Last month, I celebrated my 32nd birthday. I’m not really a big birthday person since I don’t like the attention. My usual celebration is a quiet and simple dinner at home or dinner with my closest friends. And that is what I did. I had a small gathering at my home eating an American BBQ dinner. Birthdays remind me that I’m not getting younger and it usually gets me thinking about where I am and whether I’m content with my current life. Reflecting on the positives and the negatives from the past year help make sure I’m still in the right direction to meet my finances, my career, and my personal life goals.
All of these are things I’m focusing and working on in my thirties.
1. Pay Off Debt
This is something that I’ve been tackling over the past year. Just having that credit card balance is irking me. The amount of debt that I’ve accumulated in my 20’s is quite astonishing to me since I’m not really a shopper. I guess the two years of having no job during grad school really put me in a big hole. The best part of paying off the debt is the feeling of freedom.
2. Save More
Let’s face it. Young people don’t really know how to save. We live in a world where everyone needs the latest gadgets, trendy clothes, modern home, and a luxurious car. This makes it hard to save a penny. According to CNBC, 57 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in their savings accounts. The low savings rate is probably due to the outrageous cost of living in big cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and NYC, but I think consumerism is to blame.
What am I doing? Well… I’ve been cautiously watching my spending. I haven’t splurged on any gadgets since early 2017. I bought a Canon G7X Mark II for my travels and a used Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphone. In addition to not buying the newest technology, I’ve been religiously having ‘No Spend Days.’ This has taught me that I don’t need to buy things on a daily basis.
3. Travel the Globe
I make it my goal to at least travel to one international destination every year. Instead of buying the newest iPhone, I travel. Buying consumer products don’t really spark my interest. I rather visit a new destination so that I can eat delicious food, learn a new culture, and experience life in a new land. In the last four years, I’ve visited Turkey, France, the Philippines (3 times), Japan (two times), and Bali.
4. Adopt a New Hobby
I realized that I don’t really have a hobby. I pretty much enjoy just staying at home and keeping myself busy. But I noticed that I come to like reading books, blogs, and vlogs about self-reflection and improvement, travel, and minimalism. I guess blogging about my life is somewhat my new found hobby even though I’m a terrible writer. But who cares about my grammar mistakes and writing style.
When I move back to the states in a few months, I plan to try different sports and activities that’ll keep myself active and fit. Maybe I should go back to photography and/or volleyball?
5. Be Active
With a new hobby, I am sure I can stay active. Should I wait until I move back to the states? Of course not! One of my May goals is to complete the 30-day Squat Challenge. I don’t know why I like these type of challenges.
6. Keep on Learning
I already talked about being fit physically, but we all should keep on learning, so we keep our brain sharp. I’m a big advocate of life-long education so if you don’t want the commitment of taking a course, then at least a book that will teach you something new. I’m currently taking classes on Udemy (each course costs about $11-15)
I recently did the 30-Day Minimalism Challenge two months ago. I have to say that it really helped me realize that I don’t really need to have a lot of possessions. Do you really need 8 coffee mugs or 5 toe clippers?
8. Quality Over Quantity
Sales. Sales. Sales. This is something we love to hear. Instead of buying five cheap shirts (most likely the quality sucks) that will probably last a few months why not just buy one or two quality shirts. I used to buy cheap dress shoes (around $75) and noticed that they start to look aged after three to four months. Last October I bought a pair of Keneth Cole dress shoes for $250, and I’m still wearing them.
9. Start My Day Early
When you wake up early, you don’t have to rush in the morning. You can then start your day on a good note, and this positivity often stays with you throughout the day. You can meditate, think about the day, or just enjoy a short walk.
For me, this is challenging. I try to wake up at 6:00AM every morning, but I end up waking up around 7:00AM.
10. Cook More Eat Less
Currently, I don’t get the chance to plan my meals (except for the weekends) since my company provides me with meals. But once I get back to America, I will go back to the diet I once had before moving to Korea. This diet consists of mostly vegetables, so I’m sure I can save a lot of money.
Cooking at home instead of eating out is not only good for your wallet – it’s better for your health since you control what nutrients and ingredients go into your meals.
That’s it! These are the 10 things that I’m focusing on now. What are you working on?