HP Giving Away $500 to a Lucky Wise Bread Reader

by Will Chen on 31 August 2011 (856 comments)

Editor's Note: The contest is officially closed! Congratulations to Wise Bread reader Ben Marvin for his winning comment!

HP is launching a new blog for lifehackers, work-from-home entrepreneurs, and small business owners called Input/Output. It has a lot of relevant tips for savvy Wise Bread readers, such as 5 Tips to Cutting Hidden IT CostsHow Not to  Blow Your IT Job Interview, and 3 Ways to Print From Your Mobile Phone

To celebrate the launch of Input/Output, HP is giving Away $500 to Wise Bread Readers!

How to Enter

Simply leave a comment below answering the question: What is the smartest investment you’ve ever made? (Answer must be at least two sentences long.)

It can be any kind of investment—business, personal, or family investment. What is an investment that has yielded a solid return for you? Perhaps a degree, office equipment, cooking lessons, or a new suit?

Prize is a $500 Visa gift card.

Be sure to leave your name and email so we can contact you when you win!

Comment must be entered before September 23, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Contest Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Legal residents of the 50 United States (D.C.) 18 years or older.  Ends 9/23/11.  Winners will be randomly selected and announced on Wise Bread before end of September. See Official Rules. Void where prohibited.

More About INPUT / OUTPUT

One of the best ways to achieve success is to emulate successful people. HP's new blog features original articles from the industry’s most respected writers and exclusive interviews with technology leaders.

You can learn life and business lessons from the top business minds of our time. Some of my favorites include:

Enter the contest now by leaving a comment!

This post is brought to you by HP. For more information on HP and HP products visit us at Inputcreatesoutput.com.

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JD

Although I hope that most of my choices are good investments, one that sticks out recently is that my husband and I upgraded to new smart phones. Since we are each busy and mobile, and the phones are faster and so easily customizable that they serve a dozen different purposes every day, not the least of which is keeping me in touch with long distance family and friends while still keeping up on work and grad school. It's nice to have the tools you need to manage all your goals and priorities!

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Lynda

The smartest investment I ever made was probably my graduate degree. I learned how to conquer my fear of public speaking, and I got to move to Utah - an incredible experience as I grew up and lived in Southern California most of my life. I learned how to be more independent and also learned a lot more about myself. Grad school also taught me a lot about critical thinking - something I will use for the rest of my life.

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Brie R.

The smartest investment I ever made was my e-reader (a Kindle). Since I got it last December, I've gone from an every-so-often reader to a voracious one. And because books and publications exist on all sorts of topics, this investment is business/personal/family all wrapped into one!

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Vinny D

The SmartTest investment I have ever made was to read the 7 Habits. It really brought a lot of perspective in my life in all areas: career, education, family and friends.

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Michael

While in Brazil I loved eating the beans and meat dishes they made, so I bought a pressure cooker. The $40 it cost was a lot of money to me at the time, but I made sure to learn how to use it and learned to love cooking.

I carried that pressure cooker with me for about 10 years making dates, dinners and get togethers more tasty interesting and culinarily diverse.

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Sue Neyhard

Our best investment is a 10kw solar array. After a lot of research and indecision, we decided to take the plunge...with a company with most excellent references. They walked us through the process of selection, installation, processing our government rebates, cashing in on solar energy credits and hooking up to the grid. We are on our way to recoup our initial investment in about 6 years, and after that, it is all gravy. Best investment for ourselves, our home and Mother Earth.

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Carl

My best "investment" has been to forgo potentially higher salaries to remain at a major private university. The university has a tuition benefit that pays 70% of college tuition for my children. My children have begun to benefit from this "investment" and the total could reach $300,000.

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KarenJ

The smartest investment I ever made was marrying my husband 11 years ago. He is in commercial real estate sales and his positive energy is bringing prosperity into our home during one of the worst real estate markets ever. He only started as a realtor in 2007 after losing his corporate job in the recession. Working for himself is definitely one of the best decisions he's made, and marrying him was one of the smartest decisions I've ever made!

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Missy

My degree in Library and Information Science was my best investment. Not only was I exposed to a whole new breadth and depth to the word of information, the ways of examining information problems has led me to look at the internet, information and learning in a much more critical way. It led to a great career where I enjoy my work, and it has encouraged me to pursue other, long term, goals. After all, if I cam make it through a degree while working full time (thanks to the powers of computers and distance education) I can work to better my families financial future.

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Maureen Holtz

The smartest investment I ever made was getting a college degree. Although I couldn't find a job as a teacher with my degree, it helped me get into a training program where I became a computer programmer, working for twenty-five years in the lucrative software world.

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Angie W

The smartest investment I have made was buying a memory foam topper for my mattress. I haven't had backaches in years because of it, and my new husband has also discovered the joy of a backache-free life. No pain during the day means more productivity, better health, and mental clarity. I love it!

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guest

The smartest investment I have made was my mac laptop. It's speed is amazing, and since I use it every day the amount of time it has saved me alone is priceless.

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Min

Best investment I made was starting a Roth IRA. I was filing my taxes in April 2009 when I realized that I should probably start saving for retirement (I was 24 at the time), so I got into one of those target date funds. This was back when the Dow was close to the bottom, around 8,000. We'll see how it ends up 40 years from now, but in the meanwhile, it's giving me peace of mind.

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Jennifer

The best investment I ever made was my health. I checked out of the traditional Western medicine system a couple years ago and started seeing a naturopath. My health is great, and having to pay out of pocket on everything is worth it!

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Zee

The smartest (and finest) investment I have made is learning a foreign language--especially that of Japanese. It opened up jobs here at home and overseas for me, a Japanese community I could integrate into and allowed me to educate others about my culture as well as share my knowledge about Japan with those interested in my experiences there. And travel, too!

I have been able to provide consultation and mentor-ship concerning living and working in Japan. Through English as a Second Language courses I have helped Japanese students further understand the English language while studying in the US and have been a kind of bridge, an ambassador if you will, between American and Japanese culture. Many doors of communication appeared because I gave my time and efforts over to understanding the language and the culture behind it. I love it and continue to reap the benefits of further language study, international connections, understanding of Japanese society and internationalization.

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SHale

My best investment has actually been my used F150 pickup. With a new home purchase and remodel, it has been great to avoid crazy delivery charges and paid for itself.

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Lorina DeMello

The smartest investment I've made is investing in myself - especially my health. I started taking zumba classes which I love. It helps me stay in shape and I've made friends too which is an added bonus :)

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Lauren

The smartest investment I ever made was getting married to the right person. Life's joys are twice as sweet and the sorrows are half as bitter. We've supported each other through grad school, buying a home, and adopting our beloved dog. Because we're both financial tightwads, our money has tripled during our five years of marriage. But more importantly, we're rich in love.

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Bojan

My s,artest investmemt was buying a smartphone. It's intimate devies that is helping ,e tremendously to get organized and consume content on the go. Famtastic time saver and life changer.

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maylingkuo

believe it or, the best investment i ever made was free, and it's my library card. that card has saved me a ton of money and led me to reading so many books. instead of a netflix subscription, i request DVDs from the library and their hold system allows me to constantly request new book titles.

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Mkibrick

My greatest investment is my relationship with my spouse. My husband and I have a wonderful relationship which is the result of a concerted effort on both our parts to work out our problems and be better people for each other. Thanks to our strong relationship, I will never have to pay for a divorce, worry about my partner spending behind my back, waste effort on fighting over our goals in life and finances, or worry about keeping things "fair". We have saved enough money to have a 6 month emergency fund, pay cash for a car, and put a down payment on a house in a couple years by living together to save on expenses, spending nights at home in each other's company, and focusing on improving our future together. I will always be thankful that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon this man, and I know we will both continue to develop our relationship and our family.

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Kent

The smartest investment I made was for my personal training certification. Now that I have been certified I have made back what I had spent for the certification and then some. Definitely worth the hours studying and money spent.

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Emily

I think I've made a few "smart investments", but one that I think is attainable for many is my purchase of a bike. My mountain bike cost a few hundred dollars -- so, not high-end, but not cheap either -- but it paid off for itself after a year of my biking to and from work every single day, rain or shine. Not only it's paid off in terms of gas money, but I'm in great shape from the mandatory daily exercises! It's also great for our environment :-)

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NL

Along with education, my smartest investment has been maintaining a loving relationship. Numerous studies have found benefits to close personal relationships (see for example WebMD.com's article "Sex Better Than Money for Happiness").

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Staying close to healthy foods such as avocados, nuts, vegetables that are cooked or dressed with olive oil seasoned with sea salt. I stay away from any hormone induced items such as cow milk, using alternatives such as almond milk for coffee if needed. I take alot of nutrients because we don't get enough minerals from all our ingested foods, I love that we have Nutiva natural products that provide our necessary nutrients from chia and hemp seeds. Vitamins and detox vitamins such as activated charcoal and chorella pills helps me to regain vigor when stress and outside foods drag me down. I am healthy and haven't induced any medically crippling illness since eating and watching what I put in my mouth; it is the wisest investment: I must have saved thousands a year following such a healthy and nutrient-rich regimen.

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Eric

Smartest investment I've made is starting a Roth IRA. At least I know I'll have some retirement money available, even if it's not a lot yet!

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Penny Snyder

The smartest investment we ever made was in our kids' education. Both of them ended up with really good jobs - education is what it's about!

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jason

My best investment was my college education (IT Degree). I came out of college with a good paying job right away and have weathered the depression.

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Arwen

Without a doubt, buying property (vacant land) was the best investment I've ever made. When it became clear I'd never build the dream house on it (in that great Someday), I sold the land. I sold the heck out of it, in fact: that puppy went for almost three times what I'd paid for it three years before. Goodbye, student loans!

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Holly F

The smartest investing type thing I ever did was to Sell my company's stock at a high in early 2002 before it tanked and has barely gotten any higher than the tanking point. But the smartest investment IN something was to adopt my great-niece and nephew who would have been in dire circumstances without coming to live with us. They bring us (and our natural born son) who is almost the same age as them great joy.

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Aaron

Smartest investment was a personal decision I made back in '03 to rid myself of personal debt. I had racked up a fair amount of credit card, school and car loan debt that I was sick of. Although I wasn't making a lot of money during the time, I was able to pay off the debt in about 5 years.

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Rich

The smartest investment I ever made was in myself. The way things were going, I was going nowhere fast. It took a lot of self-discipline and some important tools along the way (smart phone to keep up on the best blogs and email on the go so I'm always connected), but I've succeeded.

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The best investment I've made, and the best investment (in my opinion) that anyone can make is an investment in self. For me, it was all about learning a new skill set that has increased my income and allowed me to eliminate a large portion of my debt. Learning is a lifelong thing, and doesn't stop when you graduate high school or college. Learn something new every day, and see where it gets you!

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Louise Brouillette

Our smartest investment has been our house. It has provided a home and happiness for ourselves, our kids, and our grandkids.

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KelR1

The smartest investment I ever made was going to the Humane Society and getting my baby/best friend, a Jack Russell mix named Cooper. For around $300 (the adoption fee which included his neuter surgery, initial shots, free first time vet exam, free bag of food, etc.) I brought home a smart, affectionate, loyal companion. I bettered his life and mine for not much money. Shelter dogs are wonderful! The second smartest investment I ever made was training classes for him. :)

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Bryan

My first PC was the best investment I ever made. Not because it was so useful to my work. On the contrary, it had a hardware problem with the CD ROM that I sent it in for repairs from where I bought it. They took three months to fix it, or replace it rather, since they couldn't fix it. I swore to never take my computer in for repairs again. Since then, I chose to fix my computer myself every time there was a problem, which was frequent; this was Windows 98. I googled every problem I had and researched and documented all possible fixes, and over the years got pretty darn good at it. Because of that, my company decided to give me new IT duties, thus more pay. Not to mention respect and thanks I get too. I've never taken a computer class, but I've learned to fix, upgrade, clean, and troubleshoot computers all because of that first one I had.

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Amiyrah @ 4 hats and frugal

I'd have to say my best investment to date is the military thift savings plan i signed up for about 5 years ago. We decided that once I leave the military we would pursue buying our first house. Throughout the years, I've had a small percentage taken out of my military pay and by the time I'm relieved of duty, we'll have a hefty down payment. The best part is that it was such a small amount that I never noticed the money NOT being a part of the check.

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jks

The best investment I have ever made was in my education. After graduating from college I worked multiple temporary assignments for five years. I then returned to college and received two additional degrees. Those degrees launched me into an IT career than has been emotionally, intellectually and financially rewarding for twelve years.

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Krystle

The smartest investment I've ever made was buying several textbooks online and waiting until the next semester to sell them. I saw fliers of other students selling textbooks for significantly more than the cost of them online, and I thought this was a great way to make some extra cash. I made five times my initial investment selling these textbooks, and now I have enough money to buy a laptop for my first year in college. Now only has this investment helped me earn some extra money, but it has also allowed me to use that money to invest in my education and future.

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Sheryl

My best investment was to buy good shoes. Not only do they look great, last a long time, but the best thing that they support my feet and back. I stand on my feet all day long. Before I bought my Clark shoes, I would go home with back aches and very tired feet. I wouldn't have the energy or desire to enjoy my evening.

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Julie Brown

The best investment that I ever made was the purchase of my first home at a young age. The mortgage wasn't much more than rent would have cost and the value went up quickly over the years.

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Steve

One of the smartest investments I've ever made has been my dedication to study and learn music. I started in elementary school, like a lot of people, and have never stopped learning. In my lifetime [so far] I have learned to play seven different instruments, played handbells for church, and sung in two church choirs (including singing as a soloist). I've never made any money with my music but, it is always with me. The best part though, is that I'm able to pass the love of music on to my children. All three of them are involved in music to some capacity, and every time they perform, I feel as though I've been given a small piece of heaven . . .

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JBP

My most solid investment was in a new set of custom printed business cards. These weren't actually costly, but I recognized the difference it made in the eyes of my clients when handing out a polished, professional business card. It then spurred me on to be more professional in my side-business, raising the standards I set for myself and, hence, the standards my customers could expect from me.

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Judy

My smartest investment? Getting an engineering degree. Although my current job has no direct correlation to engineering, I've found that my degree has given me a broad range of knowledge applicable to a variety of areas.

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doug

best investment has been my hand tools. i buy them used most of the time so i get a great price too. company pays a tool allowance every year if i own my own tools instead of using theirs. also do side jobs to make extra cash

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AKV

The best investment I ever made was not just applying to graduate school, but rather marketing myself as an applicant. While hundreds applied, I didn't just send e-mails to department heads. I made the effort to call each of the 15 top-ranked programs to which I applied. In speaking with each department chairperson, I was able to choose the best program for myself, and I established a connection that ultimately got me full funding in the midst of a recession.

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rica

The smartest investment that I have made to date has been in professional memberships (totaling: $400) . It has led to an investment in myself and my future. Networking has been key to being able to further develop my fundraising and grant writing skills.

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Megan

My best investment has been my education. From my B.A. to my M.P.A. and then pursuing additional certifications - I've already seen the payoff. Nothing beats investing in yourself!

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kathleen

The smartest investment I ever made was to invest time and money in a good education. It leads to great opportunities around really smart people and those relationships can open many doors for you.

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John McLain

I had two sons who, without any help, have mastered two trades: one began as a lowly construction site apprentice and is today is a licensed building contractor who does high-end remodeling in San Francisco, the other is a commercial photographer who lives in Montana but works out of San Francisco.

Neither is rich, and both are still struggling, but I couldn't be prouder of them.

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Guest

I think the smartest investment I've ever made is when I decided to take all of my sons birthday, Christmas, and other money from cards and stick it all in his savings account from the time he was born. Now, at 19 years old, he has a pretty decent savings account.

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Margaret Smith

The smartest investment I ever made was a number of years ago, on my own, I purchased a handyman home. I spent a year renovating the home inside and out, all the electrical, the roof and even moving walls. All with help of some great friends and family. Everyone at first thought I was crazy, a single girl, buying this home that was falling apart. A little after a year, I had just finished the last touches and met my husband. We sold that home and moved into his house. I had more than doubled my money on the house and this enabled me to be a stay at home mom for a number of years when my kids were born. The investment in my kids having a full time parent was priceless to us.
Thanks so much.

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Joe

My best investment has been an iPad! I get so much more use out of it on a day-to-day basis than I ever thought I would. It's my main computer, and I no longer feel the urge to spend $1000+ on a new computer since I end up using the iPad 90% of the time.

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Guest

Bought a house and rented it out in 2011. The money was languishing in an investmen account - now I get LOTS of money every month and a tax writeoff!

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Jim

My smartest investment was becoming a full-time volunteer helping others live better lives, coping with their problems and be model citizens. I've been able to do this along with my wife and thus spend more quality time with her! The best decision I've ever made. Nothing beats helping others!

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Stephanie V.

MBA in marketing and management - expensive but translates into so many disciplines and helped me in my career. Education always a good investment in my opinion.

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kristin

My laptop is the best investment I have made. It is also the first major purchase I made as an adult. I bought my laptop to go to college. It served me well at home, during class, and pretty much everywhere else. It has helped me learn and grow.

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addrienne mertens

best investment would be my house..needs some fixing up. i know the market is bad, but hopefully one day i might make a profit. Well, if all is lost, i have to say that im thankful that i had a roof over my head all these years. it served me well. thanx HP and wisebread!

Guest's picture

Best $$ investment: $10 for a raffle ticket, which won the prize of free LASIK surgery (told that it was worth $3900). Even more wonderful than the ROI (what 401k can compare to that???) was my ecstasy at tossing the contact lenses and donating the old glasses. Every day I feel grateful to have 20/20 vision and am so glad my ex-husband reminded me to buy the ticket.

Best health investment: joining a yoga studio 4 years ago and buying a decent mat/towel. Practicing regularly, even at $10/session, improved my core muscle tone enough to stop needing back massages (at $90 an hour) to get rid of the shoulder tension arising from too many work hours in front of a computer. I also got shoulder muscles for the first time in my skinny life (this was really a thrill) & feel so much stronger & more capable of all kinds of everyday tasks. A few years of practice with an experienced instructor made me ready to practice on my own when I moved away from the studio. Now yoga is free because I practice in my backyard, on the same old worn yoga towel/mat, in exercise clothes that I've bought at Goodwill over the years instead of at the pricey yoga boutique. And my stamina, strength & flexibility are great compared to when I began. It's truly the perfect form of exercise for me - wish I'd found it 20 years ago.

Best psychological investment: exploring culture in its many forms through museums and traveling exhibits (years later, I still remember strolling thru the Treasures of the Russian Empire exhibit at the Queen Mary), community theater venues (where I have seen so any fantastic actors give great, passionate performances), botanical gardens (Fort Worth is particularly lovely, with blue herons stalking koi in the pond) and seeing local musicians (like the recent 90-minute performance by two mandolin virtuosi for an unbelievable price of $12!!). These memories were cheaply made, but have enriched my life tremendously.

Best immeasurable investment: $15, 2-hour business education workshops through my local nonprofit, the Inland Empire Women's Business Center (iewbc.org), which provides instruction on financial literacy (understanding your P&L statement), specialized software training (like Quickbooks), business formation (I decided to incorporate my small business based on this one), basic marketing, federal procurement (yes, I would like some tax dollars back, thank you very much), and even offbeat topics (such as creative fiction writing). These workshops are the foundation on which I am building my understanding of business administration. Without them, I doubt I would have launched my small business by now, which I intend to replace my fulltime income. I have bought myself a future with freedom to choose between options, with the gratification of introducing myself at networking events as the president of a corporation, with the luxury of taking a weekday off whenever I like to go camping with family when it's not crowded with weekenders, with the beauty of encouraging young women (friends & family) I know to believe they could also be in charge of their own destinies, and with the satisfaction of pulling myself up by the bootstraps to make something of value.

By carefully preserving & taking care of my health, intellectual development, and family relationships, I am so unbelievably rich, I hardly need cash. (ok, that's rhetorical!)

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Andrea D

Getting student loans for my kids to go to college. They are the best investment in our future.. :)

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Gina

The smartest investment I've ever made has been in myself. I paid for an education so I could support my life. Self-reliance is essential.

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Tonya Rader

My best investment was my car. I bought it a few years ago...nothing flashy like my peers bought either. I have a Pontiac Vibe and even though my friend's refer to it as a "mom car", I love it! I've never had any problems with it and the car gets me from point a to point b so I have no regrets.

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Andrew Gordon

My smartest investment has been my kids. Nothing has brought my life more fulfillment, joy, and enrichment in helping them achieve their hopes and dreams.

Guest's picture

The best, wisest, smartest, most profitable and beneficial investment I've evr made was the $300 I spent on my wife's wedding ring. The returns on that humble investment have been utterly immeasurable over the last thirty-four years: love, partnership, encouragement, understanding, support, advice, laughter, comfort, trust, beauty, intimacy, companionship, cooperation, children and grandchildren, fun, and more. Only eternity will reveal all the returns on that investment.

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Sherl Wilson

The smartest investment I've ever made is the funds it has cost me to go to school and also the time spent in learning, studying, and discussing (with my classmates) my "Introduction to Business" classes. I know with the knowledge that I'm learning now, will be a big part of my success in my future.

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Kandace

The best investment I've ever made is loving and trusting my husband. Through our partnership, we've faced serious health issues, paid off a lot of consumer debt, bought a home, and had one healthy child with another on the way. Choosing him as my partner in this life has been the best investment I ever could have made.

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Shelly Perko

The best investment I've ever made was to start my own freelance marketing biz. I was laid off and while I searched for jobs, I threw myself into my freelance business. I learned so much!! The experience and relationships I made while I was unemployed have begun to catapult me at my new job which has turned out to be a whirlwind of a first month! That just solidifies a "blessing in disguise."

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Selene Montgomery

The best investment we've made is getting an RV and using it often. The RV lifestyle enables us to be closer, see the country, meet lots of wonderful people, and have lots of relaxation time.....just the ticket for retirees, or anyone.

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Sarah V

The smartest investment I ever made was to decide to spend money on travel to other countries with my family. To experience other cultures with the people I care about the most has made me happier than anything else.

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Lee M.

One of the best investments I've made has been porcelain veneers. These are entirely cosmetic, but when my teeth looked as bad as they did (from a condition I was born with), I found it hard to smile, express myself, and be proud of my smile in social conditions. This cosmetic change made me much more confident in everyday dealings with other people.

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Kerri

The best investment I have ever made? That would simply be the few hundred dollars it cost for my husband's wedding ring.

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Jason

A waffle maker. Seriously. Every weekend my kids and I make waffles for the week. Sometimes they're green, blue or pink, sometimes they have chocolate chips. Sometimes they're just plain. No matter what they are the kids think they're the best in the world and we get to spend time making a fun and creative breakfast together.

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Amanda

My 2 HP computers! The internet and computers have saved me much more money than I have spent on them.

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Guest

After meeting my needs( food, clothing and shelter) I give as much and as often as I can. I put something into every hand stretched out to me. What I give returns to me pressed down and overflowing.

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Per Cheng

the best investment i got is my education. it is expensive, but it is worth every penny. wealth can be stolen, businesses can close down, property can be damaged or lost, but ones education can never be taken away from him. even when all is lost, a person with education can still get back up. with an education, one can look for a job or start a businesses. education is an investment that loses its value and pays dividends forever!

Guest's picture

As a small business owner, the demands on my time are great. Each minute is precious and must be used wisely! The greatest investment decision I've ever made was to devote Sunday, the entire day, to my family. No meetings, paperwork, promotional events-- nothing, on this day. No matter how much I think I'm behind the eight ball, on Sunday everything having to do with my business shuts completely down. From Monday to Saturday, I'm pretty much in the office all day and my wife and kids don't see me much. Long hours away from home don't make me feel too guilty, however, because of my Sunday investment. It has allowed me to balance my work and family in a way where I feel that I do not fall into that stereotypical trap of the workaholic dad who has succeeded in business only to fail in the home. My Sunday investment has allowed me to reap the rewards of a close-knit, happy family.

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Dave Johnson

The smartest investment I've ever made was leaving my solid, relaible day job of 11 years to strike out as a freelancer. It went nuclear almost immediately, far exceeding the salary I previously had -- while also giving me far more control over my time than I had before in the office job. And I enjoyed my new freelance career a lot more as well. It was win-win-win all around, and has paid dividends for me ever since with a ton of career advancements and opportunities. It's been a dozen years since then and has proven to be the best single decision I ever made.

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Dee Dee

We bought some land, 100 plus acres thinking maybe we would use it for retirement. Then the real estate boom came prices we up quite a bit and we decided it was to remote to retire or even mov to. Sold for a very nice profit.

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Mari B.

The best investment I ever made was a desktop computer. It allows me to organize my finances, take online college courses, and communicate efficiently with distant relatives and friends. With just a click of a mouse, I am up to date with the world news or can be entertained by online videos or blogs. I am even able to make extra income through my digital photo editing side business.

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Josh

The smartest investment I have ever made is the time and energy in researching academic scholarships. It has allowed me to obtain an advanced graduate degree without the uncanny and unfathomable debt that is typically assumed to necessitate such a degree. Now I can pursue what I like without overwhelming debt!

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RussR

My best investment was a wedding to the most wonderful woman, and the pay off is a beautiful daughter.

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Guest

the smartest investment I ever made was to pay for therapy to combat an abusive childhood and find my true value.It has allowed me to go for my dreams. that would never have happened if I had not had therapy. I had to make many sacrifices to afford therapy but I would do it again in a minute. It changed my life

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the best investment I ever made, happens to be a hp psc 1315 all-in-one printer. I brought it 4 yrs ago, during a black friday sale after Thanksgiving. As a college student and a SLE/ renal patient, it comes in handy when printing papers or making important copies for filing.

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K Greenwalt

The smartest investment I've ever made is in my library. Reading helps me grow as a person and be a lifelong learner.

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Christina

The best investment we ever made was sending my husband back to grad school. He left a full-time job that made him unhappy to pursue a different career track. He got a graduate assistant ship that paid some of the bill, then spent the next 18 months commuting 1.5 hours three days a week to finish his degree. He found a new full-time job in his new field before he graduated and now makes DOUBLE what he used to make... and has much better hours and more time off. The career move also allowed me to become a stay-at-home mom to our three boys when our twins were born. Education has a price, but it always buys you opportunities!

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Joanna

My smartest investment has to be the time I've spent with my brother's kids. For more than 10 years, I have helped them with their homework, taken them to movies, and babysat them. In exchange, my brother has paid me for my time and has willingly helped me with different things - moving, fixing my car, and giving me advice about fixing my stuff. Just this past weekend, my brother called me a few hours before he needed me to watch his son while he went to dinner with his wife and some friends. The next day (Sunday), my alternator went out on my car and my brother spent the next 6 hours fixing it. I figure he saved me at least $500. That's especially significant since I lost my job nearly 3 years ago and have been working temp jobs for this entire time. I was able to make it to work on Monday with no problems. Best investment ever.

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J Harper

My smartest investment has been in spending time with friends and family. Money is always available but friends and family aren't always going to be around.

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Scott Corcoran

The smartest investment I ever made was in my early 20's I started contributing to my company's 401k match program. I did make the mistake of having to borrow twice from it and then when I lost the job the loans defaulted as income. But just by putting in the minimum required contributions I have amassed over $25k during the length of my employment. I've since rolled it over to a Roth IRA managed by Fidelity and I'm happy to know that the money is there for my family in the future. I only wish that I was on solid ground financially and could contribute more to the account.

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Anita

The smartest investment I ever made was the time spent going to the local business vocational school during my last two years of high school. It set the course for my professional life right out of high school.

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Debbie Clauer

The best investment I have ever made was in the early education of my three daughters at a Montessori school. Instead of saving for college, I paid to put them in a special school environment when they were young and loved to learn. It has paid off extremely well! My oldest is now in school to become an RN, my second daughter is the quality assurance plant manager for a nationally known company, and my youngest is graduating from an Illinois college this spring with two degrees, completing these in five years. They all were able to handle most of their college expenses on their own.

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joni

My best investment---GPS for my car. Now I like when someone "tells me where to go!"
dolniaks[at]consolidated[dot]net

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Aggie

The best investment I ever made is my wife. She completes me as person and as a business professional. We share the same ideals which brings us closer together and we find ourselves getting better with age. We've managed to raise two teenage girls , fight off a sluggish economy by keeping debt low, and manage a successful equity portfolio through it all.

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Carvis Cathey

Time: Family time is more important than work, or anything else we can spend it on. Time with family is an investment in your and their personal happiness. The more time we spend with family, doing things together the less we will regret it later in life while looking back. Many people in the end of their life look back and regret having not spent more time with family. And on the other end of that thought they regret spending so much time working, or doing other things rather than spending time with Family. Put family first and you'll never regret it later.

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Guest

The smartest investment I ever made was to get my Master's degree before having children. It took prodding from my mom to do it, but it was so much easier to do before having children. Later, I was divorced and was so grateful to have not only my degree but additional certification so that I could step back into the workforce. You never know what life will bring, even the seeming security of marraige and a good income with one parent able to stay at home can be disrupted by illness, divorce or death. Keeping up with your profession, doing the continuing education to stay registered and staying in touch with contacts can be a lifesaver.

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Brandi

The best investment I have made is in some canning equipment and a dehydrator. I make small batches of jams and jellies, plus, the dehydrator works wonders for fruits and veggies that are getting a little old in the fridge. Even though the initial cost is high, these two different ways of preserving foods are helping me to stop wasting produce and providing my family with tasty treats throughout the year.

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Courtney Frick

Becoming a stay at home mom. After being laid off in the corporate world I took sone time off. My daughter had just started Kindergarten. Then I was able to find a part time job at a retail chain where I only worked while she was in school. After two years of that and a new baby I took the plunge and became a full time stay at home mom! Investing in my children has been the most important most rewarding investment this mom has made!

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Susie

My best investment has been my computer, which was quite expensive when I purchased it, but was practical because it provided all the memory, power, etc. I need to work efficiently as a graphic designer. It is my most valuable physical possession, worth more than my car, and has paid for itself several times over!

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Stacie Crochet

The smartest investment that I've ever made is in real estate. I've made $30,000 selling a house and hope to make even more by investing in rental property.

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Nisha

The best investment I made was in myself. I came out of a very rough personal situation in life with no family around, no money or support, and earned an MBA degree, with a fully paid assistantship, holding down 2 jobs, and taking 5 classes a semester, with a 3.8 GPA. The experience taught me to respect myself and that if I could have survived that experience, I could survive anything.

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Callie Conrad

The smartest investment I've made is doing a college internship at Walt Disney World. Originally my dream job since I was 10 years old, I had always wanted to work for the company, and being a college student allowed me to live my dream. I learned valuable life skills, saw firsthand the inner-workings of a large company, and met the man I wanted to marry.