the money conversation

How many of you are worried, or already thinking, about money?

I presume a majority of you, if you’re nearing my age or older.

Everything in this world needs money – food, house, holiday, education, rent – and sadly there will be times when we live from paycheck to paycheck just to pay the bills. We look at our wallets and bank accounts and we wonder when would we be able to afford and finish that mortgage. We worry.

Or maybe it is just me.

The other day my good friend and I were talking about money. Yes, it’s that conversation where we wonder about having our own house paid by our own money and about having enough zeroes in our bank account to actually sustain our current lifestyle.

Are you already wondering about this? Am I the only one? Or are we too young to be thinking about this? Probably not. Oh, in case you’re wondering, we are both 23.

Before, I wasn’t really thinking about money that much. All throughout my Bachelor’s degree and my first year of work, my parents supported everything (-ish, I did earn $$$!). I didn’t spend a lot, but I wasn’t really budgeting my expenses to the dot nor using the money I’ve earned to cover my expenses.

That changed last year. I’m doing my Master’s degree, and I have a part-time job. So I decided I would at least cover all my expenses (in exception to rent and home bills – my parents own the apartment I live in). This journey was, well, interesting.

I do my own budgeting and this time, it’s to the dot. I think twice before buying anything – half of the stuffs I wanted to buy were not bought, while the other half took a long time of justification. I strive to save, no matter how small the amount is.

It’s really an eye-opening journey.

Splurging yourself once in a while is good. But do you really need that $4 coffee today? There’s a $3.40 one just down the street. Or do we really need to go for that $25 brunch? Or should we just get awesome Malaysian comfort food for $10.90? Should we pay $12 for parking, or should we park three blocks away and get the free spots?

And budgeting the right way is hard. Putting high $$$ goal for savings looks good, but sometimes it’s not realistic. Putting whatever’s left to the savings account doesn’t really work too.

I’m not sure if I’m being smart or stingy – oh wait, I’m not even close to being stingy – but sometimes I miss those moments when I’m spending money without thinking too much about it. I’m also worried about whether I’d ever score a good job with decent pay after graduation, or whether I’d ever get to open a business.

And from what we (my good friend and I) see on the social media, not a lot of our peers think about this. I’m not sure what happens backstage, but they look like they’re living the good life – you know, travel, branded stuffs, awesome food, this and that…

Like, I wonder how much should you actually spend in a week (read: how stingy you should be with your money), and I wonder how much money you should already have in your bank account by now. I wonder about 1001 other things you should know about making and saving and spending money.

I know I’m lucky – my parents have my back no matter what. But they also raise me with the lesson of ‘eating the market noodles that you paid by your own sweat is much tastier than having steak paid by others’ drilled into my head.

In other words: ‘Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only to accomplish results that last.’ – Hamilton Hold

This one small step in learning to become financially independent really opens my eyes to a lot of things. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t think I ever will, but it’s a journey, and I guess I’ll figure it out along the way.


So. What about you? Do you think of these things too? Have you had some tips or wisdom to give? Share your stories on the comment section!


Photo by Kristina Alexanderson, Creative Commons.