhere I go. I even put one next to the shower--I get some of my best ideas there— no distractions, better oxygenation to the brain. Every time I get an idea or something I need to remember, I jot it down. I’ve probably derived more benefit per dollar from memo pads than from anything else.

2) Toyota cars. A car is freedom---despite the ever worse traffic. I’m normally not brand-loyal but Toyotas are remarkable. Consumer Reports rates Toyota the most trouble-free brand and my family and I have owned six, each of which provided amazingly reliable 200,000+ miles. The best value for the dollar is to buy a few-year old one. If a mechanic gives it the thumbs up, it should still have most of its life left in it.

3) Samsung smartphone. This is one of humankind's greatest achievements: The wonders of the Internet, google-harnessable plus email, phone, and GPS, all in your pocket, wherever you are. Samsungs are generally more powerful and affordable than are Apple iPhones.

4) Panasonic microwave oven. A microwave lets me heat anything quickly. Of course, there’s reheating coffee but I use it in other very time-saving ways. For example, I throw a frozen chicken breast in the microwave and eight minutes later, it’s cooked, tender, and after sprinkling some garlic powder, curry, or parmesan, delicious. Just 100 dollars for a Panasonic, which is considered the best brand.

5) Mr Coffee coffeemaker. Mr. Coffee makes great coffee quickly, whether one cup or twelve. The research consensus is that coffee, in moderation, is actually healthy for most people. This purchase has given me a delicious daily pick-me-up for three years now for a mere 35 dollars.

6) Korg SP-280 keyboard.  As my sideline, I play the piano professionally, so I’m picky. This portable keyboard with onboard powerful speakers and true piano action, has outstanding piano, electric piano, organ, choir, and other sounds. Remarkable at 699 dollars.

7) Barmah canvas drover hat.  This crushable, breathable, attractive hat gives perfect sun protection. I’ve had it for years and it still looks great. 35 dollars.

8) Zinnia, Magellan Coral.  Less than five dollars for the seeds or six-pack plants available in May through July at many good nurseries. Just plant them with fertilizer in a sunny spot and keep them watered and you’ll get beautiful live bouquets that last for months.

9) My doggie, Einstein. A rescue that cost me 29 dollars, he is my stress-buster, nonjudgmental friend, and motivator to exercise. Besides, I love him.

As mentioned earlier, looking at our favorite purchases can reveal something about ourselves. As I look at my list, except for the zinnia and Einstein, there’s an incessant focus on practicality, efficiency, time- and cost-effectiveness.

Now it’s your turn

Care to list your favorite purchases? What do they say about you?

Marty Nemko's bio is in Wikipedia.

Marty Nemko is a career and personal coach based in Oakland, Ca. and the author of 7 books. 
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