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The Smartest $26 You Ever Spent

Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:31 am

When I moved to the Twin Cities in May 2010, I had some apprehension about enduring my first Minnemasota winter, and of course I went a-shopping for "heavy duty" winter clothes. I spent in the neighborhood of $200 for a Columbia parka (with that Omni-Heat lining and all) and also purchased some long polypropylene skivvies (pantaloons and undershirt) from an onlin Army-Navy store which billed these particular skivvies as the official extreme cold weather gear of the U.S. military.

That $26 polypropylene undershirt has been my absolute salvation. I just now wore the aforementioned parka for the first time - yes the first time ever; only recently took it out of the plastic wrap. I made it through the past two winters with a polar fleece, thanks to the unbelievable warmkeeping provided by the polypropylene. (However, I have done some hardcore house-cleaning these past coupla months and ended up donating the polar fleeces; that's what brought the parka out of the plastic.)

Tomorrow night, they say, it's going to hit 15°F below, and you better believe I will be enparkatated, but I know (from previous experience of 14°F below) that I would be OK even in a fleece jacket and scarf, thanks to my official, extreme-cold-weather, $26 polypropylene undershirt.

I know some people who say "having central air put in in my house was the best decision I ever made," or going to college (no argument), and I also know of a skeezy dude on a late night TV commercial who tells us that calling Aladdin bail bonds was the best decision he ever made (um, yes, I want to take decision-making advice from him).

But I ain't talking about no big-ticket spends like home repair or tuition, I'm talking about smallish, workaday-type expenditures, under $50 or so.

What do you feel is the best/smartest spendage you've made in that ballpark?
Pancakes are delicious.
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Joined: Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:37 am

RE: The Smartest $26 You Ever Spent

Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:04 am

Ha ! From a strictly "investment", "return-on-capital" standpoint, my best-ever, all-time-world-record investment was....a paperback book about Bobby Knight. (For any non-U.S.-college basketball types tuning in.......Bobby Knight was the head coach at University of Indiana for quite a while, and coached them to at least one NCAA National Title); he's still a highly revered figure around Indiana, even though he does tend to be a "dick" much of the time.

But anyway........why was this paperback book such a great investment ? That's easy; my wife was "into" antiques for years; (still is, but we just "keep" them now, don't sell them any more); anyway, we rented a few spaces in the antique mall where she used to work, and sold our own stuff; anyone who sells antiques goes to LOTS of auctions; and you're ALWAYS on the "look out" for anything that you can "buy low, and sell high"; doesn't make the slightest difference what it is, if you can double your money in a week, it's a GREAT "investment".

So......we both read a lot. (the house sometimes looks like an annex to the Library of Congress); so, I started taking my books that I had read, and selling them at the antique shop; mainly just to get rid of them at first; then I started looking for cheap places to buy used books; (that's when I started making money !) So I found this one "source" (which I don't tell ANYONE about, even now) anyway, all paperbacks were 25 cents ! All "hard backs" were 50 cents, That's 1/4 and 1/2 of a dollar (USD); so on this one trip, I spot this book about Bobby Knight; I show it to Miss Arlie (who is now Mrs. Charley), she says, "GRAB IT" ! so I did; (for 25 cents !) (we were out of town at the time) Monday morning she arrived at the antique shop at 9:45 AM, turned on all the lights, and unlocked the front door at 10:00 AM; At exactly 10:10 AM, the first lady in the door is back at the cash register.........with my Bobby Knight book; which she was beyond "excited" to purchase it for.....$35 USD ! (It's all about "knowing" your "market", and Miss Arlie KNOWS the market. BTW.......many people have asked me......"exactly WHAT ARE "antiques" ? there are many answers, all depending on who you ask; my answer is......"anything that ONCE belonged to "some one", that "some one else" is now willing to pay money for." (That's all it takes!)

So, my "profit margin" on that particular book was $34.75 ! I sold any number of 50 cent "hardbacks" for $10, which is still pretty good, but good old Bobby Knight is STILL the record !

While we were still selling things at the antique shop, I developed a "theory"; that people would actually buy "anything"; I decided to "test" my "theory"; so I took one of my many rocks to the antique shop and put a price tag on it; $150; I almost lost my rock 3 or 4 times ! People wanted to buy my rock ! ( I had to "fib" a time or two, as I had no intention of selling that particular rock); (I have a rather extensive collection of rocks, from dozens of states in the U.S.) The one I took to the shop is an extreme example of how very hard rocks will erode into oblate spheroids over millions of years, in a highly turbulent environment. This particular one I collected in the Kern River of California, about 50 miles south of Sequoia National Park. The only thing that saved it from being "shop lifted" is the fact that it's slightly bigger than a basketball, and weighs maybe 40 or 50 pounds. (pretty hard to sneak out with) ( I keep it by the fire place now)

Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein

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