Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Resolution: To spend more money

These days, I'm thinking how to spend more money instead of saving them. Why the sudden turn of events? I wanted to jump into a new and higher level of doing things (the "work less earn more" paradigm), hence I would have to change to a new and higher 'me'. If we want to have more fruits from a tree, we don't focus on the fruits. Instead, we focus on the roots of the tree, the hidden, the invisible. So, it goes that in order to jump into a new paradigm, I have to change my thinking and my way of doing things.

For the longest time, I'm concerned with savings i.e how to save more money. Besides saving up for certain milestone goals like wedding, housing and renovation, I was reflecting hard on why I need to save so much money for. I realised that I'm hoarding money to feel secure. Somehow, my financial blueprint is telling me this: If I have more money, I'll feel more secure and therefore happy. More money = more happy. But that is not so! I need to change that kind of thinking and re-wire that financial blueprint, otherwise I'm not going to be happy no matter how much money that I make. It might even bring misery to myself because I'll always want more happiness and more security and more money. I want to be able to spend money without feeling guilty, basically. But with my current financial blueprint, I can't spend money and feel indifferent. There'll always be a tingling sensation that questions whether I am overspending. I recognise that this is a problem, perhaps even worse than overspending because people see this frugality as something positive and something to be proud of. It's not to me and I want to change it.

I like the first line and I'm trying to correct that. I'm learning how to spend money.

Once I decided to re-wire my "more money = more security = more happiness" blueprint, I thought about how to do it in the past few days. I already have an inkling that I need to do something and I think this would be the first time I'm really serious about changing it. I wanted to create an account where I would spend a percentage of my income. Since my income is not fixed and it changes from month to month, I'll allocate 5% of previous month income as a 'play jar' for my current month. So, for example, if I earn 3k in January, I'll allocate $150 as a play jar for February. This money is to be spent on things that I value or on people that I value. If I can't finish spending it this month, it'll roll over to the next month but I would have to finish the account by the end of the year. At least I'll try.

I'm not advocating frivolous spending here for my play jar. This money is used as an outlet to reward myself and to reinforce the idea that spending money on things that I value and/or people that I value will bring me happiness, not hoarding the money. In the past, I want to earn more money so that I can save more and hence feel more secure and happy. I'm trying to change all that. Now, I want to earn more money so that I can spend more (again, I cannot over emphasis this enough - spend on things that I value and on people that I value), so that I will feel more fulfilled. Fundamentally, I want to remove the link between security and happiness to the amount of money that I have.

I doubt I've a lot of things to spend on myself, perhaps the occasional gadgets only. But I do have many people around me whom I value and that I would gladly spend on them. Maybe food, maybe gifts or maybe donation. Maybe a year end bonus for my parents. I don't know but I'll try this out for half a year and see how it goes. If I feel good about it, I'll continue or perhaps tweak the 5%. Let's play by the ear.


I said...

I heard this interesting comment before:

when you're young, you have the energy but no money to spend. when you're old, you have money but no energy to spend.


Anonymous said...

Hi LP,
You seems to always come out with "revolution idea" which makes a lot of common sense.
Yes, money and material things have no intrinsic value like people have.
If it makes you happy to reward esteemed people around you by spending money on them, you already have reap "prosperity". Why?
Nothing, but for some people, they believe "Prosperity=Happiness" not a lot of money.
Ha! Ha!
I believe must have at least a little bit of money lah, to start the ball rolling-rewarding your treasured people,(especially wife)
Ha! Ha!
Cheers and Shalom.

la papillion said...

Hi Isaac,

Sometimes, if you're not careful, you might be old and have no money and no energy to spend too :)

Hi temperament,

Haha, not sure if it makes a lot of sense, but I do know that the idea is applicable for me only. Not telling the world to spend money and be happy. I'm just doing things that are uncomfortable to me i.e. spending things even on things that I value. I tend to delay gratification until forever....that is very bad. I realise it and want to change it, hence the 'revolution' within me, haha :)

Thanks for dropping by :)

Createwealth8888 said...

It is easy. A Baby LP or Baby Jade can easily help you to meet your spending target. LOL

la papillion said...

Hi bro8888,

That's not counted, actually. Those are necessities. I'm looking to spend beyond necessities, hence the word 'play' jar.

Treating your friends is not a necessity. Buying something that you want but don't need is not a necessity. Giving my parents a bonus pocket money beyond what I give them monthly is also not a necessity.

I don't think anyone has a problem spending on necessary things :) I have a problem spending beyond things that are necessary. In short, I don't reward myself enough.

Now, that's unhealthy.

Singapore Man of Leisure said...

"In short, I don't reward myself enough."

Now that's the essence! Even if we are financially free, but if we put money before people and relationships, then it's merely moving from one rat race to another race to accumulate as much wealth as possible.

We can't take it with us when our time is up.

Go give yourself a treat today!

Anonymous said...

LOL! So much thought just to learn how to spend money? Just spend it already.

"Treating your friends is not a necessity."

"I have a problem spending beyond things that are necessary."

Never gave your friends a treat? Never brought your parents to a nice restaurant? You must be a real tightwad, dude.

Kudos to Mrs LP for sticking with you. You got a gem there.

la papillion said...


I agree...trying to do that in a more organized manner from now on :)

Thanks for dropping by!

Hi anonymous,

I didn't say never. I'm saying not enough by my standards.

Anonymous said...

Hi LP,
Delaying gratification can also be very beneficial to understanding how to use money instead of money use you.
I remember my son just completed his "PSLE" and we(my wife & son) were at Brisbane's airport heading home. At that time many children were crazy over playing hand-held-pokemon-game device. This device had a slot for changing memory chip where the actual games were stored. You had to keep on purchasing new memory chip for new games after tired of playing the same memory chip.(That's how we parents are cornered and the children hooked to become future, perpetual victim of mindless consumerism when they grow up).

So what happened at the airport?
Of course at the airport, many shops were selling these pokemon-game memory chip. It goes without saying, my son became one of the victim. He had brought along his pokemon-game device and insisted to buy a new game memory chip immediately. Ah! but this memory chip only stored about 10 games.
So I asked him,
"You remember you could get about 80-games memory chip in JB at even cheaper price. You also should know if you purchase this 10-games memory chip now, you would be forfeiting yourself to own the 80-games or more memory chip. Remember you were allowed to purchase once only.WE had to spend our money wisely."
It was really psychological warfare pulling at my child's heart-string.It pains me writing about it now.
Thank God, my son chose "delay gratification."
Delay gratification can be really very beneficial to your money management if you use it correctly.
Don't forget even a 11 or 12 year old had understood "delay gratification"
So please continue the practice when appropriate.

la papillion said...

Hi temperament,

Wow..thanks for sharing :)

My default mode is delayed gratification, haha :) I'm really not abandoning it because I simply can't. I think if I learned to balance myself more, to spend a little more instead of hoarding the money, I'll do myself a whole world of good :)

Thanks for the lengthy reply, must have taken some thoughts :)

PanzerGrenadier said...


I share your thinking of having a "play jar" or to allocate x% of your income to enjoy life (however one defines it).

For me, I used to also be frugal to the point of being miserly. Over time, I became less uptight because some spending did bring greater quality of life e.g. car to transport my family and to run errands.

I continue to earmark 10-20% of windfall gains for "play" and will save the rest. Day-to-day I make sure I still live within my monthly paycheck and to have some savings every month but I do enjoy the occasional $6.50 starbucks frapuccino without guilt with 10-20% of my windfalls :-)

Be well and prosper.

la papillion said...

Hi PG,

Hehe, I read your post regarding your ideas on it before :) I'm starting to feel the effect of such a planned way of spending...actually it's quite liberating.

AK71 said...

Hi LP,

I spent a lot last year. This year, I wanna spend less. Time to tighten the ol belt. Ooof.

Anonymous said...

Hi AK71,
Ha! Ha!
I know why you spend a lot last year. You bought yourself a new car, right?
Poor me and others;
Coe is so high now we don't know when we have a chance to replace our "old-bone shakers"; I mean Coe come down to more affordable level.

AK71 said...

Hi Temperament,

When I bought my tiny Mazda2 for $71k last year in August, some people told me I was mad. Now, they think I was lucky to have bought it then. COE prices have gone crazy and we could even see $100K for a COE this year, some say.

You should see this:
The price of my car now!