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What are some low-cost physical assets that are useful everyday and their value increases (or at least doesn't drop) with time?

Image credit: https://www.lovethegarden.com/uk-en/article/growing-small-plants

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Povilas S
Povilas S Apr 05, 2022
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Problem: I want to save/invest, but can't do it by putting money aside or buying different currencies or virtual money, due to my spoiled character - whenever I need money I'll just cash the savings in one way or another. Even if I manage to gather some without spending, for some time, I might use it to buy something too soon and spend it all.
I noticed that due to this, for me it's better to buy physical assets because I won't be able to turn them back into cash, unless selling them, but that requires putting in work and is uncertain to bring back an equal amount of money quickly.
So I want to come up with some good ideas for physical things to buy that would be affordable (tens or hundreds (at max) of euros, not thousands) useful in daily life, and bring profit if sold in the future because of their value increasing with time. I'll give some examples of such assets below, some have more cons, others more pros. I'll list the better ones first.
Can you suggest more ideas for things that would serve the same purpose, and, preferably, outnumber the pros of the best ones I've already mentioned?
Examples:
Seeds/sprouts of useful plants: does require some work to put in, but rather minimal, plants are aesthetically pleasing and (if they are practically useful) will give benefits with time. The quality of the seeds decreases with time, but if you sprout them, you can sell the seedlings or grown-up plants for more and also sell the goodies that the plant gives or use them yourself.
Car fuel: Car fuel prices now are constantly increasing. If you have a place where to store tanks with fuel, like a garage or a pantry, even buying small amounts of fuel can bring you benefits soon enough. You can either use it yourself for driving and save some money, cause in the future it will cost more, or sell it for a lower than the market, but higher than what you initially paid, price.
Art pieces, paintings, etc.: if you buy some art piece you love you can hang it on a wall, etc. and gain aesthetic value every day, then resell it in the future if desired, but it's tricky with the increase of the price if you buy rather cheap pieces of art their price is unlikely to increase, art pieces from famous artists usually cost a lot.
Gold and other precious metals, gems, etc.: useful only for aesthetic purposes, maybe more for women who would wear them daily, also wearing them daily and even keeping them at home you make an easy target for thieves, they also cost quite a lot even for small amounts, the price is also not certain to increase with time (or am I wrong here?), so seems like we have only cons here.
Antiques: I'm not a fan of antiques, when it comes to the described problem, because you need pretty much time, effort, and knowledge to turn them into profit.
What else?
PS: I'm not rejecting the possibility of buying virtual assets (except for cryptocurrencies for the reasons I initially described) that would bring value with time, just can't come up with any of those. Buying stocks is basically gambling.
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Creative contributions

Buy newspapers on milestone days for international history

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Michaela D
Michaela D Apr 11, 2022
Newspapers on big days for national or international history. For example, on the first day of the Russian invasion in Ukraine (I wish I had thought of that earlier...). This kind of newspaper will be worth more in the future (even more if newspapers are not printed anymore), rather than newspapers of more ordinary days.
Pros: a newspaper comes at a low cost and you can find value in it right now. Good quality articles that you can read focused, it is a completely different experience to quickly scrolling online.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
You could buy let's say 5 newspapers every day and store them in pristine conditions for 17+ years. Then put them up for sale in birthday shops so that from 18th birthday onwards people can buy them as gifts "here's a newspaper from your city that was printed on the day you were born"
You make no money for the first 17 years, then you could potentially make a few hundred per day, every day for the rest of your life.
You would buy each newspaper individually and store a receipt with it. That serves as a "proof of age", a certificate of sorts. This sets you apart if someone gets the idea to start freshly re-printing old newspapers as birthday gifts. Yours would then be expensive originals while theirs would be cheap copies.
The same could be done with long-term stored perishable goods.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
Darko Savic The storage space required for this to be profitable would be immense. A selection of papers of only extremely special days might work, but most physical newspapers are being archived both physically and online nowadays, which makes old papers less valuable than they might have been a decade or two ago. It would be difficult to compete with libraries, national archives and the news agencies themselves.
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Michaela D
Michaela Da month ago
Darko Savic what you suggested is already happening https://anydate.com. Each paper is for $59.9, a pretty high price! This is a good idea if you have the space as Spook Louw said and you don't mind investing time and money in buying 5 newspapers every day. If you want to be more casual about it, just buy a bunch of newspapers around significant events.
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Cameras

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Spook Louw
Spook Louw Apr 06, 2022
Trading or restoring cameras, especially vintage analogue cameras, can be highly profitable and rewarding.
This would depend on what you consider as "low-cost" (but there are a variety of options in different price ranges, you would definitely be able to buy cameras and equipment with the specified budget) and whether you have any knowledge of or interest in cameras and photography.
There is an industrious secondhand market for trading in cameras around the globe and as analogue cameras are fully mechanical and usually of such great standards, they tend not to lose value over time, in fact, some even gain value as time passes and they become harder to find.
You could either buy to collect or trade, as many people have been able to find rare pieces for great prices as ordinary people often don't have a notion of the value of certain pieces of equipment, or you could learn how to restore cameras, allowing you to buy parts or broken cameras and restore them for a great profit.
As an added bonus, investing in cameras will also allow you to pursue a hobby as a photographer, using your investment instead of it just sitting idle as you wait for its value to increase.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Good idea. I like cameras and photography, at least to an extent. The same could be done with musical gear - vinyl players, speakers, etc. The latter would, perhaps, be even more in line with my hobbies. The main con of this, however, is the same as with any antiques - you need to be really into it, dedicate pretty much of your time, search for cameras, their parts, know where to buy and sell for a good price, how to fix them, etc., so it could be a personal business or a side hobby-job.
But I'm looking for something that would require little effort, more like buying valuable assets for investment, plus little additional work, if required.
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Spook Louw
Spook Louw2 months ago
Povilas S I think the problem with film is that it actually does have expiration dates, I only know this because a friend of mine has bought bulk packs of expired film for dirt cheap in the past. Kept at a cool temperature they can last longer, but the fact remains that they do expire. That said, learning how to develop film and building a darkroom could also be a very profitable and rewarding investment. It's a dying art, and film photographers who can not develop their own film will pay handsomely for it to be done properly.
Yes, of course, everything deteriorates, but the difference between the rate of deterioration between digital cameras, instruments and musical gear and film cameras is so vast, that my statement should make sense in context. "It is interesting that film photographers buy older cameras, some over 50 years old. Once such cameras are overhauled (lubricants dry out and if you don’t get them cleaned, lubricated and, adjusted, it is a matter of time before a mechanical spring will break), they will last another generation. Consider that longevity to digital where every 2-5 years, photographers update their cameras."
As for the resurgence of film photography, it is possible, but unlikely. It does not make sense for manufacturers to make intricate, high quality, unique mechanisms when the majority of their clientele prefer the "easier to use", mass-produced digital cameras.

[1]https://www.artbypino.com/blog/film-photography-revival

[2]https://www.canva.com/learn/film-photography-not-dead-8-reasons-go-analog-increasingly-digital-world/

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Spook Louw
Spook Louwa month ago
Povilas S This is a double-edged sword, the scarcity of certain types of film adds to the rarity of certain cameras. But in short, yes, the most common type of film, 35mm, is still in production as it is still being used by newer models of analogue cameras.

[1]https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/blogs/film-photography-blog/is-35mm-still-made-and-other-common-questions

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Scrap metal stored as pieces of art until a future time when it's sold as raw material or art

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 06, 2022
You could buy any kind of scrap metal (copper, stainless steel, aluminium, etc) that can easily be recycled into raw material (tubes, pipes, etc). Depending on how much extra work you are willing to invest you could go around households making yourself known for collecting/buying scrap metal. Or you could find people who do this to directly resell it in scrapyards. Offer to buy it from them at a slightly better price than they would get in a scrapyard.
An average person doesn't have the necessary equipment to recycle metal into products like nails, screws, wire, etc. If you could save up to buy such equipment, you could convert scrap directly to products that are always in demand (for example nails).
With some skills, tools, and creativity, scrap metal could be turned into and then stored as pieces of art:

The art pieces could be put up for sale online.
Due to inflation, growing population and the fact that recources on Earth are limited, the cost of raw metal will always increase with time. The longer you store it, the higher its value will be when you covert it back to money.
Even better if you can sell it as art for a price that covers your invested time and effort.
Another positive thing with storing scrap metal as art is that people are less likely to complain/cause trouble because your back yard is full of scrap.
You can weld smaller pieces together into big enough products that makes them difficult to steal. Still they can be made ready to be picked up by a truck when necessary.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Making art, or even practical objects, like nails, from scarp metal, would require specific tools, as you mentioned, plus - metalwork is pretty hard physically. You also need enough space for this, to have a house at least, for the moment I live in a flat in the city. But your suggestion gave me an idea that scrap metal could be shaped into simple forms - balls, squares, or even a simple human silhouette and placed even inside a flat to serve as decorative elements.
That way you could compress pretty large quantities of it and the shaping process wouldn't be that difficult.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savic2 months ago
Povilas S you would still need equipment to press the metal into shape. But you could have that done at other people's workshops.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Darko Savic Yes, exactly
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Food that can be stored for decades, sold as birthday gifts

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Darko Savic
Darko Savic Apr 07, 2022
Freeze-dried food and army MREs (meals ready to eat).
If packed right, honey never spoils. You can easily store it for decades. Pack it in beautiful hand-crafted glass jars. Figure out a way to prove the packing date/seal.
In 10-20 years you could try to sell them on the equivalent of eBay or actually eat them.
Also, you could buy expensive brands of wine and store them for decades. This has to be done right or the wine can spoil.
If you have no storage available and can't store the stuff with your parents or friends, you could actually bury it somewhere in nature. Do some research into how it could be done to survive for decades underground.
Storage of liquids
You could store liquids (honey/wine) by welding them into glass containers/bottles. Then they could be buried and coordinates marked.
Birthday gifts
Make sure the date of manufacturing is visible/well preserved. People could receive food that was prepared on the day they were born as a birthday gift.
When your stash of food is at least 18 years old, offer it for sale to various gift shops, eBay, etc.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
I like especially the last part of your proposal - long preserved food whose quality increases with time, used for birthday gifts. That could make a good standalone idea on its own.
It's perhaps best to simply buy manufactured food that can be stored for the increase of value, because the manufacturing date will be there on the package and you won't need to come up with a way to prove it.
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Buy land and make a water reservoir

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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni Apr 11, 2022
Buy a small piece of land on the outskirts - whatever you can with the money you have. Make a small pond and let it fill with water. Once you have more money, buy adjacent pieces of land and increase the size of your pond. Introduce fish and other small water animals that are available in that region to the pond. Keep investing and growing the size of your pond and ultimately turn it into a big private lake.
You can fish in the lake yourself or charge others for fishing there. With time, water birds and animals will flock to the region for food and water. Convert the entire area into a wildlife zone. Charge people tickets to enter and install wildlife rides, wildlife teaching courses, treehouses (for viewing birds), food stalls, etc.
Towards the end, sell the establishment to the local government or another wildlife enthusiast.
Advantages:
  1. A clean source of water for future generations. If you can, select a place that has a natural source of water. Maybe invest in an already present natural reservoir. With more money, buy the entire reservoir and adjacent area.
  2. Create a wildlife zone where local birds and animals can reside, helping them find a natural home.
  3. A great get-away for nature enthusiasts
  4. Maybe add fishing and boating to a limited extent.
  5. The cost of land will increase eventually, and will never decrease in the long run.
  6. Water might become a rarer resource in the next few decades. Build yourself a huge source of clean water. All these will increase the value of your asset.
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Darko Savic
Darko Savica month ago
In my area, the city would eventually designate your land as protected - having significance to the city/people. They would enforce rules of what you can and can't do with it. They would then buy it off you at a standard going rate for forests which would make it seem pretty much worthless.
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Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarnia month ago
Darko Savic Can they enforce rules on private lands?
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
It's not a bad idea, but it's a huge project, which would require pretty much of money, time, and effort. I don't think I could afford buying even small pieces of land now. I'm thinking something way smaller. Also, I'm not fond of fishing because I'm a vegetarian (almost vegan). But I do think it's better than eating farmed fish.
I do have a related idea, which is turning abandoned land into natural ecosystems - you buy an abandoned backyard, parking lot, or whatever for a cheap price, clear it and leave it for nature to do its job this way increasing the area of wild nature vs urbanized territories.
But making abandoned land into proper, natural ecosystems might not be as easy as simply letting the area get overgrown with weeds and trees, you might need to apply principles of habitat restoration and put work into it, so this also might turn out to be a more complicated project. It also wouldn't bring profit, I wouldn't want to charge people for visiting nature:) I'd prefer to do it simply for the sake of having more wild nature in the world.
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Collect Human bones

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Devin Holland
Devin Holland Apr 14, 2022
The number of human skeletons avaliable for purchase is limited. It is perfectly legal to possess and to sell human bones in the United States. The value of the bones in our collection has doubled since we purchased them a few years ago.
https://www.boneroom.com/store/c44/Human_Bones.html
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Povilas S
Povilas Sa month ago
That's an interesting one, thanks:) It reminds me of this art project
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General comments

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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 months ago
What you're actually asking for is investment advice, which has legal ramifications. Instead of telling you what to invest in, I'd say that anything you invest in is risky. Some investments have proven to be safer than others, but they also tend to yield lower returns.
From your description, I gathered you have a spending problem, most probably due to needing instant gratification. Having a tangible or intangible asset probably won't fix that. You can liquidate both. One of the things that have helped people with spending problems is putting their money into fixed accounts, allowing them to withdraw the money after a certain period. Early withdrawals come with penalties.
Assets that aren't easily liquidated usually dissuade spenders from selling them, unless it's an emergency or yields a handsome profit. Examples include real estate and valuables of sentimental value.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 months ago
Goran Radanovic Yes, frozen accounts allowing you to withdraw only after a certain amount of time is an option. However, physical assets have their own pros over frozen money. One is that they can be useful in daily life while keeping them (instant gratification), another is psychological reassurance - you know that the thing with a value is physically there, in your home or wherever, it's not going to disappear (unless, of course, stolen, but that's a different issue).
When your money is in an account that is frozen for a year or so, you might feel a certain uncertainty, - will it still be there after that time, will I be able to unfreeze it for sure, won't the company/bank go bankrupt, etc., etc. It's like keeping your cash in a sock vs "virtual" money in a bank, the first one might be rationally more stupid, but psychologically more acceptable.
The bottom line comparison that I can make is like comparing digital vs analog technology - vinyl vs iTunes, digital vs analog photography that Spook Louw mentioned, an so on. There's a certain "organic" feel and beauty when it comes to the latter.
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