It’s my Birthday - I’ve kinda done everything 31 times

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Thinking
Photographer: Lidya Nada | Source: Unsplash

Sooo.... I’ve just turned 31, I feel a lot older though. In December I spend a lot of time thinking about the year and things I’ve learnt. It crossed my mind that having lived 31 years on this earth, it stands to reason that there are loads of things that I've literally done 31 times over.

So why does life still surprise me? Especially financially.

I decided to make some changes that reflect on some of the things I’ve learnt (mostly tech related). Here is what I tried:

Desktop setup
Photographer: Annie Spratt | Source: Unsplash

I shop twice a year now

So I’ve basically stopped buying things... When I need something, I put it on a list and wait. There are 2 times in the year when I actually buy anything:

  • Amazon prime day (typically in June)
  • Black friday/Cyber monday (Typically in November)

Im not advocating that you become one of those crazy people that fights with people for cheaper toilet paper in a Shoprite, but hear me out.

Queues at the supermarket due to the precautions to fight Covid-19
Photographer: Adrien Delforge | Source: Unsplash

Every year at some stage I will need clothes, maybe a new pair of shoes, a belt, a suit of some sort and some tech stuff (I love new tech). The two reasons I advocate for my approach are that:

  • Waiting is good. Delaying a purchase decision really helps you to decide if you need something and puts things into perspective
  • If you are able to find a legitimate deal for the thing you need, the prices at these times make shopping any other time unreasonable.

Here’s an example, I need a phone contract for business purposes. When I got the contract on black friday I now pay ZAR 499.00 monthly for 15Gigs of data and unlimited calls.

Here are the prices for that today, and how much I save comparatively over 24 months:

  • Vodacom 25gig, Unlimited calls ZAR 1399 (details here) - Saved ZAR 21,600
  • Mtn 30 gig night, Unlimited calls ZAR 999 (details here) - Saved ZAR 12,000
  • Cell C 10gig, 3000 minutes of calls ZAR 999 (details here) - Saved ZAR 12,000

Just food for thought 🤷🏾‍♂️🤷🏾‍♂️ Any decision to slow down on expenditure is a good one.

Photos are super important

Losing and coming close to losing important people in my life this year really made me think alot about memories, and capturing them. I’ve decided that cell phone cameras (and computational photography) are improving at a rate so quick that I can bank on them rather than traditional (and more expensive) DSLR photography.

I’m proudly #TeamPixel - and OnePlus 😅

Have a look:

Basically I’m saying do cool things... and take pictures. Then set those pictures as a screensaver or wallpaper, it’ll make you super grateful for the moments you have enjoyed.

In my life September is a big month for creating moments. Picking a month is great because you can book leave waaaay in advance and also you can save for travelling. Pro-tip: You can track flight price trends with Google flights and get alerted when flights to a specific location are at an all time low.

Set reminders for your license disk

I feel like there is nothing to add here 🤣 - I use Any.do, great app for reminders and tracking things.

School is YouTube (And Sometimes Udemy)

It turns out you can learn literally anything on YouTube. So some quick history - I’m a Doctor... except I’m not. A while back I basically made the jump from what people would argue is a decently stable career with a pretty clear growth pathway - to absolute chaos.

I had to play catch up. Learning to understand the tech space that I wanted to work in. Trying to understand code, product lifecycles, marketing, financial projections... the list goes on.

We are privileged in the sense that in this information dense age we can find out how to do anything almost instantly. All that’s left is to find the motivation to do the thing - whatever it may be.

I’m coding my own app now (www.usespaces.app)

Six years later, I’ve built hundreds of sites, created designs, brand identities, marketing assets and have started teaching myself to code (with the help of some incredible friends) - all stuff I was never trained for, with no real budget to support the learnings.

I guess there’s no real excuse now preventing you from learning that thing you want to do.

Meet Spaces: The toolkit for Modern Doctors (and it’s invite only 😊)

Here’s my app 😊

Everything has a cost - You (probably) need a budget

Let me start with a disclaimer. I really like organising certain things in my life... don’t ask me to wash dishes, but if you want a spreadsheet planning the next 6 months of your business - I’m your guy.

Notebook work with statistics on sofa business
Photographer: Lukas Blazek | Source: Unsplash

Of course not everybody will like the idea of the “restrictiveness” of a budget - or even just numbers 😅🤣, if that’s you then this isn’t your part. But I think it’s incredibly important to realise that everything has a cost.

Some costs are easy to see, largely because these are probably things you actually pay for. But there are also things that have their cost in the future - yes sure don’t sleep now, drink red bull and be super productive, but can you be surprised later when you are that guy with back pain at the age of 31?

I have budgeted with an app called YNAB (youneedabudget) since I was in first year Medschool. I am able to justify the cost by literally budgeting for it.

Why?

More than the software itself I am interested in the method/logic behind their principles. A budget is a list of priorities. Basically you have x amount of money - what is important that you need the money to do in the month.

That’s all.

Align your money to your priorities and live by it. This means you can literally and legitimately budget for using all your money to buy speakers. If that is your priority - here’s the thing though, you can’t also expect to eat steak every night if you prioritised having the purest bass tones higher than food.

Photographer: Soundtrap | Source: Unsplash

Things are finite, and so is money. There is such a thing as zero - and when you hit it you have no money left. So plan accordingly.

Achieving full zen mode in the office.
Photographer: Alex Presa | Source: Unsplash

If we agree that everything has a cost, then one cost that you unfortunately cannot recover is time. #PauseForEffect

I could insert some awesome quote here... but I think you get it. Once it’s gone... it’s gone

This is the one that you need to guard. Lifestyle design and how I spend my time is something that I am really getting wrong. But... I’m getting better. With some continuous work, I hope that next year when I write this, I will have a really special story to tell you.

Wisdom comes from the strangest places. Listen.