Since I wrote about the things I wish I hadn't purchased last year, I also thought I'd explore the things I'm most glad I spent my money on this year (aside from the obvious things, like food and shelter).
Photography: I bought a new camera with a much-needed wide angle lens and spent a lot of money on printing my photos, including lots of 8x10's for my portfolio. Though I don't make any money from my hobby (yet), I really enjoy it and the sense of pride I get from sharing my best work with others. I did all of this as cheaply as possible, but it still cost me about $600.
Travel: I spent more money on travel this year than I ever have before (which contributed to the high photography costs), but I don't care. Getting away from my regular surroundings every once in a while helps me clear my head and focus on the things that are most important to me in life (and that includes seeing the world). Frankly, I don't want to tell you how much I spent here! Let's just say that even budget travel adds up.
New jeans: I wear my jeans until they are literally falling apart. It was really time for a new pair (or three).
Shure E2C Noise-Reducing Headphones: These only cost me $40 through an Amazon Goldbox Deal of the Day and were a godsend during my long flights. I can't believe how well they work considering how small and inexpensive they are.
iTurbo - this nifty gadget cost $20 on eBay and allows you to charge your iPod using a AA battery. I think I would have gone batty on my overseas flights if I hadn't been able to make the time fly by with episodes of 24.
Desk chair: I found a much-needed, comfortable desk chair at a garage sale for only $3.00. So what if one of the armrests falls off occasionally? I saved $97!
Donations: I found a couple of causes this year that I really care about, and I'm glad I sent them some money. If anything, I wish I had sent more.
Disability Insurance: Okay, I'm not glad I had to spend all the money this cost (and will continue to cost) or go through the major hassle of obtaining it, but I'm glad to have one of the cornerstones of my long-term financial stability in place.
New Computer: My Apple laptop was so unreliable. It's by far the worst piece of electronic equipment I've ever owned. Since I'm surgically attached to my computer, it probably provides me the most enjoyment per dollar spent of any item I own. I got a pretty good deal on a near top-of-the-line new laptop for $800.
Kitchen gadgets: I used my microplane, garlic press, and citrus press all the time. I love these things. Together, they cost around $40.
German classes: I love foreign languages, but I haven't spent nearly as much time learning them as I would have liked. I'm glad I took the time and money necessary to do something that, for me, is part of creating a fulfilling life. I had to spend a little more to attend a private language school since there is no community college in my area that offers German.
As you can see, there are more things that I'm happy to have spent my money on this year than things I feel I wasted my money on (more than I can list here without boring you, really). I'm glad that all those hours of work have allowed me to purchase some things that have added to my enjoyment of life. Otherwise, what's the point?