Did you know that most “broken” appliances only need a minor repair to become functioning again, and often this fix takes less than 20 minutes? I have saved countless appliances just by replacing a fuse, cleaning out coils (from a refrigerator), replacing hinges, soldering a joint where 2 wires came loose, or swapping motherboards (for a mobile phone and a dryer). These repairs may sound complicated, but most are really pretty simple. All these repairs took just a bit of my time, a bit of money (the cost of the part), but saved me from having to buy a new appliance altogether.
An old friend that I’ve known since primary school is getting married this weekend, exactly one week from my own anniversary. Whether to get married, and more importantly, who to marry, is one of the most important decisions a person will ever make. Marriage can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on your well-being, happiness, fulfillment in life, health, and of course, your finances. On the flip side, getting divorced is ranked as one of the top traumatic, stressful, and financially devastating events.
I married young, right after graduating uni. And while many “young marriages” lead to divorce, I’m grateful that ours has stayed strong after all these years. It has been a critical component of many positive outcomes we’ve seen in our lives. I owe a lot of its strength and success to this one very unconventional thing we do as a couple. When I tell people, it often shocks them (don’t worry, it’s not kinky).
Change is uncomfortable but necessary for growth. Although emerging technologies have disrupted many jobs, they have also opened up new careers that didn’t exist before. When doctors now enter medical school, they are told that much of what they learn will be obsolete within a few years of graduation. The rate of change in this world is accelerating, and everything we know or are comfortable with has a shorter “expiration date”. These are just the circumstances we live in today, whether we like it or not. And although we may have already finished our formal education and started our careers, we now need to become lifetime learners, acquiring new skills while we are still gainfully employed. This allows us to remain relevant despite the widening digital divide and rapidly changing employment landscape.
In addition to getting free ebooks and audiobooks from National Library Board’s Overdrive (which has just increased borrowing limits), you can get tons of free books from Amazon which you can read on your phone using the free Kindle app. All you need is an Amazon account (does not require subscription to Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited). And with Amazon arriving in Singapore early next year, you might want to just create an account anyway. (more…)
Someone recently lamented that being frugal in this day and age when we’re surrounded by glamour, brands, labels, and extravagance is really really hard. “But what’s harder,” I told her, “is living pay cheque to pay cheque” which was essentially what my mum did, and it was not easy as a child seeing her trapped in a destructive cycle of wasteful spending coupled with a seemingly endless struggle to earn money while setting aside her health, relationships and other priorities. I opted for a different path. Having lived this way for decades now, here are some unexpected benefits that I’ve enjoyed from being frugal (remember that “frugal” does not mean being stingy or cheap; it means being value-conscious with your money). (more…)
We’ve all been there. You’re trying to meet a deadline, your boss just scolded you, your significant other says “we need to talk”, your children are quarreling, and you accidentally delete an important file…. We’ve all had the experience of being bombarded with a series of mishaps, and all we want to do is vent out our frustrations and anger at someone – anyone. If it’s not personally directed, is it ok to gripe, complain, and curse? Perhaps, but our venting may cost us in ways we may later regret. (more…)
When you see an item for sale, you usually think of it as a one-off purchase. When somebody asks you how much, say, your microwave costs, you usually will respond with whatever you paid to buy it. You typically don’t think that items, such as your microwave, have “ongoing overhead expenses”, but they do – all items do! In my last post, we discussed how to get stuff (in particular, furniture) for free. This week, let’s talk about how stuff, even so-called free things that were #OOTD (Out Of the Dumpster), are not really free. The microwave, for example, if left on standby, will consume more electricity than when in actual use (i.e, heating food), according to the Economist. Many other devices are also this way. All your stuff has an ongoing expense tab. (more…)
This month I turn 37 years old. It’s been nearly 2 decades living the frugal life. I don’t count the years I lived with my parents, as frugality was not by choice (we were simply poor and had to skimp & scrimp). But once I was on my own and working, making more in my first full-time job than either of my parents made after a lifetime of achievement in their respective careers, my level of consumption really didn’t increase much. On the other hand, my peers, even the ones who grew up poor like I did, chose a different path. I was recently asked why I remained frugal while those around me didn’t. And after much reflection, here’s what I realised (these are also some things that have “converted” some profligate spenders into more value-conscious frugaltarians): (more…)
The start of the New Lunar Year (4714) will soon be upon us, and many are eagerly seeking forecasts and predictions from “Grand Masters” to find out what the year of the Red Fire Monkey will bring. This is also one of the busiest times for Singapore Pools, as ticket sales dramatically increase with the annual $12 million TOTO Hong Bao Draw. These are entertaining ways that sort of give us a sense of how lucky we are or will be in the coming year. And it’s fun and easy to daydream and fantasize about what you would do with the winnings. But what are your odds of winning?
It’s that of year again when we, with all our good intentions, list all the various health, self-improvement, and financial goals that we aim to achieve in the coming 12 months. Each year, the same New Year’s resolutions appear – make healthier food choices, exercise regularly, spend less, save more – yet most resolutions are broken within the first 2 weeks. It seems that we all know exactly what we need to do, but the knowledge-behavioural gap is wide, and translating what we know into actions is where we fail. So here are some ways in which this gap might be lessened, at least when it comes to meeting our financial goals. (more…)