So, that happened. Every year I look back on the best things I spent money on (2017, 2019). This year, the list could look a little different with additions like hand sanitizer, about 100 face masks, and multiple streaming services, but I want to keep it to the things that got me through 2020.
Breville Barista Express Espresso Maker - Ken drinks 3 things; water, beer, and coffee. Since I met my wife, she has loved the smell of coffee, but not the taste. That all changed in 2019 when she helped a friend who owned a coffee shop. Ever since she has developed a taste for Lattes. First, we moved from a drip coffee maker to grinding our own beans and heating the milk on the stove. Then we added a stand-alone frother thing to make a great Latte. Then this beast came on sale! It grinds, it froths, it heats the water, it makes great espresso...all at the press of a button. I must say, it has decreased the amount of time it takes to make coffee in the morning but has increased how often I drink it. There's nothing like a night-time Latte. Mmmmmmmm
Peloton - Technically, we bought this in July of 2019, but it was paid off in 2020 and used extensively during the lockdown. We love spin class but the schedule that the gym keeps did not work with our schedule. We had a few friends with Pelotons, so I tried a class on one. It is by far the best spin bike I have been on. Just the bike. Add in the digital and live classes, the leaderboard, the interactive screen and it is no wonder why their share price has skyrocketed! I use exercise to help me deal with the stresses of life and 2020 had a few. This bike, along with running and training, helped keep me sane. I try to get on at least 3 times a week. Follow me @Arsenic210.
JBL Ear Buds - At work, I have a headset attached to my phone. I can sit there for hours and have my hands free to write, type, and send links. At home during a pandemic, I have a cell phone with those annoying earbuds and that cord that always gets tangled. In March I decided to look into true wireless headphones. My options, at the time, were AirPods at $400, Galaxy Buds at $500, or these JBLs for $80. These little guys have an 8-hour battery life and are crystal clear, both for me and for my clients. Now I have my hands free to write, type, pet the cat, drink a coffee, and, sometimes, workout on my Peloton while in a group meeting.
Wood Burning Stove - During the pandemic, you were only allowed a small bubble of people to see without distancing. That was not a problem in the gorgeous sunshine of the Canadian summer. But what happens when that turns into the harsh Canadian winter? One day in August while we were sitting on the deck, we were talking about what we could do to continue to see people in the winter. The idea of running HVAC to the garage came up but was quickly dropped due to the cost. I, jokingly, said, "Hey, let's put a wood burning stove in there. That will heat it up real fast". We all laughed...then we stopped laughing. Why not? We did our research and got some quotes. I am now happy to say that on any given day, I can get my garage from freezing cold to toasty warm in a few hours...and the neighbourhood smells fantastic when I do.
What about you? Think back over the last 12 months and let us know what some of the best things you spent money on were.
Kenneth Coombs CFP
Ken has worked in the financial services industry since 2005, is a Registered Retirement Consultant and a Certified Financial Planner. Ken has written financial planning columns and has been a guest in financial print, radio, and podcast programs.