If budgeting feels like a sacrifice, you’re doing it wrong

A woman holds up a fan of banknotes close to her face
A woman holds up a fan of banknotes close to her face
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

When I lived at home, I had no money skills at all. I had plenty of chances to learn about how much groceries, bills, and sneakers cost. But without ownership of these costs, I never paid attention. Once I moved out of home, I struggled to part with my money. All this financial information rushed at me, and my first instinct was to clutch every penny with an iron grip. For all I knew, I’d need to keep my money safe for an emergency.

My saving grace was that my frugality helped me buy my first home. To show myself…


Now that I can’t get a date, I’m not sure I want one.

This single gay man is enjoying his life
This single gay man is enjoying his life
Photo by Silviu Beniamin Tofan on Unsplash

I used to hate being single. Seeing couples in public would immediately trigger jealousy. It was worse if they were gay — it was like they’d “made it” in the competition for love and affection, while I was left behind.

But now, I draw the strength I need from the relationships that have endured, those with my friends. This is my journey.

Finding a good date was hard.

To begin with, my odds weren’t great for escaping the shackles of singlehood. My gayness narrowed down the pool of eligible candidates. This made meeting people organically a tall order. It was alright at university, where there were…


All I had to do was (insert advice here)

A massive pile of 2 cent coins
A massive pile of 2 cent coins
Photo by Jonathan Brinkhorst on Unsplash

Last month, I smashed my goal of earning $n on Medium. It took a great deal of effort — most of it on deciphering reams of conflicting advice. What I learned from this experience will be of little use to you, but you’ll probably keep reading because the headline describes your primary reason for writing on Medium. At least you’re helping me earn $(m, m>n) this month.

I’ve learned to use/avoid clickbait

Medium’s algorithm penalizes clickbait titles by reducing the article’s visibility. Yet those who encounter clickbait are more likely to read. The net effect is that clickbait increases/decreases member read time and thus your…


It’s not enough to just show up at Pride

Image of two females laughing in the back of a Subaru
Image of two females laughing in the back of a Subaru
Photo by Jorge Saavedra on Unsplash

In the 1990s, Subaru launched a marketing campaign to court a previously untapped demographic — lesbians. The company was struggling to wrestle market share from larger car companies, and its unique selling point of all-wheel drive wasn’t compelling to white, suburban 18 to 35-year-olds. When its market research revealed that lesbians favored the Subaru for their low-key, active lifestyles, Subaru’s niche appeared to justify itself. So began Subaru’s love affair with the lesbian market.

What Subaru did was controversial. The 1990s in the US were openly hostile to homosexuality. …


It’s all about quality writing, whatever that means

A crowd has gathered to see viral content
A crowd has gathered to see viral content
Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have read one of my viral articles that’s already got n views (insert link). Indeed, it’s elegant, topical, and funny — but I’m going to share with you exactly how I crafted each sentence for maximum attention. Keep reading to find out more and indulge my self-promotion.

Choose topics with a desperate audience

When it comes to topics, you should exploit insecurities that are difficult to discuss in person. After all, the best thing about reading advice is that only Google needs to know about your personal problems. As such, suitable topics include money, sex, and fitness. …


Financial gurus say the darndest things

A man burns a $100 note
A man burns a $100 note
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Dear wiseacres,

If anyone calls you a financial guru, I’m afraid this letter’s for you. You may think your financial advice is top-notch. Heck — you might even be monetizing your free advice with online courses and e-books. It doesn’t mean your empty words are fit for purpose, realistic to implement, or even any good.

Budgeting isn’t about sacrifice

There’s one thing I agree with — spend less than you earn. I too enjoy putting my expenses in a spreadsheet and scrutinizing them with Virgo-inspired fervor. I just draw the line at slashing my brunch budget.

You admonish us to cut out everything not…


It sounds implausible, but my superpowers are easy to explain

An everyday woman drinks from her mug of coffee
An everyday woman drinks from her mug of coffee
Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash

Coffee is a mainstay of daily life, to the point many people simply can’t function without it. The sweet bliss of caffeine is a strong motivating force in getting things done. Without it, time moves sluggishly and eyelids grow heavy. That’s why it’s such a miracle that I don’t drink coffee.

During my university years, my peers would remark, ‘I never drank coffee until I started law school’. Then when I started work: ‘I never drank coffee until I had a full-time job’. I finished law school, and I even write when I’m not at my day job — all…


Facing this challenge is worth it, and you don’t have to make any huge sacrifices

A professional woman is juggling balls, symbolizing her commitments to work, writing, and self-care
A professional woman is juggling balls, symbolizing her commitments to work, writing, and self-care
Photo by alexey turenkov on Unsplash

Writing is loads of fun. You take your readers on an epic journey, console them in their darkest hour, and inspire them to own their destiny. Every waking hour is a chance to write — only, you have a full-time job.

Coming home from your day job doesn’t always bring relief. There are meals to prepare, dishes to clean, and children to put to bed. Once the weekend rolls around, all the other chores scream out to be done. It hardly feels like you have the time, energy, and inclination to write.

Fortunately, there are still enough hours in the…


Here are our submission guidelines

A keen writer is working on a draft for Advance Yourself
A keen writer is working on a draft for Advance Yourself
Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Advance Yourself is always looking for fresh, insightful, and articulate submissions. If you have a suitable piece, we want to see it. We’re a small publication, and our value to you is the time and attention that every submission receives.

Topics

You can write on any topic at all, as long as it has something to do with setting or achieving life goals, whether they’re big or small. As a guide, our readers are interested in pieces about love, career, fitness, mental health, entrepreneurship, productivity, identity, and spirituality.

Submission requirements

All submissions require a picture, and you must cite a source for all…

Justin Jones Li

Writes about his life. Sometimes does voice acting.

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