Beg, Budget, Borrow

Money can’t buy you everything, that’s true. But if you want to buy something, you need money.

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Fort Canning Park

A very appropriate question I am asked pretty often when I’m out with others is ‘are you broke?’ I say that’s appropriate because for the past half a decade I’ve spent outdoors I’ve been through ups and downs, a very complicated relationship. The rough tides I’ve had to manage thanks to this relationship. And it’s so hard because sometimes I wish I had more but as I realise there’s no end to it, I wish it was never there. But this relationship that persists to today, is a lesson and an experience I’d like to share. So here goes, this is the story about my relationship with money. 

DISCLAIMER: This is going to be a little long, keep up if you can.

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National Museum of Singapore

I started spending time out since I stepped out of primary school maybe because the first graduation I actually understood and was so overwhelmed with feelings by, created an illusion in my head, that I was ready to go out and have fun and play and spend time (and money) out with others. That cost me. On weekends, I’d spend them out at various places with my sister and periodic visits to the malls with my friends were spread out every holiday because that’s when I felt the need to meet every person I knew to catch up and make sure they haven’t forgotten me in the time we haven’t seen each other.

That escalated quickly as I stepped into a secondary school smack right by Orchard Road. An average decent meal in that area would be 7$ and a treat to myself to something I ‘needed’ from accessories to stationery to clothes and apparels would make another $10-20 every month. Often I found myself nearing the last week of the month struggling to keep up with the meagre amount of money I had left, wondering ‘where did all the money go?’

Within months of being trapped in that vicious cycle, that question became “WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN SPENDING ON SHERMAINE?” And so in year 2 I came up with a brilliant plan where a little yellow book kept track of everywhere the money went. Now I never had to ask myself that question ever. And I lived happily ever after.

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Asian Civilisation Museum

WRONG, it didn’t help that I knew where all this money was going but wasn’t doing anything to control it. There wasn’t a ‘Do I need this?’ question before every purchase nor a ‘Must I really borrow this?’ before every loan. That was awful, the consequences I had to face came later i the year when my yellow book also became the records of the amount I owed everyone from family to friends. CAN YOU IMAGINE STARTING EVERY MONTH PAYING OFF DEBTS FIRST AND THEN STRUGGLING TO SPEND EVEN LESS THAN NORMAL?

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Peranakan Museum

Story is I got a job, paid off the debts and earned money for myself so I’d learn to cherish it better- all my pieces of cash began to have some kind of emotional shroud so separation was harder than before. Today I continue to go out, I continue to spend, but with this experience at the back of my head, I know that’s the worst it’ll ever get and I’d never allow myself back in that situation again.

And now I choose my places differently. (The pictures in this blog post is where I’ve been for the past couple of months chosen at random and they’re all free entry!)

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Chinese Garden

THE END.

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