I tend to buy stuff prematurely only to later regret having done so. But in the last two years I have made some purchases that I absolutely did not regret. Here are my top purchases of the years 2018 and 2019.
2018: Vacuum Robot
For a little over 12 months, I own a vacuum robot. Specifically, a Xiaomi Mi Robot. Having a robot vacuuming the apartment has vastly improved the cleanliness of my home. I have found that letting the robot vacuum is really fun and even after more than a year, I still like simply watching it do its job. The robot is quite smart in its movements. It has a laser scanner to find the approximate layout of the room, some distance sensors to let it slow down near obstacles and sensors that tell it when it has bumped into something. It uses this information to build a map of its environment and then nicely works through it in neat lines.
Also, I added googly eyes to it :)
Theoretically, I could also replace the original firmware with open source software. But I am actually quite happy with what its running, even though it sends its data back to China (the downside is that I cannot easily integrate it in my home automation setup).
Also, having the robot even improved my tidiness, because for the robot to work properly, the floor needs to be free of obstacles that can get sucked in.
In May of this year, I bought a pedelec (a bicycle with an electric motor that assists the rider). A little before that purchase, I stopped leasing a car parking spot at my work place. I tried to use my regular bicycle as often as possible for my commute, but since I work on a hill and had to overcome about 150 m of elevation gain, it was a sweaty business. I was often using public transport, but I really like the flexibility of a bicycle.
Since I got the e-bike, about seven months ago, I traveled nearly 1200 km with it. I still try to use my regular bicycle frequently to stay fit, but it is really nice to have the option to get some motor support. So by now, I do the majority of my travels with either my regular or my electric bike. As a bonus, I get some nice views on my commute.
2019: 3D Printer
Also this year, I got myself a 3D printer. We used to have a 3D printer at work, but unfortunately that one got stolen and never replaced. I got a nice deal on a Creality Ender 3 and paid about 160€. Since then I spent a lot more than that on the filament required for printing. But I think it was worth it. Since I got the printer, I learned a lot about 3D printing and design of 3D objects. I have been printing a lot of fun stuff—such as cute little octopi or a baby Groot out of wood filament—but also some really useful things, like a toothbrush holder, a headphone stand or upgrades for the 3D printer itself. I even designed and printed some things myself: a custom monitor holder for a rear view camera and a custom curtain rod holder.