Friday, October 14, 2005

A way of life

A way of Life: Spending, saving and living every moment

How to enjoy the present (carpe diem, seize the day, my friend) and save for future? Let us compare these three types of lifestyles summarized in three scenarios.

Lifestyle ONE

You walked into this expensive restaurant in Bangsar with your friends and family. You were a bit intimidated by the prices in the menu though you knew you could afford them. Uncomfortably you made the order and wondered how much the bill is going to be. You felt a little bit of tension every time before an item from the menu was mentioned. You forced yourself not to look at the prices and told yourself, hey, live for the moment, not for the money.

After the meal, though you had strong desires to order another Irish Coffees and a special dish of desert, you controlled and told yourself that delay gratification is the way to save for a better future.

At times, you wonder whether you really are living for the moment.

Lifestyle TWO

You walked into this expensive restaurant in Bangsar with your friends and family. You were not intimidated by the prices in the menu as you knew you could afford them should you visit such restaurant less frequently. Price did bother you when order was made but you knew better that, for now, you don't have to worry about money. You called the most delicious item (happened to be the most expensive as you accidentally peeped over the price) and two Irish Coffees for yourself. Why should I delay gratification? Live for today, you said (and unknowingly defined your version of "“live for today").

When you received your credit card statement a month later, you weren't really lived for that moment. Due to such consistent financial choices of instant gratifications in many expensive ways, you have cumulated quite an amount of credit card debts and you weren't really "“living for the moment"”, in the way you define the phrase, for many months later. The repercussion to "live-for-the-moment-and-spend"” was painful.

Lifestyle THREE

Up front, you made a conscious choice not going to that expensive Bangsar'’s restaurant. You walked into this nice restaurant (let's say one of those few restaurants beside Petaling Jaya States' UOB, half the price that of Bangsar's) with your friends and family. It was a little elegant air-conditioned restaurant with warm yellow lighting. You can choose to sit either outside for natural breeze or inside for cool air. You had a great time dining with your family and friends. You did not realize the prices in the menu as you knew it is really affordable. At the end of the meal you ordered few ice creams and deserts for your family and friends and two cups of coffee for yourself. You looked at the bill, "“so cheap,"” you thought. This was the first time you thought about money in the entire evening. You insisted to pay for the meal happily, oh, and gratefully, as you realised that things, recently, were so affordable to you. You reminded yourself to send a cheque to the charity that you were dedicated to.

Money wasn't an issue, not even crossing your mind through out the dinner, as it was simply so affordable. You fulfilled all your instant desires and gratifications. Everyone had a great evening and you were grateful that you could afford such a great meal even if you come here every week. Many years later, you think, "“I really lived in those moments."”

It is quality lifestyle and not high-priced lifestyle that you are going after. Due to such consistent financial choices, where decisions were made up front for a quality yet much cheaper lifestyle and habitat, you managed to save for your future yet without sacrifice in living the moment. There were always instant gratifications without the need to think about money now and when your credit card statement comes.


Many financially cautious persons choose lifestyle ONE. It is a lifestyle of control, rigid, packed with unsatisfied desires, unfulfilled gratifications and bitterness of others affluence, and eventually ended with regrets of not living for those past moments.

Many "living-for-the-moment-and-spend" persons choose the lifestyle TWO. The repercussion of such carelessness with money is painful. You could die broke.

I loathe lifestyles ONE. Every time we cut down our small satisfactions in life we increase our bitterness. This lifestyle always makes us feel poor. I fear of lifestyle TWO. I am afraid of dying broke, owe money and living on the street.

Lifestyle THREE is a lifestyle where money doesn't stand in the way for us to enjoy the moment. It is the way to live for today yet to save for future. It is not about "“scrooge"” at the moment when you need to spend for gratification. It is about sensible choice for completely different price range of lifestyles and habitats so that you can fill your heart desires and gratifications instantly and financially comfortably. When you keep realising things are so affordable everywhere you go, the only feeling you can have is gratefulness.

In a more conventional way of saying, yes, it is about live within your means. But the choice is made up front of choosing a lifestyle, not saving and penny-pinching at moments in live.

Make a wise choice right from the beginning and don't "“scrooge" for the moment. Live now, with efficacy.


* I am not saying you should not go to restaurants in Bangsar. I am stereotyping and conveniently using them to illustrate a point. I am saying you should not go to a place where the prices bother you, either when you spend or when you received your credit card statements. I am saying you should go to a place where prices are well below your affordability, and that you can spend to your heart desire without the issue of money, now or future. Even Restaurants in Bangsar can be such a place when you are financially affluent.

* This is just an illustration of point using the difference between an expensive good restaurant and a cheap good restaurant. It is the same for other major items, between BMW 5 series and Proton Saga (Azizi Ali's favourite), between a 48"” Plasma TV and a 21"” cheap TV, between eat out regularly at restaurants and "“ta pao"” back home, between a home in Bangsar (again!? Hey chentong, what is your problem with Bangsar?) and a home in Shah Alam, between vacation in London and vacation in Bali, etc.

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