Friday, September 23, 2011

The 50k game

I've hit my target of 50k for this year 2011, and I'm ahead of schedule by a month. I remembered when I started this 'insane' savings program in 2009, I was struggling each month to hit the required amount. I had to consciously and subconsciously remind myself that I need to put in that bit more effort and to push that bit harder to put in more hours in my work to get that bit more just to hit the savings target for the month, before starting all over again for the following month. I did that until I reached the amount of 50k. It was really a struggle in the first year.

In my second yr 2010, it was much easier. Perhaps it was due to the fact that I had done it before, hence I know the mechanics and means to achieve the same thing. The first year was the hardest because it taught me a few good lessons regarding sustainability of my effort and the importance of planning ahead to restrict the number of graduating students (those taking O'lvls and A'lvls) I had in a year. I realised that I can push myself up to a certain limit before I start to get annoyed because of a lack of proper rest and simply just a lack of off-time from work. In the first year, I geared up to the max because I wasn't certain I could keep to my target (I intend to hit my target, no matter what). The result? Periods of moodiness and mild depression. I learnt from my lessons and applied to year 2 - 2010. I didn't push myself to the limit and it was the year that I first started taking planned breaks from work. There are times that I hit my monthly savings target in that year, so as a reward for myself, I took a day off or cancelled my classes. I realised this little break off work makes me more happy than the amount of money that it can bring me, should I chose to work. The subtle change in how I value my time makes a very important change in my life. This journey is a life long journey, hence I mustn't burn out prematurely.

The second important lesson I learnt in yr 2 - 2010 - is that of having a quota for the number of graduating students I have for any particular year. The main reason is that these days, the exams start in the afternoon, so by the time the students come back home from school, it's nearly evening time. There's simply not enough time for me to go around and help those needed ones (most students I took are not the As students, so most of them needed some last minute psycho-ing and just some general revision before exams to sooth their nerves). I'll feel guilty for not being able to be there when they needed my help and encouragement most, especially when I know I can make a difference. The other reason is that by maximizing the number of graduating students, the following year I'll have less recurring students, hence there could be a drastic drop in income. Remember that towards the end of each year, I'll be 'retrenched' and I'll have to work hard to enjoy the same salary that I had the year before. I'm trying to remove this sort of limitations by having group lessons in the future, which would satisfy both my financial need to earn money and my desire to reach out to as many people as I can handle. That would be a great way to solve this problem.

Going forward, yr 3 - 2011 - is the most relaxing year to save my 50k. Coming from me, 'relaxing' had to be taken with a pinch of salt. I still had to work 7 days a week, I still have to work when I don't want to work and I still have to teach students that I don't want to teach. So what's the difference? The mindset changes everything. It's just plain ol' good savings habits that I developed over the years. I'm so used to saving this amount of money that I don't have to track my savings so conscientiously. Years of tracking my expenses and income made me so aware of my peak income months and peak expense months (usually those months where I had to pay off lump sum items for the year, like insurance) that I don't have to track it so carefully. I know if I do this amount of work, I can 'agar agar' save this amount of money. Hence without caring whether I had hit my savings target for this month and that, it actually relieves the pressure off me, thus making it much more relaxing this year. It's like a dance routine that  I had been practicing for 3 yrs.  Even blind folded,  I can feel the beat of the music internally and my well rehearsed muscle memory moves my body rhythmically with the melody. It's a dance that I can do again and again and again.

But no, this is not how it should be done. I die in peace and become alive in war. It's time to move on to new grounds and break new limits. As such, the new target of 100k couldn't have come at a better timing. Oh I do have a lot of motivation to save that amount. It's like a game to me., a dance if you will.  I play my savings game hard and I play it seriously, because I know that if I succeed, the rewards are not the amount of money that I can use, it's the satisfaction and the comfort of knowing that I can do what is seemingly impossible. I might not be able to do it by next year, but who knows until I've tried.


Anonymous said...

Hey LP, you are an inspirational figure, least to me.

All the best to you in your 4th year. :)

I believe you spent quite a bit on housing and furnishing this year, so being able to save 50k is amazing.

Keep it up!


la papillion said...


Haha, no lah, you overestimated me :) The savings are used specifically to meet those short terms goals, like COV, downpayment of flat, renovation and furnishings. You have to save your money for something right? haha, well, for me, these are the reasons.

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

I have said this before and I will say it again: "You are a good example for people to follow."

Some complain about not having enough money and how it is impossible to make more money. Therefore, how to save more money?

Your own experience shows us that it is all in the mind!

Congratulations, my friend. You are truly an inspiration.

Createwealth8888 said...

I believe my ex-neighbour should be your role model in respect of tuition biz. Private tutor --> home group tuition --> Boss of tuition centre and leveraging on other tutors.

Anonymous said...

LP, you are one cool disciplined dude!


Kyith said...

this is crazy shit

Anonymous said...

Hi LP,
i totally agreed with CW8888. You are really running a business only when you run/own a tuition centre, albiet even a small one.
Now you are really a one-man show, so there is a limit to your earnings.
Any way i admire all who dare to be even be a one-man show.
Well maybe you are happy with your current situation and you still can be rich by "Long-term" investment in the stock market, property, share in tuition centres, if not own outright.
i am willing to invest in your tuition centre if you are the main share-holder and manages it.
Ha! Ha!
Serious! No joke!
i promise. i believe in you.
Anyone like to join?

Calvin Yeo said...

Hi LP,

It's great that you have such a disciplined saving scheme. However, I think you have been working too hard if you have been working 7 days a week since 2009. I worked really hard before when I was in investment banking and really burnt myself out. I realized that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. So a balanced life is still necessary. All the best to you man.


Zhanrui said...

don't work too hard
enjoy the journey as well
if u set up tuition centre can hire me? :P

Createwealth8888 said...

Our working life should be like football match of two halves.

1st half you work hard for money and 2nd half let our money works hard for us and time for us to slow down or otherwise we may get burn out.

Createwealth8888 said...

Do you guys consider your total CPF contributions as saving?

For those 35 & below, it is 36% of your gross saving is kept in CPF.

CreateWealth8888 said...

sorry. gross income

la papillion said...

Hi AK,

Thanks, you're quite an example for people to follow too :)

To those who ask how to save more money when they are not earning enough money, here's my answer: If you earn this amount and you cannot save, what makes you think that earning more you'll save more? Start saving whatever amount is comfortable (actually, it should be just uncomfortable) for a few months, and when you realise how much money that effort brings, you'll naturally want to earn more and save even more :)

Hi bro8888,

Yes, you mentioned it before and I remembered. Indeed, that's what I'll do. Start at home and expand outwards :)

Hi blackjack,

Thanks :)

la papillion said...

Hi drizzt,

Haha, when I began it 3 yrs ago, I thought it's crazy shit time pass us by...

Hi temperament,

Wow, thanks for the show of support! It'll be some time before I will venture out for a tuition centre model. Stay tuned :)

Hi calvin,

I think in life, to achieve great things, we all have to make some sacrifices. I needed the cash to fulfil some short term goals, hence the crazy work hours. It'll only be better after that - work less earn more! Thanks for your advice on a work life balance :)

Hi zhanrui,

Thanks for the support :) It'll be some years before I'll do that, maybe you'll already beat me to it!

la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

Yes, I agree. Work hard to earn the capital and let your capital work hard for you later. I don't have cpf, so I guess your second question isn't for me. But I told OT that he should count cpf as part of his savings too, because while you can't take it out, it is still your money. It can be used to buy virtual stuff like housing too.

I think if others count their CPF as part of their savings, my 50k per yr is nothing to shout for already.

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

Hello LP,

You the man!

One step one foot-print.

First time I walked to work,
%$$^&$@!*! far...

2nd week, $$%#! far...

3rd week, ^&! far...

4th week, no walk body restless!

Enjoy the journey. When you become "the boss" one day, you will miss the present :)

JW said...

Aim higher!

Aim 50k savings = staying in your own comfort zone!!!


Anonymous said...

Hi LP!

U have done it again! :)

read this?

May we strive to work hard,save hard and give hard too!

Maybe you would be a role model in giving one day, even as you inspire many to save hard. :)


crystal said...

Well done LP! you are indeed my role model especially when it comes to saving.

PanzerGrenadier said...

Hi LP!

Congrats on hitting your $50k target!

All the best for the next $100k target :-0

Be well and prosper.

la papillion said...

Hi smol,

Haha, I understand what you're trying to say :) I think I already missed some of the struggles I had when I just started on this path. But somethings are meant to be reminisced and not to be re-lived, wahaha!

Hi JW,

Definitely aiming higher :)

Hi HH,

Wah, long time no see :) Will ask you all to come in when my house is ready :) Hmm, a role model for giving, I will strive to be that!

Hi crystal,

Haven't seen you around for ages - busy? Thanks for your encouragement!

crystal said...

LP: yeah, I have been quite busy with work and preparing for exams (again ..haha) hence seldom chat lately.

But, I do still pop by to read .. seems like you've been rather busy with your new chapter too! I really love the vibrant teaching room! Good luck to your shopping at Sungei Kadut.- they normally have better discounts when u buy in bulk and during year end. :)

la papillion said...

Hi crystal,

Thanks for the tip on sungei kadut shopping ;) Will have to make a trip down these days, though it's so freaking out of place without a car!

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