Share your piggy bank stories with us! What/how did you save for the things you wanted? And in contrast, right now, what are you saving for? This is the task for the 8th Jan giveaway for two pairs of Seedly PFF 2019 tickets. Winners will be picked by the Seedly team for the most interesting/fun/meaningful stories and will be announced along with the next task on the Seedly Facebook Group.
As a kid, I always craved adventure. Back in primary school, I remember saving up to buy myself a cheap pair of Roller Blades as I loved the simple joy of exporing the different areas around my flat and with the wind blowing against my hair. To buy the pair of Roller Blades, I remember bringing my own food to save money during recess and even stopping myself from buying drinks at the drink stall and drink water instead. The excitement and thrill of being able to roller blade outweighed any short term sacrifices to save that money.
Over the years, my needs and wants have evolved from that pair of Roller Blades. Being a young adult, I see the importance in saving and investing my money in order to meet my financial goals (e.g. marriage, house, retirement, etc). But beyond that, I still set aside a small sum of money for my next adventure - be it a solo backpacking trip or hiking up my next mountain. After all, there is always a kid inside of me who craves that adrenaline and adventure!
I'd always thought - what's the point of saving a 'meagre' 10/20cents, when it can't amount to anything big? I'll rather throw it in my school's koi pond to make a wish or simply be mischievous with my friends.
It wasn't a cliché event such as donating to the less fortunate that changed me. Rather, at that point in time as a primary school kid, it was desperation - how could I satisfy my growling stomach when I forgot to bring my wallet?
I stared straight into the pond, seeing its floor covered with 'meagre' coins. If I picked up all the coins, I could have more than a month's worth of pocket money and heck, even more. Well, the timid me eventually hesitated and went home hungry, but not without a brilliant idea to share with my dad.
My dad wasn't like most other dads - he didn't get angry and rather was amused with this logical but silly idea I had. And there, he passed me this piggy that we always had near our front door that weighed so heavily in my hands. Feeling curious, I pulled open the 'cork nose' of the piggy, and what poured out was loads of gold ($1) coins that he had collected over the years. To him, $1 was 'meagre' but to me, it was the first time seeing a treasure cove of 'gold' with my eyes wide open.
Whatever he said afterwards wasn't captured by the primary school me, but the moral of the story remained blindingly clear - what was 'meagre' to one might be a treasure cove to another. As a young adult now, my long-term habit of saving 'meagre' coins amounted to a few hundred dollars like the treasure cove I saw - paying for my overseas trip, donating to local charities, and indulging in a good meal to fill up the similar hunger I had that taught me this lesson.
I HAD A PIGGY BANK! It was a really big Tweety Bird-themed 3D piggy bank, no less.
Alas, I did not put any money into it.
I was spoilt as a child, and usually spent whatever I was given at the arcade, pool halls and also toys and food (Hello expensive coffee at Starbucks and lunches at Orchard!)
Fast forward more than a decade, I have saved enough to put down a downpayment on a freehold condo at 26, with additional liquid cash of S$300k.
Why the change?
I discovered the value of thrift ever since I had to start paying for my own university education. Earning your own keep from an early age teaches one the value of money, and also the benefits of compounding from an early age. Before each purchase - these are the questions I ask myself:
- What exactly am I spending on, and why? More often than not, fashionable clothing purchases fail this question. Other things like drinks (Bubble tea for example - $5 for added empty calories? Probably not). It is far more interesting to think about that money being allocated to assets that grow in value.
- Does it give joy to myself, or others? Being thrifty does not mean being miserly. I tend to be more generous when I eat with my family, for example. Because it gives joy to others around me, I personally think that some money is worth the spend. If I were to eat by myself, I have a tendency to want to support local hawkers, instead of larger food chains. The sense of homeliness and familiarity when you see the auntie who serves you your favourite food at Chinatown complex is unparalleled.
- Is this expenditure going to positively/negatively impact other areas of my life? Spending on high quality, nutritious food albeit at a higher price, yes. Spending on a snazzy new phone just because it's a cool new toy, probably not unless my existing phone is spoilt. Even then, I probably would wait until prices go down, since electronics prices drop fast.
With that said, I still can do better.
Admittedly, I have not been too on-the-ball with my investment portfolio. I have sold off most of my shareholdings already, so I should start looking into what I can do with my idle liquid cash. I am saving with the goal of having my passive income cover my annual expenses, so that I can be more financially independent and not rely on a monthly wage if I don't want to. Hoping to win a pair of Seedly PFF 2019 tickets since it sounds very interesting!