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The One Thing You Should Spend Your Money On

The One Thing You Should Spend Your Money On

I’d always saved up every penny I earned.

For several reasons:

  1. My parents are both hardcore savers who taught me to stash my paychecks for the bigger things in the future.
  2. I started building my career 3 years ago and haven’t made much.
  3. I happen live in one of the most expensive places in America — Silicon Valley.

Because of this, I became more frugal with money and would only buy what I needed, which was groceries, gas, and utility bills. Everything else? Straight into my savings.

counting_money

    Of course there were times when my friends would ask me to eat lunch or dinner with them, and I’d get very tempted. But instead of spending $20+ on a meal (and possibly a drink afterwards?), I’d suggest coffee. I figured it was a good middle ground to satisfy both our interests. They’d have a companion to eat with. I’d have extra money in my pocket.

    Now I knew saving money was a good habit, but what was I saving for?

    A home? A car? My wedding?

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    Everyone aims for those achievements nowadays. And the thought of spending decades of my life working for things that are now considered “standard” by today’s expectations no longer inspires me to work (as) hard.

    Not to mention, our value of these things drop every passing year. Just think, are you going to be raving about your new home or car in the next 5, 10 years?

    Probably not.

    The thing is, too many of us in our 20s-30s focus too much on working and saving up every dollar that we forget how precious our youth is. We exhaust our minds. We sacrifice our health. We succumb to what everyone wants, simply because we believe that’s what makes life fulfilling.

    Only to realize, it’s not.

    Luckily, I’d found one thing that has made my life more meaningful and keeps me hard at work. And the best part is, it’s realistic with my budget and gives me a much longer payoff than the most expensive thing you can find on the market.

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    Travelling.

    Jeshoots_travel

      At first, I was shocked to see $4,500 on my bank statement. I mean I wasn’t there to splurge for fun, but mainly to work for my startup.

      But as soon as I thought about all the things I’d learned from my trip in the last 3 months, it made every dollar seem well spent.

      My experiences in a nutshell

      I learned how to protect my valuables from pickpocketers
      From what people told me, I had to be extra careful around the places I stayed: Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Bangkok (Thailand), and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).

      I learned that Southeast Asia has a ridiculous number of coffeeshops and cafes, almost one on every corner. AND they offer free wifi! Surprisingly, many restaurants offer free wifi too (super convenient if you want to eat and work in one place).

      Luka
        One of my favorite coffeeshops in Thailand: Luka.

        I learned Uber is the cheaper ride option, but Grabtaxi has more reliable drivers.

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        I learned Cheapflights offer the cheapest flight deals.
        My cheapest trip was $63 from Thailand to Vietnam.

        I learned how to take the subway train and Skytrain without getting lost (after the 8th time).

        thai_skytrain
          The BTS “Skytrain” in Bangkok, Thailand.

          I learned to trust my gut more than the mouths of locals. 
          Usually, they’d lead me towards the wrong direction when I asked where [restaurant/coffeeshop/train stop] was or show me the wrong item in the store. And that’s because we had a huge language barrier, so most things I’d say would be misinterpreted.

          I learned over 50% of Malaysians are Muslim.
          That explains why a lot of Malaysian restaurants displayed signs with “pork-free!”

          malaysia_cafe
            Locals enjoying a midnight snack at a cafe in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

            I learned that Thai people are some of the nicest, most laid-back people you’ll ever meet in the world. They don’t judge you based on your ethnicity or your beliefs. In fact, they thought I was one of them (even though I’m Chinese). :)

            bulan_me
              My Thai BFF and Airbnb host—one of the coolest people I’ve ever met.

              I learned you can negotiate 20–30% less from the original price in Thailand. And that walking away isn’t an effective strategy to help you seal the deal.

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              I learned theft is more common in Vietnam. If I walked into a supermarket, an employee would fasten a cable tie on my backpack zippers and cut it when I got to the register. That was to prevent stealing.

              vietnam_theft
                How Vietnamese prevent shoplifters in supermarkets.

                Travelling gives you more stories to tell, more friends to connect with, and experiences no one else could have.

                Isabella_Bruce

                  If I could go back, I’d have travelled earlier (in my early 20s). There’s just so much you learn as you walk down the streets, hop on the bus, eat at a cafe, and watch how people interact. Not many people in this world can afford this kind of luxury. So if you have the opportunity and money to, take it from me and book that trip you’ve been dying to go to.

                  After all, you only have one life to make the most out of yourself!

                  One Last Thing…

                  Mind if you do me a sweet favor, and share this article if you enjoyed it? It’d mean the world to me.

                  Featured photo credit: Ashley Schweitzer via minimography.com

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                  Tiffany Sun

                  Aspiring Writer

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                  Last Updated on March 24, 2021

                  8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

                  8 Smart Home Gadgets You Need in Your House

                  We’ve all done it. We’ve gone out and bought useless gadgets that we don’t really need, just because they seemed really cool at the time. Then, we are stuck with a bunch of junk, and end up tossing it or trying to sell it on Ebay.

                  On the other hand, there are some pretty awesome tech inventions that are actually useful. For instance, many of the latest home gadgets do some of your work for you, from adjusting the home thermostat to locking your front door. And, if used as designed, these tools should really help to make your life a lot easier—and that’s not just a claim from some infomercial trying to sell you yet another useless gadget.

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                  Take a look at some of the most popular “smart gadgets” on the market:

                  1. Smart Door Locks

                  A smart lock lets you lock and unlock your doors by using your smartphone, a special key fob, or biometrics. These locks are keyless, and much more difficult for intruders to break into, making your home a lot safer. You can even use a special app to let people into your home if you are not there to greet them.

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                  2. Smart Kitchen Tools

                  Wouldn’t you just love to have a pot of coffee waiting for you when you get home from work? What about a “smart pan” that tells you exactly when you need to flip that omelet? From meat thermometers to kitchen scales, you’ll find a variety of “smart” gadgets designed to make culinary geeks salivate.

                  3. Mini Home Speaker Play:1

                  If you love big sound, but hate how much space big speakers take up, and if you want a stereo system that is no bigger than your fist, check out the Play:1 mini speaker. All you have to do is plug it in, connect, and then you can stream without worrying about any interruptions or interface. You can even add onto it, and have different music playing in different rooms.

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                  4. Wi-Fi Security Cameras

                  These are the latest in home security, and they connect to the Wi-Fi in your home. You can use your mobile devices to monitor what is going on in your home at all times, no matter where you are. Options include motion sensors, two-way audio, and different recording options.

                  5. Nest Thermostat

                  This is a thermostat that lives with you. It can sense seasonal changes, temperature changes, etc., and it will adjust itself automatically. You will never have to fiddle with a thermostat dial or keypad again, because this one basically does all of the work for you. It can also help you to save as much as 12% on heating bills, and 15% on cooling bills.

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                  6. Smart Lighting

                  Control your home lighting from your remote device. This is great if you are out and want to make sure that there are some lights on. It is designed to be energy efficient, so it will pay for itself over time because you won’t have to spend so much on your monthly energy bills.

                  7. Google Chromecast Ultra

                  Whether you love movies, television shows, music, etc., you can stream it all using Google Chromecast Ultra. Stream all of the entertainment you love in up to 4K UHD and HDR, for just $69 monthly.

                  8. Canary

                  This home security system will automatically contact emergency services when they are needed. This system offers both video and audio surveillance, so there will be evidence if there are any break-ins on your property. You can also use it to check up on what’s happening at home when you are not there, including to make sure the kids are doing their homework.

                  Featured photo credit: Karolina via kaboompics.com

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