When I was living in the States, I had a friend whose father was the auto mechanic instructor for a nearby school. Whenever my car had any problems or just needed routine maintenance, he was kind enough to let me bring my car to his school where he would have his students work on the car as part of their training. I would always bring him and his students goodies and treats while thanking them profusely, and he would always tell me that I was actually doing him a favor since the school was in constant need of “practice vehicles”. Since he personally inspected all the cars, I had the assurance that the work was acceptable (and I saved an unbelievable amount of money!) (more…)
Perhaps it’s due to rising food costs, concerns over food security, or the fear of contaminated or pesticide-laden food, that there has been a lot of interest recently among city dwellers in starting small-scale edible gardens. As someone who has spent many years living in a rural countryside, I certainly miss the (literal) fruits of my labor – the pineapple guavas, grapefruits, oranges, persimmons – as well as the other harvest (mint, basil, Chinese parsley, ginkgo biloba, almonds, and red amaranth). It can be quite challenging growing an edible garden here in Singapore with such limited space, particularly if you do not have a balcony, roof, or yard. For those who are completely new to the concept and are unsure whether they have a green thumb, here are some easy, fool-proof, and frugal tips on how to start your very own edible garden. (more…)
Singapore’s GDP for 2014 Q3 was reported as 2.8%. This news came with much disappointment, as it was lower than what analysts expected. Granted, Singapore, being a small country, must abide by the rules of the global economy, and thus must improve productivity to achieve sustainable economic growth that will fund an improving quality of life (as PM Lee mentioned in his 2015 New Year Message). But, imagine for a moment if we could rewrite the rules of the global economy and we were able to question our most basic assumptions. We might ask does it still make sense to have growth every year? Does it really measure a nation’s prosperity? Does that “prosperity” really trickle down to everyone equally or make us more unequal? And is it even the right way to measure how well we’re doing as a nation or as a society? (more…)
Many people I come across tell me that they really don’t spend that much, and that this by definition, makes them frugal. I myself grew up very poor, and many of the meals I had in my youth were cheap and inexpensive, such as instant noodles, but this was not frugal. And while my parents also had very little discretionary money to spend, this did not make them frugal either (rather, this is just called being poor). Frugality, is a choice that involves being more conscious of the value of a purchase and the associated tradeoffs. It is when a person who has the necessary means instead chooses an alternative to spending or chooses to spend less, and considers the value and the true cost of an item (this includes hidden costs, such as environmental and health costs). (more…)
While recently researching Singapore’s history in water management, I came upon an interesting fact – in the 1960s, Singapore was ranked 170th out of 190 countries in terms of water security. At that time, there was a population of 1.6 million and zero natural aquifers. Much of Singapore’s rivers and waterways were unfit for drinking, as the sewage system was inadequate. In addition, floods were very common. For a steady and safe supply of potable water, Singapore was heavily dependent on Malaysia.
Co-working spaces have become very popular in the last few years, especially due to the rise of entrepreneurship in Singapore coupled with the rising cost of office rentals. Co-working spaces are more affordable than traditional offices, and they provide a great place to network, learn from other start-ups, and hold meetings, workshops, and seminars. Instead of being locked into a typical year-long office lease, co-working spaces have daily, weekly, or monthly rates. Coffeemin, a relatively new kid on the block, is the only co-working space in Singapore (that I know of) with hourly and minute rates.
I was recently invited to attend the Singapore Blog Awards Ceremony where the nation’s most popular and most followed bloggers gathered to celebrate and honour each other’s achievements. The awards categories included “Best Food Blog”, “Best Beauty Blog”, “Best Family Blog”, “Best Travel Blog”, “Best Lifestyle Blog”, and “Best Fashion Blog” among others. As this is my first attempt at blogging, although I was not recognized during the ceremony, I still felt very honoured to have been invited to such a prestigious event. It made me reflect on why I started this endeavor in the first place.
Before going for retail therapy, spa therapy, or talk therapy, there may be a better and less expensive way of brightening up your day. Although free, it involves some gumption, courage, and vulnerability. It’s something that worked well for me in the States, but I wasn’t sure if it would work here in Singapore. So I wanted to test my theory and conduct a little experiment… (more…)
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…)
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…)