“An investment in oneself is one that always pays dividends”

I’ve always taught that the best thing to invest in is oneself. More specifically, the best way to invest in oneself is through knowledge and education. My student loan debt provides clear evidence on how much I value education 🙂

Jokes aside (especially since my student loan debt is no laughing matter), investing in your knowledge is quite possibly the best way to increase your value and earn more, not only in life, but on the mats as well.


When I first started training Jiu-Jitsu, I was always intrigued by private lessons but I never actually pursued them because I had other, more important things to spend my money on (e.g. alcohol and cigarettes). It wasn’t until I started to take Jiu-Jitsu more seriously that I asked my girlfriend for a private lesson for Christmas. She bought one and could not understand why anyone would pay upwards of a hundred dollars for a lesson.

Over the next two years, I would take approximately two more private lessons.

Was it because I didn’t see value? Of course not. I allotted my money into other things I thought were more important than my knowledge (eg. alcohol and cigarettes).

Fast forward to a year later:

[Note: It has been approximately 16 months since I quit smoking and I rarely drink. My coffee consumption, however has been off the charts.]

About a couple of months ago, I was speaking with my professor about ways I could help the school financially. Since I was teaching in exchange for my tuition, we came to the agreement that I would take a percentage of my lessons and begin taking private lessons with my professor. Seems reasonable save for one thing: I was not quite making the money I needed to afford private lessons.

I was completely on-board with the idea and tried to strategize ways to make this work. I sat down, took a long look at my finances and saw a few things I could change. The one that stood out most was coffee.

Here’s how the breakdown worked (Please don’t judge me… I drink A LOT of coffee):

I drink approximately 3-4 cups of coffee per day.

3-4 cups per day at $4 (after tip) = approx. $9-16 per day.

$9-16 per day = approx. $63-$112 per week.


$63-$112 per week @ 52.1775 weeks in a year=

(brace yourself)

$3,287.18 – $5,843.88 PER YEAR!!!!

[insert heart attack]

Needless to say after doing some basic arithmetic, I was pissing away nearly $4,000 each year (literally) on coffee.

What did I do? I won’t give you the obvious answer, but rather I’ll give you the gist of how being a little more conscious in your spending can help you get better at Jiu-Jitsu.

Step 1: I started buying coffee by the pound ($10  per week (yes, I buy nice(r) coffee)).

Step 2: I started waking up 30 minutes earlier than I normally do and began to make a french press. This actually has contributed to some other really good habits  like showing up to class early, meditating early and spending some time getting my mind ready for the day.

2a) A more convenient solution is to buy a coffee pot with a timer and have it ready so you don’t have to wake up too much earlier)

Step 3. Brew my coffee throughout the day, as needed.

The cost: Approximately $500 a year to buy coffee by the pound.

The cost to take biweekly private lessons with my professor?

$240 per month. $240 per month at 12 months per year runs roughly $2,880 per year which leaves me with a surplus of a couple thousand (give or take) to begin to take care of my student loan debt and other bills that I have.

The end result?

I will preface this segment by saying that being more conscious about my spending has quite possibly been one of the best investment decisions I have ever made in Jiu-Jitsu. I had to make a decision on whether drinking coffee or maximizing my learning curve in Jiu-Jitsu was more important to me. The obvious answer is Jiu-Jitsu.

Over the last month and a half, I have taken 2 lessons (and am on my way to a third) with my professor and the information he has given me has been absolutely nothing short of phenomenal. I am improving at a much more rapid clip and the details we are covering have led to astronomical improvements in my game.

Not only has he catapulted my skill level as a practitioner but he has also helped me add value to how I teach.

The truth is, not many people see Jiu-Jitsu as an “investment.” For most, it is just a hobby and that’s ok. But, if you really want to improve your game and feel like you “lack the resources”, then maybe you should take a look at your goals and see where your actions differ.

Are you buying too much coffee?

Are you drinking an extra beer each night?

Do you pay for a cable bill when you’re never even home to watch TV?

Find out what you can get rid of and make the best out of what you save!

I realize that the scope of this post is pretty large so I want to write a follow-up that will provide some more insights on how to be more conscious about your spending in order to invest in yourself and your school. Taking private lessons is such an incredible way to boost your skill-set and provide value in yourself while also giving back to your BJJ community. Please subscribe to my mailing list to keep up to date. Also, I updated the design for our patches. We are in the process of ordering these soon! It will only be a run of 50 in the interim, so PLEASE SIGN UP HERE for a chance to win a FREE PATCH!

I think I will be selecting a group of about 20 from my mailing list to receive free patches.


Screenshot 2015-05-18 16.07.29

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