6 Things I'm Doing Instead Of Investing That Will Make More Money

I’m using it to build my self-worth, not just my net worth.

man thinking while writing at laptop Olesya Kuznetsova / Shutterstock

I remember crying due to a lack of money when I was younger.

My friends were rich, and I couldn’t keep up. It bothered me. To the point that there were real tears in my eyes.

Today, however, the situation is completely different. Writing hasn’t made me a millionaire, but it has made me more than enough. Much more than what I need at the age of 24 when I have no real responsibilities.

This has forced me to completely rethink what kind of relationship I want to build with money.


While “Invest your money” is the generic answer — and one that makes a lot of sense —there are some other important things that I’m doing with my money.

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Here are 6 things I’m doing with my money instead of investing it:

1. I’m giving some money to my father (even though he doesn’t need it)

My father runs a family business that feeds 4 families. He’s worked day and night to build this business. And it’s because of him that our entire family is able to live a good life.


But since he’s the head of the business, he’s also the one everyone goes to for money. My uncles. My cousins. Me and my brother. Everyone. Whenever we needed money, he was always the source. Each one of us knew that if we ever got into financial trouble, he’d be there to help us.

The thing that bothered me was while everyone depended on him, there was no one he could depend on. What if he ended up in financial trouble someday?

That’s why I send a decent sum of money to my father from time to time without him asking for it. Not that he needs it. Not that it even makes a difference to him. But just as a gesture. I want him to know that I’m there for him.

And of course, I could just say that I’m there to help him. But I’m not naive. I know that actions matter more than words. And I know that when it comes to money, words mean nothing. Money is money. And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.


2. I’m giving some of it to my mother (for her to give it away)

My mom’s highly religious and by extension, highly charitable. She loves helping people. And hence, she frequently donates money to people in need. One lesson she’s been teaching me since I was a kid is “Your palms should always be facing downward, not upward.”

The quote is translated from Hindi, and unfortunately, it loses its power in translation. However, it just means that your hands should be in a position where you’re giving more than you’re asking — specifically when it comes to money. (Palm facing down = giving. Palm facing up = taking.)

When I started making money as a writer, she told me (repeatedly) to take out some money for charity. However, I didn’t do it. I spent it on myself. Now, I’m beginning to understand the importance of what she used to say, and hence, I send her some money from time to time so that she can help people in need.

It makes her happy to know that I’m trying to be the kind of person she wants me to be. And that makes me happy.


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3. I’m buying experiences (instead of things)

After starting to earn money, I bought more stuff than I used to. Naturally. But then, I realized something. The high of buying never lasted. It faded away very quickly. On top of that, the things I bought (clothes, shoes, etc) were a headache in itself to maintain.

These days, I hate buying things. Instead, I’m biased toward buying experiences. Recently, I bought tickets to Lollapalooza to watch Imagine Dragons and Cigarettes After Sex perform live for the first time in India. It was my first concert — and it was something I’ll remember forever.

I’m also saving up money for a 3-month Europe trip starting this November. I can only imagine that it’ll bag me stories and experiences that I’ll cherish for life.


4. I’m teaching myself to detach myself from money

Money in itself isn’t evil. But it’s powerful. And hence, if its power is not understood and channelized, it can cause evil to rise within you — as it does for people. That’s why I’m teaching myself to not be too attached to money.

Here’s an example of how I’m doing that.

I used to live with 3 roommates, and we hired a maid. We figured that if we can get someone to do the dishes, laundry, and cleaning, we can save a lot of time and study more for med school. And it helped.

But slowly, my roommates moved out because they didn’t want to live in the hostel campus so that they can avoid distractions even more. And I was happy too — because I got to live alone.


However, the amount of money I had to pay the maid suddenly increased by 300%. It isn’t A LOT because household maids in India are cheap, but it’s still something. Even the maid told me that it was okay if I didn’t pay her that much. She was okay with a reasonable pay cut as the workload had also reduced significantly.

However, I kept her paying the same amount. I could afford it. And I figured why pay her less money? She’s already pretty poor. And if my paying a bit extra money helps run her house, why not do it?

I liked myself for doing it. I felt a bit free because I conveyed to myself that I’m not overly attached to money.

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5. Investing in learning and skills

As I said, after starting to earn, I bought lots and lots of things. But it didn’t improve my life even a tiny bit. The high went away pretty quickly. Every time.

That’s when I realized that the thing that matters most to me is learning and getting better.

I care about being able to speak multiple languages.

I care about being a better writer.

I care about being able to play my favorite songs on the Ukulele.

I care about being able to do a handstand.

That’s why I’m buying courses left and right. And I’m also buying more books that I can read. It’s helped me develop many skills I’ve always wanted to and learn about many topics that I’ve wanted to. Suffice it to say, I’m spending my money investing in myself.


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6. Teaching myself to detach from luxury

With money, there comes the freedom to live luxuriously. However, I don’t fancy it. I think that living luxuriously harms you in the long term. That’s why I still live a pretty frugal life as it allows me to stay grounded.

But frugality for me is not deprivation. It’s freedom. I don’t want the strings of luxury trying me down.

Here’s a recent example from my life.


Recently, I went to Mumbai to attend the concert I talked about earlier. However, I didn’t fly there. I went by train. And I lived in a hostel, and not in a fancy hotel.

Now, I can easily afford a flight and a hotel, but I still chose otherwise — because I like to live modestly. Now I understand that in the case of traveling, I can save time by flying instead of choosing train travel.

However, in this case, a daytime flight would have cost me many hours — the to and fro to the airport and the waiting time, etc. On the other hand, a train to Mumbai from my city was overnight and I could sleep all the way there. So even with the time angle, a train was the better choice.

Of course, if a flight saves me time, I will choose to fly. Because time is more important than money. However, in this case, a train worked just fine — and hence I chose the less luxurious route.


Don’t get me wrong. For me, investing money is a priority as well. I’m not stupid. I know that building toward my financial freedom and safeguarding myself from inflation and recession are very important goals.

However, they’re not the only financial goals I have.

I believe that money is a very powerful concept. And the way one chooses to handle it says a lot about their character as well. Hence, in addition to investing money, I’m also going to use it to build my character.

Because ‘who’ you are matters much more than ‘how much’ you have in the bank.

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Akshad Singi, M.D. has been published in Better Humans, Mind Cafe, and more.