"Money is Not Everything, but Without Money You have Nothing."

Last Sunday, I got lectured about how I don't use money.

As an Asian child, I assure you, this is a rare occurrence.

Us Asians are big on getting jobs that will make a lot of money, saving a lot of money/ not wasting money, and being paranoid about rainy days which will require a lot of money.

I failed regarding "getting jobs that will make a lot of money" (because my calling was to be a writer *eyeroll* thanks, calling, why couldn't you call me to be a finance banker or something), but I'm constantly working on the second, and got the third one down pat. 

Paranoia is a wonderful gift from my Asian ancestors and relatives, especially those who parrot phrases like: 

1. "You must make a lot of money to have a good life",
2. "Suffer first, enjoy later", and 
3. "Money is not everything, but without money you have nothing".

Thanks, ancestors and relatives. 

As for my current financial status... let's just say I may have been a working adult for years now, but my lifestyle is still similar to that of my poor university student self years ago.

Bills. Bills. Bills.

Every year, I seem to get more new bills.

After reading a bunch of personal finance tips online, I have been TRYING to apply the 50/30/20 rule to my monthly income in recent months.

The 50/30/20 rule goes like this

The rule is as such:
  •  50% of your income goes to Daily Essentials, such as RENT, ELECTRICITY, INTERNET (yes this is essential thank you), WATER, MOBILE PLAN, DEBT, MORTGAGE, and so on.
  • 30% of your income goes to Wants, which in my case means EATING OUT, BOOKS, SPOTIFY, TRAVEL, and so on.
  • The final 20% is supposed to go into Savings, which Should Not Be Touched unless there is an emergency (medical or otherwise).
Of course, the keyword is try, and I'm not very successful with the 20%. In fact, I might as well name the Savings part The Travel Fund instead.

Last year alone, I spent about 35% of my income on travelling.


... not being able to travel is an emergency? 


I have read that one of the tricks to be able to save successfully is to have separate bank accounts for different purposes, so if you want to apply the 50/30/20 rule to your income, it means having 3 accounts to regulate your spending.

Apart from saving, I'm also trying to track my spending diligently with this app:

In it, I input the money I spend each day, and look at my transactions to determine where the bulk of my money goes.

This month, for example, I once again realise that I spend too much on chocolates when I'm at work.

The solution is to work from home to prevent such temptations. Unfortunately this is a moot discussion, so therefore I continue to fall prey to using sugar to control my stressed state at work.

Truly, the sacrifices I make for money.

This month I also once again realise that I have a weakness for gorgeous hardcover books, as the below purchase suggests.

Yes, I totally just wanted to show off my nice new Neil Gaiman book.


Back to the lecture.

For most of last month, I've managed the feat of eating practically the same food every weekday, with slight upgrades on the weekends.

The point of last month's RM360 exercise was to NOT spend money, and I cut back most on food. While I got grumpier and grumpier by the day about how poor I felt, I DID manage to save a small amount of money, even though I failed the exercise eventually.

Having noticed the extremes I went to last month, I finally received the aforementioned rare lecture on how I don't spend money.

Apparently, it was good and all to save money, BUT there was no point in me depriving myself of things I really wanted to have too in my daily life...

...such as this delectable dish of Xiao Long Bao dumplings from Din Tai Fung, which I found myself suddenly craving when I munched through yet another sandwich.

FYI, one dish of this equals 5 lunches worth of tuna sandwiches that I can make myself.

You know you've got it bad when you start calculating things in terms of how many sandwiches it could get you.

Since young, I was raised to treat money seriously.

I was subjected to plenty of lectures about how there was no one I could rely on but myself, how I shouldn't waste money on things I wouldn't be interested in sooner or later, and if I wanted something I should get it myself.

The message I got my whole life was this:

If I wanted certain non-essential things/ other people to treat me better, I'd better have a healthy bank account to be able to afford such products/ services, not rely on other people to get them for me.

So to get a lecture on how I shouldn't deprive myself for the sake of saving money is, indeed, a Rare Big Deal.

I don't think I am a slave to money - if I were, I'd be a finance banker.


I'd say I'm a slave to travel, instead, which of course, requires money.

In travel, money IS everything.


The lecture is not new to me - I don't purposefully try to deprive myself of things in my daily life. I do have impulsive shopaholic tendencies, just like any other regular individual.

What last month has taught me MOST, is that getting that grumpy because I made myself feel like I couldn't afford food I wanted to eat (and not fine dining fare, mind you, but middle-class extravagance) didn't make life feel worth living at all.

Apart from travel, food is love, food is life, and all that.

So... no more RM360 a month exercises from now on. Of course, I do still want to travel, which still means... saving money for such ventures, even while buried underneath mountains of bills.


"Why is adulting so hard?" 

Truly, without money, you have nothing to constantly devise new crazy money-making/ saving schemes until you can afford the things you want.