$50 & Under Items That Are Totally Worth It

Sure, we know, $50 may not be a lot, but these days it can go a long way if you’re spending it wisely! In the past we’ve down a few of our go-to essential items that make our lives easier, from apps to entertainment, but what about those must-have tools and services that we can’t live without?

Well, we’re going to give you 10 items that we think are not only worth $50 but will have a huge impact on your life well beyond something fairly inexpensive.

 

1.Leatherman Keychain – $35

We love this handy little number from Leatherman, it’s truly a lifesaver. And while it may not seem like much, you will be blown away by how often you use the super useful combination of tools. One of Dorian’s go-to EDC items.

 

2. Minimal Hard Shell Phone Case – $12

You spent some good money on a great new phone so give it the protection it deserves with a case that’s not only protected but also slim and stylish. Looking for a few more options? Check out our phone case rundown.

 

3. Paperkarma $12-$20 Per Year

An insanely useful service that helps you get rid of obnoxious, unwanted junk mail. Simply download the app, take a few pictures of junk mail as it comes in and you’re good to go. Not only is it easy to use it saves you time, money and help cut down on unwanted paper waste for the environment. Win-win-win.

 

4. Herschel Charlie Wallet – $30

We’re big fans of Herschel’s goods and we reviewed another one of their options in our Best Wallets of 2019 article. This card case is perfect for those who like a slim, pared-down vibe. It’s a great bang for your buck and the leather is very nice. They’ve got a ton of great color options too.

 

5. Zojirushi Thermos – $26

This sleekly designed water bottle/thermos might as well be magic because it keeps your drinks cold or hot for what seems like forever. It comes in 3 different sizes and a bunch of great colors.

 

6. External Phone/Laptop Battery – $46

If you’ve ever known the sweet agony of having your phone or computer die at the wrong moment when traveling or working away from home you know how valuable one of these babies can be. Light and portable, one of two of these is money very well spent.

Picks:

Anker 1

Anker 2

Anker 3

 

7. Vintage Casio Digital Watch – $34

From a style perspective, we love the vintage vibe of these classic digital watches. They’re super affordable and add a great throwback-inspired vibe to your style. You can slap on a perlon strap to add a different look too.

Casio 1

Casio 2

Strap Options

 

8. Slow cooker – $30 – $50

While there is a serious debate in our house as to which slow cooker is best, there’s no debate about how awesome and practical both of our favorite slow cookers are. Drop in some ingredients and some flavorful items, hit the dial or button and you’re good to go. An absolute must for any busy guy who still wants to eat well and healthy.

Ashley’s Favorite: Crock Pot

Dorian’s Favorite: Instapot

 

9. Betterment – No Fees

A great new option for financial services, we love Betterment’s free checking and savings accounts. They both have zero fees and the savings account has one of the highest interest rates anywhere at 2.39%. So, essentially you get paid every month to keep your money in your savings account. Investment and retirement have an annual fee of 0.25% per year on your retirement balance, but since you’re getting paid in your savings account, it will likely cost you nothing.

Sign Up For Betterment Here

 

10. Incase Backpack – $49.95

Yup, we’re huge fans of Incase.  We’ve featured their backpacks and briefcases previously because we absolutely adore their clean, minimal design, functional features, and great price. This version in particular, at $50 is an absolute steal and one of the very best affordable backpacks out there. It comes in a range of colors but our favorites are the light grey and dark grey.

Our Favorite Podcasts? / Best Podcasts 2019

Just like a ton of you out there, we love a great podcast.  Whether we’re in the car, cleaning the house, or just taking some time to ourselves, they’re a great way to learn, be entertained, and get motivated.  Recently a viewer asked us what some of our favorite podcasts were so we thought we’d share some of our go-tos, for entertainment, business, and more.

In this episode of 2 Minute Tuesday we’re running down a list of our favorite podcasts and why we love them so much!

 

Dorian’s Favorite Podcasts

Dorian loves a mix of history, business, current events, and entertainment in his podcast diet.  Here are some of his favorites.

Conan Needs A Friend

A hilarious and insightful interview pod hosted by Conan O’Brien and featuring great guests like Dana Carvey, Bill Hader, Jimmy Kimmel, and more.

The Rewatchables

Part of The Ringer’s awesome podcast network, The Rewatchables recaps classic action, comedy, and thriller movies in a really funny way.  if you’ve ever found yourself on the couch on Saturday or Sunday afternoon watching movies like Step Brothers, Bloodsport, Top Gun, and really wanted to discuss how perfect these movies are, this is the pod for you.

Revisionist History

A great deep dive into notable historical and current events but with a unique perspective, this educational and entertaining show is hosted by Malcolm Gladwell, the brilliant mind behind such classic books as “The Tipping Point“, “Blink” and “Outliers“.

The Daily

Dorian loves the mix of important news stories and outstanding news stories from The New York Times editorial team.

Slow Burn

Dorian has mentioned his love for history, and in particular, presidential history and this killer series has seasons on The Watergate scandal and the Clinton/Lewinsky affair.  We’re definitely excited about Season 3, which will cover the murders of Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G.

Economist: The Intelligence

Another current events podcast, this time from The Economist, it offers excellent business coverage as well.

Revolutions

Another podcast for you history nerds out there, this one focuses on some of the most important and, well, revolutionary revolutions in history.

Seincast

Dorian’s love of Seinfeld is deep and strong, so obviously he’s going to be into this hilarious podcast.

Batman – The Animated Podcast

An offshoot of the awesome animated series (definitely not for kids), this serialized podcast is super entertaining and a must for all comic book fans.

 

Ashley’s Favorite Podcasts

Ashley loves true crime, technology, and some interesting non-fiction in her podcast menu.  Here are her go-to’s.

Reply All

Not so much a technology podcast, rather, it’s more about human stories with bits of tech, social media, and communication within it. We also love the great rapport between the two hosts.

Criminal

Ashley is a huge true crime fan, so this one is right in our wheelhouse.  Sure, it’s probably obvious that this one is about crime and criminals, but the stories are crazy and out-of-the-ordinary in a really entertaining way. Guaranteed to blow your mind!

Couples Therapy

A podcast with Casey Neistat and his wife, Candice, this podcast is pretty raw, unfiltered and a really interesting look into their relationship (and all relationships, really).

7 Books That Could Change Your Life

Whether you’re a student or making your way in the professional world, never underestimate the power of a great read or two.  Whether it’s about organization hacks and work habits or motivation and goal setting, we always encourage you to keep up with some solid reading.

We’re both big believers in the improvements that great books can make in your life so we thought we’d share some of our favorite, life-changing reads with our picks for 7 books that could change your life!

 

The Last Lecture

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2006. He died in 2008 but before he died he gave an incredibly moving lecture called “Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. “The Last Lecture” is an addendum to the commencement speech he gave after he learned that he was dying, and it’s the perfect ready for those feeling overwhelmed by it all.  It’s an especially great must-read for any students who want to take some time to pull back and think about the big picture in life.

 

Bullet Journal Method

We’ve raved about this one before, this  NY Times bestseller and one of Dorian’s favorite organizational books, we’re both now converts of this goal setting and organizational process.  No matter if you’re working in a business job or in school, the tools and tips in this book are incredibly useful for maximizing your time, organizational habits, and overall work/school performance.

 

Tao Te Ching (Stephen Mitchell translation)

A super quick, impactful read, this philosophy book is sort of like a very practical operating system for living your life.  Written by an ancient philosopher, it just goes to show how universal good advice and practical wisdom can be.  Just make sure you get the translation by Stephen Mitchell linked above, it’s universally regarded as the best one among many, many options.

 

4 Hour Work Week

Another one of our favorites that we have talked about before, this book is all about thinking about smart work versus hard work. This book is packed with solid tips and an excellent framework for creating success in work, school, and life in general.

 

Catch-22

An absolutely classic work of fiction, Catch-22 focuses on the absurdity of war, but just like in war, college life is absolutely absurd if you step back and look at it.  It was recently made into a tv series as well.

 

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

We all know how good habits and positively affect our lives, both with school and work and this excellent book is a great deep dive that not only explains how habits are formed but also how to kick bad ones and hang on to the good.  Essential reading if you’re embarking on a new school year or a new job.

 

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Al all-time classic, this book about personal and professional relationships is just as relevant today as it was when it was first published way back in 1936 (seriously!).

 

A Few More Of Our Favorites

Thinking, Fast and Slow
An international bestseller, this book by a renowned psychologist and winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, is a fascinating dive into our minds and explains the two systems that drive the way we think.  An essential for someone who’s working on developing better habits and efficiencies, both in school or work decision making.

Do You Do It, Or Does It Do You?
An incredibly insightful lecture by Alan Watts, this piece is a must-listen.

Wisdom of Insecurity
The perfect antidote for those struggling with anxiety, stress, and an uncertain future.

Rework
A great look at what it really takes to grow a business on your own as an entrepreneur from the founders of Basecamp.

Sherlock Holmes Collection
The classic detective series isn’t just entertaining, it can teach out a lot about how critical thinking, reasoning, and introspection can play a part in day-to-day life.

7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Another absolute classic-for-a-reason, 7 Habits is one of the best and most successful business and self-help books because of it’s no-nonsense approach to building great habits.

We Sold The Company!

In this week’s 2 Minute Tuesday, we’re changing it up a bit and covering a question for Dorian! As a successful entrepreneur himself, Dorian has a lot of experience in the business world and starting and building companies.  So, in this episode, he’s going to answer a question about some of his favorite business and entrepreneurship tips and what it takes to build and sell a successful company.

Don’t forget to check out his business book recommendations below!

 

Read The 4-Hour Work Week

A classic book by Tim Ferriss, this book is packed with solid tips and an excellent framework for creating successful businesses in the modern entrepreneurship world.  Check it out here: The 4-Hour Workweek

Use Ignorance / Youth as a Strength

Part being humble and part being resourceful, your ignorance and inexperience can actually be an incredible tool when starting or growing a business.  People will often offer help, insight, or advice if you approach your interactions and, more importantly, mistakes, the right way.  If you approach business in a cocky or overly-confident way it can often work against you and you’ll miss out on valuable growth and insight.

Try and Test Everything

One of the mantras Dorian loves in the 4-Hour Workweek revolves around constant testing and experimentation.  You always want to use feedback, data, and trial and error to constantly evaluate where you’re at.  You can’t be afraid to try new things, adjust, and re-evaluate both success and failure (more on that in a second).

Fail Quickly and Often

Part of the trying and testing is failing.  It’s a huge part of not just starting businesses and being an entrepreneur but also success in general. You can’t be afraid to fail, start over, or abandon things that aren’t working.  It’s called “trial and error” for a reason, and often times your failures and what you learn from failures are the most important part of future success.  From Elon Musk to Jeff Bezos, no successful entrepreneur or business owner has ever gotten anywhere without failure, so embrace it, get better, and move on.

Cut Expenses / Mitigate Risk

As you get into starting a new business or work on a new idea you never want to bet your current financial future too heavily.  So, it’s important to consider the risk and mitigate potential loss at the beginning with thoughtful planning.  Look at approaching your life and business with low overhead and you’ll have more flexibility and less overall risk as you develop your business or company

 

Dorian’s Favorite Business Books

The 4-Hour Work Week

How To Win Friends and Influence People

Rework

Do You Do It Or Does It Do You – Lecture by Alan Watts

When Should You Wear A Belt?

To belt or not to belt, that’s the question in this week’s edition of 2 Minute Tuesday! It may seem simple but there are actually some key situations and outfits you need to keep in mind when you’re thinking about putting on a belt. Previously we discussed what belt size to buy and our favorite belt picks, but now it’s time to break down exactly when you should and shouldn’t wear a belt!

 

Belts Are An Accessory

First and foremost, belts are an accessory, not a utilitarian piece. As we said in our fit guides, your pants should always fit properly without a bet and you shouldn’t be using a belt solely to keep them up.

 

Don’t Wear A Belt: When Wearing Suits

Even if a suit has belt loops, you don’t want to wear a belt with a suit, it ruins the line as the eye will be drawn directly to your waist and it will break up the overall vertical look.  Like we previously said, your suit pants should fit properly so your pants should sit on you without needing to be held up.

 

Do Wear A Belt: When Your Shirt Is Tucked In

Whether your shirt is fully tucked in or just partially tucked in (aka the French Tuck), you always want to wear a belt, regardless of whether you’re wearing jeans, chinos, or dress trousers.

 

Do Wear A Belt: With Jackets and Blazers

Typically with jackets and blazers, your shirt should be tucked in (unless its a very casual look with a t-shirt) so you’re going to always want to wear a belt with these types of looks.

Summer Travel Essentials And Accessories

Summer travel season is here and hopefully, you’ve got a trip or two on the books. Whether you’re taking a week away to hit somewhere warm and tropical, seeking out nature, or hitting the road for some sightseeing, you’re going to need some essentials to get you through all types of situations. If you’ve seen Ashley’s Instagram you know that we both travel quite a bit, and we’ve found that outside of finding the right travel bag, these small, easily packable items can make all the difference in the world.

Plus, almost all of these items can be found on Amazon so it will make your pre-trip shopping as easy as a few clicks.

 

 

Pain Relievers

Whether you’re nursing a hangover from a few too many poolside cocktails or dealing with aches and pains from hikes or exercise, a few of these can change the game.

 

Band-Aids

If you’ve ever dealt with vacation blisters from a day of walking and sightseeing or accidents in nature you know how handy a pack of these band-aids in your dopp kit can be.

 

Dopp Kit

Speaking of dopp kits, having the right one is not only stylish but helps keep you organized and prepared for any type of trip.

Dopp Kit Picks:

Jack Spade

Jack Spade 2

Filson

Vetelli

Budget Friendly: Herschel

Sunscreen

We can’t stress enough the importance of sunscreen, whether you’re at the pool or beach or just out and about.  Don’t forget proper lip balm with sunscreen too!

Sunscreen/Lip Balm Picks:

Anthelios

Neutrogena

Jack Black

Burt’s Bees

Jack Black

 

Noise Cancelling Headphones

An absolute must when traveling on any kind of plane journey, these can turn a rough flight into a relaxing one.  We’ve tried a bunch and the ones listed below are our favorites.

Headphone Picks:

Bose

Sony

Budget-Friendly: Cowin

Earbud Option

 

Sandals/Flip Flops

Sure, we’ve talked about how a lot of guys wear them too often during summer, but if you’re going to be in/around a body of water they’re definitely a great thing to have.

Flip Flop Picks:

Hurley

Scott

Rainbow

 

Clorox Wipes

For a quick clean up on potentially dirty surfaces that can make you sick, nothing beats the convenience of these Clorox wipes.

 

Emergen-C

Airports and planes can be a virus and bacterial hot zone, so make sure you’re taking proper precautions by downing a few Emergen-Cs and keeping your immune system in check.

 

External Battery Pack

Keep your devices juiced up and ready to go with one of these handy battery packs.  Another item that you’ll be so glad you have when you need it.

Battery Pack Picks:

Power Bank

Belkin

Anker

 

Cable Organizer / Tech Dopp Kit

Keep your carry on or briefcase organized and stress-free with one of these easy-to-use cord organizers.

Organizer Picks:

Grid-It

BagSmart

This Is Ground

 

Lint Roller

A must-have for any dark clothing. We like this handy small version the best for traveling:

Travel Lint Roller

 

Portable Steamer 

Small and easy-to-use, a steamer is well worth the packing space. This is the only one we use and recommend:

Portable Steamer

 

Portable Speaker

A fun, easy way to add some atmosphere to any trip.  We’ve tested and used a bunch and these are our favorites.

Speaker Picks:

JBL

Anker

Ultimate Ears

The Best Men’s Weekender Bags of 2019

Whether you’re taking a weekend getaway or packing up for a shorter business trip, a stylish, functional weekender bag is the perfect travel companion. We’ve discussed some of our favorite weekender-style bags before, but these bags are so useful and versatile that we decided it was time for an update. All of these bags meet carry-on requirements and are ideal for 1-3 days of travel. Here are our picks for the best weekender bags of 2019.

Check out all our picks below plus a few extra bags that we added for good measure!

 

Stuart & Lau -$385

A truly excellent bag, we love the mix of waterproof nylon and full grain leather, as well as the simple, lined interior and clean design. An added bonus, this bag comes in multiple sharp color options and also comes with a matching, full-grain leather strap. It may seem like a small detail but the two exterior pockets on each end are a really handy design detail that gives you some extra storage flexibility. The navy and tan colorway we tested was great, but we also really like the olive and black combo.

 

Herschel – $90

We’re big fans of Hershel’s backpacks, briefcases, and wallets, so it makes sense that their weekender bag would be excellent as well. This bag boasts a very nice price point that belies it’s sturdy, high-quality construction and materials. It’s constructed with heavy-duty nylon and has an integrated shoe compartment that we thought was a nice feature. While we preferred the basic, monochromatic black and grey colors, the huge range of colors and patterns is a nice bonus if you prefer more colorful options.

 

Everlane – $98

As with all things Everlane, this bag has a great price point and super simple, classy design. In our previous weekender video, we chose this one as well, but it had a rubber bottom. In this newer version, they’ve done away with that and added metal feet instead, which we feel is a downgrade. But overall, it’s still a great bag at a great price.

 

Combatant Gentlemen – $110

We loved the price point and mix of leather and canvas with the shoe handy shoe compartments and this bag is a really excellent value. The bag has a unique garment bag design to it but in the end, we weren’t a fan of this aspect because it could potentially affect the clothes you normally put in a garment bag as they can get smashed on the sides and bottom. But, other than this small part, this bag was really great.

 

Frost River – $215

The Frost River bag is made in the USA and boasts a great mix of affordability and quality.  It’s constructed with heavy-duty materials that will age beautifully and last a long time. The leather accents are very nice and the hardware is sturdy. The top zipper design opens up very wide to make packing easier and the exterior pockets are perfect for stashing books, magazines or an iPad, both nice design touches.

 

Filson – $395

Another made in the USA, heritage brand, Filson builds extremely durable, handsome bags that will literally last you a lifetime.  If you favor the more rugged, woodsy look, this is the bag for you.  It’s constructed of very sturdy canvas, outstanding leather accents, and strong hardware.  It has a very large capacity and features a beautiful all-leather shoulder strap. This bag takes some time to break in but will only get better over time.

 

Want Les Essentials – $450

This stylish weekender bag boasts a sleek, monochromatic design that we really loved. There’s minimal branding and it features very nice cotton canvas accented with Italian leather details. We loved that the entire base was leather, a very nice touch. While the shoulder strap wasn’t all leather, overall this bag is very nice and has exceptional design.

 

Billykirk – $550

Another outstanding American-made bag, Billykirk is known for their leather goods and excellent quality.  This handsome bag is made from heavy waxed canvas and very nice leather accents (including an all-leather shoulder strap!) that will age beautifully. The style is clean and simple but with a bit of a rugged vibe that’s not too over-the-top. It’s really a great mix of modern classic styles. It comes in two great colorways but we especially love the all-black version, it’s really sharp.  This bag also comes in smaller and larger versions, so if you’re looking for more or less space but love the looks you’ve got some options here.

 

Frank Clegg – $925

Dorian has owned this bag personally for 4 years now and it looks brand new. This bag has it all: clean, classic design, buttery soft tumbled leather that just gets softer with age, an all-leather shoulder strap, lined interior and no metal feet on the bottom. Plus the design features just the right amount of structure to it. It’s a pleasure to own and use this bag, it’s the best of the best.