What Was Your Best Purchase Ever?

Last Updated Jun 30, 2011 4:55 PM EDT

I just moved from New York City to suburban Pennsylvania. It's been quite a change of pace, with some positives and negatives, but one of the best parts is that I'm spending more time outside. I had a goal to eat outside as often as possible this summer, and I'm racking up just about every breakfast and dinner I eat. Why? Because one of our first purchases for the new house was a table and set of chairs for the patio.
Now, in general, researchers tell us that spending money on experiences produces more happiness than spending money on things. Going to a bar with friends is always pleasurable in slightly different ways, with the variability forestalling adaptation. A table, on the other hand, just sits there.
But the dividing line between things and experiences is more nuanced than at first glance. Is my patio table a thing or an experience? It's clearly a thing -- and yet it enables the experience of eating outside. I love eating outside, and so my patio table is one of my favorite purchases, ever.

What about you? Which purchases make you happy every time you use them? We all have purchases that seem like a waste of money (like probably half the clothes in my closet) but which seem worth celebrating?

There are many reasons to try to figure these questions out. The biggest is that we spend a lot of our time working to earn money to buy things. The problem is that we buy a lot of stuff that turns out not to matter to us. There's nothing worse than looking in your closet and realizing how many hours you spent laboring to buy things you never wear. But a table that lets you enjoy being outside in the summer? That's worth every minute and penny.

What is your favorite purchase ever?

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Photo courtesy flickr user, madame.furie