Category: Self Improvement

How to be Frugal – if you’re NOT doing these, you may be doing it all wrong!

There are times when I think I’m being frugal, but when I look back, I realise I was not. In fact, I was far from it. I’ve failed many times in the past at being frugal. And it’s still a work in progress today. So what does it mean to be frugal? If this is one of your New Year’s Resolutions, and you’re not doing these things, then you may be doing it all wrong.

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Is Anything Truly Free? Freegans, Freeganism and the Salvage Economy

I’ve salvaged furniture from the dumpster, and have even saved some imperfect but still-edible produce. But as someone who tries to be frugal, I passed on freeganism because it conflicted with some of my values. To be clear, frugality (as defined by the Reddit community) is “the mental approach we each take when considering our resource allocations – time, money, convenience, and many other factors.” Freeganism, while its origins began with anti-consumerism and veganism, has steered into the direction of not spending at any cost and living on the discarded excess of society. It has recently garnered much media attention in Singapore. So why can freegan thinking lead to unhealthy behaviours? (more…)

Textbook Sharing Has Just Gotten Easier

As a uni student, I couldn’t even afford to buy used textbooks. Instead, I would borrow them from the library for 3 weeks, renew for another 3 weeks, then return them to do it all over again. The cost of textbooks can be a financial burden. I used to wonder why older students couldn’t just pass their textbooks down to younger students. “It’s not that easy,” people would say. Well now it is, at least for primary- and secondary-school textbooks. The FairPrice textbook sharing programme, now in its 35th year, has just gone digital. It is now an online platform and mobile app, making it super convenient and easy to donate and request books.  

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What We Should Worry About vs Our Actual Worries

My husband still feels very uneasy being on a plane. Telling him that more people die by falling down ladders or by fireworks accidents than by plane crashes doesn’t help.  The odds of dying in a plane crash are 11 million to 1 (similar to TOTO), but that still doesn’t comfort him. As complicated beings, sometimes we worry about things that don’t make sense and are unlikely to happen. Yet there are some things that are very likely to occur that we don’t think twice about. Here’s a comparison of what people commonly worry about versus what they ought to worry about.

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Where to Fix Your Broken Items For Free

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.

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The One Thing About My Marriage that Shocks People

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).

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