When we buy something, we want it to improve our life, experiences, or happiness. But we’ve all been in a situation where the value we expected from a product didn’t live up to our expectations. On the flip side, there are times when our expectations are exceeded.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite things that were worth the price.
Before I get into it, I have to emphasize that if you spend more on quality, it’ll pay you back in spades for years to come. The cheap stuff will break quickly, look bad quickly, and not help you as much. I’ve learned this fact the hard way many times. I’ve gone through a couple cheap phone holders for my car that broke until I now have a high-quality one. It would’ve cost me less to buy the high-quality one first.
You’re bound to find a class from a world-class expert that will help you for the rest of your life. There’s topics, such as communication, negotiation, writing, creativity, interior design, cooking, and gardening taught by accomplished celebrities.
This video course website has a much higher level of credibility, design, and experience compared to free or cheap options, like Udemy, Coursera, and Creative Live. Oh, and avoid Lynda.com unless you’re after technical skillsets, like video editing (I wasn’t a huge fan).
MasterClass is a lot of fun. It’s a lot more exciting too when the teacher is a familiar face or has literally made a lot of money in that skill or sold millions of books, albums, or movie tickets.
@willchouI love this course so far ##masterclass ##courses ##onlinecourse ##communication ##effectivecommunication ##robinroberts ##journalism @master.class♬ original sound – willchou
Check out my review of MasterClass here.
I live an ordinary lifestyle when it comes to free time. Yet I’m able to get about two hours every day listening to audio books just from grocery shopping, brushing my teeth, walking, eating, driving, and similar activities. And that’s on top of the fact that I don’t listen to audiobooks in the gym anymore since I do CrossFit, which is more group-interactive.
I’ve made lots of recommendations in other articles if you’re not sure what book to start with. But many of these books have changed my life many times over and 10Xed my skills and world knowledge. That’s how I get through three to five books every month.
A Spigen or Tough Armor Phone Case
I cringe whenever I see a cracked phone, and I see them almost every week. I cringe even more when I discover that this person has cracked several phones over their life. I’ve owned a phone for almost ten years now and never cracked one. How? By investing in a quality phone protector case from a brand like Spigen (I prefer this brand) or Tough Armor. Rest assured that they look aesthetic as well.
The simple truth is that people don’t respect the difference between a serious phone protector case and a regular phone case you can buy at a mall that looks pretty. The latter is useless for your phone’s protection even if the salesperson claims it has the right ridges to prevent a fall. That is how I’ve saved hundreds of dollars in repair fees.
An Essentialist Wardrobe
Good fashion can explode your confidence, how you feel, and how others look at you. You’ll get a lot more compliments! The good news is that you can look stylish without breaking the bank. All you need to do is know what essential items you need, make them fit right, and spend a more on quality for outerwear and boots so they last. I highly recommend looking at Ashley Weston’s essential items and slowly build your minimalist wardrobe. Why minimal? With a handful of versatile items in every department, you can mix and match that into hundreds of outfits.
Skip the $10 to $50 dress shoes and jackets. Opt for the $100 to $400 ones. Don’t feel like paying that much? Another way is by getting a discount by purchasing them Like New from Mercari, Ebay, and Poshmark.
I personally love Johnston & Murphy Chelsea Boot, Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford shoe, Adidas Stan Smith white shoe, Suit Supply navy suit, and Banana Republic white dress shirt.
A Clothing Steamer
It sounds random, but this simple tech gadget is a lifesaver and timesaver. Say goodbye to bulky ironing board, irons, and wrinkly clothes that take forever to clean. A steamer is the newest invention that cuts down on the time of unwrinkling your clothes. You want to look good, and now you can do it in record time.
Frankly, one reason my fashion sense has been sub-par over the years is because I was too lazy to iron my clothing sometimes. Other than important dress shirts, I’d skip the work if it was a t-shirt or something else. The thing is everything gets wrinkled, so I’d be walking around with crappy pants and shirts that would look nice without the wrinkles.
The benefit is that for $30 to $75 you can unwrinkle your clothes in a fraction of the time it’d take to iron. That’ll benefit your professional and romantic life. Check out some top-rated steamers on Amazon here.
High Quality Fitness (A Personal Trainer, Fitness Program, Accountability Service, Group Class, Nutritionist, Your Choice)
There’s many ways to invest in your health and fitness. I made the mistake of cheaping out for Planet Fitness’s $10 a month plan. I was engrossed in the dollars-and-cents math world of personal finance at the time. I figured the more I can save, the more I could invest that money and let compound interest make me rich.
But frankly, investing in your fitness yields dividends because you have more focus, energy, resilience to disease and depression, happiness, and you look more attractive. If you pay extra to get yourself into the gym, eating the right foods, and get feedback on your exercises, you’ll get more results.
I was also persuaded to join Planet Fitness because an attractive lady I knew told me she went there, but frankly, she didn’t know much about fitness and only went there for short cardio work outs. The gym offers free pizza every month, but that’s just going to hurt me. In my head, I believed fitness should be cheap and free. I didn’t believe throwing money at fitness would help (and that’s true!), but spending more money in intelligent ways makes a huge difference.
If you have to choose, consider investing in coaching or accountability over information. I know plenty of people who purchased the most optimal training or nutrition program, only to realize that the motivation and discipline to do the program was lacking. I’ve been one of those people. I bought fitness YouTuber Jeff Nippard’s Shoulders program. And I think Renaissance Periodization’s templates are some of the best in the world, but I know someone who bought it and didn’t do anything with it.
CrossFit introduced me to something that I found fun that wasn’t too monotonous and new barbell movements I never used. Its coaches also gave me real-time feedback with my technique that I didn’t know before. It gave me access to a network of people that could keep me accountable and a community that could help my mental health since I could make friends rather than work out alone like I used to. I push myself harder than I ever do because there’s competition and others around me. I’ve seen the largest stimulus and growth in my strength ever.
You may not find CrossFit as fun as I, which is fine. CrossFit has worked for me, but it may be something else that works for you that follows this formula.
A Social Experience
Not only do you get to tick something off your bucketlist, but you also get to discover a new passion or meet new friends or have a memory for the rest of your life. Make sure you have intention when choosing a social experience. The goal is to do something that’s meaningful for a relationship or yourself or to create something valuable, awesome, or introduce you to something new you may like. Don’t just pick a social event for the sake of picking one.
Here’s a list of some of the real events I’ve been to and suggest:
- food festival
- Tough Mudder race
- white water rafting
- improv class
- salsa, bachata, ballroom, tango, hip hop dance class
- boxing class
- jump rope class
- aerial tapestry class
- BollyFit class
- photography meet up
- premium sushi dining experience
- Vegan / Vegetarian meet up
- Board Game Lovers meet up event
- Pokemon World Championships
- book club
- photographer meet up
- outdoor BBQ
- Halloween party
- 5-mile hikes
- music festival
- networking events
- anime, digital, business, travel adventure, or social media conventions
- free music concert
- archery class
- book signings with top authors
- Toastmasters public speaking group
- sailing league
- kickball, sand volleyball, skeeball, bocce ball league
- arcade meet up
In the future, I want to go on more hikes, hip hop classes, my first stunt choreography class, my first tactical shooting range, and a concert by a top artist. I’ve been able to identify what I like and what I don’t and narrow down my list, but I still love exploring new things, so new events will come along. Your goal shouldn’t necessarily be to do as many events as possible because you should be doing it for yourself, not to impress others.
Find intersections of what you may enjoy or have never tried and what could potentially help you for the rest of your life. An improv, communication, or acting class can teach you communication skills that can up-level your relationships, presentation skills, and thus your career and dating for the rest of your life. A hike at a top scenic natural area nearby could be a memory you relish for the rest of your life. The right convention or book signing can match you with the right person that could change your life (doesn’t always happen though).
Groupon, Meetup.com, EventBrite, Facebook Events, Google, and Living Social are great places to start. More expensive doesn’t always mean more pay off. I’ve gotten more from events that are free or a $20 entry than I have conventions I have paid $1,000 for.
Healthy, Tasty Food
Ever make the excuse that you have to buy fast food because nothing is as convenient, tasty, and affordable? The truth is you can find healthy, delicious food that is just as affordable. You just have to be aware. For example, I often eat at Urban Plates, which is a healthy organic restaurant that costs around the same as I used to spend on unhealthy Panda Express. You can also choose your food options better. Opt out of the mayo if you purchase a burger or chicken sandwich, for example.
It should go without saying that nutrition is the cornerstone for more energy, focus, performance, and health in your life. It’s an investment that pays off. Great food boosts your brain power and performance. After tons of books and podcasts I’ve consumed on nutrition, I’d summarize good nutrition as a healthy amount of calories within your baseline, less than 35 grams of sugar a day, enough micro-nutrients (especially fiber from veggies), less or no processed or fried food, and macro-nutrients within your goals.
Personally, I’ve found from my research and experience that eating more vegetables and less sugar and fried foods makes the most impact. Organic versus non-organic is up for debate.
These Specific Fitness Supplements
Many supplements are scams or marketing gimmicks to make money from you.
But there are certain supplements that have proven by science to help you gain muscle and lose fat. Creatine is the most researched, safe, effective supplement ever next to Whey Protein Powder, my next suggestion. Creatine basically gives your muscles more energy, which helps you lift more, thus increasing your muscle growth. Just be sure to stay hydrated. Examine.com goes into more detail about creatine. The only downside is increasing possibility of balding for people with a genetic ancestral history of balding. Whey protein helps you hit the “one gram of protein per pound of body weight” to maximize gains when you struggle to get enough protein in through your food.
Jeff Nippard, my favorite science-based YouTuber, explains the best supplements in this video.
Modern American society chews most people up and spits them out. Almost everyone has big or small issues that they’re dealing with in their head that they could use a little help resolving. You often miss out on lessons about masculinity, love, bonding, making friendships, or something else. Maybe something in your past still holds you back. Therapy isn’t for everyone, but at least try it out with a few therapists before you dismiss it. Some therapists suck, but with some trial and error, you may find a great one.
A professional with a proven system based on decades of science and testing beats trying to figure things out on your own. There are many forms of therapy; I recommend cognitive behavioral therapy since it’s proven to be one of the most scientifically effective forms. People get physical trainers for their body, but what are you doing to keep your mind healthy?
Outside of therapists you see, there’s also phone or instant message chat services offered by websites like BetterHelp.com for an affordable price per session. I tried it myself and thought it was a good, useful experience, though I learned I need to make sure I vet the therapist and see if it’s a fit (since some therapists work better than others for certain people).
Many people take care of their body, but don’t take care of their mind. Do both since your mind is just as important! Therapy is just one way. Good sleep, food, exercise, relationships, and work help too.
Giving Back To Others
Research has found that even a donation of $5 to someone else can have significant boosts in your happiness. You don’t have to give a lot to get a lot back. If you don’t have money, you can volunteer your time at a soup kitchen or as a teacher or mentor to someone less experienced as you.
As someone who has naturally been selfish, I’ve slowly but surely found the positive value of helping others. Not only does it provide meaning and happiness, it’s great to make the world a better place.
Everyone may find that they enjoy a unique style of giving back. Giving to homeless people isn’t on the top of my list because I’m not always sure what they’ll use the money on or if that’ll help them get out of their situation. I prefer helping people who really need the help and can use it to change their lives. Sometimes, I contribute through money and other time’s it’s through coaching or advice.
David Dobrik’s someone I enjoy watching give back to others.
This one is free, so it doesn’t count on the list. But it’s a bonus because it’s still worth mentioning. I’ve used this Chrome extension for years. It takes one click to install and whenever you’re on the Add to Cart of any website, you click the little Honey button on your browser and it tries out all the coupon codes available on the web in a couple seconds or less to find the best one for you.
It sometimes saves me money by finding the best deal or a promotion I wasn’t aware of. Plus, it saves me time from trying out all the codes myself, which is a hassle, especially since many codes expire but coupon sites often fail to update them fast enough. Honey can save you money on anything from clothing to fast food to video game consoles to TV’s. The only site I’ve found that it’s consistently not effective on is Amazon.com, but that’s because Amazon rarely offers coupons or discount codes.