5 things I’m glad I spent money on

If you spend any time on websites dedicated to the frugality side of personal finance, you may get the idea that it’s bad to ever spend any money. The truth is that its all about surplus money – how much you are earning beyond what you are spending. This surplus is what allows you to get rich, retire, or do anything beyond simply paying non-discretionary bills. You can affect this equation on either side – by raising your income, lowering your expenses, or both.

The frugality blogs and websites tend to focus mostly on lowering spending, because anybody can do it, and most people have some easy low-hanging fruit in their monthly spending.

The problem is that a constant focus on lowering spending can lead to an attitude where spending almost any money is painful, and this can handicap your ability to be truly financially independent. The solution is to not ONLY focus on cutting costs, but also to figure out what things you SHOULD spend money on. Sometimes these items might have a positive net cost (meaning they bring in or save money beyond what you spent to buy it), or they provide utility that is disproportionately large compared to what it costs to procure.

Sort of the opposite of buyer’s remorse, sometimes you will buy something that you use so often, or performs so well, that you feel like you got an incredible deal. These items will be different for each person as our interests, needs, and lifestyles are all unique.

Following are a few completely random items where I feel I’ve got way more than my money’s worth over the years:

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Money CAN buy you happiness

 I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase “money can’t buy you happiness”.  I don’t really like using the word “happiness” in this context, because it doesn’t really fully represent what people are trying to say then they repeat this saying.

Happiness is more or less a fleeting emotion, and isn’t necessary 100% of the time to have a fulfilling, amazing life.

I enjoying playing adult kickball and I am super competitive (laugh all you want, that shit is serious). When my team loses a game, I can’t honestly describe my emotional state for the next few hours as ‘happy’. But at the same time, I am not depressed or miserable and I am still content and satisfied with most aspects of my life. You don’t need to be ‘happy’ 100% of the time. You can’t be, really.

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5 things you should take with you when you travel



I’ve had the opportunity to do a decent amount of travelling, throughout the united states and a little internationally. I like to travel as light as possible, usually only taking one carry-on size bag, so space is at a premium and I only take stuff that is useful. There are 5 things that I always take with me whenever I go travelling:

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Two simple ways you can look better than 80% of guys out there



At the time of this writing I have been to most of the states in the union (Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, Arkansas, North Dakota, Iowa, and Vermont have yet to be graced with my presence). Travelling to a bunch of different cities in over 40 states lets you see a lot of unique places and people – and also lets you find out what is the same everywhere.

One of the things that is the evident almost everywhere in the country is the sad state of the modern American man. The vast majority are in piss-poor condition, physically and fashionably.  Most of them wear ill-fitting clothes that drape awkwardly over fat dad-bods.

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Let it go! – Remove anchors from your life



When talking to people about making positive changes in their lives you’ll get all sorts of excuses about why they “can’t” do things. Pretty much everything can be put into one of two categories: Fears, and anchors.

Fear is such a huge issue that it will get its own post(s) soon. It is such a deep, overarching issue when it comes to living the life you want, that I don’t even want to get into it right now. Just know that fear will rob you of EVERYTHING.

The other category, and the one where most legitimate excuses fall into, is anchors. Just like keeping a boat locked in one location, and unable to float around freely, anchors are anything that is keeping you locked into your current lifestyle. They can be pets, mortgage or lease, physical possessions, obligations, your job, relationships, etc.

This term in this context was popularized by The Minimalists, in their book “Everything that remains”. I highly recommend it.

The first thing to understand is that anchors aren’t inherently good or bad, they just are. They are anything that keeps you in a particular lifestyle. A serious relationship is going to anchor you in certain ways, even if you enjoy those ways. A job is going to control many aspects of your life (where you live, when you wake up, etc) even if you love that job. So anchors are not always bad, they just are.

But for the most part our anchors are not things that we are super passionate about, and we are unaware just how much of our life is dictated by them. Something like our physical possessions can make it much more difficult to move. The more items you have the more time and money are spent maintaining them, and before you know it a large percentage of your life is spent maintaining having these things.

It is SO much easier to live the life you want if you minimize the anchors in your life. Think of what you could do on a day you wake up with no obligations, no stuff to take care of, no chores to do. It’s incredible. So much of our days are spent maintaining certain aspects of our lives that we won’t really even care all that much about.

One of the best anchors to cut loose is that of your stuff. Americans have SO MUCH stuff, and almost none of it adds true value to our lives. It takes, time, money, space, and mental energy to maintain. It requires you to have a bigger house and pay for it. It requires you to clean and maintain it. It requires you to organize and move it.

So just having a lot of STUFF can anchor you by making it so you can’t live without ALL These things that you wouldn’t even need otherwise. The freedom that comes with being able to let go of your physical possessions (or any other anchor) that don’t add value to your life, is immense.  Let it go!

Items you should keep in your car for emergencies



Preparedness isn’t something that most people spend a lot of time thinking about, but it is an area where just a little bit of effort can pay big dividends in preventing major disruptions to your lifestyle. Even the most basic level of preparedness can turn what would have been a major problem into a minor inconvenience – many times saving you money as well.

The average American spends a lot of time in their car. This means there is a good chance that at some point, something will go wrong while you are in your car. Could be a breakdown, an accident or injury, witness somebody else have an accident or injury, etc. I don’t suggest you spend any mental effort fretting over these possibilities, but instead make some basic preps that will turn most of those ‘disasters’ into simple annoyances.

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Stop asking for permission



                 Earlier today I was listening to The Minimalists Podcast with Joshua Fields Millburn, author of “Everything that Remains” (one of my top 10 books) and he got a question from a reader that asked whether he needs to keep his college diploma, or if he should get rid of it to further his journey of minimalism. Millburn responded to the question by asking,

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