Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things

Be your own magic and a world of opportunities will open up for you.

Kat Kou
May 21 · 6 min read

Whether you’re backpacking through Europe, learning new skills or strengthening your relationships, learning to invest in yourself is the best way to improve yourself. After all, if you exchange your time and effort now for increased skills and knowledge, you‘ll create a better future with more satisfaction and fulfillment.

“Don’t make money your goal. Instead, pursue the things you love doing, and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.”

— Maya Angelou

Want to live a more meaningful life while spending less? Read along for the top 5 ways of becoming the best version of yourself.

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

1. Travel somewhere exotic. Yes, you can do it on a budget.

There’s no learning experience quite as effective as traveling. Traveling makes you immerse yourself in another culture while allowing you to experience new things.

When you focus on the experience itself rather than the money you’re spending, you’ll be guaranteed to have a better time. Although I tend to live more lavishly these days, I have been known to travel on a more affordable budget in the past.

Here are some of the things that helped me survive:

  • Hostels: When I was traveling through Europe, Australia, and even Asia — I frequented hostels often. In fact, I met several friends this way and still keep in touch with a few. Yes, I have had the pleasure of staying in hostels in North America as well, however, they are not as fun as they are abroad. You can stay in places for as little as $7–$20 per night.
  • Couchsurfing: After staying in 25+ hostels, I decided to also give Couchsurfing a go. I wrote about it more in an article here. Compared to hostels, it’s a much more intimate way to travel and you can discover more local hangouts through your Couchsurfing host. No money required.
  • Busses: If you’ve gone to Southeast Asia, you’ll understand that bussing to another country can cost as little as $7. I have been able to travel in Canada and the US for as little as $1-$20 though. I’ve traveled from Vancouver to Portland; Toronto to Montreal for $20. Yes, it exists.

For the West Coasters, check out: Bolt Bus.
For the East Coasters, check out: Mega Bus.

Who are you when no one’s looking?

Being a solo traveler taught me how to be independent. It made me receptive to new experiences, like traveling with strangers, making quick decisions in potentially dangerous situations, and learning how to be happy without the external validation of others.

Every adventure is a challenge that gives me a sense of accomplishment. A sense of fulfillment. Nothing compares to new discoveries and exchanging thoughts, knowledge, and ideas with the people I meet along the way.

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

2. Expand the limitations of your thinking through a book.

Sitting down to read helps improve your focus, concentration, as well as your imagination.

Are you consuming good sources of information?

Reading has helped me broaden my understanding of the world and oftentimes, it has also helped me overcome difficult times in my life. Sometimes I even like reading about things in a completely different industry. It helps me understand things from a different approach and spurs new thinking for creative projects.

My advice? Take the time out of your day to read as much as you can, whether it’s business, history, or politics — whatever appeals to you the most.

Photo by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

3. Embrace the present moment by allowing spontaneity in your life.

When you encounter new situations, you are given the opportunity to learn and discover.

Being spontaneous is the easiest way to step out of your daily routine and it doesn’t have to be as wild as booking a trip to Australia with 2 days notice. It can be something as simple as going for an evening bike ride or having an unplanned picnic at the beach nearby.

Do you often feel inclined to pass on invitations?

Sometimes I do get in a rut and want to say no to a social outing because it’s either not my thing or I am not in the mood for it. However, I have also discovered that the most unexpected surprises also happen when I let go.

Photo by Duy Pham on Unsplash

4. Instead of pursuing your passions, pursue meaningful friendships.

Having good people skills is underrated but they are necessary for a balanced lifestyle.

When you care about others and spend time with people that like you for who you are, you’re presenting yourself with another opportunity to enrich your life. Make an effort to get to know others, expand your circles of friends, and attend networking events as often as you can.

Want to build more positive relationships? Learn the art of the compliment. Give genuine compliments with sincerity and honesty. Read more about it here.

Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

5. Seek out fresh experiences by stepping out of your comfort zone.

“If you grow, your money will grow; your relationships, your health, your business, and every external effect will mirror that growth in equal correlation.”

— Jim Rohn

We’re creatures of habit and getting stuck in a routine is easy to do. Some may argue that people with a steady daily routine are more successful than others who don’t, however, I like to believe that life is better when everything is balanced.

According to therapist and author of Better Than Perfect, Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, says that people who are spontaneous tend to be “more creative and emotionally resilient than those who remain stuck in a routine.”

In fact, she teaches us in her book that innovation happens when we step outside of our comfort zone. We need to constantly try new things to gain a fresh perspective on life.

However, Lombardo says that what holds most of us back from stepping out of our comfort zone, is fear. New things always make us feel awkward and uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the less stressful it will be.

The solution to overcoming this fear is to simply get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“Follow your instincts. Be curious. Dream big. Love what you do. Love learning. Keep an open heart and a strong spirit. Have fun.”


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The Glossary

The indispensable playbook designed to inspire, encourage, and elevate the female spirit.

Kat Kou

Written by

Kat Kou

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I am just a girl who wishes for the world.”

The Glossary

The indispensable playbook designed to inspire, encourage, and elevate the female spirit.