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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 13, 2019

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

                  Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

                  You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

                  Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

                  1. Work on the small tasks.

                  When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

                  Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

                  2. Take a break from your work desk.

                  Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

                  Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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                  3. Upgrade yourself

                  Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

                  The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

                  4. Talk to a friend.

                  Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

                  Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

                  5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

                  If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

                  Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

                  Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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                  6. Paint a vision to work towards.

                  If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

                  Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

                  Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

                  7. Read a book (or blog).

                  The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

                  Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

                  Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

                  8. Have a quick nap.

                  If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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                  9. Remember why you are doing this.

                  Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

                  What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

                  10. Find some competition.

                  Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

                  Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

                  11. Go exercise.

                  Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

                  Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

                  As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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                  Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

                  12. Take a good break.

                  Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

                  Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

                  Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

                  Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

                  More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

                  Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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