Moneyyy for Something

by Jinryu

  Character > Equip

I did a lot of experiments with what I did and didn’t need while I was in Korea, and now, my ‘second time around’ living on my own in NDG, I’ve started again from scratch.  This is the permanent move out.  While the move to SK was temporary, or perhaps shall we say, tentative, the move to NDG is something permanent in the sense that it’s the first time I’ll be gone for good from my parents’ house in any permanent residence sort of way.  It’s been a few months since I moved out and I think I’m getting into the groove of things.

So there are items here and there that I’ve scraped together for my life as me.  They’re not always big things, but they are things that I bought with my own money, from scraping by with my government paycheques biweekly while trying to save up money for my future, and still trying to have some fun along the way.

The point of some of these items is that they’re equipment, or they’re enablers, not so much consumables.  Like, they’re not packs of frozen fish– they’re fishing rods, so to speak.  Piece by piece are things meant to make my life feel like they’re on track because in some strange consumer-whore sorta way, I look around me and I do feel like I’m getting somewhere because of all the material goods I have surrounding me.

They include:

An electric razor.  (Not the fancy sort–a Gillete Fusion Mach 5 with the vibrating blades.)
A larger bed.
A non-stick frying pan. (Mostly unburnt eggs now!)
Bicycles.  (A bicycle for normal and wet road conditions, and a bicycle for snowy/icy conditions, and folder bike for car-enabled special missions.)
House plants.  (Just because I like planting things.)
My own pinboard and whiteboard.
A cooking knife.
Couches.
Christmas lights.

… there are of course more things on this list, and maybe some of these things seem similar to you. But I’m buying these things with some sense of permanence in mind. I’m trying to build a home here.  I’m not likely to live in NDG, but I do want to own the things that will make my house a home.  My travels aren’t over, but I want a place to call home that I’ve built for myself,  one item at a time.

I do buy useless things every now and then, but for the most part, I like to think that I’m investing my money in myself whenever I buy myself something.  Thus, I guess I don’t get the little luxuries in life so much like bags of chips of soft drinks.  I’ll spend the extra change on enriched white bread (because sometimes I get tired of the taste of brown) or juice (because Vitamic C keeps the swine flu away!).

I guess it’s a lot a matter of perspective– there’s a huge discrepancy between what we ‘need’ and what we ‘want’ but if you’ve truly covered everything that you ‘need’ it’s just a question of what, out of those things you want, is more useful and has more replay value.

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I’ve never really had bad bad money problems, because since I was in high school, I’ve been working part time jobs.  But I am frugal– I’ve never really been in debt, except for the floating debt of 500$ or so that I always paid off and reincurred while I was still running the RsM Badminton club / store out of my own personal accounts. A large reason why I’ve never really gone into debt is because I don’t buy all that much, and that kind of financial discipline has lead me to financial security nowadays.

I’ve always had this thing where I try to invest as much of my paycheques as possible.  The basic procedure when I get my paycheque every couple of weeks is as follows:

  1. Pay off my Mastercard.  (I almost never use cash because I don’t like change, so almost my expenseses that can, such as bills and groceries, all go on my MC.)
  2. Invest as least half of the remaining money.
  3. Use the rest of the cash for ‘whatever’ situations in which a credit card isn’t convenient (like eating in Chinatown, where you can get an “Asian Discount” for cash!)

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That kind of changed while I was living in Asia, where spending money really made a jump into the foreground. It was a completely different game.  Living alone, and by alone I mean half a world away from home in a country where I didn’t speak the language or have any family to live with, was completely different from living at home with my parents and sister.  If there was no toilet paper, there was nobody to blame except myself.  If I couldn’t eat a bowl of cereal because there was no milk left, it was my own damn fault.  But on top of all that, it was compounded by the language barriers– it’s not exactly easy to read street signs or look up the internet in a foreign language to find a local grocery store, much less understand roadsigns and directions to it.

As with all things, I made a game out of it.  I was a hero in my own adventure but I had nothing but hope to go on, since the beginning of the adventure started off pretty shittily for me.  My stomach couldn’t tolerate Korean food, my Korean accent was terrible and I couldn’t communicate with the locals.  I had lost ten pounds within my first month in Korea.  I was pretty miserable.

I wasn’t equipped to be there, to be frank.  And for that, I paid the premium.  The first places that I found to buy groceries, I always bought there no matter how expensive.  Not knowing how to get around the city I always took taxis to the same landmarks, not knowing how to get places on foot or how to use mass transit.  Things were ineffeceint

My life upgraded piece by piece though.  Within the first week of living in SK, I spent 100 000 won on a bicycle (about a hundred bucks Canadian / USD at the time).  That was what first started opening up doors for me.

And bit by bit, I built myself an independant life. 

In the past decade there’s been this anti-consumerism movement, which I mostly am a part of, except when I’m being a consumer-whore.  The truth is, consumerism is consolation– when you lack human contact or a place in the world, some common items give you a familiar sense to anchor into.  It’s why McDonalds’ around the world have the same feel to them.  Because they’re not just selling terrible burgers– they’re selling comfort.

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Over the years I’ve really come to understand that no, money isn’t everything.  Regardless though, you do need some discipline with it– because while it might not be the answer to happiness, it can certainly be the herald of your unhappiness if you don’t manage things correctly.

I’m basically working my way towards what I used to call the “Big Red Button” plan, at which point I have enough money to retire and hit the big red button and say “Sayonara suckers!” and all my employers would go up in a ball of flame.

[Supergirl’s] mom has a better name for that though– it’s called the FU (“Fuck you!”) Fund and it basically serves the same purpose.  From now on, I’ll start saying that I’m saving up for my Fuck-U-Fund because I like alliteration.

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