Most of the time when I go shopping I purchase items that seem great at the time, but often end up in the pantry or closet after only being used a few times.

The Home Shows are the worst with their demonstrations of Sham-Wows, Sweepas, and Multi – Choppers that never seem to do the same thing when you get them home.  I’m also a gadget and kitchen appliance collector but ask me how many times I’ve deep-fried, made waffles or bread, or needed a cherry pitter or melon baller.

However, after giving it a lot of thought, these are a few of the best items that I have bought (in no particular order) and I wouldn’t do without them:

My SUV: We tend to get a lot of snowfall where I live and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve got stuck just getting out of the garage in the past.  My garage door faces the back alley, which, of course, doesn’t get plowed, and the snowdrifts can reach your knees.  My little Hyundai Accent just got stuck in the snow like a cork in a bottle.  My new SUV, with its larger wheelbase, just plows through the snow so I no longer have to dig myself out.

My treadmill: I used to belong to a health club and when my membership expired I purchased a Pacemaster treadmill.  I was told it would eventually just become a clothes rack but I walk/run on it three or four times a week and I really like it, especially in the winter.  I have a little book holder set up so I can read while I’m walking, or I just listen to my iPod.

Cookware set: I purchased a 12-piece stainless steel cookware set from a door-to-door salesman way back when I first moved into my own apartment.  As a bonus I got a four-piece table setting and flatware.  At about $200 it was way too expensive for me but I was kind of wimpy back then and was easily talked into it.  Some of the dishes have broken and a fork or two went missing but after forty years I still use the pots just about every day.

A Film and Slide Converter: This was actually a gift for my husband.  It’s a device that converts old 35mm film, negatives and slides into digital images that can then be stored on a CD.  Since we no longer had any way of viewing these old images any more (we no longer have projectors) it was fun seeing all of the old baby pictures and past events and brought back a lot of memories.

Library Card: Not really a purchase as such, but for a low $10 a year I can take out any book I want, from best-sellers to how-to books, as well as magazines, CDs and DVDs.  I am a fast and avid reader and I can’t imagine how many thousands of dollars I’ve saved by utilizing this service over the years.

What’s the best thing you ever bought?

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