Erm, Though I Live Frugally, We Don't Live Like Refugees

At least not all the time (hahaha!)

This is a common misconception that people sometimes look at me when I share about how we handle money and what we do and how we spend our money.

They think that:

  • we're too poor or frugal or cheapskate to eat out (we almost always eat in, unless it's planned/very-hungry-and-we're-outside etc)

  • we don't spend on our children because we almost don't go shopping (like never...especially now we have companies that can deliver eg Amazon, NTUC, Cold Storage etc)

  • we don't watch TV

  • etc, it seems that we're "broke-er than broke".

But actually, we don't eat out as much because of the increased logistics/planning, and often, outside food tends to be too sweet/salty for our liking. We don't go out shopping much because we're functional people. We don't watch TV because we've got other things to do (like YouTube hahaha, work, life, etc).

But it's ok, I just smile - I have no need to justify what we do, or explain what we do.

It's more important to understand why people think and feel that way, and the answer is usually skin-deep superficial: what you see is what you get.

And that's why people often think that those who dress smart = very smart/rich/good etc; and otherwise, those that aren't well dressed = not so smart/poor/bad/stupid. It's normal thinking, and I'm ok with it.

It's common understanding.

But it doesn't really matter to me.

Like how some people tell me:

  • You've got to dress the part to do well at work

  • You've got to wear this xx,xxx watch to be admired and people will look up to you

  • You need to buy a good and expensive imported car, to show you're doing well

Ugh and nah. Not interested.

I've met so many well dressed slick conmen, and so many handsome/pretty faces that are only skin-deep...yup, they're pretty, but I prefer those who can work, has depth of character - that's more fun and meaningful to me.

So, back to the topic.

What's important to me is a few key things, what are my luxuries are:

  • being able to spend uninterrupted time with my loved ones, especially my children

  • being able to live off my dividends from my dividend stock

  • being able to sleep well at night

  • being able to run my own businesses that at my discretion, I can take my people to meals and holidays with good performance

  • being able to look at my colleagues, workers, family and God and know that I've done good and right things that it mutually beneficial, and took care of them

  • and more

My other luxuries are that I can eat almost anything I want to (though I usually don't because I actually limit my costs and watch my health; exception to this is when I have meals and coffee with friends or colleagues/staff, usually we can be generous with them without being overly luxurious); we can buy almost anything up to $10k (or more if it justifies) but most of the time, whatever I pump my money into, it usually ends up in dividend stocks because I want my money to work hard for me, producing dividends for me.

My luxuries when my wife is in her confinement, is I spend $10 - $15 per day buying bread for her to snack on between her meals. In a month, that'd be $300 - $450 on top of our regular expenses.

And that's totally ok with me.

It's just that I want my life to have more quality moments, and it's usually found in non-monetary and non-consuming events.

  • Such as going for walks with friends

  • Taking my children to the playground, swimming pool etc

  • Preparing a meal for them (and if they eat it, double bonus)

  • Chatting with my wife, family and friends in an unrushed and unworried manner (especially without worrying about money)

  • Bantering philosophies and approaches with friends and loved ones

  • Watching our kids have fun

  • Reading books

  • etc

And that's the reason why we don't spend much trying to make ourselves happier. We try as often as we can to do these activities, and the more we do them, we stay in a state of happiness.

Of course, this for me, can be done only when we have met the bare minimum amounts we need to survive such that we're not super duper rich, but we're financially "ok" in a sense we don't really have to worry about having food on the table tomorrow.

We've got our bases covered with health insurance and a place to live in, so the next thing is to maximize amount of money we can make legally, ethically and actively; to invest into dividend stocks. And then we should be more ok.


We're not averse to spending money for value and quality.

An example is how we're happy going and paying private healthcare for treatments, deliveries, operations and hospitalization (of course it helps when we're covered insurance wise too).

  • Or spending hundreds of dollars for a meal (we usually spend less than $30).

  • Or paying a few hundred for stuff we're piqued or interested in.

  • Or spending thousands on a planned trip.

We're by no definitions rich, though we can spend more, but we jointly decided to be conscious and minimalist about what we want to spend on, curbing back on stuff that don't really matter, and spending (even lavishly, within budget) on things that do matter. All the savings can go into dividend stocks, to work hard for us and producing us continuous dividend over time. This is the philosophy behind our spending.

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