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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Allba

It had been a long time since I had taken care of my health and had gotten very sedentary and lethargic because I had an office job and was a full time student simultaneously. "I had no time to work out." No visit to the doctor ever made me feel any better past being medicated so I decided to start working out. Being it that I was soo out of shape I did not want to invest in a gym membership because I knew if I was embarrassed I wouldn't go so I decided to buy one single 30 minute workout video...needless to say it has been the best thing I've ever done for myself and have since lost about 35 lbs. and have adopted a healthier lifestyle. The feeling of accomplishment when I finished the video even if I didn't do it exactly as they did in the video, made me feel I could do anything and that feeling spilled into all the other aspects of my life. Sometimes we tend to get too worried about the things around us that we don't notice what is happening to us internally. I had no idea how significantly my health was a factor until all my problems seemed to start melting away when I started taking care of myself =)

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Tim

The smartest investment that I've made is a good computer and a few books that helped me learn to code. This was about the time I started college and I'm confident that what I taught myself during the next 4 years was equally important as the degree that I earned during that time.

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Amy W.

I have to say an iPod is the best investment for me. It saves my life each day I'm commuting on the bus. It keeps me in the know with podcasts and sane with my music.

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D Hayes

The best investment I have ever made was was my office chair. The chair is almost 8 years old and is still comfortable as ever. Lots of great decisions have been made in that chair.

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Brian P.

The smartest investment I've ever made is to switch from an inkjet printer to a laser printer. The money I've saved in ink alone made it worthwhile, and the faster print speed, and better quality are just a bonus. You never realize just how much you will be printing when you own a small business!

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Bart

The smartest investment I've ever made is purchasing a DSLR camera. I have since started a side business doing lifestyle photography that nets me several hundred dollars a month in extra income. Plus, it allows me to fuel my creativity which is not something I can do at my 9-5.

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Guest

My road bike, a Specialized Dolce. It cost almost $1000 - very tough to swing as a grad student - but I've already put more than 500 miles on it, exploring country roads with my husband, getting some fresh air and exercise.

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Brian Purdy

The smartest investment I have made has been in the development and maintenance of my credit score. I knew at a young age the importance of credit scores when getting loans and influence a single percentage point could have on your long term payments. Therefore, I went through the process of getting small loans and paying them off just to establish credit history. By the time I was in college and applying for student loans, I capable of getting much lower rates and save myself thousands of dollars.

Guest's picture

The smartest investment I ever made is in my children's education. They both had four years at private liberal arts colleges and graduated in 2006 and 2010. One is a graduate student, one is employed in her field, planning to go to graduate school. They are self sufficient, responsible and fulfilled.

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Guest

Buying my house a few months ago! Low price and interest rates were a no brainer. It is good t be on this side of the housing bust!

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Jules

The smartest investment I ever made was purchasing a house in our current town of Louisville, CO, eleven years ago. The town just keeps getting better and better and we recently won the Money Magazine's Best Small Town Award for the second time!

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Amy Brown

The best investment I have ever made was/is starting a 501 for my 3 year old. Her education is everything to me and now I can be assured that I am helping her to achieve her educational goals or are they my goals? Ok so hers are Dora and The Backyardigans for now!!

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Tamara

My best investment was in a Weight Watchers subscription. In May of 2007, I was clinically obese at age 24 and had been overweight most of my life. Finally taking the initiative to lose weight for good and invest in my health not only led to a 90 pound weight-loss, but also encouraged me to organize my budget and pay down a tremendous amount of credit card debt. The extra weight's still gone and I will be debt-free next year!

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Lynn W.

The best investvent I ever made was purchasing my laptop computer 3 years ago. It just happens to be an HP. I don't know what I would do without it! It's been a real workhorse. I am finishing my degree online. I have also learned how to save money through reading couponing blogs and printing coupons. I wouldn't be saving as much money or learning as much without it!

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Sue

My best investment has definitely been pursuing Speech and Debate in college. Although it was time-consuming for me then, I got into graduate school and got my MA because of it and every job I have had since then I have received because of my Speech and Debate involvement. I am now a Director of the same Speech and Debate program I participated in as a college undergraduate and I hope that it pays the same dividends to my students!

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Christie

My best investment? I would have to say the money we spent on family vacations to Disney World. Yep, money spent. The memories we have there are worth so much more than the $2500 we spent to go each time and for us, it truly was the "happiest place on earth". So much so that we are saving up to go again. We saved for 2 years the first visit, 3 years for the second visit, and we're saving up for yet another visit. The kids are only young for a such a short time, we want to make sure that we all have great memories of this time with them. Besides, having a girl who loves the princesses (first visit she got to meet them all!) and a boy who loves Star Wars (and is now an official Paduwan thanks to Hollywood Studios), taking these trips have been some of the best days of their young lives, something they (and their parents) will treasure forever.

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Guest

My favorite investment was the 2k I spent on my honeymoon. It was a magical way to start our life together even though technically I never saw financial returns.

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Michelle

The smartest investment I ever made was in a tempurpedic bed. My husband and I both had back issues and it has been the best thing we ever did to ensure that we both wake refreshed and feeling good every morning! When you don't sleep well and you hurt, you can't perform to the best of your abilities. We have owned the bed for 6 years and would gladly do it all over again!

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harmony daws

My favorite investment was the 2k I spent on my honeymoon. It was a magical way to start our life together even though technically I never saw financial returns.

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Laura P

The smartest investment for me thus far has been my external harddrive. It has saved me from losing my files and photographs when my old computer died.

Guest's picture

My smartest investment has been my iPad. It seemed like a novelty gadget at first, but I've found the right combination of services and apps to greatly speed up my workflow for freelance puzzle authoring work - not to mention the great variety of personal use cases like social media and reading.

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BlueGreenStars

My best invenstment - a multipurpose tool (like a Leatherman) that has a wrench, screw drivers, and a bunch of other handy bells and whistles to accomplish any task. It's compact and extremely useful!

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Felisha

The smartest investment I ever made was time. Taking time to sit down and make a budget. I'll be debt free by the end of the year thanks to really paying attention to my cash flow.

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Alyssa

My best investment so far is setting up a roth IRA through my work. I am a new graduate and this is my first 'real' job. I was told by my boss that if she had one piece of advice for me it would be to start a roth IRA as soon as possible. I'm so glad I did. It's taken out of my paycheck before I even see it, so it's not missed, but I am still saving for my future while my employer is also matching my amount. Can't get better than that.

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I own a small consulting company. My best investment was buying a company. It was kinda scary - going into debt during the Great Recession. But the investment more than paid for itself in the first year and continues to provide great returns.

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Betty

I think my wisest investment move was joining my organization's 457 plan. When I first started, I didn't really have retirement plans. I had a small amount of tax deferred money taken from each pay. As the years went on, I increased my contribution, even though I've felt strapped at times. I'm hoping to be financially stress free in retirement!

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Amy

The smartest investment my hubby and I made - was to work toward paying off our house early. We'll have it paid off before my son goes to High School (just a few years from now).

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BP

The smartest investment I ever made was into my education, including a review course that helped me pass the CPA exam. Becoming a CPA has allowed me to buy into an existing practice and secure my financial future as a self-employed professional.

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R McD

The smartest decision I ever made was hiring my divorce attorney. At the time it happened I didn't realize how bad the relationship was. Now that I am going through the process of the divorce it has made me realize how dependent on someone else I was. Now I have the power to do anything I want and can accomplish anything. Now, if I could win that $500 you could help pay for some of those bills from the attorney. :)

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James Quinn

My MacBook Pro. I spent $2K, but it has lasted me over 5.5 years now and I've never had a problems with it. It isn't obsolete and can still handle the latest software. Every windows computer I had lasted two years if I was lucky and the OS had to be rebuilt at least once per year. My mac more than paid for itself years ago.

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Elizabeth S

The best investment I EVER made was to stay at home with my oldest for the first two years. It gave me quality time with her, AND it helped me to learn to become frugal. Now that we have two incomes again, I still clip coupons and save any way we can, it is giving us the ability to save for retirement and not worry about expenses that may come up!

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Loni

Im just getting ready to jump with this one... I am quitting my job to stay home with my 15 mo old. To me, investing in his character at this point is priority. Thanks for your encouraging post, because going down to one income scares me to death!

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TeJota

The smartest investment I ever made was actually enrolling in a 401K with my first job directly out of college. Many of my peers didn't want to enroll because they felt they needed every bit of their paycheck and one could invest later on. Because I have been investing in my 401K for quite some time I've established a nice little nest egg for myself. I tell everyone, go ahead and invest the minimum amount that you need because it will pay off in the long run.

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Anna M.

The best investment I've made has been in the relationship I have with my husband. Our relationship has had its ups and downs, but I've grown immensely during the seven years that we've been together and he has made me a better person. Thanks to him, I am a great mom to our three-year-old daughter, instead of repeating the cycle of poor decisions that my mother made.

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Cathy

I'd have to say that thus far the best investment for our family is a Dyson. We bought it with a Target employee 40% discount about a month ago, and hope to use it for at least the next 10-15 years. It's also my first big, long-term purchase.

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Lauren Bayles

Certainly my laptop, which contains my life and enables me to connect, learn, and earn and save money. If I could only afford and Ipad and a smart phone, I'd be all set.

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Jessica H.

The best investment I've ever made has been investing in the lives of my friends - giving them my time, support, help and a shoulder to lean on. I've gotten way more back from them than I ever imagined - help in a crisis, a sounding board for decision-making, stress relief when I'm feeling stretched, and laughter to keep me sane. They help keep my priorities in order and keep me accountable to myself for who I am and what I do.

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Ly

I think the smartest investment I've ever made is for my Macbook. Ever since I purchased my laptop I have never had any problems or issues with programs not working or even virus. It was pretty pricey when I got it, but I'm glad to have made the decision to get it.

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Dan Cain

The smartest investment I've ever made would be the $2000 I spend on our wedding. Not was that money going towards a tremendous day but it will be compounding with interest until the end of our life when we breath our last. All the times together, memories, raising kids, being a family and serving God together will be priceless.

Dan Cain
(email removed. editor's note: you only have to put your email in the email field, not in the main text field.)

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joanna

For me, the investment of a couple hundred dollars and 20+ hours in a birth class for my husband and I was 100% worth it. We went to a Bradley Method class, and when I started having contractions Christmas day, we were both prepared rather than panicky. The birth went more smoothly than we could have planned or dreamed, and I credit the time investment we put into a good education, exercise and diet, gleaned from the Bradley class.

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Roy Mullins

When I was nineteen years old I married someone who understood the value of frugal living. After forty-three years she has finally won me over to her way of thinking. We are debt free and building toward a survivable retirement.

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Ursula J.

Although it wasn't a big financial investment, taking a letterpress class (on a whim) was my best investment so far - I fell in love with the craft that lets me merge my graphic design background and my yearning to get away from the computer and make something tactile & creative with my hands. I've since started my own DBA small business and have been creating and selling letterpress goods in retail shops and online, and creating custom letterpress invites and other items for people. Not only did it shift my career path a bit, it's something that I just can't get enough of, and love the idea of continuing an old traditional printing method that feels so new in the age of all things digital. Next stop - I'm aiming to buy a letterpress machine of my own!

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Dave

My greatest investment decision I've made was using services like Mint.com to track my finances. With it's help I've been able to narrow my decision making into only spending when I need to spend and spend less on those items.

For many years I just watched my account balance, now I not only watch my account balance but also where that money is going, does it fit in my budget and how to manage my budget so I can afford within my means for each month.

It may have been a free service but it has changed the way I saw my finances.

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David Nash

Smartest investment ever - taking a two semester typing class in high school. This simple skill made it easier to get through college (writing papers as well as computer programs) and is put to use every day in my job as a software engineer.

Guest's picture

Best ACTUAL investment: Starting a Roth IRA in my mid-twenties, and contributing to it regularly. If I can do this for my entire working life, I'll be well set for retirement.

Best non-investment investment: LASIK eye surgery. It really changed my life and I'm so glad every day that I don't have to deal with glasses and contacts like I used to. Quality of life FTW!

Best stupid investment: Once, I spent my emergency fund on a trip to Europe with my best friend and my sister. Totally stupid, and I had the best time of my life. I would not recommend this course of action, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing.

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Kyle

The smartest investment I have ever made cost me zero money. It is in myself. You can literally learn ANYTHING for FREE on the internet or in the library these days. Why waste 150k on an education. I do have my bachelor's and 25k in loans, but the realization that I need to invest in myself and can do so cheaply has paid off in spades!

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The best investment I ever made was in a $20 book. As a result of that book, I learned something about the tax code that has saved me between $5000 and $6000 in taxes every year for the past 9 years. Quite a return on investment if you ask me.

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Renee

the best investment I have ever made was the investment in my health. I started seeing a chiropractor who helped relieve my chronic neck/back pain that I had for 3 years. I also started seeing my primary physician and dentist for annual checkups. This investment has made me a happier, healthier person who makes better decisions and enjoys life more :)

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Kathryn

I would say that the smartest investment I have made is in my six-month old Toyota Prius. I love this car because it is environmentally friendly and has saved me a ton of money on gas. I feel this has given me some freedom because I have gone on more road trips and seen more of the country guilt-free because I am saving on gas. I will have to make car payments for several years, but in the long run I feel it will pay off because I won't need to replace it for a loooong time. My experience with this vehicle so far is that it is well built and reliable and will not need much money thrown into it in the form of extra maintenance. For these reasons, the Toyota Prius is a great investment!

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Susan

The smartest investment I've ever made was in learning to make about anything I can. I learned to sew years ago, through purchased books, and the amount of savings that we've had from that ability is staggering. The most tangible are the cloth diapers I've made for my daughter that have saved us $100s on diapering costs.

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Ashley

The best investment I've ever made was investing in my education with tangible skills. Taking classes on building/farming/foraging and promoting my own self sufficiency. In an economy where nothing is certain, knowing you can fend for yourself is priceless.

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Kat

The best investment I've ever made is to take care of my physical health. I hope to stave off future high dollar costs of medical payments.

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EB

The smartest investment I ever made was in people. In not just networking connections, but truly getting to know connections.

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SLPRK

The best investment I've ever made is investing my time in a sober-living facility that started out with nothing. In 7 years, we have grown from helping 3 people recover in an revamped old grade school to increasing our resident beds to over 60, purchasing our building, purchasing a house near us to use as a "honor house" and helping numerous people realize a better life free from addictions. The smiles and laughter from the residents are the best return on my investment ever!

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Angel

The smartest investment I made is to stick with my current I.T. company. I could have left for better paying jobs but I.T. downsizing could have put me in unemployment. Here, I now have seniority.

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Mitt

I woke up for an interview in New York to discover that I had no belt. With only 40 mins until my interview time, so I ran to the nearest place, Thomas Pink. That's where I picked up a plain leather belt for a quick $165. It was so painful, because I probably could've gotten the same on half price online, or found an identical one for even less. Got the job though, which more than covered it.

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K. Price

The wisest investment my husband made was working hard to be an awesome student in high school. His hard work and smarts paid off such that he got full scholarships for his BA, MA and PhD. He received a PhD without any debt and without every paying tuition. I call that a great investment!

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Cathie

Unfortunately, I haven't made any serious investments. But we "invested" $3 in a camper radio/flashlight/compass that turned out to be a very, very good buy considering the Hurricane this past weekend.

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Whild

Is this contest based on the quality of the answer? if so then the best investment I ever made was my HP notebook and the HP printer that came with it. HP products rock!

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elise bray

Paint - when in doubt, paint it. I have managed over the years to update kitchens and bath cabinets with elbow grease and good paint. I just redid our countertops with a countertop paint kit that made our 32 year old formica countertops look like we replaced them with granite look countertops for CHEAP!! Paint should be the first resort before replacing furniture, accessories.. i have painted picture frames, furniture, cabinet knobs, you name it! One of the best things about paint is that it is relatively cheap, if u dont like the color afterwards (or during the painting process) you can start over with another color. You dont have to be a artist or crafty to paint, just envision that ugly dresser from 1972 in a color that u like, perhaps the knobs too and see what u get!! The money i have saved from not buying everything new, or ripping out perfectly good cabinets that were just ugly, is probably thousands over the years!! now thats a investment with good returns.. cheap output and great rewards back, both financially and mentally!! go ahead, take a leap, PAINT IT!!

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Therese

The smartest investment I have made lately is for my health. I have started walking to work daily and turned in my parking pass. I have saved money, lost weight and improved my health.

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Jared

The smartest investment I ever made is in a computer that I built from scratch. I learned the ins and outs of every part of a PC. I also learned that no matter how difficult the task, I tend to stick to directions very well. Since I have built the computer, I have been very quick to upgrade the existing computers for my family and friends. Because of my investment, I am currently enrolled in the "Applied Information Technology" graduate program at my school.

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Francesca

The smartest investment I've ever made has been my decision to complete a post-baccalaureate premedical program in order to apply for medical school and try for my dream career.

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Maggie

The smartest investment I've made is getting my masters degree. I'm a librarian, and without a masters, you CANNOT get a professional job. By figuring out what I wanted to do early in my college career, and by doing well enough to earn an assistantship and grant while I was in grad school, I not only was able to get into my dream career as early as possible, I was able to get out of two years of grad school with only a reasonable amount of debt.

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Cammy

My best investment (so far) was my decision to hire a personal trainer. I was 100 pounds overweight and had no clue how to exercise efficiently. Working with a trainer, I shed the weight and learned how to keep it off effectively.

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Angie

By far, the best investment I have made is my college education! It may have taken a little longer than I had planned, but the proudest day of my life, outside of the births of my three sons, is earning that Bachelor's degree at 41 years old! An excellent teachable moment to my sons.

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Joe

It's a strange one, but the smartest investment I've made is my investment of time in my education. I attended a college that was a little loose on instruction and strong on personal enrichment. What that meant was that I would only get out of the experience what I put into it. Despite working almost full time throughout school, I used most of my free time to not only work with a variety of technologies but build a work ethic and an open mind in approaching problems.

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lostAnnfound

My best investment was staying home with my two kids when I got laid off from my job almost 15 years ago. I bought a computer and started doing medical transcription at home (yes, you can make money from it!). I could be flexible with my schedule and work when my kids did not need me and then be available for them and enjoy them while they were growing up.

Guest's picture

Shortly after moving into my home I invested in a set of quality knives and pots and pans. Then I took a series of cooking lessons to teach me the basics about preparing food. Since that time I have reduced the number of meals eaten away from home to less than a few each month. Even better, my husband and I now love to cook meals together, so it's not just about saving money, but also about enjoying our time. It's fun to scour recipes, shop for groceries and ultimately make a meal standing alongside one another. If we hadn't invested in quality equipment I can say without a doubt that we would not have changed our eating habits.

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Jessica

The best investment I've made is in my education. Even though it may not have landed me the job of my dreams (yet), I gained a lot of skills, and had a lot of experiences that made all that work worthwhile.

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Edward

My investment might not be what HP is looking for. I ditched my car and got a bike. Zero emissions, low maintenance/repairs, no fuel costs (water is free), and it contributes to my health. Few investments save you money and keep you healthy. It was tough at first, certainly has its drawbacks, but when rush hour rolls around it's quite satisfying zipping by all those commuters burning money and not going anywhere :)

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Monica

My best investment has been my Kitchen Aid. It makes it easy to make all kinds of things from scratch where I would have spent more money buying them pre-made. It also helps keep our family healthier!

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Adrienne

The smartest investment I've ever made has been in the time I've spent reading books and blog posts on negotiating one's salary. That knowledge led me to some hefty salary increases fairly early in my career, which has allowed me to save more for my future.

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Carson M.

The first investment I ever made was going to college, which made the biggest difference in my life. In my first year of employment I earned twice as much as I spent on my college.

I'd couple that investment with the $180 investment I made in my first black suit, which I wore to my first real career interview. I learned the value of appearance, the return on THAT is everlasting. I also later got an internship with that company and, consequently, earned the full-time job that earned me the return on my college investment mentioned before.

I like to believe that everything we do is an investment if we learn to think of it that way, and the returns are all around us if we learn to pay close enough attention.

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Eric S

My best investment was ensuring constant retirement investing from the time I got out of college. My wife and I started maxing out our IRA's, 401k, 403b, etc -- you name it, we put money into it. Now that we're older with more expenses (kids, college, cars) we don't have to put so much into retirement and can spend it now. In the meantime that wonderful friend Compounding Interest is doing it's thing for us.

Eric

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Katelynn Sortino

The smartest investment I've made was actually the warranties I've purchased over the years on electronics I buy. Being a generally clumsy person, I've learned never, ever to purchase anything expensive without getting a good two-year warranty. I've saved thousands, including the one time I accidentally spilled a gallon of laundry detergent into my computer!

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CD

My best investment was a college education; chemical engineering.

The pay I have now beats what I could have done without it.

CD

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Sue

In my early 20s, living in South Africa, I took a gold Krugerrand given to me by my godfather for my 21st birthday, cashed it in and used it to buy a plane ticket to visit my best friend who had immigrated to Canada. I ended up staying, marrying him and we recently celebrated our 20th anniversary, and have two kids!

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Jason P.

The smartest investment I made was buying a home with an office in it. I changed jobs within my company right before my first child was born. Not only is the work something I enjoy a lot more, but it also allows me to work from home. I'm now able to spend a lot of time with my wife and daughter while still be productive and provide. Yes, a home serves as another purpose other than work, but I love that it has also provided a place for me to work and still be a huge part of my family's life.

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Keith

The best investment I've ever made is the investment in my own body. Changing my lifestyle to include more exercise and healthier foods has been great. I have more energy and I'm way more productive.

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Lisa

The best investment that I have made was buying a fixer upper to live in. It's still a work in progress but is transforming into a lovely little home. It's endured a lot of my learning as I go carpentry work but has rewarded me for each tiny success along the way.

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Becky in GA

The best investment I have ever made was in myself, by continuing to learn, advance my education and being willing to invest the time needed to keep my skills updated. Houses, money and things all come and go.. it's what's between the ears that will keep a person afloat when things get tough.

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Jess G.

The smartest investment I've made has been my college education. I attribute my success (thus far) to the incredible academic quality, inspiring community, and support of my alma mater.

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Jessi

The smartest investment I have ever made was school. I am not complete with it yet, but I know it will pay off in the end. I do not have any student loans, I have been paying for school myself between two jobs, family members help, grants, and work assistance. I know that once I get this degree, things will open up for me.

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Natalie

I think the best investment I've ever made (though it sounds somewhat silly) is the radio/tape/CD player that I bought when I was about ten years old. It was the most expensive thing I had ever bought at that point and I used that stereo almost every day for probably 6-7 years. I still have it in fact, though my iPod has taken its place for most things, and it still works as well as it did when I bought it nearly twelve years ago! :)

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Justin Valentini

The smartest investment I ever made was starting to exercise. Before recently, I was a skinny fat computer guy who couldn't lift a weight to save his life. Now I'm 20 lbs heavier and can deadlift 2x my bodyweight, squat 1.5x my bodyweight and bench 1x my bodyweight! I'm healthier and happier and in the best shape of my life.

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Jessica

The smartest investment I ever made was my minor in Communications at college. It took me an extra semester to graduate, but I was able to develop skills that have helped me get another job after budget cuts to the school I was teaching at caused me to lose my position. Having a back-up plan really helped, especially in this economy!

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Lanieekat

I think the best investment I ever made would be my sewing machine. My marriage is a great long term investment, so I feel like I don't want to slight my husband b/c he is great, but buying a sewing machine, gave me something to do at first. Then a friend approached me, who knew I could sew, and asked if I could make something for her, then next thing I knew I got a business license and now am making a go at being a business owner. Going from a stay at home mom to a stay at home entrepreneur has been great for making me feel better about myself and my contribution to my family. I don't make much, but I work when I want and the satisfaction of looking at something I made from a flat piece of material is awesome

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Robert

When I started boot camp in 1985 for the US Navy, I signed up for the GI Bill. It cost me $1,200.00 over the first year, but when I was discharged four years later, I had $36,000.00 to spend on my education. Not a bad return!

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Kristin

My smartest investment recently was my garden. Even though we got a late start, we still got peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, and basil planted. I'm freezing the produce as it ripens.

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My best investment was to read the bible cover to cover. I realized that I all self help and finance books borrow their infomation from it.

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Jennifer

The best investment this mother ever made was in her children. Staying at home with my children, taking the time to discipline and train them, has yielded sweet, loving, in-touch, soon-to-be adults who are not only a joy to myself and our family and friends, but will make excellent future spouses, co-workers - citizens.

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Lawrence Mercer

I have to say an iPad is the best investment I have made. It saves my life each and every day. It keeps me up to date with information as it happens and keeps me in touch with my clients.

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Aaron M

I know people harp about how much it costs, but having a newer model car that is dependable is a very smart choice. You don't have to typically worry about anything out of the ordinary happening or thinking about what the person before you had done to the vehicle. Instead, you can be secure in that the car will get you to and from your destination successfully with regular maintenance.

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treatwitch

A few years ago I made a snap decision to care for a friends 14 yr old daughter when the family was in chaos. This choice cost me alot, personaly , socialy and financialy. Today "my girl" starts at the U of MN! It was a very crazy time and choice , but I stand by the choice and my investment in her.

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...Ray

I've made so many good investments, but the one that leaves them all far behind is the time I've invested in my wife and children. Take everything else from me if you must, but leave them, as I remain grateful for their presence in my life, every day.

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Ginny scarbrough

The smartest investment that I ever made was getting my master's degree in education seven years ago. It was hard work, but it paid off by both increasing my professional skills, and my income.

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jolly

This is hard to answer. I think the best investment I have made is my iMac. I use it all the time and I've had it for almost 6 years.

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Theatre1sm

The smartest investment we made was when my husband bought a used CNC machine from his stepfather for $600. About 5 years after the purchase, that machine became the center of his newly started business after an unplanned job loss. Nine yrs later, with some love and replacement parts, it is still the workhorse for the business.

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Tevin

The word “investment” refers to use, give, or devote for the purpose of achieving something. Investing would go beyond monetary issues. Having said that, I would say that by far, the smartest investment I’ve ever made was on education. Investing both time and money into education has single handedly, made the greatest positive impact on my life. The areas of impact range from my career, personal goals, to even personal finances.

To start off, I took the route of attending a four year university. The experiences and memories I’ve gained through my college experience are simply priceless. While I had to take out student loans in order to attend university, I viewed it as an investment for not only personal development reasons but also professionally for the career I hoped to gain. Being fairly independent throughout the four years of college, I’ve developed quite a bit. This level of independence meant that I soon had to learn how to manage time and money on a daily basis. I also met friends who were completely different from the ones I knew from high school. They were my main inspiration for becoming active in clubs and organizations. Ultimately, it was the network that I joined as a result of the organizations I was a part of that ultimately led to finding my job after undergrad. All in all, becoming educated at a university was very much a positive investment! Living on my own during and after college meant that my health is also in my own hands, as opposed to relying on my parents to take care of me. As a result, just taking some time to educate myself on proper fitness and dietary information allowed me to become in the best shape of my life! It’s simply amazes me that all it took was a little time to decipher what seems like a complicated world of fitness and nutrition.

Finally, while I spent some time getting to know the basics of personal finance in college, having a proper job meant a lot more money, which also can mean a lot more room for mistakes! Again, while I can’t say that I’ve made many huge mistakes with personal finance yet, I can for sure say that taking the time to educate myself has played in a big role in the reason I haven’t made glaring mistakes thus far. Soon after I started my job, I invested a great deal of time in learning the ins and outs of personal finance again. It was through this time investment that I have begun actively contributing to a 401k account, ROTH IRA account, as well as an emergency fund. The best part is, these habits that I’ve formed will continue to be lifelong!

So to sum up, my investment in education has led me to make big gains both personally and professionally. Ultimately it led to the start of my career, to make great progress in personal health goals, as well as pursuit of both short term and long term financial goals. It is without a doubt that education has been the smartest investment I’ve made for myself.