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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 October 16, 2018

                  The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                  The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

                  It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

                  If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

                  One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

                  Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

                  In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

                  Why you can’t sleep through the night

                  The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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                  Stress

                  If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

                  Exposure to blue light before sleep time

                  We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

                  While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

                  Eating close to bedtime

                  Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

                  Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

                  Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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                  Medical conditions

                  In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

                  The vicious sleep cycle

                  The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

                  Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

                  You get a bad night’s sleep
                  –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
                  –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
                  –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

                    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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                    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

                    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

                    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

                    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

                    Here are a few suggestions:

                    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
                    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
                    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
                    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
                    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

                    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

                    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

                    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
                    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
                    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
                    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

                    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

                    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

                    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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                    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

                    Sleep better form now on

                    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

                    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

                    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

                    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

                    Reference

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