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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Nadine Larsen

Definitely our house. Although the maintenance kills us sometimes, that's what we get for buying a fixer-upper, we have never made a better investment. It was worth every cent and then some and even worth all the blood, sweat and tears that come along with it.

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Deborah Rosen

The best investment I ever made was buying a house out in the country. It's completely changed my life and outlook, and I'm more interested in being self reliant than I ever was.

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Marilyn Wons

The best investment I ever made was buying a small summer home on a lake. This was in the early seventies when housing was reasonable. The home tripled in price in five years.

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Jon

Grow boxes from The Garden Patch. The three I purchased allow me to grow my own tomatoes and peppers on my deck in Chicago. They are also self watering via a reservoir in the bottom of the container which is very convenient.

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ANGEL JACKLYN

I'd say the smartest investment I've ever made was putting money into a college fund for my son. By the time he's old enough to use it, it will have grown with interest & come into handy.

Guest's picture

The best investment I have made was buying my town home just in time to get the tax credit. We absolutely love living here and out mortgage is less than what we were paying when we rented. In a couple of years we hope to rent our town home out, which will create some passive income for us. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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Janet

My best investment was the 91 Cadillac I bought 2 yrs ago. This year it is considered a classic. It is fully loaded and all electric. Red with a black hard top. Little repairs and only 76,000 miles.

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Alissa A

My greatest investment was the money spent for my education. I have a master's degree that is required for me in my job...a job I love to do every day!

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Ann F

My best investment was buying Netflix stock several years ago. I took some profits, but still hold some of the stock.

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petra

My smartest investment was taking word processing in high school. I was able to develop a super fast typing speed which helped me get a variety of well-paying temp jobs as a university student.

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Pedro

My smartest investment has been my power tools. They've allowed me to complete a lot of DIY projects around the house, saving our family quite a bit of money.

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Vivek

My best investment was to pay myself first. By having my checking account automatically transfer a small amount everytime i get my paycheck to my savings account, i was able to save up for my financial goals.. My emergency savings, down payment for a home, vacation, etc...

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Guest

A new computer has been a great investment for me. Completing tasks faster has been great for me.

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p. kopec

The best investment I ever made was a laptop computer. I am not able to sit at a desktop computer for any length of time, but with my laptop i can sit comfortably for hours in my lazyboy. This allows me to read, research, post comments, and connect with friends through social networking. It is so freeing.

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Mansoor Ali

My smartest investment is my HP laptop. I have used it in college to study electrical engineering and a minor in computer science, which meant I was on it constantly. And now, pursuing a MD degree. Its fast processing power, long battery life and amazing colors has helped me visualize the human body and learn in a way that wasn't possible in the past. I am a very visual learner and so for me, this laptop will help me save lives once I become a doctor.

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Iliana Blair

Starting a retirement fund while I was younger and working full time.
My husband looked ahead for our future and now we have a nice retirement fund to look forward to during our retired years.

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George Comstock

The smartest investment I've made was undoubtedly returning to college to complete my degree. Three years in the workforce enabled and convinced me that spending the money and time to get that diploma was a good idea. And the thirty years since graduating confirmed the wisdom of that decision. Increased earning power let me pay off student loans within a couple years, but the self confidence acquired has been a priceless benefit during my entire professional career.

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Mac

My first iPhone (3GS) was an excellent investment. No matter where I was, I could look up prices, contact anybody, and keep up to date with news. I can deposit checks to paypal, make stock trades, check my account balances, and use coupons to save money on products & services.

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Tapuworld

The best investment I made was in my health..I let go of the sugar and carbs, I buy organic foods..the dividends are great! I'm not wasting tons of $ on medical bills like a lot of people my age, I save a lot of $ on cosmetic procedures because the food I eat keep me looking young...there is NO better investment out there!

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Claudia Davis

The best investment I made recently has been a a laser printer so I can print my resume! I have been job searching for some time so this has been invaluable.

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Janna Johnson

My best investment was moving an hour away from home to work for ohio state university. They pay for my college and have a great psychiatric hospital with great employees.
Thanks so much!!

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Molinda

The best investment I ever made was getting good grades in high school so I could get scholarships. Hopefully I will be able to finish my college degree debt free!

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Steve

This may sound lame, but the best investment I've ever made is my cats. I work from home, and I work long hours so at times I am basically a hermit. They provide companionship and playing with them helps break up the day a bit. :)

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robyn paris

I held onto a real estate investment after the housing dropped and decided to rent it out for 7 years. Fortunately, housing rose and I was able to sell it for a nice profict that sent my child to college.

robyn p.

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Gail

I just bought a new laptop and now I can keep up with all these blogs. Being able to go anywhere with a laptop is awesome. Maybe I should have invested in the next best thing better than laptop? Ok, so I'm a little behind.........

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Rebecca B. A. R.

The smartest investment we ever made was our pets. We have had 3 dogs (2 have passed away), and 18 cats (8 have passed away) since we got married 13 years ago. They have all cost us money in vet bills (getting fixed, shots, etc.), food, litter, toys, and our adoption fee for our last rescue dog, but they have been so worth it!

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Rodney

The best investment I've ever made is the time I have spent with my family. As we get older, we realize that time is so much more important than money. You can always make more money to buy more stuff, but time isn't in our control. Once its gone, there's no way to get it back.

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Holly B

Though I don't have a lot of funds for investments, I think my 401k was a great one. It's nice how it comes out of my check, I don't have to worry about it, and I just pretend the money isn't there. Hopefully someday it'll be of use!

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Guest

My best investment was in my education. It has enabled me to be an independent, self supporting woman and even to be self employed with all the flexibility that comes with!

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Timbo

The smartest investment I ever made was two things:

1) Teaching myself about how money and an economy actually works
2) Buying silver

:)

Please feel free to contact me at - allrightyes at gmail dot com

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Scott

The best investment I ever made was the engagement ring I bought for my wife. So glad to have her in my life!

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brittney

Buying our house was definitely the best. We were renters for 7 years and we've already saved about $2000 just deducting the cost of our house payment from the cost of rent. We've only been here a year, so that's a big chunk of change.
brittneydejajason at gmail dot com

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Rusty

The smartest investment I made was Time. I bought a laptop and decided to get a high speed internet connection. Not only great buys, but it gave me more time to work on other things.

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Katrina

My best investment has been my kitchen knife. I only really need one good one that is sharp and that I can keep sharpened. It will last me a very long time, and saved me space by getting rid of several knives that really didn't do the job as well.

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The best investment I have made was purchasing an iPhone 4. Since the iPhone 4 has a mp3 player, a navigational system, and HD video, I was able to sell my iPod, GPS, and pocket video camera. Furthermore, despite many peoples perception of it being a distraction with the numerous apps such as Facebook & Twitter I honestly believe it has helped increase the amount of information I know. Whenever I hear an unfamiliar current story or just want to know the prize money for winning the US Open is I'm able to look it up on the spot and increase my knowledge. Jeopardy here I come! =)

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S Carter

The best investment was a 401k at a mortgage company I worked for. It was only good because I apparently forgot to roll it over and got a notice about 6 years later that this investment company had a check to send me. As a broke student, that was the best news ever!

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AuraR

I'd say it is my current car. It's lasted longer than any other car I've had and hasn't had any trouble. It's been a great ride!

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Liz T

My smartest investment was to develop a daily meditation practice. It took some time to learn enough to have a productive practice, but the daily effort has yielded a much more focused, yet relaxed and sustainable approach to my personal life and business.

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Kasey

The smartest investment I ever made was an external hard drive plus cloud backup via Dropbox. I don't worry about losing my data, and via Dropbox I can access it from any of my computers.

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Jenny W

The smartest investment I've made? Hm! It would have to be me investing the time and money to go back to school. In fact, I'm still in school and extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to better myself through this. I know this is something that will pay off many times over not only in increased income but also in opportunities.

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Stephanie

An Associate's Degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology was the best investment ever made. It enabled me to get a job at a company that offered tuition reimbursement which I used to get my Bachelor's Degree in Technical Education. That led to a better job where I used tuition reimbursement again to enroll in a Master's Degree in Business Management. Key to success = tuition reimbursement.

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Kimberly

I wouldn't have expected this, but my iPhone has turned out to be my smartest investment. I can keep up on my work and personal emails a lot better now and the apps have been really helpful (and fun on occasion...). And being able to look up something on the go is a time and money saving thing for sure!

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eugene kim

My culinary degree has been the smartest investment because it lead me out of professional kitchens.
A lot of time, effort and money went into checking to see cooking professionally was right. After a decade in the industry, there's heartbreak in leaving what I thought a dream.
I feel lucky to be able to change course. I'm excited to face a new project and to feel drive and hunger again.
My degree has given me a long, intense learning experience. I got a lot of out of it: discipline, craftsmanship and close insight on a unique industry. That time now makes up part of my experiential fabric that I still find valuable, even though I'm no longer part of that field.
Education, really is never a waste time.

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Beth

I think my greatest investment was the time spent setting up some budgeting software and tracking my spending. I went from a net worth that hadn't really increased at all in two years to a net worth that consistently grow each month! Within the first year I reached my goal twice over - I couldn't believe how effective this approach was for me.

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Dinesh Mohan

Smartest Investment: I joined fitness club and went through very good trainer sessions. As an old saying goes "health is wealth". I feel light, fresh and fit after joining gym and regular exercise.

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Grace

The smartest investment I have made so far in my life is the puchase of a Motorcycle. I am able to cut back on cost of gas and maintenance. Plus enjoy a beautiful view at no extra expense. Truly love the open air and freedom, not to mention the extra cash in my pocket.

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Aaron

This is simple. Investing in my own business is by far the best decision I have ever made. It allows me to have financial independence that I could likely not have anywhere else.

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Michelle L

The smartest investment I've ever made was paying off my house 20 years early. I used money I inherited from my grandparents to do it, and ended up saving myself over $100K in interest. And, it means my monthly expenses are very reasonable, allowing me to concentrate on my children, without having to work 2 jobs to keep up with bills.

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Alan Tong

My smartest investment? It would have to be something personal. I spent a nice chunk of my savings on a mountain bike, which has yielded great rewards in the form of exercise and interacting with others who share my joy of biking. With this bike, I've been able to maintain a healthy weight and participate in an activity that thoroughly enjoy. Thanks!!

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Jaleel H

The smartest investment I've ever made was probably getting my degree. It's the only thing keeping me in the workforce in Michigan.

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GM

So far the best investment I've made is my laptop. It was very reasonably prices, does almost everything I want it to do, and is still running. It beats out my antique desktop with ease.

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Lyty

Investing in aapl a few years ago. It has returned over 200%.

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Investing several months working at a vegetarian and Indian food restaurant was a really good call. My cooking game has been on another level ever since

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ellory

Smartest investment I ever made was buying the Baby Bell / When Issued stock. It was selling below the aggregate ATT share price. And then I held it and rode it up during the post ATT Breakip / Baby Bell stock run up

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Margaret

Although I am not a big mac fan, my smartest investment is my iPod touch. In November, I would have had this iPod for almost 2 years and it's still running well. I hope for it to last just a few more years. I have turned it into a phone and it's almost as if I have a dataplan without paying the monthly fee. It also tracks my run and keeps me entertained on long commutes to work/school. I can't live without it, I can live without my cellphone though.

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V D.

The smartest investment I ever made was to start and fund my retirement plan during my early teenage years. Rather than waste my money on things I wanted but didn't really need, I saved and saved and it has grown to an considerable amount. The way things are going I can retire before 60.

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Jeremy

I think my best investment has to be the time I take with each and every person that I meet. Everyone has something to offer in the way of advice, so the least I can do is offer them my time if they want/need it.

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Geraldine

My smartest investment was putting all my money in a savings account. It's really come in handy now that my student loan payments have doubled. :(

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Shannon Schulte

I think the smartest investment we've ever made has been into our IRAs. We turn 30 years old this year, and we've started consciously saving for retirement. We would like to be able to afford to retire by the time we are 65!

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ken

The smartest investment I've ever made was getting an engineering degree. It's kept me employed so far.

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JR

My home is the smartest investment I've ever made. I did significant research and bought it at auction for an incredible price. I feel very fortunate, and I hope to never have to lease again!

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nixon78

A couple years back, I was an over paid and under-educated general IT worker. As the economic downturn began to affect our business, I looked at other opportunities and couldn't find anything in my current pay range. I decided to pay out-of-pocket for several cloud courses and created lab environments. By the time my current company was ready to shut down, I was well prepared to jump ship and land a new career in a specialized IT space with my new skills.

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Stephen

The smartest investment I ever made was my college education. In recent years, I have faced more than one layoff, like many others. I've been able to bounce back more quickly by having not only the degree itself, but the knowledge and skill set that comes with it.

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Tan Ngo

The smartest investment I've ever made has been my decision to complete a B.S. degree. Thus I can continue to take a Master degree and PhD degree then.

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Diana

The best investment I've made in my fledgling career has been a basic black suit. I can wear each piece as a separate; it has held up well; and it is un-memorable (a good thing, for me). I can change it up with different blouses.

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Jeff Bonikowski

Smartest investment I have ever made was when I started my 401k when I was 16. Seeing the money I have been saving for 14 years now grow to where it is today makes me feel great about my future and the future of my kids!

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Katie R

The latest (and best) investment I've made is finally getting on the smartphone wagon. I can't believe what these things are capable of. There is just about an app for everything. I can get directions, check my email, browse the web. It's working wonders.

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Helen Keeler

The best investment I ever made was in myself. I returned to school and got my college degree at the age of 38. Armed with my degree I was able to change occupations and became a social worker for the next 17 years.

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Gabrielle

The best investment I ever made was two years ago when I decided to spend $225 on getting a Zumba instructor certification, even though my company had just forced me to take a 10% paycut. Not only have I been able to make up the money from the 10% paycut from teaching classes, I'm also getting exercise that I would have been paying a gym for!

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chris swan

Smartest investment was buying a new suit for my interview. I got the job Wohoo!

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dschaeffer

The best investment I made was getting my computer science degree. The extra money I have earned from having a good job has been far more than any investment I have made with the money I have earned.

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nikkia neil

The smartest investment that I have made is to pay off my vehicle so that I do not have that bill every month and I can use that money to pay for extras for my kids. I also save 10.00 dollars a month in a checking account for both my kids so that i will have a head start if they need a tutor for school.

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Brecah

The smartest investment I ever made was, the puchase of a book called"Winning Without Intimidation", it was a self help book on how to be able to get just about anything you want out of life! This book actually helped me be a better mother! it gave different ways to approach a conversation knowing you would hear exactly what you wanted to hear! it was the best $14.95 I had ever spent! And now I have better relationships with my children :)

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Jason England

My greatest investment was in my camera. Not only has it given me hours and hours of fun, but now I'm looking at turning photography into a career.

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mari

The smartest investment I've ever made is buying my own house. I know that every payment is making it closer to me owning it outright, and I know I will have something to sell when I retire, or to help my child go through college, or for him to inherit.

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Summer Bonner

The Smartest Investment I ever made was a 2008 428 Mustang. I got the car of my dreams and its a collector car. I own #72 out of 200.

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steve stone

my best investment ever has to be my show dogs. we show them alot and love them like our children. dogs are the best.

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Nia Carter

My smartest investment has been the development of my love of learning. In spite of economic rollercoasters, my desire to expand my knowledge base well beyond the limits of my 4-year degree has retained and grown my value as both an employee and freelance business owner for decades. Nia Carter

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Mary Beth Elderton

The best investment I ever made was my education--I became a teacher. Obviously, being a teacher did not make me wealthy, but it did give me knowledge and skills that I used raising my son after I was widowed. My son is now a 4th year medical student, and that is a great return.

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chris anderson

I HAVE MADE A FAMILY INVESTMENT, WHICH WAS VERY PROFITABLE.
I HAVE INVESTED IN MY UNCLE'S CAR WASH AND IN 1 WEEK I MADE $500 DOLLERS TWICE AS MUCH IN WHICH I INVESTED IN.

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Lucas

I would have to say the smartest investment I've made to date is the investment of the time it took to make this comment. It could pay off to the tune of $500, and if it doesn't, I'm only out about 68 seconds of my life!

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Ryan C.

Smartest financial investment? Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace course. Without it, I would likely still be paying off 30k in student loans and not substantially contributing toward my retirement. Being able say I'm debt free in my 20s with a family is an amazing return unto itself.

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Ryan

The best investment I ever made was a simple typing class in high school. I could not imagine doing what I do without that simple skill.

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Bernardo Estevez

Paying for our toddler education. Research shows that kids who attend pre-school do better in life than those who did not attend pre-school.

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Bonny

The smartest investment was a laptop, so I could compute on the go. Every where I go it goes too!

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Suzanne Kaiser

The smartest investment that I ever made was our sleep number bed. It is amazing what a good night's sleep will do for your well being. It wake refreshed and ready to start the day makes one healthier and more productive.

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tracey byram

The smartest investment I ever made was buying the Rock Band bundle for the Wii. My family plays every day and we have Rock Band parties on the weekends with friends. That game has brought my family closer together.

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Ravzie

The smartest investment I've ever made was to marry my husband! I will be loved and cared for my whole life. Plus he makes a good living. We bought a nice house and some good mutual funds, so I'd say I am a pretty lucky girl.

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Sarah Hirsch

My best investment was buying a house. True, the real estate market hasn't fared well financially, but few things have (I don't want to look at my stocks right now.) Owning a home has provided us with a steady place to live and a great place to raise our family, and our payments have gone towards our future.

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The smartest investment I've ever made was marrying my beloved wife. She has influenced me in ways that very few people can. She has encouraged and loved me in ways that have given me more confidence in who I am. As a result, I have been pursuing my own dreams (as opposed to those who have prescribed their own dreams for me) for perhaps the first time in my life. And that has been life-changing, to say the least.

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Peggy B Turrel

I bought a complete train set for child #1. BEST EVER b/c it kept all 4 kids occupied for the next 10 yrs while I worked from my kitchen desk!

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Warren Liang

I invested in gold. It has risen a lot lately.

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Liz

The smartest investment I've ever made has been to pay off my credit card debt once and for all. Eliminating nearly $20,000 of debt has saved me hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in high interest rate finance charges. This has freed up money to invest in my retirement and emergency savings funds, something I never had previously.

Guest's picture

The smartest investment we made with uor medical practice is buying everyone in the office a tablet. We then had our EMR hosted solution installed on each device and instantly did away with over 90% of the paper in our office.

Having the same hardware and software implemented at the same time across all functions was the right solution.

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Lauren Peterson

The smartest investment I've made is one I'm currently making. I decided to go back to school, because I didn't want to answer phones for the rest of my life. So I'm just beginning a 2 year program to be a radiology technologist. I'll be taking x-rays! It's really interesting so far, and there's always going to be a demand for it.

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T

Upgraded technology is my best investment. It allows me to get my job done more efficiently.

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Mary H

The smartest investment I've made so far is the house I bought in 1985. I got it cheap because it was in a slightly rundown, but stable, neighborhood a few blocks from the downtown area of my small town. At that time my mortgage was the same as what I was paying for rent. Everything had moved out to the north of town, following the mall and the big box stores. Downtown was trying to revitalize. This house is about 1/4 mile from a 4-year state college and a junior college. I originally bought it as a home for my daughter and me, lived there several years and moved just before the mortgage was paid off. Since then I have been able to rent it to college students and have more than made back my initial investment plus the property has greatly appreciated in the time I've had it as the downtown has come back stronger than ever and both the colleges have grown by leaps and bounds.

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Sarah R

By far, my smartest investment has been my MBA degree. It's opened doors for me several times, helping me get in the door and be seen by incredible organizations. While I can give a great interview, I wouldn't have ever had the chance without this degree under my belt. As a result, I'm in my best career with an organization I love.

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Jan Olson

My best investment is a yearyly fee to OLS. Paybacks galore every year!

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rlk

My best investment has been in my education, both traditional in the form of college and graduate school, and on my own through reading.