For most of my life, I’ve tried to live a somewhat frugal and minimalist lifestyle, spending only on essential items.
Every now and then, I’ll re-evaluate what “essential” means to me and I’ll make a purchase outside of my normal spending habits, usually as a productivity experiment to see if the purchase will push my lifestyle to new heights. #treatyoself
Some of these purchases are used a few times and quickly discarded, while other purchases add such tremendous value to my life that I wonder why I hadn’t forked over the cash and bought that item much earlier.
As I grow older, I find that the category of value-add purchases tend to skew towards one of these 4 buckets: preserving health, making me smarter, saving time, or helping me get work done.
Even if these purchases are a bit pricier, the benefits they bring to my life over a long period of time tend to far outweigh the upfront costs.
Purchases that preserve my health:
- Iron Gym Total Upper Body Workout Bar: This pull-up bar has an easy one-time assembly and having it available to insert over my door motivates me to get a couple pull-up reps in whenever I walk through my door. I’ve also started a mental tally of max pull-ups that I can accomplish and it’s a nice mini-goal to beat every day.
- Yoga Mat: Every one has different yoga mat preferences but the important thing is just to get one. I use my mat all the time, whether for meditating or stretching.
- TriggerPoint GRID Foam Roller: I used to be sore after every workout and I constantly had to get massages in order to get knots out of my back. Spending a few minutes with this foam roller alleviates most of my back pain.
- Duro-Med Relax-A-Bac Lower Back Support Pillow: Speaking of back pain, this is a one-time purchase that your lower back will thank you for your entire life, given how much we tend to sit at our desks (both at home and at work) with bad posture these days.
- Coccyx Orthopedic Memory Foam Seat Cushion: This is the complementary purchase to above – this cushion helps prevent your butt from getting sore after extended periods of sitting. Grab both the above and this one if you can.
- Casper Sleep Mattress: You spend half your life sleeping so you better make damn well sure that you’re getting great sleep. Casper is a company dedicated solely towards developing the best in class mattress. I’ve never slept better.
- Superfeet Black Premium Insoles: If you walk or stand for a large portion of your day, grab these insoles to slip inside your shoes and your feet will feel tons better.
- Zicam Cold Remedy Rapid Melts: This cold remedy is a godsend. One of my biggest life regrets is not discovering Zicam earlier – oh how many sick days I could have prevented. Whenever I’ve felt early signs of a cold or I already had a cold, taking Zicam was 100% guaranteed to kill that cold within the same or next day.
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: This book has helped preserve so much of my mental health over this past year. The book teaches you how to declutter, re-organize, and simplify your life. I guarantee you will feel both physically and mentally refreshed after you follow this book’s advice.
- Jumpsport Fitness Mini Trampoline: I picked up this bad boy after learning about Tony Robbins’ routines. He jumps on his mini trampoline before he gets on stage in order to boost his energy. Every time I’m feeling down or antsy, I do a few rebounds on my trampoline and it gives me the exact endorphin boost I need.
Purchases that make me smarter:
- Endless amounts of Kindle books: If I want to buy a Kindle book, I buy it with Amazon’s 1-click ordering and have it sent to my iPad, no questions asked. I love reading and I’ll never think that books are a waste of money (unless you hoard books and never finish them).
- Apple iPad Mini 4: I talked about this in my last post but one of the best things I did in 2017 was get an iPad mini to carry around with me wherever I went so that any idle time such as commutes could be spent reading on the Kindle app vs. wasting time browsing social media on my phone.
- Moleskine Classic Notebook: I used to be so cheap when it came to buying notebooks (old me: “why buy notebooks when I can use the back side of old printed papers!”) but now I carry a notebook and pen to every meeting so I can write down notes to reference later.
Purchases that save time:
- Amazon Echo: Another one of my best purchases that I’ll never regret spending $200 for. This thing has paid off over and over again – buy 20 less cocktails in a month and use that money to buy this instead. Think of ALL the times you need to manually turn on / off your lights over your lifetime. Think of the times when you’re reading in bed and you’re falling asleep but you have to get up to turn off your bed light which causes you to feel awake again. Think of the times when you want to listen to the radio / music and you have to get up to play something from your laptop / phone. ALL of these tiny moments (yes I realize these all feel like #firstworldproblems) add up and take tons of mindshare. If you can automate all of these with simple phrases like “Alexa, lights off,” or “Alexa, play jazz” you’ll save hundreds of hours over your lifetime.
- Philips Hue White LED light bulbs and bridge (hub): You need these so that you can tell Alexa to turn on/off your lights. Trust me, it’s worth adding these onto your Echo purchase.
- Extra iPhone chargers: Tired of constantly switching chargers between rooms whenever you need to charge your iPhone? Just fork over a bit of cash and buy a few extra iPhone chargers to leave around key rooms in your home. Similar to the Echo, this is one of those purchases that will save you a ton of time over a lifetime.
- Extra Macbook chargers: See above. Same rationale.
Purchases that help me get work done:
- Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones: I never realized how powerful noise cancelling headphones could be for my productivity until getting these. Now, I can do work or read in any loud environment with complete focus.
- Lapgear Jumbo Lap Desk: How often have you brought your laptop to work in bed only to overheat your computer and burn your thighs after a prolonged period of time? I use this lap desk every time I want to finish up some work in bed or watch a movie.
- HP Pavilion 27xw 27-in IPS LED Backlit Monitor: I did a ton of research on external monitors before settling on this one. It’s beautiful, minimalistic, and wide.