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Monday, January 5, 2015

My Top 10 Things (from $5 to 5K) I spend time & money on that is worth it in 2014.

My Top 10 Things I spend time & money on that is worth it in 2014. From $5 to 5K
This year I enjoyed scoring deals that makes a good investment for my health and lifestyle from toiletries to summer vacation that became part of our daily life - without draining my wallet and credit card. I usually don’t pay or buy something unless it is at least 50% off the usual price. I negotiate for everything, there is no such thing as fixed price. Remember that many of these items have at least 75% mark up. Also checkout those hyperlinks to find out more.

Here are some things I recommend you buy, invest or score to keep your sanity in every aspect of your life from $5 to $5,000:
  • Infusion Pitcher (Health)
For less than $5, I scoop a deal on this drinkware that keeps me on taking water in the morning and before going to bed that I believe helped me maintain or even loss some weight without any hard work. Two years ago I invested on a good Osterizer that still blends me fruit and kale smoothie even during the winter. I have not read anything bad about drinking water with lemon (or tea) so far and so I think I got this deal pretty good for my health. (But since this is a cheap one, I started to notice some molds so it’s good to invest on a new good quality infusion container, I saw this one).
  • Antenna for my nightly news and other TV series (Information)
For about $15 on Amazon & Radio Shack on their weekly Sale I was able to easily install this gadget and say goodbye to cable bill of $50. I can still watch all my shows even premium shows online via streaming but mainly, all I need is to watch our daily news, major sports event and reality shows. I saw one for less than $10.
  • Bidet (Household)
Two years ago during our trip to Europe I found this bathroom “must” to be efficient in cleaning myself daily, refreshingly. We usually spent lots of money on toilet paper, not anymore except for my son who is still trying to get used to it. I have one additional Bidet to be installed that was a gift to me for giving a great review of the product. Here is a review of the Bidet I got: Amazon
  • Membership on Associations & Network (Business & Networking)
People is the most important factor in life whether you are worker or a businessman. Networking with different community helps me grow and appreciate my skills and others through active listening and participating in events from Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus, local churches, cultural groups, business networking and toastmasters.
  • Amazon Fire TV (Shows & Entertainment)
We knew that cable TV is eating too much of our productive time and so it is not ideal to waste our money on cable TV so we simply checkout movies from local library (some of the best and the latest) and a monthly subscription to Amazon Prime (which is pretty much paid off after a month on shipping) and lately on Hulu because we missed some of the TV series like Gortimer Gibbons, Hot on Cleveland and Blackish for our Family TV night (we can watch anytime) show, Selfie for my wife, Jimmy Kimmel Live for me and Flash for my son. We also have Roku, Chromecast but we use our Amazon Fire the most. Checkout other streaming typically around $80-100 except for Chromecast for less than $35 on Google.
  • Apps (Electronics & Productivity)
Last month I wrote a separate topic on these. Apps is undeniable as useful tool so stop fighting it, try to use it every day until it becomes second nature. The bad thing is, you can’t live without it once you do. From Google Apps like Keep or Evernote for notekeeping & easy sharing, Holy Bible for devotionals, Groupon for deals, Yahoo digest for news, Overdrive & Kindle for reading and so much more. Website, email and PCs are so 19th century, it’s now Apps, Facebook and Samsung Note 4. Don’t be left behind. See my quick review on some of the Apps you may need now: Things that replaced our Daily Habits.

  • Camera lens and good Tripod (Travel and Photography)
I enjoy taking videos before until I switch to still pictures and became a photo hobbyist. I took over 7,000 photos from my last summer vacation and I was so glad I got this portrait lens & telephoto so we got a few family portraits from all the countries we visited this year. Timeless. A selfie pod which we use is an honorable mention.
  • Smart Phone (Communication, Productivity, Computer & Entertainment)
Pick a good phone you can invest on. It is a computer in your pocket. If you had bad experience 2 years ago with a smart phone, things have improved quite a bit. The bad thing is the more you use it the more dependent you become and it becomes a leash but there are ways to control it.
  • A Smaller Home but near Nature and Everything (Home)
Location, location. Nothing can beat a residence near the beach and it’s the best place all year round to jog, walk your dog, watch the sun rise and set, dance at night in your jacket, relax. Our move to Virginia Beach after 18 years in California and 4 years in Connecticut as family was the best choice we had. Close to all conveniences (Saves you gas), best school (Future investment for children), near park and nature (Saves gas and great for hosting guest for picnic) and perfect weather (Less utilities).
  • 3 Weeks Family Vacation in Europe
As family we love to travel and you don’t have to spend a lot of $ if you use the right tool, plan ahead and be flexible. If you don’t have those three it would be hard to really get into travel mode because you don’t want to be disappointed. The more you travel the better you become.
In 2013 we drove (rent a car) and fly (Jet Blue) to Italy, Germany & Switzerland, last year 2014 we learned our lesson so we try the Eurail (Rail pass) we don't have to worry about parking and we just hop on hop off to great cities of 8 Countries in Europe for 3 weeks.
Traveling opens your mind as well makes you appreciate many things around you because you have many things to compare into and see great things you can do that you have not seen in America or your local place. As long as you have the following in your toolbox, you will be good to go:
  • Proper use of GPS
  • Good Apps: Travel Advisor (ratings), AirBnB, Trivago or
  • AAA membership for Triptic and free premium guidebooks
  • Willingness to be flexible and have an adventurous spirit
  • Savings, plan and at least 3 weeks on summer.
  • Practice traveling on 3 day weekend out of the area.
These or just a few of our purchased last year that I would like to share that could benefit you too, in 2015 and to show that you don’t have to spend a lot to gain a lot. Timing and proper use of reviews before you buy things are important. I am sure that many of you can add some things here and I would be thrilled to hear from you.

These list is just a few that I think we “purchased” that is worthwhile and to show that you don’t have to spend a lot to gain a lot.  Timing and proper use of reviews before you buy things are important.  I am sure that many of you can add some things here and I would be thrilled to hear from you.