5 Under $50: Offering Value

I’m a fan of Tim Ferriss. Most of the time, that is. No matter your opinion on him, there are good nuggets that one can pluck out of his writing and podcasts. One question he frequently asks his guests is “what is an investment under $100 that has been impactful on your life”? I like it because it makes me think of how I can better spend my money to improve my life. The answers can be surprising. Billionaires find pleasing utility in minutia. However, I’m no billionaire. I’m no millionaire. I’m one of the many (low) thousand-aires. I have a 4 door sedan and bargain health insurance. My champagne is Miller Highlife. The only chains I rock are from email. When I party in the Hamptons, it’s a 2 bed suite with my family.

You get the point.

In lieu of my socioeconomic status, I refocus my scope to $50 instead of $100. Here are some inexpensive things that have provided worth many times over.

  1. Due App. Goldfish would crush me in a memory game. But I’d beat the shit out of them if I had my handy app “Due”. It’s around three bucks and is very helpful when I want to set a reminder to my future self. I use it for every task I need to do. “Pick up film”, “Doctor’s appointment”, “Buy concert tickets”, “Blow up Tinder”–anything I know I need to do at a future date that I will not remember at that future time. With Due, I set it to bug me until I mark the task done. I no longer stress about remembering everything. I used to feel incompetent and stupid if a task that needed completion was stuck on repeat until I finally got around to it. Now, I just do it as soon as I’m reminded. No stress.
  2. A Hammock. There’s something about having a mobile chill spot that makes life a bit more relaxing. Being suspended in the air, reading a good book while swaying in a breeze brings more enjoyment to me than any precious metal ever could. Many hammock brands vary in price and quality, but you can still get a solid one for under $50. Imagine yourself on a sunny spring day draped over the soft melody of creek water tumbling below you. You have a cold drink, a snack, some good music and a better book. Try to find stress there.
  3. Ad Blocker. I left advertising because it’s a groveling, limping industry predicated on spreading clutter throughout the world in effort to drive some asshole’s sales. Thus, I have mostly eradicated it from my life. I don’t have cable. Billboards are just bird hangouts. Direct mail is immediately placed in recycling. With an ad blocker, I don’t have to be bombarded with irrelevant sales messages online. I don’t suffer through 15 seconds of agonizing preroll to watch a minute long YouTube video. I am controlling the experience I want with content, not the other way around.
  4. Moka Pot. I love coffee. Not in a snobbish, “I have a man bun” sort of way, but rather I appreciate its affects. Thus, I like quality coffee. That carpet-filtered shit you drink at the office or the incredibly wasteful k-cups you send to a landfill every morning aren’t respecting your coffee routine. Percolation is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to prepare coffee. The only downside is the cleaning, but it’s worth the trade for a tasty cup.
  5. Donations. It’s important that as humans, we lend a hand to each other. Sometimes, that’s literal. We see Mississippians driving to Baton Rouge to clear flood wreckage or tear out dry wall. Maybe you grab your neighbor’s mail when they’re out of town. Other times, its fiscal or supplies-driven. The easiest thing to give, though, is money. I don’t give a lot. I can’t afford to. I can, however, donate $5, $10 or $20 every now and then when I’m on the up to a cause that needs it more than I do. I don’t do it all the time, just when I find a meaningful endeavor and can afford it. Imagine if everyone did this. Imagine if each person, when in good holdings, helped out someone somewhere. What would society look like? What if, instead of buying a pair of shoes that are $200, you buy ones that are $150 and donate that last $50 to a charity (a quality one) doing good in the world. That pair of shoes only does you good. That money can do a lot of people good.

If you have anything you’ve purchased for under $50 that’s added value to your life, please share. I’m always in the market.

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