有錢? 沒錢? Rich? Poor?

“Wow ~ So rich ah you! No, no, can’t afford it lah…” People tend to say this to us a (hell) lot. It’s probably because we have always been frank about our expenditure when asked.

We are able to make at least one overseas trip for holiday every year. And now, Beam’s even here in the UK for her study. I can tell you honestly that we’re doing alright and I’m very grateful for what we have. But then, I feel that, very often, people are just trying to justify their own spending habits by refusing to face the very truth. In other words — Our different lifestyles have to be put into perspective.

To my knowledge, we’re the only family without cable TV (And my beautiful Odie darling ~). Once, we had a subscription to three basic groups which provided around 20 channels or so. However, we realised that our telly had mostly been on for DVD or Wii and nothing else. Hence the cancellation. It cost us SGD.30 every month. So for one whole year, we get to save SGD.360. Nope, not big money really… BUT! Isn’t this how you accumulate wealth? Every bit, however small, counts.

And hell no! I’m not saying watching TV is bad. Just trying to point out the very different priorities we have.

Another X Factor about us is that we’re still using the old-fashioned, super-bulky telly, not the sleek LCD which appears to be so common in Singapore (and maybe Taiwan as well? I don’t really know about it now that I’ve been away for quite a while) nowadays. Our telly probably gonna die a natural death soon as it’s been around for 18 years. Sometimes, the picture would disappear totally with only the sound remaining, and this is when we try to resuscitate the poor old machine with our fists. It always gives us good laugh though ~

We have one more old-fashioned telly which is 10-year-old in the PC Room. Panda bought it so as to avoid clashes with his nieces who simply couldn’t agree to watch what he would like. Yuh, tell me about it. That’s partially the reason why I sometimes don’t really feel the sense of belonging under that roof. He’s supposed to be the man of the house, and I am his lawful wife. Yet, everybody has a say except for us (or me, rather. They made me feel like an intruder, frankly). Anyway, it means we won’t need to spend on a new telly at least for a while though the price of LCDs are dropping surprisingly rapidly. If you don’t need it, however cheap it may be, it’s just a waste of money. And I think the point is you make it a habit.

Before we first came here in June, we’d been bombarded with information about how expensive it can be in the UK. Well, déjà vu! Just like what happened 3 years ago when we were about to start the 6-month life in HK. We appreciate everybody’s kindness, but really, we find that it’s all about choices and priorities. A big chunk of our money goes to accommodation which is inevitable. This means that we just have to balance the budget by cutting expenditure somewhere else. That simple.

To be frank, number-wise, Panda’s income is quite alright but that is before we repay the housing  loan and all the other bills. And let’s not forget that he’s the sole bread winner in the house.  Meanwhile, I’ve been looking after Beam all by myself ever since she was born which saves us an awful lot of money on things like a nanny or nursery, let alone tuition which I completely despise. One survey shows that Singaporean parents fork out an average of SGD.500 for tuition fees every month, and this is for one child only. Gracious me!

So! Are we really better-off? Or rather, are you really worse-off? Try living without cable TV and simplify your life like us first, then we talk about it ^_*

 

Dearest Sis  ^_^

還好嗎? 讀了你的信讓我很開心, 要捨工作而選擇興趣是多麼需要勇氣的事呢! 人們往往就是欲求不滿, 才會 “捨不得”; 但其實, 生命哪有完美的? 我認為, 就是不斷地取與捨, 在兩者中求平衡罷了.

例如我們, 結婚九年多, 每年總能來上最少一次海外旅行 (後面這三年間的際遇讓我們飛得更多), 現在還把祥送來夏山, 很多人見面時掛在嘴邊就是: “好有錢喔! ~ 不行不行, 負擔不起 ~”  以前我還會試圖解釋, 現在已經可以一笑置之, 畢竟人性使然, 看不到自己眼中的梁柱.

有趣的是, 據我所知, 我們是唯一家中沒有有線電視的, 原本還有最基本的三個群組 (加上無線總共廿個頻道左右), 但我們實在絕少看電視, 開電視通常是為了 Wii  Fit Plus (鄭重推薦! 真的適合全家共樂 ^_^) 或者看 DVD. 你可以想像, 幾個月前的世足賽, 好多人為了看實況轉播不惜額外付費, 對我們而言, 是很瘋狂的事!

我們也是少數仍在用舊式印象管電視的人家, 連我婆婆自己房裏都有 LCD. 最好笑的是, 大概也是快要涅槃了 (十八年了), 所以有時看電影或玩 Wii 到精彩之處, 會突然一片漆黑, 只剩下聲音, 然後我們就要輪流上前咚咚咚幾下, 把畫面搥回來. 不過, 因為電腦房還有一台十歲的後備 (是當年熊貓氣憤之下的產物 – 他的姪女們總要跟他搶電視, 他於是買了另一台放自己房間, 但結婚後, 根本很少看), 所以雖然現在 LCD 很便宜就買得到, 我們還是沒打算花這筆錢.

這些金錢的數額看似不大, 其實積沙成塔, 而且, 我覺得最重要是那層習慣的養成. 例如我們初初決定取消有線電視時, 熊貓的很多同事都驚訝地不得了: “Huh??!! 那放假怎麼辦? 很無聊吧?”  可是在這之前, 我們就已經幾乎不看電視了, 還是活得很滋潤啊. 我倒不是扮清高, 批評看電視不好, 畢竟青菜蘿蔔各有所愛, 但如果你把錢投資在這方面, 勢必另方面就要有所 ”捨”, 不是嗎? 這跟有錢沒錢半點關係也沒有, 只不過反映了不同的消費觀. 比較讓我心驚的是, 這些都是年輕同事, 我一直以為是老人家宥於體力或者像我婆婆不識字, 才會把電視當成主要娛樂 =P

六月份來英國前, 很多人都警告我們, 超貴超貴超貴… 但我們的感想, 就跟07 年到香港生活一樣, 端看你如何選擇; 對平日生活就簡單的我們而言, 其實跟新加坡差不多, 只是英鎊對星幣是一比二左右, 所以我們會覺得比較吃力, 任何數額到了本地都馬上縮水一半. 住房方面的花費是沒辦法省的, 但是山不轉路轉, 可以從其他方面補回來, 特別是用餐方面. 上館子有上館子的樂趣, 但是外帶通常單價最少便宜個一兩成左右, 所以我們幾乎沒有上過館子. 偶而有心情, 當然可以犒賞一下自己, 好像那杯熱巧克力和烤馬鈴薯, 哈哈 ~

這是我們節流的部分方式.

或者該說到基本面. 熊貓這份薪水老實說算中上, 不過扣掉了房屋貸款等大筆支出, 其實縮水不少, 還好我始終獨力照料祥, 所以這些年省下的褓姆費很可觀; 除了幾年前在台灣的打擊樂和油畫, 去年的戲劇課, 她平日也沒有補什麼才藝或課後輔導. 新加坡父母據說每個月平均要花星幣五百元在這些才藝或課後輔導上 (以一個孩子為基準), 一年就是六千, 合台幣十二萬多… 看我們省了多少?!

總之, 這頭三個月到半年會是花費最大的期間,  動用的是當年我們在香港省吃儉用下來的存款. 等祥決定成為寄宿生, 我們的負擔就會比較輕了. 所以說, 這看似很 ”胎” 的生活, 是我們 “捨” 了很多旁人視為理所當然的 “必需品” 所 “得” 來的.

不好意思, 說到捨得, 正好有所感而已 =P Hope I didn’t bore you to tears *鞠躬*~

日子過得有意義再好不過了 ^_^ 我現在唯一的煩惱就是有點不曉得重返職場要做甚麼, 那天赫伯這麼問我, 我很老實回答不知道. 不過沒關係, 先把當下過好比較重要, 一步一腳印,  上帝總會眷顧好人的, 嘻嘻 ~

嗯… 為人父母說簡單也簡單, 只要記得 Children learn what they live就對了! 只是, 生活中充滿了各式各樣的矛盾, 特別是在這個價值觀相當混淆的世代, 有時要把持到底, 還真不是件容易的事. 說到底, 請三思 ~~~ 有道是: “沒事兒不要生孩子!” 哈哈哈 ~

千萬保重! *hug hug & muak muak* ~

Love,

珮萱   ^..^ miss you ~

2 thoughts on “有錢? 沒錢? Rich? Poor?

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