Category: Self Improvement

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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).

(more…)

Don’t Wait to Use Your SkillsFuture Credit

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.

(more…)

Expand your Digital Library with More than 30,000 FREE Kindle Books

kindle-on-phone
Never run out of reading material again.

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…)

The Unexpected Benefits of Frugality (it’s better than you think!)

sunset-flickr
Being frugal comes with amazing benefits.
(Photo by notmerely)

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…)

How Much is Your Complaining and Rudeness Costing You?

complaints
Complaints anyone?
(Photo by ehpien)

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…)

Your Stuff Spends Money Without You Knowing It

devices
The cost of a handphone doesn’t just include the price tag and service contract.
(Photo by Luke Wroblewski.)

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…)

My Personal Path to Frugality and How You Can Convert Your Children

pathway
The 7 things that led me to a path of frugality and financial freedom.

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…)

How Lucky Will You Be This Year

dice
Life is filled with blessings, but expect to have disasters once in a while.

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?

(more…)