Using micro-upgrades to get to the next level
When I moved to San Diego seven years ago for grad school, I outfitted my apartment as cheaply as I could. All of my furniture was from thrift stores, consignment stores, or the swap meet. And mostly it was great stuff. But one thing that wasn't great was my thrifted salad spinner. I found one online that I really liked, but it was $50, which seemed outlandish. Who needs that? I didn't need that. There were plenty of cheaper ones, but I really didn't like any of them any more than the crappy one I'd gotten from the thrift store for $3, so I held off.
Every time I used that crusty old salad spinner, though, I thought of the one that I really wanted, and I resented the one I had. But I still couldn't bring myself to spend $50 on a salad spinner.
Fast forward six years. I'm no longer a grad student, but I've been cheap all my life, so that hasn't changed. But I've committed myself to saying yes to any little upgrade that I can. I purged a bunch of things that no longer served me and started saying yes to the things I really wanted. I found that I was being cheap with myself on little tiny things, and that it was a lot of work to be so cheap with myself. I started feeling more in alignment with myself when I allowed myself the things that I wanted.
I'm not saying that I went wild. I'm still a frugal person to my core. But all of these little micro upgrades have felt AMAZING.
And I highly recommend that you try it, too.
Micro-upgrades fall into two primary categories – things that you remove from your life to make your life a little better, and things that you add to your life to make your life a little better.
Some examples of things that I've removed from my own life that make it better:
- expensive underwear that are not actually comfortable plastic containers in my kitchen that I tell myself I'm going to reuse but rarely do
- cosmetic products that I don't actually like (including a massive quantity of free samples)
- a set of brand new sheets that I cannot stand the texture of
Some examples of things that I've added that have made my life better:
- hand made wooden cutting boards
- a multi-step Korean beauty routine
- occasional upgrades to priority seating when I travel + TSA pre check
- THE BEAUTIFUL STAINLESS STEEL SALAD SPINNER THAT I HAVE COVETED FOR SIX YEARS.
I'm telling you all of this because wow, it has made such a HUGE difference in my life. I've consciously been removing anything that feels like a subtle indignity (no indignity quite like underwear that simultaneously slide down and ride up. How is that even possible?) and adding things that bring me joy every time I see them and use them. These small actions have changed my life for the better in immeasurable ways. Most of these things haven't cost much money, or even much effort.
It's mostly been in making the deliberate choice to treat myself really, really well, and following through on it.
It's changed how I view myself, and how I view my life. It's been on my mind to share this with you, because I feel like I keep having conversations that echo this experience over and over again. If you've read this far, it probably means that you're being invited to level up. I encourage you to say yes to that, whatever it means.