Money: The Ultimate Unfair Advantage We All Need

This Week’s BIG Idea

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about money. This relates to two of the most recent books I read. First, in The Unfair Advantage, the authors talk about the things in life that put you in a better position than others. They agree that money is one of those unfair advantages. Second, in the book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, Scott Adams talks about the importance of systems and how they pale in comparison to goals. With this in mind, the idea shouldn’t be to have a goal but to have a system for it.

So in the case of money, how do you create a system from scratch that is tailored specifically for you? In my case, I turned to some of the books on personal finance that resonated with me, such as Unshakeable and I Will Teach You to Be Rich. This allows me to not only learn from my own personal experiences but from other people’s as well. Crafting a system takes time and you’re likely to make adjustments as you go, but once you have rules in place, you follow them and when something contradicts those rules, you ignore them. So how can I combine the lessons from all those personal finance books I mentioned into a coherent framework I can start using?

These are some of the rules I have for myself when it comes to money:

  • Spend less than you earn: this is the basic rule of budgeting and one that some people tend to forget.
  • Ignore the noise: never forget that most of the things that are being offered to you, you don’t really need.
  • Don’t subscribe: I don’t have Spotify, YouTube Premium, Netflix, Crunchyroll, or cable.
  • Bike or walk places instead of using your car: this saves money and encourages you to do exercise.
  • Spend as much money as you can on the things you love and save on everything else: this is an idea that Ramit Sethi introduces in I Will Teach You to Be Rich.

Although I recently started implementing this system, I’m already seeing some of its benefits.

What I’m Working on

I recently started capturing quotes in notecards (I discussed the process here), but I misplaced the notecard collection I have amassed so far. They’ll turn up eventually, so in the meantime, I’m collecting some quotes I want to transcribe digitally. I thought about getting a Moleskine for this purpose, but the beauty of having a notecard system is that each notecard represents a different quote, so you can organize them however you want which is useful when you’re looking for something specific. In other words, I’m comparing the positives and negatives of collecting quotes and passages in either a notebook or notecards. I think I’m going to stick with notecards for now, but I like the idea of taking a notebook with all of the quotes that resonated with me somehow wherever I go.

What I’m Listening to

I recently listened to The Tim Ferriss Show episode where Ferriss interviews Bill Burr. I liked that episode so much that I decided to download the latest episode of Monday Morning. I’ve watched movies where Bill Burr plays one of the main characters, but my favorite thing of his is the award-winning Netflix special Paper Tiger. Although I haven’t had a chance to listen to Monday Morning yet, I’ve heard a lot about the podcast, especially how Burr makes fun of advertisers.

What I’m Reading

  • The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba: after reading the first chapters of some popular nonfiction books I didn’t enjoy, I finally decided to read The Unfair Advantage. I literally just started reading it, so I just know the book’s premise. The idea is that we all have an unfair advantage, a skill that’s unique to us that we can use to draw an audience. The book’s been recommended to me for months, so finally decided to give it a chance.

What I’m Watching

As the name suggests, this video features a list of habits that save Ali Abdaal’s hours of his day. These are the seven habits in case you’re wondering:

  1. Capture: write down something you have to do so that you don’t interrupt a work session 
  2. The Daily Adventure: this is the most important thing that you have to do
  3. The Rainbow Calendar: plan your calendar and color-code it without leaving gaps
  4. The 5-minute Rule: start doing something for five minutes
  5. The Focus Phone: turn on focus mode, have your phone face down, and use the One Sec app 
  6. The Alarm Clock: use a physical alarm clock rather than your phone 
  7. Not Watching TV: don’t watch television unless it’s a social experience

I’ve been thinking about giving up television for quite some time and this video might help break that addiction. Although I don’t watch that much TV, I could use that hour or so to do something more productive. As Ali suggests, you can always try it and see how you feel.

This Week’s Quote

“Spend extravagantly on the things you love, and cut costs mercilessly on the things you don’t.”

Ramit Sethi

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