Economics of life 101

Dear Boys,

We have had this house for a while. There are things that comes and go, and we are quite pragmatic about what can lasts and what doesn’t, so that we spend our money prudently. There are some of the items we buy and my opinion on them.


fan 1  VS  fan

There is no need to get a cool looking Dyson Bladeless fan, which easily cost S$500 to S$1,500. Sure it is a cool (pun intended) looking piece of technology. But hey it comes with a 2 year warranty, like most fans, what does that mean? Will it break down 2 years plus 1 day? You guess is as good as mine. The normal fan next to it? Costs perhaps at best S$150, warranty? 2 years for most. When, not if, either one of them breaks down, which one will you ache over? A $500 fan or a $150 fan? I can buy 3 normal fan and cool 3 rooms compare to a Dyson Bladeless fan, to me that works better than plonking down big bucks for the sake of asthetics. No matter how good the Dyson fan is, I only need it to blow air, that’s all


casio VS  wacthes

Unless if you are into investment, I’d get a watch for day to day use, a Casio will do. Expensive watches are expensive to maintain as well, every time you send one in for servicing, it’ll cost a couple of thousands.

The late Mr Lee Kuan Yew also wears a Casio for his day to day. He got a Rolex, which was a gift.

And yes, watches, do break down, and unlike time, it does not lasts forever.

It’s a lifestyle thing, of course, there are many merits one will sell you for getting a S$20,000 watch to slap on your wrist. But after than telling time, what else can you do with it? Kill bad guys by shooting laser?

Personally, when I do have the money to afford a really expensive watch, I’d get a Rolex. Why? In my time, you’ll hear about watch sales. But you will never hear about a Rolex sales. Thing that has value, do not need to go on sale for the sake of selling.

Wedding Rings

wedding rings

The one your mum and I have, is a simple Platinum band, which costs S$700 a pair. None of us have diamonds on them. I didn’t get your mum any engagement rings. She didn’t get carats from me. We like it this way, because while the ring is symbolic, it must symbolizes the meaning of the relationship, simple, pure and lasting. If your wife wants a rock, think again, while I wouldn’t your choice is ‘bad‘, you just have to make choices you can afford.


We will go through many, many pairs in our lifetime. And all shoes wear out, if it is a S$10 pair or a S$600 pair. And when you put them on your feet, they mostly look the same. You can hardly tell an expensive pair of Oxford shoes from a average pair unless you have really sharp eyes.

Again the deal here is wear and tear. For shoes, I won’t go for the cheapest, I’ll go for one that is mid price, with a good brand, which I have heard of. I will not buy basement price shoes, because it matter what we put on our feet. Bad shoes can cause discomfort, or worse injuries.

For running, sports shoes, I’d choose mid price one, heck, I’d get lower price range. My rationale is, if I can run, I’d be running with any decent jogging shoes, and I’m no athlete, so I do not need high end performance jogging shoes, these costs more but do the same thing for me. I will not spend more than S$150 for a pair of running shoes. As long as they are comfortable, I can run in them, its good to go.



Pens are another money wasters, while I have a fetish for pens, your mother will agree to that! I’m not a big fan of expensive pens. Pens are small and you’ll lose them. And ink will run out, and people buy expensive pens for the same reason they buy expensive watches, it is a matter of image, style and for the rare few, too much money they don’t know where to spend on. If you are a great writer, any ordinary pen will be suffice to convey your ideas, if you are rubbish, even a S$600 Mont Blanc will end up writing nonsense.

So no, I will not spend more than S$20 bucks on a good pen, most of the time, a plastic, ball point pen not more than S$2 is enough to make me happy. Anything more, you’d be better off writing with your blood.



My mantra is to spend as little as possible on computers. I bought a Lenovo laptop which eventually became a white elephant. When I traded it in for charity, all I got back was a S$30 voucher. So no matter how expensive your gadget is, once it is sold, to you, and you trying to sell it off, will turn that $1,000 thing your bought into dirt cheap $100 preowned, preloved secondhand goods.



No I didn’t get your mum any expensive S$2,000 bags, such as the famed Louis Vuitton. She didn’t want me to spend too much money of these kind of things. Her current bag is a Cath Kidson brand I bought on sale, I think it didn’t cost me more than S$200. It is a hardy bag, which is stylish, it does the job and you cannot ask for anything more.

While I write about this, if there is any bag brand I’d splurge, it would be an LV. Again, this boils down to the same ‘Rolex phenomenon’, you will never see an LV sale anywhere. They are a good brand, with a value and do not need to stoop to a level of ‘Sale’ to sell their bags.

Electronic vs Electrical

There are many items we use that relies on electricity. And nowadays, there are many more electronic stuffs than electrical. And electronic stuff typically do not have a long lifespan. There are modern myths and urban legends that hints towards manufacturers making thing that has a short lifespan, so that we can consumers can get trapped in that buying spree, so as to stimulate profits and the economy.

There is some truth to that as my Asus Zenfone 5 went kaput shortly after its 12 month warranty expires. Well, that is one of the many, I guess, but there are also electronic items that lasts and lasts, so the truth is really out there.

Nothing lasts forever

When we buy something, there is a certain high to owning new things, so while that is a great feeling, even some bragging rights to it, after a while it will feel like the same old thing. Everything settles down after a while and all items, not matter how expensive, will break down, so while you are prepared to spend top dollar for a material, will you still be thinking about it when it breaks down, and when you have to throw it away?

We are not stingy on things, but we tend to place value on the things we buy, and these values are more than monetary costs, which is ironic, since people mostly put a lot of money into things, therefore these things becomes ‘valuable’. We tend to differ, we value things, not matter how ‘cheap’ or ‘expensive’ they are, and when the needs calls for it, we will not hesitate to spend to get the best product money can buy, but when you think on the side of pragmatism, you seldom have to do that, most reasonably priced stuffs are quite lasting and does the job decently well.


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