Frugality and Spirituality – How the Two are Related

buddhas birthday
Celebrate Vesak Day by being frugal.

Today, Buddhists will celebrate Vesak Day. Gratitude, mindfulness, humility, and frugality are all virtues of Buddhism. One could even argue that these virtues exist in some form in nearly all religions. On this Vesak Day, I am reminded that being frugal is not just for the sole purpose of saving money. A deeper, and somewhat more profound reason to be frugal is spiritual, ecological, and maybe even ethical. (more…)

Free MRT Travel for Early Risers Extended for Another Year

singapore mrt train
Travel early to travel for free (and it’s less crowded too!)

Early risers who have been enjoying free travel to the 18 designated MRT stations before 7:45am will continue to enjoy free fares for another year (till June 23, 2015). Those who tap out between 7:45am and 8am will also continue to get a 50 cent discount to these 18 stations. And to really help encourage you to shift your morning commute, for the next 3 Fridays (May 16, 23, & 30), Ya Kun Kaya Toast will be giving out free breakfast vouchers worth $4.60 at these designated MRT stations until 7:45:

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5 Meaningful (and inexpensive) Gifts for Mother’s Day

personalized notes in a jar
These gifts are not just inexpensive; they are priceless!

Being a good, responsible, and dedicated mother is perhaps one of the hardest responsibilities in the world – there are no off days or MC days, no salary, no (monetary) benefits, yet there are plenty of insane working conditions and hours. But the role does come with huge upside potential – a lifetime of purpose, memories, rewards, personal growth, and meaning. So why would I “cheapen” this by opting for an inexpensive gift?

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When Does a Job Becomes Exploitative?

help wanted ad
An employer-employee relationship should be fair, equitable, and consensual for both parties.

Jobs give us a source of income, a sense of security, a structure to our day, a means of networking and social connections, and an identity. But since all things come with a price, it is important to sometimes reflect on what we are exchanging for these career benefits. More importantly, we need to ask ourselves if the exchange is (or continues to be) fair, meaningful, and consensual. Often a relationship, particularly an employer-employee relationship, starts out as fair, meaningful, and consensual for both parties, but over time, can morph into a lopsided or even exploitative relationship. In fact, this happens very naturally and very commonly in a capitalistic society, though it does not need to be this way as there are many businesses that practice “conscious capitalism”.

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4 Ways to Protect Yourself as an Employee

Don't leave it up to your employer to protect you from exploitation.
Don’t leave it up to your employer to protect you from exploitation.

In this year’s May Day Rally, NTUC Chief Lim Swee Say said that employers “need to make better use of every worker, and treat every worker better” while telling employees not to take the tight labour market (i.e., more jobs than workers) for granted. May Day (a.k.a. International Workers’ Day) began as a movement of employees seeking better working conditions, hours, and protection from their employers. This was at a time when many employers exploited their employees, often forcing them to work very long hours (12+) in dangerous working conditions. Unfortunately, much of this still goes on in the developing nations. Last week was the one year anniversary of Bangladesh garment factory collapse, in which more than 1000 people died. Some would even say that there are remnants of this kind of exploitation in many developed nations… Although there have been many labour laws passed since the first May Day, for the purpose of protecting the rights of employees, we still need to do our part to protect ourselves and not assume that our employer has our best interest in mind. Here are 4 ways of protecting yourself: (more…)

Rent Your Clothing – Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow

Why buy when you can rent?

There are certain things that a person should definitely buy second-hand (or borrow), especially clothing that is only meant for occasional wear such as maternity clothing, winter clothing, costumes/festive wear, and formal attire. These clothes are often just worn a couple of times before they are discarded or given away because a person’s style and/or size has changed. Because children grow so quickly, I would also include children’s clothing in this category, particularly newborn and infant clothing which a baby will quickly grow out of so there’s no sense in buying them new. (more…)

Free Events to Celebrate Easter & Earth Day in Singapore

Easter and Earth Day
Like an egg, the earth holds life, but it can also crack.

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, but to the secular community, it is a celebration of spring, of new beginnings, and of hope, peace and harmony. Earth Day is a day meant to promote awareness for conservation, sustainability, and environmental protection. Both are days to honour and respect the creator and/or the creation, and both can be great opportunities to educate and inspire the next generation. Here are some free(!!!) events happening around Singapore celebrating these two important days.

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Watch Movies For Free!

movie icons
Here are some places in Singapore where you can enjoy a free movie.

Movie ticket prices have been increasing in Singapore. While there are plenty of free streaming sites on the web (watch out, as some of them are shady), sometimes it’s nice to have that “movie going experience” and watch a film on a larger screen while being enveloped by the surround sound audio system. Since I don’t own a television, just about any theatre screen beats watching movies on my laptop. In Singapore, there are several places that offer free movie screenings that can make for a great night out with a date or with friends.

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Why the Planet Depends on Us Being Frugal

One home
Our planet, our one home, has limited resources.

Earth Day (22nd April) is almost upon us, and being frugal coincides nicely with being environmentally conscious and environmentally friendly. We’ve all heard the usual advice on recycling, turning off lights/taps when not in use, taking shorter showers, using cloth grocery bags, and replacing incandescent light bulbs with more energy efficient lighting (my preference is LED), but there are a few more things (and some are super easy) that I feel would make a huge impact in our carbon footprint, especially here in Singapore. (more…)