I was given $200 I could spend on anything. Here’s what I bought with it.

Adam Albrecht
3 min readOct 24, 2023

Three years ago $200 fell out of the sky and into my hand. No, it wasn’t 20,000 pennies from Heaven. That would have been cool. But life-threatening.

Gusto, the online payroll processing vendor that The Weaponry uses to pay our people, ran a referral promotion that allowed us to share our referral code with others. If someone we referred signed up for Gusto we would both get a $200 gift card. And when my friend Theresa Pride, owner of Pride Physique Pilates and Physical Therapy in Atlanta ran her first payroll we both received our Amazon gift cards.

This created a fun opportunity. Because Amazon sells almost every product under the sun. (Or under the moon if you shop at night.) So I could buy practically any product on the planet that costs $200 or less. I felt like I was at Chuck E Cheese’s and got to choose anything on the prize wall valued at $200 or less. It was a little kid’s dream come true for this big kid.

What Will I Do?

As I pondered my opportunity my mind returned to my favorite childhood book, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have read that book more times than any other book.

One of my favorite stories in the book recounts a time when Almonzo Wilder was at his town’s 4th of July celebration and his cousin dared him to ask his Dad for a nickel to buy a lemonade. Nervously, Almonzo asks his father for the nickel. After a long thoughtful moment, Almonzo’s Pa pulls a 50-cent piece out of his pocket (not out of Da Club) and reminds Almonzo about all of the hard farm work that goes into earning 50 cents. He hands Almonzo the coin and tells him he can buy the lemonade, drink it up and it will be gone. Or he can use the money to buy a suckling pig, raise it up, and sell it at a significant profit. You know, farm stuff.

Almonzo quickly recognized the opportunity to turn his 50 cents into far more value by investing it, rather than spending it. He bought the pig.

150 years later Almonzo inspired me to do the same thing. Only not with a pig.

Investing vs Spending

I could have used the $200 Amazon gift card to buy practically anything. But I chose to invest it in books for my library.

I invested the money in my own education. And I learned far more than $200 worth.

I learned lessons that make me better at my job. I learned lessons that make me a better person. I bought books that inspire me to do more, to recognize opportunity, and to think bigger.

Here are the books that I bought and added to my library and to my personal knowledge:

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Never Split The Difference By Chris Voss

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by Chris ‘Don’t Call Me McKenny’ McChesney

The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason

Principles by Ray Dalio (This is not about people who lead schools)

Start With Why by Simon Sinek (I heard this inspired The Carpenters to write the lyrics to Close To You)

Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff

Estimating Rehab Costs by J Scott. (This is about rehabbing properties, not going to rehab.)

So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki

The Book on Rental Property Investing by Brandon Turner

The Innovators Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

Call Me Ted by Ted Turner

While I spent $200 on these books, I couldn’t possibly calculate all the value I have received in return. I highly recommend all of these books.

Key Takeaway:

Remember not to just spend on yourself. Invest in yourself. Invest in your education, your skills, and your motivation. I hope you get to experience a fun and revealing test like this. And I hope you put thought into it, so you get a great deal out of it like I did.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.

Originally published at http://adamalbrecht.blog on October 24, 2023.

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Adam Albrecht

I am a growth-minded entrepreneur and author of the book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? I share what I'm learning on my journey. And I try to make it funny.