Friday, April 25, 2014

Re-framing the savings problem

Sometimes, to convince people, you have to re-frame the problem to fit into domains that motivate that person rather than motivate you. I saw a lot of bloggers posting ways to save money, which is all well and good as an individual, but shouldn't work too well if they are a couple. I know that as a fact because months can be spent before I buy a single article of clothing, but for my wife, money can be spent on a variety of things before the month is up. It's just different motivation system. I feel motivated spending on savings, but others might be more motivated spending on things or things that promote relationship building, like an afternoon tea in a hotel with a group of friends, or shopping trips with her friends etc.

Nothing wrong with that. It's only something wrong when you try to convince the other party that they should save money in ways that don't really motivate them. Financial bloggers (some, anyway) are really one kind of weirdos who don't mind whipping out their hand phones after every transaction to jot down their expenses and finding joy tabulating their spreadsheet every month end. But not everybody strives to be like that, nor should they. And who is to say which way of living is the better one? Delayed gratification for the future or enjoying immediate rewards by sacrificing tomorrow?

Here's a few ways to re-frame some problems encountered by couples. It will appear unapologetically stereotypical, but that's because it's based on my subjective experience as a guy. Specifically, a weirdo financial blogger guy.

Toast set. in Singapore can range from anything between $2 to $6.

1. Boy wants to save money by insisting on toast sets in a kopitiam. Girl wants to try an atas breakset set in a restaurant that sells basically the same thing but easily cost ten times the normal kopitiam's price.

Instead of persuading by means of saving money, re-frame the problem by saying that it saves calories by sharing the atas breakfast set instead of ordering one each, essentially halving the price. This is a good compromise to satisfy both the girl's need to spend money on relationship building activity, as well as the boy's need to save up.

2. Girl switches the air con, printer, fan and the lights on, even when not around. Boy tries to tell the girl not to do so because it wastes money and jacks up the electrical bills.

If saving money is not the motivation, then re-frame the problem to one of saving the earth. Appeal to the humanitarian and Captain planet's side of her. Imagine another tree is chopped down, another degree in temperature rose up, all because you didn't switch off the appliances when not in use.

Let our powers combine!

Well, you get the drift. Don't take this as a problem actually. These are, well, incidents, that makes life all the more interesting. It'll be quite dull if everyone thinks the same thing, isn't it?


CreateWealth8888 said...

For married guys, just pretend you are on single household income "plus". Life can be more peaceful with the other half.


la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

Agree! You spend yours and save for both, then really no problem haha

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


I love the interesting logic of girls as in my shanghai ex sharing with me excitedly how much she is saving for me by buying this and that at 50% off... I don't let girls pay.

The pleasure of a warm body under the sheets with me during the cold winter nights...

Spend baby spend!


LP, I love your save the environment angle on saving electricity!

la papillion said...


Haha, save more by buying more right? Also another side of truth...seriously our brains are all wired differently :)

Hehe, can ooh la la under the blanket too ;)

Oh, that environment angle? It works for me, hehe :) It extends quite a few things too actually. I think we all just need to press the wrong button :)