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.
What do Albert Einstein, Liam Hemsworth, Steve Jobs, Pamela Anderson, Miley Cyrus, and Gao Yuanyuan have in common? They all decided on a life without consuming animal flesh. People become vegetarians for many reasons, including health reasons, religious convictions, animal welfare advocacy, and environmental reasons. Nowadays, with so many meat substitutes available, it’s easier than ever to make that transition, or at least to become a part-time vegetarian (like me). And VegetarianOnline is a great place to go for vegetable-based substitutes for every meat product imaginable. (more…)
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…)
For the last 20 years, my friends and I have followed our own tradition of exchanging homemade & DIY gifts. I feel these gifts are more meaningful because of the effort, creativity, and resourcefulness involved. They are also more memorable. From upcycled pet toys, scrapbook calendars, knitted socks, and artwork, to homemade cakes and cookies, the love and talent in these one-of-a-kind gifts are very tangible. Here are some of my favourite gifts that I’ve given and received. What do they have in common? They’re all easy to make, and so meaningful, that I still remember and treasure each of them today.
While making a smoothie, my blender suddenly overheated and started smoking. The motor had burnt out. It was an older, low budget and low power (250W) blender so I knew its days were numbered. But its sudden death also gave me some pause. It had been many years since I’ve needed to buy any sort of appliance. A lot has changed in the marketplace, and I needed to do my research. Luckily, I knew a good place to start comparison shopping – Diffmarts. (more…)
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.
Personal finance and financial planning both focus on a set of numbers to gauge your financial health. If you ask people what is the most important number, many would say “their target sum for retirement”. This number is usually around $1 million or more. A few might mention their investment rate of return, their net worth, or their anticipated life expectancy. But there are more important (yet often overlooked) numbers you should really be concerned with.