Being rich is not how much you have but how much you give

Giving is a virtue and it’s working out of our faith

I received this short film via a Facebook friend.

The story is very simple but the meaning is great, especially for those of us who strive so hard to be successful and rich.

What is success? To different people, it means different things.

Some measure success by the amount of money you have (I mean that kept in your possession), some by the number of properties you own, some by the string of status you put on your name card, some by the profession you are in, some by the number of friends you have (everyone is talking about EQ and networking now)……..the list if endless. However, we notice that these measures are all based on money, material possession and fame.

What is success? Continue reading

Travel Tips: How to choose a backpack?

Backpacking – the way to go when you are young…….

“I am probably too old to do backpacking travel.” This is a subjective statement, I know. Many travel enthusiasts will disagree with me, they can do backpacking though they are in their 60’s or even 70’s.

Well, I did backpacking in Western Europe when I was 20 with my then student flatmate Clarence Yeung. It was an experience that I would not want to exchange with any other forms of traveling. The thrill of finding all necessary information such as accommodation, eating places, supermarkets (for packed lunch), tourist attractions, train time table…..etc is really training us to make decisions quick in an unfamiliar land. We used to spend a few hours sleep on the bench (or even floor) in train stations just to get a connected train to a destination. Of course, you can choose not to do that. Being a student from Asian country where foreign exchange made it expensive to spend in Europe, we just tried to minimize traveling time and accommodation costs.

Both Clarence and I used backpacks. It was just not practical to bring bulky and beautiful luggage (this is reserved for exotic travel with escorted tours). My backpack was an inexpensive one made of nylon and with no famous brand. However, it had all the ingredients of a good backpack.

Yes. Choosing a good and suitable backpack is not an easy job. Most of the good and branded ones are quite expensive. Continue reading

Valentine’s Day – You want to travel?

Blessed Valentine’s Day (3 days in advance)

I received this message from Lonely Planet…… sharing with me the 10 “best” traveling places on Valentine’s Day – well, at least for the rich and well to do couples.

Personally I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it is really too commercial. You may say I am not a romantic lover cum husband, I just don’t see the point to buy a stalk of rose for many times its’ price in “normal” days! My practical mind overcomes any slight impulse of wanting to be romantic. 🙂 I thank God that my wife Julia has the same idea. She said, “Why don’t we save that money and spend it on something else on another day, that gives us added purchasing power and value for the same amount of money.” Yay! It’s blessed to have a wife who has the same mind.

I want to share this not because I “condone” spending lavishly on Valentine’s Day………it’s just that the photographs in this are so beautiful that I want you to enjoy the places with your eyes if you are like me cannot afford to be there. Continue reading

The Bible encourages us to get drunk to combat with depression and poverty?

The Bible encourages us to get drunk to combat with depression and poverty?

Drink

A Joke

JokeBefore we look at this “serious” topic, I just would like to share with you a joke, you might have heard it before but anyway just enjoy it.

Lady Interviewer: Do you drink every day?

Man: Yes.

Lady Interviewer: 
How much a day?

Man: Around 3 six-packs starting at noon.

Lady Interviewer: How much does a 6-pack cost?

Man: Roughly $10.00 at a deli. Continue reading

Interviewed by a Chinese Press Reporter

Dear Malaysian Government……………

Malaysian Flag

This may be a dry topic to post about but I see it important to do so because we love Malaysia and the issue affects everyone in this land.

A lady walked to me with a small paper notebook in her hands, politely asked, “Dear sir, I wonder whether I could have a few minutes of your time?”

Half way eating my noodles, I looked at her, thinking that she was just another sales girl trying to promote something to me, I said in a reluctant voice, “What is it all about?”

She cleared her throat and said, “I am a reporter from XXX Press. I would like to interview you to solicit some opinions about the recent hike in petrol prices in Malaysia.” I looked at my noodles and pondered, “If I agree to her interview, this bowl of noodles will become cold and it will taste bad. However, if I don’t agree, I find myself loosing an opportunity to reflect an ordinary citizen’s voice about the Government’s decision.” So, I made up my mind for Continue reading

Want versus Need – How to Save Money as a Family

buy or not buyTo buy or not to buy? That’s the question.

First of all, let’s not get confused with definitions. I am writing this to laymen and not economists. The latter has very different definitions on “need” and “want”. Here I define a “need” as a product or service that we require to live. A “want”, on the other hand, is something you desire to have but is not really essential to your life. Of course, our experiences tell us that it is not easy to differentiate between the two. When our income or earning power grows, some of the “wants” become “needs”.

When I was a student in overseas, I weighed my potential purchases very carefully and divided them into “needs” and “wants” before making the decision to buy orstudent not to buy. The relatively weak Malaysian ringgit really did not give me much choice but to be thrifty in all things.

When I started my family, I decided not to Continue reading

Manage household finances – Put the credit cards down today

Credit CardCredit Card – Convenience or Temptation?

One of my friends told me that when he leaves the house, he intentionally leaves the credit cards at home. At the start of the week, he goes to the ATM and withdraws his weekly allowance. His allowance is the only cash he allows himself to spend throughout the entire week.

My friend keeps his credit cards in a place that he cannot access easily. Stashing the credit cards in his basement, attic, or the middle of his freezer typically curbs his spending cravings.

Similarly, my family’s budget is under control because I choose to keep it under control. I am responsible for my family’s financial well-being. For this reason, I amimpulse shopping strict with my purchases.

Before I commit to a purchase, I evaluate exactly what use I would get out of the item. If it is a necessity, I make the purchase.

If the purchase is unnecessary, I leave the store and give myself 24 hours to think it over. If by the next day or even the next week, I still want the item and have found a good use for it, I make the purchase. However, most of the time, I choose not to make a second trip to the store. Sometimes, this is real hard but I know for sure In this way, I curb my impulse purchases.

Due to my efforts, my family enjoys extra money for activities spent together. We can use that money as a family, by going to an event, taking a vacation, or having a nice meal with our children.

Hot Air Balloon Trip in Turkey 2008

I don’t put the credit cards down as my friend does. I know very well that I care about our financial security. I will not put my loved ones into financial distress and sufferings because of my spending habits. And so far, I am doing well in self-discipline.

Today, let us make conscious decisions about our purchases. We replace impulse purchases with peace of mind, family well-being and financial stability.

Self-Reflection Questions:
  1. How do I spend the majority of my spending cash?
  2. Have I ever fallen behind on my bills due to unnecessary shopping?
  3. Am I okay with buying less expensive brands in order to save money?

How to manage household finances without emotional stress and arguments?

Household budgetHousehold Financial Management – What’s the Big Deal?

Before Julia and I walked down the aisle, many friends told us from their experiences that one of the toughest challenges in marriage is to agree on the ways to manage household finances.

“Believe me, Henry, you are going to have heated arguments on how to spend money.” Sincere and loving friends “warned” me in advance with well intention.Arguing

Due to different family background and the way that our parents brought us up, we have different attitudes and habits on spending and saving. We cannot expect a couple to have the same priorities in managing finances. Compromises and mutual respect are keys to work out an agreeable pattern together.

After nearly 30 years of marriage, we must say household finance has not been a great issue for us. Why? Besides the fact that both of us share the same trait of being thrifty, we also established 2 basic principles and stick to them religiously.

1)     Find your comfort level with merging your finances.

Continue reading

My Reflection: Spending Habits

I am mindful of my spending habits

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I realize now that money does not grow on trees. The temporary financial struggles of our past have proven this to be true. For this reason, I am cultivating the consciousness of my spending habits

It is simple to swipe my card and worry about the consequences of my purchase later. However, I have an ingenious tactic to curb unnecessary spending. I directly correlate the purchase amount to the number of hours I need to work to earn the money for the desired item. Continue reading