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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NeatoTorpedo

No question - the $125 adoption fee that brought my dog Charlie into my home. He's the most kind-hearted person (yes, fine, dog) I know, and there are honestly days I can't clearly remember my life before him. He's always happy to see me, just wants to hang out with me, and every time I see him my day gets a little brighter. There have been plenty of costs since adopting him - food, toys, beds, cleaning supplies - but that adoption fee was the smartest investment I've ever made.

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Craig Johnson

My cellphone is the best inestment I've made. It's so nice to be anywhere in the country and still be available to clients.....

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Dan

The smartest investment I've ever made has got to be going to a good university for engineering. I was able to work full time, second shift during my time there and avoided costly student loans. That investment is now paying dividends, not just monetarily but developing the work ethic that was required to get through a tough academic program with little or no free time has set me apart from my peers in the industry.

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loni

My smartest investment so far, was my MAC Computer. I was reluctant at first because it was more expensive than your typical PC, but overall, I have had absolutely no problems with my MAC, which has saved me money, whereas my PCs were always crashing and needing repairs which meant more money.

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Barbara Bee

The smartest investment I made was the time and materials to repaint my living room. Having a color I love greet me when I come home greatly improves my mood and does good things for my attitude.

Guest's picture

the smartest investment i’ve ever made was my android phone [HTC EVO Shift 4g]. i have severe vision problems, and this phone makes it easy to keep in contact with everyone i need. i can have it read out loud to me, i can enlarge the fonts as needed, i can even forward all text messages from the phone to my desktop pc to view on the larger screen.

Guest's picture

The smartest investment I ever made was purchasing my Sony Vaio laptop computer! It is a few years old, but it has allowed me to be able to start my blog, enter contests(and win alot lol), and meet new amazing people online! It also allows me to stay in touch with family in different states via email, skype and facebook/twitter. I actually realized when I got home after buying it, they had given me the black model instead of the white(love it!), and took it back the next day & they told me it was on sale now for $175 less & refunded me the difference! SO, that was a REAL bonus on this investment!

Thank you for the chance to win!

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JoeyfromSC

oops FORGOT my email

Oh and they did give me the white one..very nice!

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Paula

The smartest investment I ever made was my computer because my kids use it everyday for school I use it for games and bills so it's the best investment I ever have made.

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Joe

An easy answer for me, family and friends. They are certainly America's greatest commodity and the only currency we get to take with us. A fine investment with many years monitoring will pay dividends far beyond the imagination that will weather any recession. In this investment, I am a millionaire.

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Chris

The smartest investment I ever made was taking a computer typing course. Learning to type without having to do the "point and peck" method has saved hours and hours of time and now i type better than i write!

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Lisa

The smartest investment I ever made was in my three children. I was fortunate enough to have the option of being a stay-at-home mom and loved every minute of it! That wonderful time couldn't be purchased for any amount of money and I wouldn't trade the experience for anything!

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Tracy Elmshaeuser

Investing in time has always been my best investment. Time to see our family who live out of state, time to take care of myself, time to spend with my spouse and kids. You can make or lose money, but you can't ever get more time back.

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Tesa Shelton

The best investment I ever made was buying my first home when I was in my 20's. It was old, ugly and cheap, but I paid it off in 3 years, then turned around and sold it for more than I paid for it. Renting just always seemed to me like throwing money out the window, with the exception of having someone take care of problems.

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Kiena

My best investment was my Labradoodle. In one compact package I have an ever eager exercise partner, a playmate for my children, a pet that my husband tolerates because of his shed-free coat, a home alarm system, a conversation starter, and a warm belly to rub.

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Marco

Smartest investment I have made so far is in my car. Public transportation around here is horrible! Granted it depreciated in value, like all cars, it's great on gas and still running 100K miles later :)

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Jose C

The best investment I am doing is getting out of debt. I gave myself a 5 year window to pay off ALL debts. I want to sleep in peace for a change without money debt worries, the freedom to finally leave a job I hate even though it pays well, to move away from a city I don't like living in and to hopefully retire earlier. Debt is a stranglehold that one needs to excape from so to breathe deeply again.

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lisa hawkes

A hand held gaming device for my son. Equals more me time. I love that thing.

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mom2tnt

My smartest investment is.... my HP Laptop! I am a big fan of laptops because of the mobility that it has over a desktop which allows me to do my work anywhere! Next up... an iPad! :-)

Guest's picture

My best investment was the fouir years I spent going to college to become a registgered nurse. The RN license has allowed me to earn a living for over 30 years now.

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Ron Miller

Won a $50,000 car in a sweepstakes from Pepsi, went ahead and sold the car, paid off all credit card and medical debt, then bought myself a Jag! Best damned investment I've ever made!

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Goran

The best investment I made was when my dad purchased my first computer, who would have known back then, because of that one computer, I would make IT my profession.

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Rachel Marie Deakins

The smartest investment that I've made was going to collage to become a news broadcaster after so many people said i couldn`t do it because a had my son when i was 15 years old i didn`t let nothing stand in my way and proved them all wroung.. lol haha

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Bruce

The best investment was an investment in myself. My education gave me a career that I enjoy, rather than just a job.

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Amina

The smartest investment I ever made is attending college. Even though it took me 6 years to get my BS (I did it part-time as my 3 kids were small then), it was worth it as I have a very good paying job now and a good life.

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Anthony C.

Investing in myself is the smartest investment that I have made. It has yeilded me the ability to be self sufficent and provide for myself.

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cathy miller

The smartest investment I've ever made is my college degree, it enabled me to have higher earnings. I would count my 401k investment but that is not as robust as it used to be, I wish I had more financial smarts.

Guest's picture

I started walking 2 miles every day when I was about 25 years old. It's been an awesome investment in my health and well-being. I'm still doing it and have picked up other healthy habits along the way: gardening, using white whole wheat flour, cooking a lot at home and reading a lot.

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ewhatley

The wisest investment I ever made was accepting a job and moving to a new state. I was in Atlanta working for an internet company that went bust. As I was putting together a plan for my job search, I decided to try to combine a new job with a lifelong dream to live at the beach. I found and accepted a great job on the Gulf coast of Florida. That was 11 years ago and although I no longer work for that company, I've never regretted my decision to leave Atlanta and consider this move the best personal investment I ever made. Living at the beach has been even better than I expected.

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Georgie Casson

I feel the smartest invest I ever had was when I bought my home and decided it's better than renting because in the end you have something to show for and not just sinking money into something that won't be yours in the end. It's been paid off for 5 yrs. now and it was well worth the investment made.

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Derk Thomas

Putting money into a 529 fund for my sons' education. Then being very conservative with that account has allowed the fund to stay intact the last few years.

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meredith baker

I have accepted a layoff without letting it get the best of me! What I did not know is that during the time I got laid off my dad- who was never sick- would get very sick, eventually passing away. I was there with him 24/7 for the last 7 monthes of his life. It made me realize things really do happen for a reason!

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Katie

The smartest investment I've ever made was getting my CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) certification. It has proved to be a valuable asset for me in the IT field and helped to open new career opportunities for me.

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Carla Wrege

The smartest investment I ever made was paying to see Dave Ramsey Live. It was the smartest investment I ever made because I'm debt free now.

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Joseph Perozzi

THE SMARTEST INVESTMENT I'VE EVER MADE WAS GOING TO RUTGERS UNIVERSITY. IT WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF MY YOUTH!

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Mark Kain

My smartest investment was taking classes to learn computers. Now I have a machine that tells me I don't Know how to spell!

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Elizabeth

The smartest investment I ever made was adopting my dog. Seems silly I know, but all of those nights when I thought it was the worst night of my life, she was there..smiling and ready to give me kisses. She can always sense when something is wrong. She is always there to greet me at the front door when I come home from work and is more excited to see me than ever before. She isn't just my pet, she is my best friend. I am really not sure what I would do without her...she is my Megan-Jo.

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Billy Martin

Best investment i ever made was 20 years ago i purchased a large Star Wars toy collection from a Garage Sale for $500, the collection i purchased is now worth well over $25,000. Gonna hold onto to it another year or two and then will be using it to put a down payment on a house :-)

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Guest

The smartest investment I ever made was taking advantage of an early retirement offered at the job I was working for almoste 30 years. I still work although part time in field I enjoy, but the best thing is I actually go to work! This investment in myself preservation is giving me the best return.

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Tim

i PURCHASED A MITSUBISHI ECLIPSE AUTOMOBILE FOR 800 DOLLARS AND 1 MONTH LATER SOLD IT FOR 1900 DOLLARS. IT SOLD IN 2 DAYS. THAT IS A GOOD RETURN. MINUS A 25 DOLLAR FEE FOR AN AD.

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John H.

The smartest investment i've ever made has got to be my Bianchi San Jose. This bicycle takes me everywhere from work to play. And I'm getting exercise while lowering my carbon footprint.

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Deb Knaff

My best investment for all time was packing up my children, driving from Montana to Seattle, putting our possessions on a barge (at $.75 a pound) and moving to southeast Alaska. We lived in the tongass rain forrest, watched killer whales glide by our picture window, the three of us diving into the cold ocean near Christmas to earn a "Certificate of Insanity", to watch my son catch a ling cod fish that was longer than him, to see the amazement in their eyes at the vastness of mountains & oceans, to watch my son become fluent in the tlingit language, and for me to serve victims of domestic violence & sexual assault. Even though we are back in Montana due to conditions beyond our control, I live for the day that I can move back. My children are respectful men now due to their experiences they lived in Sitka Alaska.

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David

The smartest investment I ever made was my undergraduate degree. On an investment of $15,000, I've made many times that amount since. For most people, I think the answer would be the same.

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Nick Sandbakken

I don't know if you can consider this an investment but after I got home from my first deployment to Afghanistan I had enough money to eliminate my debt. That's exactly what I did and my credit score has been good ever since(I have also payed my bill in full every month since). I never really understood the importance of a credit score but having a good one has helped me with so many things in life I can't imagine how people can afford not to have good credit.

Guest's picture
cornelius

I have invested my time to motivate people who dont see any worth in themselves.
For example I've got 2 young teen school dropouts to enrol for a welding course
that will see to their future worked out. Getting abused children linked to homes where they get proper nutrition and education. Thats about it.

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Erica C.

My smartest investment was the application fee for my current job. So many positive things have come from my current career.

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spirit_kim

Funny you should mention cooking classes. I went to culinary school way back when. Despite the fact that I have not used that particular degree in the workforce recently it was a smart investment. I enjoy cooking myself and others it feeds my soul. Further as I work to to get healthier my knowledge of food helps me implement good choices.

gabe411 at hotmail dot com

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Dana

The best investment I have ever made was in myself.
I decided six years ago to quit smoking. I stopped cold turkey ...was very hard but I did it. Now, I can't believe I ever did. Thank you for the chance!

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Susan w.

My Macbook. It's improved my music, helped me further my web design skills, facilitated my art, made it infinitely easier to project manage my mom's life, boosted my social connections, and much more.

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elizabeth peck

The best investment I ever made was my house.
It's the safest way to financial security, plus you always have a
place to call home.

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amie d

The wisest invetment I have made is with my employment. My company offers an awesome pension plan which is hard to find these days. I am vested and when I retire I won't have to worry about anything. Thanks!

Guest's picture

My best investment is my family. It's the type of investment that does not stop and I'm happy with this life long choice.
afaye172001(at)gmail(dot)com

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Sarah L

My wisest investment was joining the Air Force in 1973. I got to travel to many places and live in Germany for two years. I was trained in computer programming when the computers were the size of a truck and the language was FORTRAN and you input punch cards.

Thanks for the contest.

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Millie Thomas

The smartest investment I've ever made was putting the time and effort in raising my three kids. I was lucky enough to be a stay at home mom. I taught them to read before entering kindergarten. Hubby and I always made sure dinner was eaten at the dinner table, with no tv, radio or other distractions. We made sure each child had a chance to discuss their day. They were listened to, not just heard. They never had televisions, game systems or computers in their rooms. The cool part was they never minded. All three of them would rather spend time with one another. It wasn't always easy, but so well worth it. We feel with this investment, we have given society three intelligent, empathetic, well adjusted adults.

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Daphne Baker

My smartest investment was going back to school and the time and energy invested in my children. I'm proud of myself and I'm proud of the human beings my children are evolving into.

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Jonathan

My biggest investment was when I bought a hybrid car. It saves me money on gas while helping the environment- I rarely ever fill gas these days!

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Rosie Seaton

The wisest investment I have ever made was in my family. To make sure I take the time to spend with my husband alone and to provide my children with the love,tools, and instruction they need to be successful.

Guest's picture

The smartest investment I made was buying a few head of livestock. It has supplied me with income over the years and it's something I can leave my daughter, because it will not end. The livestock are bred, so keep supplying me with additional sources of income every year.

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christina nelson

The best and smartest investment that we ever made was working very very hard and paying off a 15 year mortgage 8 years early. Now we are only 40, mortgage free, and I was able to quit my stressful job to say at home with our two young children. And that monthly mortgage payment that we had is going towards their college and our retirement funds. A win win situation all around.

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Mary Lou Czajka

The smartest investment I"ve ever made is saving for a College Education. I Invested in myself!

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Lois Sturino

My very best investment was the time I took to study the Bible with Jehovah's Witnesses. The information that I got has not only helped my reasoning abilities in all other parts of my life, but I now have a sense of fulfilment and peace that I never knew was possible. This should be done by every human being on the planet.

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Jeanette H.

The smartest investment I ever made would probably be my home computer and printer package. It has gotten me through some very stressful times. Paperwork with jobs and school, very important things.

Thank you for the great giveaway!

Guest's picture

My best investment was learning the computer- now it nets me income, has garnered me many friendships and is how I keep up with what's going on in the world.

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Jim Allen

The best investment I ever made was marring my wife, Sally. She gave me 4 wonderful children, (on is a senior in college) she is going to be a teacher. Sally also gave me the confidence to get into the business I always wanted, managing a Bowling Center. I was in the business for over 20yrs. until my second heart attack. With no insurance available we have had it rough, but she keeps everything going,

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Geoff K

I think the smartest investment I ever made was saving up for a year in high school to pay to enroll in a psychology class at the local community college during my senior year. That one decision helped me decide almost immediately that I wanted to major in psychology, which affected my choice of universities to apply to and courses to take my first semester and has led me, twelve years later, to having my doctorate in psychology and being extremely happy in my career. Thanks!

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Tonya Dean

I invested in a College Fund account for my daughter. Next year I will be starting a retirement fund too.

tdlsfm(at)gmail(dot)com

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Adrian W.

I have no doubt that the smartest investment I've ever made was the money I spent to fly to Taiwan and take care of and connect with orphans and their adoptive families there. I would've paid twice as much for my plane ticket, even, if I had known how much those new connections would change my life!

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Leon

I greatest investment was with my relationship with my girlfriend. Not to sound saccharine, but developing an emotional foundation with her has allowed both of us tho share economic resources and cut costs by living together. Every shared essential is split down the middle, large purchases are discussed to prevent impulse buys, and this (besides other thrifty lifestyle habits) have allowed us to be on track to pay off our mortgage within two years and complete our master's programs without ANY loan debt!

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Jennifer D. Moore

I would have to say my most valuable investment would be my college education. I was a single mom for a while and it was hard to make ends meet but I made through college with a associate degree as a Clinical Laboratory Tech. Am now able to provide for my family, do the job that I love and also help others.

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Annette D

The smartest investment I ever made was enrolling my sons in the Texas Tomorrow Fund (prepaid college fund). I enrolled them when they were still in elementary school and paid about $100 per month for 10 years. This plan pays for tuition and all required fees. My oldest son just graduated from college and his fees and tuition averaged around $4000 per semester, so the Texas Tomorrow fund paid around $24,000 toward his education for a $12,000 investment! Good deal!!!

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Guest Wellington Johnson

Contributing to a 403b pension plan on my job. It will provide me with additional income when I retire.

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shelly holley

The smartest investment we ever made was buying 2) 5 acre tracts that were next to eachother and rolling them into one 10 acre lot. Combining the acreage doubled the appraisel value and as well as profiting monetarily, we have worked to clean and clear the property and are eager to build our first new home there.

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Reginald Bailey

The smartest investment I've ever made was opening an IRA with Vanguard. With all the stock market turbulence I have managed to earn solid gains the last few years.

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Prakash Natarajan

The smartest investment I did was opening an account in ING Direct and moving all the unspent money to this account and now this account grown into a huge savings which I can use to start a small business :-)

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Adina Weinstein

My best investment was a good computer and taking a computer class to keep me up to speed in this world of technology. My skills have gotten much better and this has helped me in the business world and my personal life.

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Susan Smith

My biggest investment was our house that we have been living in for 20 years. It has tripled in value and it's nice to know that if something where to happen like loosing our jobs, or developing health problems and not being able to work we always have the equity in our house if we needed it, plus it's a great family neighborhood and we love living here.

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r

The greatest investment that I have ever made was investing in my self, I did this in two ways: retired from the US Navy, resulting in a pension for life, which covers my mortgage, second I went back to school for my BSBM degree.

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carol y l

Probably the home we are in now. It was a really crappy repo we bought 11 years ago and have fixed up. Even with prices declining, it still holds a good value.Of course this is after investing in my children's lives by homeschooling them ,and our education.
spcale at yahoo dot com.

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Erwin Carrington

The smartest investment I ever made had to be when I was 18 years old and worked for Walmart as a cart pusher, and put about $10 from my check every two weeks into the Walmart stock market. And when I move to a different state and left Walmart I sold my shares and made over $400.

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mike bearden

the smartest investment i made was taking the (sometimes) painstaking time to play with and be with my boys when they were growing up. getting in the floor and making towns with blocks and driving little cars with them etc. the return? priceless-boys who turn in to young men and you begin to see those values coming from them, toward their own children...and on and on...

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Samantha

The smartest investment I've made is investing my money into college. Although I am still looking for a job, I know I have the potential to have a great job and live a successful life.

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kol

OK, after reading that comment about the thousand dollar bike, now I know what my smartest investment was! I put about 1200 miles on my used 1970's Schwinn from the Salvation Army every year. It cost ten bucks. (About 20m a day in the summer, and less during the school year.) Ten years strong- I spend 50 bucks a year tuning it up. It is ugly, has rusty handlebars, and rides like dream! If I hit the lottery, I would still use this bike, but I might get new handlebars.

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Steve

The smartest investment I have ever made is my college education. While it has been the biggest expense in my life by far, my degree has opened so many doors to me and allows me to have a job I'm happy with and allows me to earn more money.

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Judy

A few years ago I invested in a small amount of "junk" silver. I think it's doubled in value since then- kind of reassuring to have something I can actually hold.

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Kimberly

Hmmm - my smartest investment was in choosing the right people and equipment to help with my business. I feel like since I have the best tools I am getting a lot more out of each project. The next best and more traditional investment would be my vanguard funds!

Guest's picture
Angie Hickman

The best investment ever was the time I spent reading The Total Money Makeover book that was gifted to me. It took a few months (more than 12) to 'get around to' reading the book, but the ideas and methods in it (and our family's implementation of them) have done more than anything else to secure our future.

In case that isn't what you were looking for, and you want something I actually spent money on and invested in that way: my sewing machine. The creative time spent using it is my own form of "therapy," and there is no other way I could afford custom-fit, quality clothing.

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Andrew S.

The smartest investment that I have ever made was actually in myself to further my education pursuing a professional degree. I made a decision long ago to do whatever it took to make sure I finished my education. I am now a practicing dentist and very proud of my accomplishments

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CarJt

I believe the best thing I have ever done was give birth. I realize as the years go on and I look at my grandchildren, it's the greatest.

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Guest

This is an UBBER easy question!! By far and away the "the smartest investment you’ve ever made" was in my sexy wife Sarah. She is my everything! My soul mate, my best friend and yes mother to our perfect daughter Charlotte Grace. I invested everything I have into our relationship and she did the same. The outcome is a lifelong journy of happiness :)

Guest's picture
Dawn

The smartest investment I’ve ever made was a robotic floor sweeper.
I turn it on when I leave the house and the floors are clean when I come home.
It sucks up the dirt so there is virtally no dusting required during the week.
It can go under beds and couches, places that I honeslty left unswept for weeks at a time. It saves my back from aching to bend over to sweep into a dustpan.

Guest's picture

My best investment has been my laptop. I travel with my husband for his job. My laptop saves me money by allowing me to keep in contact with family & friends without having to use precious, expensive cell phone minutes. Wi Fi is everywhere so we don't have to pay for a connection. It also keeps me busy and up to date on my newest venture of selling Thirty One products!

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Terri P

The smartest investment I have ever made is time. Time I spent with my daughter after she born through her elementary school years. I stopped working to take each day with her: loving, teaching, nurturing her. I do not regret a a single second. She's just begun her sophomore year at GSU. :)

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Jaque

My smartest investment was to choose becoming a teacher. I have made a difference in so many lives, a positive difference. :-) Thank you.

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vicki lorenz

I have to say my "husband" has been the best investment for me. He is a great guy and has a job that will help us to retire comfortably. He owns stock in his company and fortunately has done well.

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Cheryl Delles

The smartest investment I've ever made was the four years that I stayed home with my daughter before she went on to elementary school. We learned so much together and it gave her a strong foundation before going to school and joining her peers. The quality of that time is priceless.

Guest's picture
Whitney

I just bought an elliptical. It is greate for my health! And I cancelled my gym membership, which I didn't like going to anyway. I bought it at Walmart for around $300 with the warranty. Last night was the first night I was working out and having fun! I actually had so much fun that I puased the program to jump off and start dancing around in my living room. I was having a blast.

If I did that at the gym, people would think I was nuts!

Guest's picture

One of the first to mind is the computer. And later, internet. Just think...I had no access to such contests before! ;) Seriously. So great for coupons, contests, research, endless possibilities.

Guest's picture
Gil

I love how varied everyone's answers were.

I would say for me the smartest investment would be my marriage... time, effort and money spent too to make sure our family has the strongest foundation possible. Everything else can be weathered no matter the situation with someone solid beside you (especially the ups/down of having several businesses and having to do the childcare "dance" as a working mom).

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Linda Bundrick

the smartest investment I ever made was buying property when no one was really interested for a fairly low price, then building on it and watching my investment triple. I knew the location was key and that the area had great potential.

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Kay Z

The best investment I have ever made was paying tuition for my children's education. They have both graduated from UT Austin and my daughter is currently working on her PhD there. It brings me great peace of mind knowing they have a great foundation for success in life!