Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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Watty
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by Watty »

MN-Investor wrote:1) First Alert Water Alarms - When we get a lot of rain, we may get water in a couple of spots in our basement. It we catch it early, it's usually very manageable. These very loud, inexpensive alarms allow us to sleep at night, knowing that they'll keep an eye on the basement for us.

As far as I am concerned a water alarm like that is a must have for next to the washing machine and the water heater to detect leaks. These have saved me a lot of grief twice when they alerted us to leaks long before we would have found them.
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Watty
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by Watty »

It is surprising how many people still don't have a carbon monoxide detector.

It would be on the high end of "small" but we really like our gas fireplace insert. You just turn it on and when you you are done you can turn it off an close the fireplace. We have also used it a few times during long power outages during the winter and it really helped.
bhsince87
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by bhsince87 »

black jack wrote:


Hammock: not one with a spreader bar, one of the ripstop nylon ones. To understand why, see http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/s ... ock-guide/. We bought one at my teen daughter's urging, but I've been its major user, taking a nap in it every weekend I've been home this summer.
I wish I had read that a few months ago! We've had the "traditional" net hammock for a decade. I enjoyed it, but it finally bit me a few months ago, when I flipped out of it and broke my collarbone!

I had a hammock burning party once I was out of the sling. And now that I think about it, the arm sling looked very similar to the "good" hammocks described in that article.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams
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snowshoes
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by snowshoes »

Almost anything where your paying pennies on the dollar for replacement, spares, or back-up necessities, these are different for everyone.
Last edited by snowshoes on Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
bhsince87
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by bhsince87 »

I agree with some previous posters on a few things. We eat in for most meals, so I don't mind spending money on good kitchen tools. I will never again be without a good vacuum sealer, good kitchen knives, a steel, and sharpener, and a nice butcher block. And I've advanced from a slow cooker to a Sous Vide Supreme.

http://www.amazon.com/Sous-Vide-Supreme ... de+supreme

I love that thing, and use it 3-4 times a week. But I can understand why it's not for everyone.

More generally, we just LOVE these little things.

http://www.amazon.com/Beams-Battery-Pow ... s=mr+beams

They're LED motion detector lights that light up the floors inside your house. We currently have 8 of them strategically located throughout the house. I'm even thinking of buying a few more.

When they're located properly, you can walk from one room to the next, in total darkness, and never miss a beat! They only come on when it's dark, and turn themselves off after a few seconds without motion. I like the security aspects too. We much prefer these to ceiling mount auto-lights, although we do have some of them in closets and cupboards.

I also bought 50-60 eneloop AA's (and more recently, some amazon equivalents), and a decent charger for them. It's been a great system, and going strong for over 5 years now.
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams
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stratton
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by stratton »

Cherokee8215 wrote:Bose Wave radio probably 10 years ago.
Sanjean PR-D5 radio. It's a tiny little stereo radio with a large internal antennae. Designed for people who like AM/FM. Awesome reception.

Paul
...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.
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stratton
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by stratton »

VictoriaF wrote:My greatest quality of life improvement came from the purchase of seven 6-shelf HON metal bookcases. For the first time in my life, most of my books stand vertically on shelves instead of lying in horizontal stacks.
It's really great if you can get all your books sorted onto shelves where they are accessible and actually usable.

I'm now going through all books and weeding out ones I've had for 30+ years that I don't want to read again or technical books that are out of date.

Paul
...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.
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stratton
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by stratton »

VictoriaF wrote:
Revos wrote:
lightheir wrote:"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie kondo
Honestly just got this on audible because of your post and I was bored. I keep laughing at myself because I would never get anything like this on my own, let alone read something like this.... But its really good! Thanks for sharing!
Were you bored or was it really good?
A significant portion of the book is the psychological aspects of letting go of stuff.

Paul
...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.
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stratton
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by stratton »

LED lights. Last time I looked 18 months ago they were still expensive. Now they are 20 or 30% lower and Puget Sound Energy has a $2 per bulb discount taken at the register at Costco.

Paul
...and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.
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BL
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by BL »

stratton wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote:Bose Wave radio probably 10 years ago.
Sanjean PR-D5 radio. It's a tiny little stereo radio with a large internal antennae. Designed for people who like AM/FM. Awesome reception.

Paul
Ditto for the PR-D7. Simple but great reception. We are considering a 2nd one.
EvelynM
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by EvelynM »

I can't overstate how much I love my two Jack Post gliders on my porch:

http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Post-CG-12Z-Country-Garden
http://www.amazon.com/Jack-Post-CG-21Z-Country-Garden

So glad to have found Green Pans:

http://www.amazon.com/GreenPan-Anodized ... ck+ceramic
Revos
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by Revos »

VictoriaF wrote:
Revos wrote:
lightheir wrote:"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie kondo
Honestly just got this on audible because of your post and I was bored. I keep laughing at myself because I would never get anything like this on my own, let alone read something like this.... But its really good! Thanks for sharing!
Were you bored or was it really good?

Victoria

Both. Sorry, I should have been more clear. I was bored, and thinking about which audio book to get next. Then, I saw the post and decided to start listening to it. The book was good. In some ways it was strange, the whole inanimate objects with feelings, but overall the principles were very helpful which is what I liked the most about it.
bhsince87
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by bhsince87 »

stratton wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Revos wrote:
lightheir wrote:"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie kondo
Honestly just got this on audible because of your post and I was bored. I keep laughing at myself because I would never get anything like this on my own, let alone read something like this.... But its really good! Thanks for sharing!
Were you bored or was it really good?
A significant portion of the book is the psychological aspects of letting go of stuff.

Paul

Going to far getting rid of stuff can apparently be a psychological problem too!

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi ... ng/401591/
"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace." Samuel Adams
simmias
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by simmias »

bhsince87 wrote:
stratton wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:
Revos wrote:
lightheir wrote:"The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie kondo
Honestly just got this on audible because of your post and I was bored. I keep laughing at myself because I would never get anything like this on my own, let alone read something like this.... But its really good! Thanks for sharing!
Were you bored or was it really good?
A significant portion of the book is the psychological aspects of letting go of stuff.

Paul

Going to far getting rid of stuff can apparently be a psychological problem too!

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archi ... ng/401591/
The difference being that about 1% of the population suffers from OCD, while the other 99% of us probably need Kondo's book.
tampaite
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by tampaite »

Installed Biobidet in all bathrooms and our tush feels much cleaner :D

Image

Link: http://bit.ly/BioBidet

.
soccerdad12
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by soccerdad12 »

As strange as it sounds, I get a ton of good use out of the projection alarm clock in our bedroom. I love it!

http://www.amazon.com/Oregon-Scientific ... projection

Every night I look up at it (unfortunately multiple times) and I don't need to crane my neck to see what time it is. That allows me to get back to sleep easier.
Last edited by soccerdad12 on Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
theunknowntech
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by theunknowntech »

soccerdad12 wrote:As strange as it sounds I get a ton us good use out of our projection alarm clock in our bedroom. I love it!

http://www.amazon.com/Oregon-Scientific ... projection

Every night I look up at it (unfortunately multiple times) and I don't need to crane my neck to see what time it is. That allows me to get back to sleep easier.
That is a great suggestion. Those things are INSANELY cool! Open one lazy eye and you're done. It's about quality of life.
A Tortoise
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by A Tortoise »

Not inexpensive but a Big Green Egg/Kamado Joe may change the way you eat. We love trying new recipes on ours.
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black jack
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by black jack »

bhsince87 wrote:
black jack wrote:
Hammock: not one with a spreader bar, one of the ripstop nylon ones. To understand why, see http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/s ... ock-guide/. We bought one at my teen daughter's urging, but I've been its major user, taking a nap in it every weekend I've been home this summer.
I wish I had read that a few months ago! We've had the "traditional" net hammock for a decade. I enjoyed it, but it finally bit me a few months ago, when I flipped out of it and broke my collarbone!

I had a hammock burning party once I was out of the sling. And now that I think about it, the arm sling looked very similar to the "good" hammocks described in that article.
Ouch! Sorry to hear about your collarbone. I hope the article helps you resume your enjoyment of hammocks.

We had to get a hammock frame for the hammock, as there are no suitable trees in our yard. I was just thinking I'm going to have to bring that thing into the basement this winter so I can continue my weekend naps.
We cannot absolutely prove [that they are wrong who say] that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us, and with just as much apparent reason. | -T. B. Macaulay (1800-1859)
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unclescrooge
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by unclescrooge »

Solar panels.
Not exactly a small purchase, but nite I can crank up the air conditioning without sweating the bill.
incowtown
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by incowtown »

bhsince87 wrote:
More generally, we just LOVE these little things.

http://www.amazon.com/Beams-Battery-Pow ... s=mr+beams

They're LED motion detector lights that light up the floors inside your house. We currently have 8 of them strategically located throughout the house. I'm even thinking of buying a few more.
Adding these to my shopping cart right now :D I love the plug-in ones I've had for years in the bathroom (GE Motion-Activated LED Night Light http://amzn.com/B002HEMWZ8) and wished I could put them in the hallway where I have no outlets.
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dratkinson
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by dratkinson »

incowtown wrote:
bhsince87 wrote:
More generally, we just LOVE these little things.

http://www.amazon.com/Beams-Battery-Pow ... s=mr+beams

They're LED motion detector lights that light up the floors inside your house. We currently have 8 of them strategically located throughout the house. I'm even thinking of buying a few more.
Adding these to my shopping cart right now :D I love the plug-in ones I've had for years in the bathroom (GE Motion-Activated LED Night Light http://amzn.com/B002HEMWZ8) and wished I could put them in the hallway where I have no outlets.
Might be easy to do. If a hallway-adjacent room has an existing outlet on the hallway wall, can tap into it from the hallway side: new hallway outlet wired to existing room outlet. Stay within the same stud bay if you don't have the long auger bit needed to drill through the wooden studs.

If needed to center outlet on hallway, can buy the long bit (Home Depot,...). Runs longer than the bit can reach will require cutting/repairing multiple incisions in the hallway wall. In this case, an electronic stud finder/hidden wiring detector (both in one unit) will be most helpful.

The wall cavity is deep enough for only one outlet box, so they can't be installed back to back (new outlet/existing outlet), but they can be installed side by side.

For long hallways, can install more than one new outlet homed to more than one adjacent room.
d.r.a., not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.
JLJL
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by JLJL »

I have three products from this thread open on Amazon, but I decided not to buy any and instead went in the opposite direction and checked out the Kondo "tidying up" audiobook on Hoopla. Btw hoopla is great, one of the free resources provided through my library. The day I got my card I made the effort to go download all affiliated apps and am very glad I did. Hoopla gives me 15 titles a month free including movies, CDs, Ebooks, audiobooks, etc.

Can't wait to listen to that book on my daily drive.

I love threads like this.

I'll add an item that I bought at Home Depot for a reasonable price. Acu-rite indoor/outdoor thermometer and humidity gauge. Simple, accurate, and we've saved massively this summer getting plenty of free AC from the great outdoors when the time was right.
incowtown
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by incowtown »

dratkinson wrote:
incowtown wrote:
bhsince87 wrote:
More generally, we just LOVE these little things.

http://www.amazon.com/Beams-Battery-Pow ... s=mr+beams

They're LED motion detector lights that light up the floors inside your house. We currently have 8 of them strategically located throughout the house. I'm even thinking of buying a few more.
Adding these to my shopping cart right now :D I love the plug-in ones I've had for years in the bathroom (GE Motion-Activated LED Night Light http://amzn.com/B002HEMWZ8 ) and wished I could put them in the hallway where I have no outlets.
Might be easy to do. If a hallway-adjacent room has an existing outlet on the hallway wall, can tap into it from the hallway side: new hallway outlet wired to existing room outlet. Stay within the same stud bay if you don't have the long auger bit needed to drill through the wooden studs.
Thanks for the idea. There's one place that might work. It's probably beyond my DIY abilities, but next time I get someone in to help me do some around-the-house projects ...

It's amazing how few outlets were considered adequate in the 1950's. And the house has only one phone jack in the hallway (which has no electrical outlet!) Thankfully the advent of cell phones has made that a non-issue.
incowtown
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by incowtown »

Philips Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation http://amzn.com/B0093162RM
While I'm still not a morning person, waking up to birdsong with "morning" light shining in my eyes is a much nicer start than being abruptly jolted awake by a regular alarm.
MBull
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by MBull »

gatorman wrote:
jebmke wrote:Corkscrew
Yes, but not just any corkscrew, this corkscrew:

http://www.amazon.com/Waiters-Friend-Wi ... =corkscrew

I've owned a ton of corkscrews, this type is the easiest to use and extracts the cork the most reliably of all those I've tried.

gatorman
+1
Double hinge corkscrew is the way to go....I've had many a bottle of wine opened without using a double hinge where inevitable a tiny piece of cork gets in the wine causing frustration...with these almost never!
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dratkinson
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by dratkinson »

Bengineer wrote:...
*A nice aluminum step-stool/ladder that fits behind a door. Light, flicks open with one hand.
...
Sounded like what I needed to replace my pantry's unsafe short folding wooden step stool. Went looking and found Gorilla ultra-light (~9 lbs) 3-step stool/ladder (~54" tall, ~9' reach) at Home Depot. Much safer and easier to use at ceiling height (install/remove homemade magnetic insulated covers for attic fan and swamp cooler vents) or lower. Set my old step stool out by curb for someone else to use.

See: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Gorilla-Ladd ... /202015356
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Kersten
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by Kersten »

GLOBAL GS-14 Utility Scalloped Knife.

This is a knife that's made from high carbon stain resistant steel. "the carbon makes the metal harder and as a result the knife stays sharp longer" according to a 2007 Money Magazine recommendation.

When I first read the brief article and recommendation for this knife I thought "I would never pay over $50 for a utility knife". After throwing away several cheaper knifes that died for one reason or another or trying to figure out how to sharpen my dull knifes I purchased this knife on Amazon. I use it on vegetables meat and fish-every day. No more struggling with dull knifes! Have had it four years and it has not lost its sharpness. It is also beautifully and functionally designed and a pleasure to look at-reminds me of a Dansk design although it is Japanese. Cost was about $55 on Amazon. "Worth every penny."
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FuyuKei
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by FuyuKei »

- For a big family, a chest freezer. Saves so much wasted food, you can do meal prep ahead of time and just keep it frozen to save time, hide your ice cream in the bottom so you save calories... :P

- +1 on someone's already mentioned "Smooth Edge" Can opener. They are cheap, no cuts, and the lid doesn't fall into the food.

- A high powered blender. I finally caved in because I kept buying the cheap $20 blenders and they would always break from my daily use. It also doubles as a food processor/ dough blender. Unlike my cheapie blenders I can make -really- smooth vegetable purees and hide vegetables in everything. Before there was always little chunks and people could tell.
DDMP20
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by DDMP20 »

blink32 wrote:Breville® The Smart Oven™ Convection Toaster Oven

Not the cheapest thing out there for sure but it is absolutely the best Toaster Oven I have ever been able to use. Normally I prefer more manual appliances without fancy electronic controls, just On, Off and manual timers type deals. But after using multiple models like that and then spending months using one of these It was the only way I was going to fly. Especially if you're cooking for a limited number of people or limited sized meals.

We have one of these too and I second your opinion. It's a great purchase.

My other small purchase that's made me happy is thermal curtains. The winters here in New England are no joke and even with tight windows thermal curtains make the home more comfortable and save on energy costs. They pay for themselves in less than one heating season.
"An honest man can feel no pleasure in the exercise of power over his fellow citizens." -Thomas Jefferson
kttpn
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by kttpn »

Custom closet for master bedroom. Now clothes for all seasons are in a single spot.
NuWave oven for the kitchen --is fast and browns food.
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FuyuKei
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by FuyuKei »

DDMP20 wrote: My other small purchase that's made me happy is thermal curtains. The winters here in New England are no joke and even with tight windows thermal curtains make the home more comfortable and save on energy costs. They pay for themselves in less than one heating season.
+1 We have blackout thermal curtains at our house, which save money on air conditioning/heat and also help us sleep better since it keeps the room dark.
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Sandi_k
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by Sandi_k »

We are spending a lot more time at home and eating in. Our second house has meant we've loosened the purse strings a little bit. My suggestions/agreements/+1s:

- Our Big Green Egg grill. It has revolutionized our willingness to eat at home. We now find that eating out isn't as enjoyable, because we can make it better at home. My MIL thinks that I've found an awful way to make my DH do more of the cooking, because I'm an evil career woman. ;)

- Our beverage fridge. Moving water, sodas and beer out of the regular kitchen fridge has been AWESOME.

- Standalone bathroom heater - makes the winter showers much more pleasant with heating the whole house.

- My Kindle. I am now on Kindle #2, and my book clutter has decreased enormously. DH has turned into a shill for Amazon. :D

- Dimmers on all of our lights. Being able to set the mood in each room has been such a huge part of our experience in the home.

- Final item: speakers on our deck, linked to our stereo in the LRm. We can sit out there on summer nights, with a glass of wine on the deck, and be soothed (or energized!) by music we love.
harrychan
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Re: Best Small Purchases (Around the house)

Post by harrychan »

-Aeropress coffee maker
-Outdoor patio set
-New Simmons pillow top mattress
-A extra large Mexican hand woven blanket we bought from Cabo. Great for picnic or laying in the backyard
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.
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