I had to learn how to spend money. Yes, you heard me, not saved but spent – no typo there. You see, when I was growing up my family did not have much money. My father was in construction and my mother worked long shifts as a nurse. They were parents before the age of 25, and while paying home mortgages, they worked hard for a long time to support us.
We were not poor, but I knew that we did not have a lot of cash. We never took a cab ride; I shook hands with my family; And I didn’t have a new stationery in school. When we went to the hawker center I didn’t order drinks (my dad would bring a bottle of water to save money). As a teenager, I adopted some frugal ways of my family. I did not receive extra pocket money for the outing, so my best friend and I would share a plate of rice or noodles during the school holiday. In this way, we can save enough for the weekend.
I had to bring a bottle of water so I didn’t have to order drinks. Most of all, I got really creative – buying old pieces (instead of new clothes) then “modifying” them to look good on me.
I started working at the age of 23 and I saved a little every month. I found it difficult to spend my hard-earned money. At the age of 27, I managed to make payments in my first apartment.
As I entered my 30s, I still felt guilty about everything I bought – while my peers splurged on designer bags and 400-rupee-a-pop nights. Ever since the death of my beloved grandmother a few years ago, I began to see life differently. She was an ordinary woman who made an honest living cleaning the homes (for money) of her siblings. Nevertheless, he generously spent it on his loved ones.
It taught me that money is only a tool – it should not be the ultimate goal. These days, I see it as a path to freedom – to be able to eat, drink and experience the things that my heart desires.
I spend on experiences I love, like wakeboarding – and on the ones I love, such as taking my people out to eat or buying good things for them.
It is a blessing not to worry about getting it (money) enough which I am grateful for every day. It reminds me (mindless) not to chase it anymore. Just because the key to real capital and happiness is building relationships.
PS I still carry a bottle of water with me – a habit that is also good for the environment!
This article first appeared in November 2020 on the issue of his world.