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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 December 9, 2019

                  5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                  5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

                  Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

                  Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

                  Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

                  1. Get Rationally Optimistic

                  Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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                  This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

                  In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

                  The result: no more mental stress.

                  2. Unplug

                  Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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                  How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

                  It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

                  Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

                  3. Easy on the Caffeine

                  Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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                  Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

                  4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

                  That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

                  How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

                  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
                  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
                  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

                  While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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                  5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

                  This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

                  The result: mental stress will be gone!

                  So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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                  Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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