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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Ceci Wiselogel

I started my own business at the age of 53. I am now a lecturer and give over 150 presentations a year. My investment was several years of research. Without a computer, I never could have attained all the knowledge needed to make this endeavor possible. My lectures are all historically based and I have a series of twelve topics. It is truly the most rewarding experience of my life.

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Karen

I would have to say the smartest investment I have ever made would be my house.
This is my second home but after an addition it is much nicer than the first.

Guest's picture

I invested in myself, I worked to put myself through college. I now have a business degree and anything that will give you an edge in the current economy is well worth the time and money in the longrun.

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JMayo

The best investment I ever made was going to Missions School in Albuquerque for a one year program. It broadened my view of the world and gave me lots of adventures and life changing experiences working with lots of different people.

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Muhammad

The smartest investment I ever made was investing in educational resources (books, videos) that made me more advanced and improved my skill sets drastically. This was the wisest decision as it eventually lead to a raise!

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curry crawford

My smartest investestment was my family,Staying with them through thick and thin,good and bad has made me a stronger man,and has been the greatest investment ever.Now having two beautiful children and now a little money put away for they're future.I could have done bad by myself,But i chose family!

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curry crawford

I invested in family ,and i could'nt have made a better investment! Money comes and goes,You cant replace family,Especially mines!

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Andy I

My smartest investment has been getting my son involved in soccer at such a young age. Not only does he love it, he's awesome, and is going to get a college scholarship!!

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Richard Gunther

I have just recently opened a recycling business,because there was no job out there,and my wife was ill so this worked out fine I can work from my home and still take care of my wife

Guest's picture

Smartest investment I ever made was joining 401K programs as early as possible. Every passing year is shaping a better retirement! Same goes for my husband, as well.

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Nancy Hancock

Two years ago, I invested in a lifetime membership at a reputable gym and joined the water class. It's the best decision I've made in years!

Pool exercise doesn't put any stress on the joints, yet allows me to get the aerobic benefit I need --- with no unpleasant sweating :) I LOVE the way it makes me feel and my attendance is great. I'm sure this new habit will benefit my overall health for years to come. I recommend it to everyone!

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Tiffany

The smartest investment that I ever made was making time for my family and friends. I found myself caught up and bogged down in work and school. I didn't want to take time out for anyone. When I made up my mind to take special time with my loved ones, I noticed a decrease in my stress level and an overall positive difference in my mood. I can't imagine going back to a life full of just work, work, work.

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Guest

the best investment that i ever made was buying a bike. i haven't ridden a bike in 20 years and with the gas prices going up everyday i choose to ride instead of drive.

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John Ruzbarsky

My biggest and best investment was in saving for my daughters (three of them) college funds. They each attended college, with one still working on it, and they have grown to be independent and self-motivated. So, this was the best investment with the very best of returns.

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Aisling

Furthering my education as an adult was my wisest investment. I was in a position where advancement was possible and successive degrees led to greater responsibility and salary.

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N Smelser

Marrying my husband, Kevin nine years ago. He has been nothing but good to me and has taught me what unconditional love looks like. Best decision/investment I have ever made.

Guest's picture

The best investment I ever made was I bought a car for $175 and traded it for a motorhome straight across. I fixed up the motorhome and traded that for $1700.

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angela linscott

The smartest investment I've ever made was my education. Not only because this allows me future investments, but it also leaves me happy with my work.

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Guest

one of my best investment is my windows AMD phenome computer. I have made so money off of useing it but I have a long way to go to pay for it.

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Maria S.

I bought a Vitamix 11 years ago when I was expecting my 4th child. I started drinking fruit/veggie smoothies regularly and can say that it has changed my health for the better plus when everyone around me is getting sick (including my 7 children) I can stay well to take care of them!

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Elizabeth Fleming

The best investment I have made was a $1 mesh strainer for the kitchen sink. I detest the metal ones that come with a sink and the one that I bought works so much better. Everytime I empty it, I just smile at the cheap price and how much I love it.

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LISA RODIER

THE SMARTEST INVESTMENT I HAVE MADE IN MY LIFE IS BUYING A BRAND NEW COMPUTER WITH CASH MONEY DOWN. I HAVE MORE FUN ON THIS COMPUTER WITH MY HP PRINTER THAN I HAVE WITH ANYTHING ELSE THAT I OWN.

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Lindsay Taylor

My biggest investment was taking all the time with my ex-mother inlaw learning how to decorate cakes. I have made a name for myself in my town just by the cakes I have made. I have even made some money too.

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guest Susan Sheehan

I used to think the best investment I've ever maid was my home, but times have changed. I now think the best investment i've made is my cars, gold or stocks.

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Gloria Nicholson

The smartest investment I ever made was going to Nursing School for LPN at age 21. I went to college at age 40 to earn a degree in nursing for Registered Nurse.

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Kimberlee M

The best investment I've ever made was in my family. Buying books, spending time with them and just being the best Mother and wife I can be. What greater investment can you make than to make a positive imprint on the next generation?

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P W Brousseau

The smartest investment I ever made was buying my laptop. For years I was suffering from a bad back and no one could figure out why. But having a laptop freed me up from sitting at a desk all day (I work from home). I was able to use my computer propped up in bed, laying down on the couch, or even standing at the kitchen counter. Now, suddenly, I haven't had any major back problems since I purchased the laptop. I guess sitting at a desk all day, in the same, one and only, position, was what was causing all my bad back problems. I'm in heaven now, and I LOVE my laptop!!!

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fern

I would have to say that my house was my smartest investment, for several reasons. After looking every weekend for 6 solid months, I despaired of ever finding the right place. Then I discovered this place, and I knew right away this was it.

Being single, it was actually a challenge to find a "small" house. (This house is 1600 square feet.) My realtor kept showing me homes of over 2000 square feet! I'm glad I avoided those, because for all these years, I'd just be paying that much more in property taxes as well as to heat it, cool it and furnish it.

I was fortunate to be buying in December 1995, when real estate prices were reasonable. And I also did not overextend myself to buy the house, priced at $209,000. In fact, I chose to put down about 45% in cash, knowing that I would feel more comfortable making those monthly payments with my relatively modest salary.

Right from the start, I started prepaying the mortgage, sometimes just with $100 a month, sometimes as much as $400 a month. And several times, when i was laid off from my job, I suspended the prepayments altogether.

Hindsight told me once again that this was the right thing to do when I got laid of fin 2009. With a much bigger mortgage, I doubt I could have lived on unemployment for 2 years which is what I have actually been doing, without digging into savings.

I have a small mortgage balance remaining, and hope to have it all paid off in a few more years, by the year 2014. I will have effectively paid off a 30-year loan in 20 years.

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Guest

The smartest investment I ever made was putting my 3 kids father's death benifits into an account that interest the closer to 23 they all become. It gives them a little head start in life.

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Guest

The smartest I ever made was my digital camera (a Canon) and my PC (courtesy of my late father). These two things enabled me to get my home business off the ground. I do Ebay, Etsy and other sites to sell things I have made at home.

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Diane

Owning a DJ company for over 30 years, I would definately have to say that our best investment by far was a lap top computer. We have been utilizing lap tops for the past 8 years and have saved our backs (no longer carrying CD's and the necessary equipment) and also our pocket book.

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Jacqueline

The smartest investment I ever made was earning my bachelors degree. It was expensive and took me 4 years to complete, but being a single mom with a 3 year old daughter I need to make sure that I can give her everything she needs.

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Diane Zawislak

The best investment I have ever made is my family. They have given life-long rewards and award winning lessons about life.

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Michael Tait

The best investment I ever made was paying for a lawyer and the immigration fees to get my wife here from China. The dividends I have received are too many to mention!

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Christine Ryan

One thing my parents taught me was to listen before speaking. I have learned how to do many things by listening. I have also earned the respect of others by listening.

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Richard Bullock

In addition to marrying my wife, my second best investment was buying a home computer when they first came out back when I was in college. I bought an original Mac, and had to put my car up as collateral for the loan to buy it. That computer got me through my bachelors and masters degrees. Having computer experience got me my first real job out of college.

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Trudy

Smartest investment was getting a degree in Liberal Arts and then a graduate degree in Political Science. The skills needed to think and make decisions, and the knowledge gained, have served me well into my 76th year. It has also enabled the gaining of many social skills and relationship skills necessary in today's complex world.

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Elaine W

My best investment was in what I love cooking. Because of my interest in food I developed ways to make my kettle korn the best in the SF Bay Area. It allowed me to develop other flavor that my competitors copied.

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manette martinez

I think the smartest investment I ever made was getting my kids there first HP desktop 13 years ago. Now they are computer literate and doing great in life.

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geneva sykes

The best investment i ever bought was my car in 1998. It is a 1998 hyundai elantra and has over 300,000 miles on it.

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francine

the best investment i ever made was marrying my husband! The last 10 years have been the best years of my life;with my hubby. Learning about life together:)

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Raymond Langer

The smartest investment I ever made was buying my first home on a 15 year mortgage. We will have it paid off in 2 years and will be debt free!

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charles mcginnis

Why are the wise people of our government forgetting about us , a low income baby boomer population. We are trying too keep up with the vast majority of out society in maintaining the basics of the multimedia and , being of a low income bracket, we seem to be forgotten.

I, myself would love to learn how to text on a smartphone and would learn how to search the web on a smartphone, hold and use an E-Reader.

It seems as if we should be able too be able to conform and become a viable foundation . even though we are a low income

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Ashley

The best investment I ever made was setting up savings accounts for both my young children, in 15 years they will be able to go to college.

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Karen Bennie

Buying a home, even though the market is down, overall I think it i still a wise investment. No matter what the market, I;d rather pay a mortgage and get the tax deduction, than pay a high rent and get nothing in return:)

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marcella petty

Being a single mother i think my smartest invesemet was the quality time i was able to give my daughter, she is now a grown woman we sometimes find ourself laughing at some of the things we did together, Time go so fast and you cant get it back i thank god i push somethings aside an invested in my child life. Now thats an investment of a lifetime.

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dmm

I put in a lot of time online. However, I can't let that chain me to a desk, especially getting around without a car. And lugging a heavy 15-inch laptop only makes sense some of the time. So the best investment I made was in 2010 when I dug myself out of a hole and got a Palm Pre Plus. Since then, I got a Pre 2 and then a Veer--and still plan to get a Pre³ and TouchPad, even if that means scouring eBay and Craigslist.

I hope that HP's recent ads about spinning off their hardware division include plans for that new spinoff company to license webOS and make new hardware--and faster than the typical ramp-up time of a year or more. While some of the recent TouchPad buyers may have just been looking for a good deal, I think some saw an opportunity to get a great device.

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Jeff a

the smartest investment I ever made was purchaseing our cabin in the woods outside of Anchorage Alaska. Not only was this a smart investment, it had brought our whole family together in a great way. There is nothing like being deep in the woods with mountains and mother nature without any TV, cell phones, or anything else that we bury ourselves into.

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Emily L.

The smartest investment I've made was my husband's laser eye surgery! He can see so well now. 20/15+! We don't have to worry with glasses or contacts ever again.

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Brittney

The smartest investment I've ever made was getting my law degree. Yeah it cost an arm and a leg to get and a lot of blood sweat and tears but it all paid off in the end.

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Howard Steeley

My smartest investment was my college education. After I got a BS, I kept going and got an MS. They helped me make a decent living all my life.

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F Penny Kerita-Reupena

What is the smartest investment you’ve ever made? I believe it is marriage. I have been married to my husband for 31 years. We have children and grandchildren and we love them all. I have been blessed to have 10 beautiful grandchildren and one soon on the way, any day now. We have a solid relationship due to having God in our lives. We are truly blessed.

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John Prickett

My education has been my greatest investment. It has produced many opportunities for me.

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Sylvia Rajsk

The smartest investment I ever made was getting a college education. If I had not done that, I would not be where I am today! :)

Sylvia

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Cindy Brisbay

The smartest investment I ever made was purchasing Toyota vehicles. I have gone from a Celica to a Camry to a Corolla back to a Camry....Exceptional vehicles!

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Josh

I would say the best investment I made hands down is my education. I'm not thrilled about the current debt I'm in, but I have a great job in a great city that I trace back to my college degree. There are definitely other good investments I've made along the way, but I would say my degree has yielded the most tangible return up to this point.

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Joseph Wood

The smartest investment I ever made was, spending time helping friends and family. The returns are far greater than any bank or other institution could ever pay.

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Guest

The smartest investment I ever made was borrowing money to go back to school. I was able to obtain a good job in a stable healthcare facility because of the "job specific" training that I rec'd. Yep, that definately was the smartest decision I made - after my marriage, of course!

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Marissa

The best investment I have ever made was buying my computer. I got laid off a week after I bought my HP and it allowed me to start a business. I have been running my business since and without it, I wouldn't be able to go to school. I am running my business and in school pursuing my dreams. I don't make much at all but anything is better than nothing :).

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Kiley

The best investment I've made thus far is definitely my graduate degree. This has opened many doors that just having a bachelors degree wasn't doing.

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Jess

Best investment was buying a house and building equity, so far that is my best investment but I am hoping my masters in social work will be up there with best investment, not financially as a socialworker but my best mental investment.

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Jennifer Boylan

The Smartest investment I ever made was when I bought some dolls at a yard sale and found out that it played my mother's favorite song. I couldn't have been able to 'find' anything like this if I were looking for it. It is truly abundant in sentimental value

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Patti Shipp

My Dell computer has been the sweetest investment I have ever made.
I can do school work, pay bills, chat with friends, and do my sweepstakes on one machine.

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Carmen

My absolute favorite investment has been in a vacuum sealer. We use ours all the time and it continues to save us money. We have a small family but with the vacuum sealer we can buy things like family packs of meat, repackage when we get home, and save money without wasting food!

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Kim

I think my best investment was in continuing education for my job. The more I learn, even if I'm not right away sure how I'll use it, the better I am able to help my clients and the more profitable my business can be.

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Guest

The smartest investment that I ever made was putting away funds for my daughters educations while they were babies, it was a very wise move on my behalf because I had no idea that at the age of 44 I would be stricken with renal failure and ended up on dialysis..

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Sharon Martin

The smartest investment I ever made was to establish a defered annuity. This will help me to live on disability, if there is any left after taking bits here and t.ere to survive. With no increase in what I have to live on I try to do without. It is amazing the things you can do without, and I don't miss any of it. Now if only the cost of living would help out I would be saving money by the buckets, almost.

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Katie O

The smartest investment I've ever made was learning a foreign language. I was able to meet my husband abroad and move to a different country!

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lori gordon

I did well with my 401k in mutual funds

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Robin

The smartest investment to date has been my laptop. If it weren't for making this purchase, I wouldn't be able to stay connected with family and friends, start my own business venture or enter sweepstakes!

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Heather

The first house we bought. We bought a fixer upper in a good neighborhood. (Following the logic to buy the ugliest house on the street and fix it up.) We bought the house for $100,000 and sold it for $230,000 five years later.

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Jill L

Best investment was putting my son in a private school.

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lynn brannen

I bought a certain stock is has done well for years.Another one I bought from a well known company, isn`t worth as much I paid for years ago.

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Colleen

The best investment I made was donating time and money to help pay for my niece's lung transplant. She has Cystic Fibrosis and her lungs were failing quickly. One year after the transplant, she is doing well and couldn't be happier!

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daniel thornton, Jr.

The smartest investment I have ever made is my printer. I use it to print out sweepstakes paperwork it saves me the time and hassle of having to ask someone to print the paperwork for me.

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ferriz

My best investment was purchasing my car. I went with the more expensive reliable model and she has served me well. Before I was under my dad's thumb borrowing his. He controlled every aspect of my life. Buying a car has let me move out, get a better paying job, and return to school. Returning to school and having reliable transportation will help me get a better job in my field, which will help me make and save more money in the long run.

All because I purchased a nice, safe, economical, gas saving little yellow car.

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Cole

The smartest investment I've ever made was to allow and to work toward being happy. It wasn't really a financial investment, of course, but material things and money come and go. This was an investment in myself.

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Donna B.

The smartest investment I ever made was my investment in my education (primarily through student loans). Although I'm not in the profession I thought I'd be, getting a college degree has definitely increased my earning ability, as well as expanded my knowledge and given me opportunities I never would have thought of. Countless studies have shown that college graduates earn tens of thousands of dollars more than non-grads. It makes it a little more palatable when I make that student loan payment every month :)

I've made sure to pass along that same sense of investing in yourself to my son - I'm constantly reminding him that what he does now will not only determine the type of life he'll lead, but the type of life he'll be able to provide for his family.

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katfam

I will say my family pool & gym membership. With a kick back from my health insurance, it is pretty inexpensive. Yet, it allows us all to stay in shape, spend time together, and sometimes just to goof off and have fun.

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Sue Andreasen

The best investment I have ever made was continuing my education and going back to school. In school I took some classes learning computers and computer programs and it has proven to be instrumental in my career since then.

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Sarah S

I would guess it's my computer science degree. It's kept me employed for 13 years now, wherever I felt like moving.

I also bought a condo in San Francisco in 2001 and sold it in 2006 for almost double, but I would say that was more luck in timing than a smart investment. Still, not bad.

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Hannah

The best investment I have ever made is in taking time to be a part of a community. I'm learning about how to better invest money from your site!

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Chris

The smartest investment I've ever made was marrying my wife! Nothing compares to the ROI on all the emotional (and financial!) capital invested in her. Best investment and best decision of my life.

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paulke

The best investment I ever made was getting Tony Robbins Personal Power. By giving me tools, I was able to make changes in my life and set goals that I didn't believe possible before. This has made me happier, healthier, wealthier and more well-rounded.

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David

The smartest investment decision I ever made was to get married to my wonderful wife, Sarah. Not only has Sarah's job increased our joint earning potential, our relationship has also increased my personal happiness and satisfaction with life. No purchase of a physical good, or investment in a company, could ever compare.

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Guest

My parents and I invested in my education. I went to an excellent college and then graduate school. Even though my parents and I struggled to pay my tuition, I learned a lot about myself and was exposed to many different types of people, and have always been able to find good, interesting work that has fulfilled my intellectual interests and financial needs. Now I am able to support my family, including helping my parents through these tough economic times.

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T

My best investment by far has been medical insurance. That isn't really my typical idea of an "investment", but after my husband's stroke he's had around $250k in bills (and counting), and we paid $2500 (plus our premiums, of course) which is an excellent return on our investment (that plus his slowly improving health). As runners-up, I would definitely say disability insurance and an emergency fund. Without these three things, a nightmarish situation would have been infinitely worse.

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Allie

The best personal investment I have ever made was my computer. My computer makes entering these contests possible. :)

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Will

When I opened my bookstore in 1987, I used my money is a way that gave me more satisfaction that any other investment I have ever made. The store lasted 17 years, but the pleasure of being surrounded by books, magazines, recorded music, etc, provided me with an honorable return for the best years of my life.

I have invested in many stock and bonds over the years, but on balance, I don't think the return has been much. I think that only insiders and wall street power-brokers actually make above average returns. And since all these investments are just computer clicks, or paper entries, not much satisfaction has been gained.

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Nathan

The smartest investment I've made is my Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone. It's like a mini computer and I can run my side business from it wherever I am.

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Shannon Flowerday

My smartest investment was adding on an extra year to my college education and receiving two bachelor degrees instead of one. While it cost several thousand more in tuition and living expenses, it opened twice as many job opportunities to me upon graduation, and has since put me in a career that may have not been achievable without receiving both.

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MegW

Excluding the obvious, high-volume investments (Roth IRA, emergency fund, education) the first thing that springs to mind is my sewing machine. No more paying retail for drapes, pillows, and tablecloths. No more paying for simple tailoring. I look smart for work, have a adorable place, and did I mention - easy, inexpensive gifts?

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James

The best investment I've made is one I'm currently making- therapy for a loved family member, to get past general anxiety disorder. No amount of money can make life good if there is an untreated mental disorder.

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Harold

My smartest investment would be marrying my spouse. Together my spouse and I make a formidable couple.

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Chandra

My best investment has been joining ING Direct. Their website provides a wealth of knowledge and many tools to help teach your children about savings and investing.

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Jessica

The smartest investment I ever made was my education. It will last me a lifetime and will provide me with the most benefit over the longrun. I think that and education is the best investment for anyone.

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karen w

The smartest investment was getting my bachelor's degree. I lost my job because I had a stroke (at 45 years old!) and decided to go to school full time for a year. I got my degree last month and now I'm looking for a J-O-B. The gift card would be helpful. :)

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mlande

I bought Apple stock at $65 a share. I bought more at $85 a share and was nervous about the second buy. Well it has paid off.

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Loni

Best investment has been hands down... MY MARRIAGE! What would life be like without someone to enjoy it with? My spouse and I have gone through highs and lows but our commitment to each other and the investments we make daily in our marriage have enriched our lives beyond imagine.

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Laura

The time I have invested in doing the things I truly enjoy. It energizes and makes me more efficient in all aspects fo life.