One of my friends remarked that I'm really obsessed with value. It's true. I love spending money on things that are great value and I hate spending money on things that are a bad value. I thought I'd share a few examples of ways I've spent money that feel like good and bad values.
Island -- Good
The island may be the best money I've ever spent. I'm here now, bugbitten, sunburned, and happy. It's a pretty untamed forest that my friends and I constantly hack away at and build in, and that opportunity is what makes it a great value. Maybe some day we'll come here a relaxing getaway, but for now it's just work and connection with nature.
Fancy Meals -- Bad
Just about any time I spend over $30 for a meal, it feels like a colossal waste to me. Chipotle costs me about $13 and is a perfect meal, so I hate spending more than that. I really appreciate the craft of cooking and high quality ingredients, just not enough to pay more than $30 (and even that much is very rare).
Art -- Good
I bought my first painting thinking while simultaneously thinking that I was an idiot for buying it. But I was surprised at how good it made me feel to look at the painting and how it deepened my appreciation for art. I also like that other people can come over and see my little museum and hopefully also benefit from it, like I do when I see other peoples' art.
Bentley -- Bad to Neutral
I bought the Bentley knowing that it was in some ways an incredible value (lots of extremely high quality engineering and materials at way below cost), but in others a terrible value. I bring this one up because it provides a ton of value that doesn't mean all that much to me. If I cared more about projecting a powerful image, maybe because I had clients of some sort, it could be an incredible value. All that said, I'm glad I bought it because it gives me perspective and is really fun, so I think it's probably neutral for me. Good in some ways, bad in others.
Tea -- Good
I've found that money spent on high quality tea is a good value for me. It's an interesting one because it provides many types of subtle value rather than one main thrust. It makes me a little healthier, gives me a little time to think, allows me to nerd out about something, and promotes social activity. The one to four bucks per pot to make it at home or ten to twenty at a teahouse always feels worth it to me, even if I find out I've spent hundreds on tea in a month.
Travel -- Neutral to Good
I love travel and have gained tremendously from it in my life, but have noticed that not all travel is the same. At first I got a lot of value out of any travel, simply because I was somewhere other than home and was experiencing the world. Now I've found that it's only a really good value if it's to visit a friend or travel with a friend.
Learning -- Bad to Good
Learning is one of my favorite things in life, but it's only a good value if the cost makes sense. The couple years I spent in college were primarily worth it because of a few friends that I made. The learning was worth a pitiful fraction of what was paid. On the other hand, I just signed up for pottery lessons and I think it's a great deal. Same with one-on-one instruction like I've had for violin and Chinese. Books are also an incredible value (which is part of why I write them to).
Value is an interesting concept and is entirely subjective, which is why you need to think about what's a good and bad value for you, and determine how much of your money is being spent in each category. I find that most people don't do that, and end up spending a lot of their money on really bad values. The tragedy of that isn't the lost money, it's the lost potentially good values they could have spent on.
Photo is the marshy area of the island. I'm currently here building my own little cabin! It's going to mostly be a tearoom and an office and have a bed.
Good hand soap offers surprisingly good value. Can be many multiples more expensive than a cheap generic soap, but it'll give you a moment of joy for such a long time that the cost per joy is silly cheap.
Interesting reflection Tynan. I think value is very personal and it's about getting to know yourself better and better. I've found that occasional fancy meals are incredibly high value for me, as long as it is with good friends and over the course of a few hours (eaten slowly & enjoyed). This surprised me because I grew up in a thrifty immigrant family where we never spent much on eating out. I assumed it would feel like a waste of money when I did.
I'm with you on travel and learning though. Travel is worth it with friends, education is worth it in some cases.
Expensive cars, boats, campers, jet skis usually turn out to be BAD values. They depreciate quickly. You have to maintain them all the time (expense) and you rarely use them enough to get your money's worth. I think your island purchase is good because you did it with friends and it will always be there unless a storm sinks it.
I have also found that when I bought big houses that it wasn't worth it to me. I spent all my time, energy and money on upkeep. I only had a few visitors or get-togethers to enjoy the house. I like to keep my overhead expenses lower with a small house which leaves me more resources to do things I enjoy.
Athletes aspire to get their own sneaker. I'm not an athlete and I don't wear sneakers, but today I'm announcing the equivalent in my world: my own tea set!
But first, a little background. I don't remember when I first drank tea, but I do remember that at the time that I found out how healthy it is, I hated tea. I thought that it tasted like bathwater. But newly aware of its health benefits, I was determined to like it. My method was to drink six cups a day until I changed my mind -- aggressive taste acquiring.
And, sure enough, after a week or so of little Lipton tea bags, I decided that I liked green tea enough to continue to drink it. I wasn't a connoisseur, but I was an enthusiast, downing the stuff solely for the health benefits.
First what my high school experience was like and how It got me to where I am now
Growing up for me was an interesting experience. For one I grew up in Puerto Rico, Which from what I have been told from friends who moved to the U.S., is nothing like a "normal" high school life. Having a senior skip WEEK instead of just a day where you ditch school as a class and literally go vacation, No matter where you lived you were only 20 minutes from a beach. Drinking age is 18, and that is barely enforced as well. There was even a day where all the teachers in school EXPECTED students to come in hungover and thus the teachers just showed movies in class while everyone slept. I'm not kidding guys.
Anyways, Throughout early high school I always thought I wanted to be a video game designer. I really liked video games and all I wanted was to live a simple life, make ends meet, maybe a save a bit and just play games and generally not care too much. Then halfway through high school I figured maybe If I found a way to become financially independent I could focus completely on playing video games and then never have to worry about making ends meet (a strategy I had learned from a video game! mentioned in one of my blogposts). This led me to read the four hour workweek which I found somewhere online and in the process I also found out about vagabonding.
If you haven't read vagabonding I suggest you go buy it and read it immediately. This sole book changed my life. I've read it something like 8 times and always become amazed at how good of a job it describes travel philosophy and life philosophy as well. With these two books In hand and reading countless blogposts, and also finding tynan in the midst of life nomadic, I became enamored with the idea of perpetual travel, learning languages, meeting foreigners and just becoming immersed in different cultures. But just one problem... I needed money.
This is where I wish the shoulda woulda coulda aspect of life comes into play.