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I’m a valuist.
What’s a valuist?
Well, at its core, a valuist is someone who looks for value in everything. This could be in how they use their time, energy or in this case, their money.
I’m not cheap. Someone who’s cheap avoids spending money at all costs, often at the expense of relationships or life experiences. That’s not me.
Maybe I’m frugal, perhaps. But I don’t love the connotation of the word frugal. To me it seems like a word that people associate with denying yourself pleasures for an extended period of time. Those who are frugal often times seem inconvenienced by their frugality, whether it’s riding public transit everywhere on mending the holes in their socks.
I don’t have anything against people who are frugal. In a lot of ways, I admire them and share many of their characteristics. Perhaps I’m just not hardcore enough to call myself frugal.
But someone who strives to find value in everything? Yup, that’s what I’m all about.
Determining Inherent Value
I don’t mind spending money at all, as long as it’s on things that have inherent value. Determining inherent value is very subjective.
I know people who will spend $500 on a purse (not mentioning any names, ahem…cough…my beautiful wife). I also know people who will spend hundreds of dollars every year attempting to hit a small white ball into a tiny hole hundreds of yards away. To different people, spending your hard earned cash on these things can seem crazy.
A bag for $500?? I could buy a brand new driver with that!!
$500 for a metal stick?? Can you imagine the AMAZING purse I could buy with that!!
The beautiful thing about valuists is that they get to decide what is of value to them. And once they’ve decided, they can spend their hard earned cash on these different items.
The personal finance world is FULL of valuists. The term is relatively new, so many of them may identify as frugal, thrifty, etc., but read any blog post for longer than two paragraphs and you’ll see that 99.9% of what gets written about is finding value; finding it in your budget, investments, vacations, vehicles, credit cards, and what products you buy.
And I’m always on the lookout for where true value exists, which is why I asked the personal finance community which awesome products have given them INSANE value in the last year or so.
As Joe Biden once remarked, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
So let’s unearth some of the value-laden gems they revealed and look at what some of the most frugal, thrifty, value-driven people on earth spend their cash on!!
Housework can be incredibly boring and repetitive. I haven’t bought a robot to shovel my driveway or cut my grass…yet, but short of that, I’m all for awesome products that deliver high value in helping make life around the house just a little bit easier.
Michelle at Operation Husband Rescue swears by her Dustbuster to help her survive with twins. Instead of having to drag out the huge vacuum every time her munchkins toss Cheerios on the floor, she’s able to suck up the mess in seconds.
Ditto with a Dyson V7 Animal Cordless Stick Vacuum that was recommended by one of my Billionaire Blog Club buddies Sasha at Life’s Carousel. We have a Dyson (kind of a cheaper model) which I honestly don’t love. If I had to do it again I go with the more expensive version which REALLY sucks (That’s a good thing with a vacuum).
Also, I have to say that our BISSELL Mini Carpet Cleaner, or the Green Machine as I like to call it, has been a recent lifesaver. I held out buying one for a while and every time my kids puked, which always seemed to be right after we’d given them bright red medicine, I had to go out and rent a carpet cleaner. Finally, after incurring the $30 rental fee for the second time, I sucked it up (pun intended) and bought the tiny Green Machine.
It sucked up everything and left the room smelling way better.
$100 well spent.
Coming in at around $30, Lisa from The Give and Get can’t get enough of her YETI Rambler Thermos. If you’re serious about keeping things cold or hot, Yeti is premiere name you know you can trust to keep your coffee or tea warm all day long.
If you’re looking for something a bit bigger, like a cooler for the lake or when camping, they also carry both hard and soft varieties starting at around $100. Whatever you opt for, you’re sure to find crazy value in these nearly indestructible and awesome products, and the coolers come with a 3 or 5-year warranty depending on the model.
Instant-Pots are all the rage. It’s kind of like being in a weird, culinary cult.
I have to admit, I don’t have one. But when I put the question out to my legions of personal finance followers (slight exaggeration…) the Instant-Pot showed up multiple times. I must be falling behind the times on this one because my mom informed me last weekend that she had just bought one. Camden (another of my BBC buds) thinks they rock, and I have to admit, my mom is a great cook!
Being able to cook frozen meat in 30 minutes or less is pretty impressive. If it saves my wife time, I’m all for it!
If you love fried food but don’t want the coronary disease or likely stroke that come with that deep-fried passion, the air fryer is God’s gift to you. By circulating hot air around the outside of whatever your frying, they give a nice crisp outside and tender moist inside. And, because they don’t use all that oil, they are WAY healthier for you. Again, thanks to Camden for this recommendation.
Bento Box Lunch Container
Another of my BBC buddies loves these lunch organizers. According to Amber, it makes packing your lunch a snap and rather than coming home with multiple pieces of Tupperware to wash up at the end of the day, you can pop this one container into the dishwasher and you’re done!
Theatre Style Popcorn Popper
Who doesn’t love theatre popcorn? For under $100 you can have theatre-style kernels popping in no time. Dash 2 Retire got hers for her daughter as a Christmas gift but ended up loving it more than her daughter (hmmmm, I’m always a little suspicious when that happens). Now movie nights at home taste great, there are no crowds or line-ups and you can watch in your pj’s!
The importance of a good night’s sleep can’t be overstated. As a parent, I know what it’s like to be sleep deprived. I remember after having our first child wondering how I would be able to sustain my life on such little sleep.
When you do get a chance to lay your head down, be sure it’s on a comfy pillow. Brett from a Debt Free Mentality picked up a Therapedic TruCool Memory Foam Standard Side Sleeper Pillow and LOVES it!
Me, I used the Tempur-Pedic Neck Pillow and it was AMAZING!!
Simple pleasures often bring the greatest of joys. After repeatedly writing out her return address, Heather from the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing group got fed up. So much so, that she went out and bought a custom address stamp. In her words, she “gets a little shot of happiness every time I chunk that thing down”.
Life gets busy. Crazy busy. For Monique at IrieDiva, that means a magnetic whiteboard calendar. Not only is it a cheap and easy way to stay on top of her schedule, but it means more time to enjoy the important things in life.
If you’ve got kids, you’ve been there. You just need a little time to…be an adult, talk to adults, think like an adult…use the bathroom without spectators? Megan Nicole from Lazi Millennial knows what I’m talking about, and this time to re-establish your humanity is critical to not only your own sanity but to being an even better parent.
RELATED POST – Passing on Your Money Values…Before It’s Too Late
Marie from PreciseWrds was having a really difficult time sleeping. Waking up choking in the dry New Hampshire winter air, she needed to do something to help her rest easy.
The answer? A humidifier, the Boneco Air-O Swiss Warm or Cool Mist Ultrasonic. Quiet at night so she can sleep like a baby, and outfitted with a sensor to maintain a certain level of humidity in her room so it doesn’t run constantly, She opted for a little bigger variety so that she wouldn’t have to be filling it every 20 minutes. Worth the $100 price tag? To this valuist, absolutely.
If you’re like the 83% of adult Americans who drink coffee, you know the importance of getting your cup of joe first thing in the morning. Sure you can opt for Starbucks or Tim Hortons, or like Miles from Minimal Finance, you can brew your own using a slick French press. Though it sounds fancy, it’s really not. Even me, a non-addict, can operate it, unlike some of those other high tech coffee makers. Some top-rated picks include the SterlingPro French Press
and the Bodum Brazil.
It’s true that how you look, and how you feel about what you’re wearing, can have a real impact on your frame of mind. I know because when I’m well dressed and comfortable, I feel like I can crush anything in my way. That’s confidence, and rightly or wrongly, looking and feeling good helps.
Levi Athletic Fit Jeans
I’m a huge jeans guy. But I find jeans a pain in the butt to shop for. Rich at PF Geeks agrees. That’s why when he found these Levi’s Athletic Fit jeans, that both looked and fit amazing, he felt like he’d died and gone to heaven.
A great man once said, “You have brains in your feet. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in whatever direction you choose.” – Dr. Seuss
That’s good enough for me. Sold.
Liz from Ms. Liz Money Matters prefers buying amazing experiences instead of just “things”. And you don’t need to sell a kidney on the black market to make it happen. A National Parks Pass can be an awesome way to spend time with your friends and loved ones while enjoying creation in all its magnificence! An America The Beautiful pass will cost you $80, and for those from the Great White North, a family pass will cost you close to $140.
Asana Rebel App
Jayme from Smart Woman Blog believes that working out and staying fit and healthy is important. But so is keeping your hard earned money in your wallet! That’s why she opts for Asana Rebel workouts instead of a gym membership.
Instead of a gym membership that can cost anywhere from $50-200/month depending on your facility, programs and perks, Asana is $60 for the year and offers its users the convenience of bringing their workouts WITH them.
and pocket knife.
When you’re in a pinch, be sure to have these tools handy to get you out of trouble.
We live in a digital age, and the technology that we have access to now is staggering. Be sure to check out these valuist tech buys and take advantage of what technology has to offer.
JBL Bluetooth Speaker
Being able to take your tunes with you wherever you go has become a given these days with smartphones. But what’s better than having a party of 1 with earbuds? Rockin’ out to your tunes on your patio, in your hot tub, or around the campfire with your friends. Allea at Ask Allea swears by her JBL Bluetooth speaker to keep the good times rollin’.
Otterbox Phone Case
Depending on your level of clumsiness, a phone case can either be a fashion accessory or a critical tool for your survival. Cam at Unbreakable Bank knows he’s prone to dropping his expensive smartphone, which is why he was ok shelling out a bit more cash for an OtterBox case to protect his device. After doing the math on how much a new screen or phone would cost WHEN he dropped it, he looked at a pricier case as being an investment.
Selfie Stick/Tripod Combo
If you love taking selfies like Ashley Rolland, you know it can be a pain trying to balance your phone against something at the right angle and the setting the timer in an attempt to capture that perfect shot. A selfie tripod can make your life so much easier. If that describes you, check out this top rated tripod to capture you in all your glory.
When you’re working out, the last thing you want to be doing is fumbling with your headphone cord as it wraps around your arms, gets snagged on your weights, or worse, wrapped around a brake on your bike. My BBC pal Laura can’t live without these. While I don’t have a pair yet, they are certainly intriguing. And since I’m usually late to the dance when it comes to cool technology, I’ll probably end up getting a pair in the near future!
3M Work Tunes Headphones
In the same vein, for those who aren’t working OUT, but just working, Mr. College Rental says he can cut the grass or work with power tools all while checking out the latest FI podcasts. Check out the 3M Work Tunes Bluetooth headphones to mix business and pleasure.
We’ve all been there. Trying to stretch our phone charger to set it on something only to find the 3-foot cord woefully undersized. I don’t know why I never thought of this, but thankfully, The Smart FI did. Those extra 3 feet work wonders when it comes to setting your charger on an end table or stretching it to so your almost dead iPad can reach your screaming toddler in the back seat of the car.
While you’re at it, invest in an extra charging cord. We seemed to be constantly searching for extras and moving them around the house until we picked up a few. They make charging the kids iPads and our phones way more convenient. And it helps prevent those late night treks through the house searching for chargers (or is that just me?).
Sunrise Alarm Clock
Life changing. At around $100, that’s how Champagne & Capital Gains described the best purchase she’s made in the last 6 months. In doing a little bit of research, there is a wide variety of types of sunrise alarm clocks. If you’re going to pick one up, be sure to do some research on which one is best for you. Here’s one that has gotten KILLER reviews.
Hue Smart Lightbulb
Along the same lines, my buddy Matt (great name) couldn’t stop talking to me about his new Hue light bulb. In the morning, he awakes to a beautiful (though artificial) sunrise, which is flawlessly created by his smart light bulb. He’s also got his synced to his phone, so every night he falls asleep to the soothing sounds of a distant thunderstorm and rain softly falling against his window, complete with perfectly timed lightning flashes when it thunders on his speaker. Like I said, he couldn’t stop singing its praises. I’m definitely going to look into picking one up to help me get my butt out of bed in the morning.
I have to admit, when Greg mentioned the OBD scanner as his best purchase, I had no idea what he was talking about. After doing a bit of research, he’s on to something.
An OBD scanner is a computer that you connect to your car in order to determine what’s wrong with it. Depending on the issue, it will give you a code so that you know where to focus your time and energy. If your check engine light comes on, you can determine if you need to immediately take your car to the shop or if it’s a minor issue that can wait. Sites like OBD-Codes.com can help to determine the nature of the concern.
They can range in price from $15 to well over $100 and if you’re in anyway handy with cars, or don’t want to get hosed by your mechanic, this is a must-have!
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, that “if we encounter a man of rare intellect, we should ask him what books he reads.” The authors of these recommended books are indeed extraordinary individuals who we would do well to learn from.
Tribe of Mentors
I’m always on the hunt for great reads. So when Nick Barker mentioned Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferriss, I was all ears. Written by a kickboxing, tango-dancing entrepreneur, I knew I had to check it out. In the book, Tim draws on his impressive network of world-class thinkers to provide inspiration and advice for living a full and rewarding life.
Discipline Equals Freedom
Nick also dropped another book I’d never heard of by retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willinck. Willinck now spends his time on his podcast, writing books, and inspiring millions with his no-nonsense, take no prisoners approach to crushing your life. Nick’s favorite book by Jocko is Discipline Equals Freedom, which details the mental and physical discipline he uses to find freedom and success in every area of his life. I’ve also heard this book referenced by Brad at ChooseFI.
Another crew I roll with are the people in Michelle Schroeder-Gardner’s Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing Facebook group. Not only is it a great course about how to make money in Affiliate Marketing, the group provides an immense amount of collective wisdom.
One nugget was from Liz Milton, who recommended the book Success Affirmations: 52 Weeks for Living a Passionate and Purposeful Life. In a world where it’s easy to get stuck in the rut of negativity, this book encourages us to rise above and transform our lives.
Read It and Reap
I love to read and can’t get enough new ideas to keep my mind creative and inspired. I recently wrote an entire post of my top 5 reads to supercharge your money mindset called Read and Reap. You should definitely check it out.
Random Awesome Products
Some stuff is just too amazing, and random to be pigeon-holed into a category. These valuist picks fall into that un-category.
Spiked Lacrosse Balls and Rumble Roller
Tim also LOVES his Rumble Roller for working on his hamstrings and IT band. His warning: take it easy at the start. Overzealous rolling will lead to you feeling like you’ve been hit by a bus!
Butlers Liqueur Chocolate
As the spouse of a bona fide chocoholic, I know that when Anna from the Writer Entrepreneur says that Butlers chocolates have been serious purveyors of her happiness, she’s telling the truth. Not only can chocolate actually make you feel happy by releasing dopamine and serotonin, it has TONS of health benefits! Who knew!!
A Customs and Border Control program aimed at speeding up the process of clearing customs, it uses a rigorous background check and an in-person interview to verify that you are safe to enter the U.S. Similar to Nexus, these pre-screening safe travel programs make it a breeze to travel and come in under $100.
You Need A Budget
When You Want It Bad Enough shared that he just re-upped his You Need A Budget subscription for another year. It cost him $50, but in his words, “some people pay an accountant, financial planner, etc. so why not pay to understand and track my income and outgo better.”
Even though I feel like there are some great free options out there (my wife and I use the free version of EveryDollar and we love it!), I can’t argue with his logic.
Paul at Defeating Normal didn’t waste any time when he told me that hands down, the best purchase he’s made is his domain name. Blogging about personal finance and development has had such a tremendous impact on his life, and he loves how it feels sharing his story with others.
For me, Siteground is who made this possible for me. When I started my blog I was literally Googling, “How to start a blog?”. As I was searching for hosts, Siteground kept popping up, in large part because everyone was saying they had amazing customer service. Because of this, I decided to take the plunge with Siteground and they didn’t disappoint.
Their online chat support is superb, timely, and they go the extra mile. I even had one tech who logged into his personal account to figure something out for me. If you’re thinking of starting a blog, or aren’t happy with your host right now, definitely check out Siteground.
As valuists, we all know a great deal when we see one. The awesome products and experiences listed above represent inherent value at a great price.
As I said, I don’t mind spending money when it’s money well spent, and by checking out the items recommended by such a wise and experienced group, you’ll be sure to get AMAZING value for your dollar!
What awesome products have you bought in the last year that have given you AMAZING value? Share in the comments below or on Twitter @method_money or my Facebook page Method To Your Money. You can also find me on Pinterest. To get more great ideas on how to save money, sign up to receive my weekly emails detailing how to keep more of your hard earned cash!