“Roti kosong dua” (two plain pratta)
“Ais kosong” (plain water)
Those were my regular lunch when I first entered the modern slavery kingdom. Such lunch will cost me RM1.40 and for dinner, I will usually eat at home. I remember having McD for lunch is somewhat a luxury. Very strange indeed because, kind of like a reversal of fortune because going to McD when I was still a student isn’t exactly a luxury. Then it hit me… those days when I can just stretch out my palm and ask for pocket money are gone. When I started working, I actually try to limit my McD lunches to twice a month.
Another thing which sort of irritates me is farewell. I was unfortunate enough to be dragged to a farewell lunch at a somewhat posh restaurant and not only the lunch was expensive; I had to chip in to pay for the meal of the resignee, whom I don’t really know. And consider that I still haven’t got my fist paycheque at that time, imagine my face when I had to pull out 50 bucks from my depleting wallet.
I started with RM1,800 (circa USD520) a month in a firm which ranked 2nd in the international auditing world. I was given the impression that I am fortunate to be recruited because amongst hundreds who applied, that firm only recruited 4. I was one of them, so I was told. With that salary, I have to pay for my car, pay some to my dad, gave some to my Mom with parking making up the autonomous consumption. On top of that, I was determined to save as much as I can, which explains why McD is a luxury and that RM1.40 meal is my all time favourite lunch.
How much I managed to save in my first year of being a modern slave? Approximately RM9,000 (USD2,300). Of course, the overtime claim which the firm paid in cash at that time helped quite a bit.
6 years plus into the modern slavery life, I don’t earn that kind of salary anymore, a little bit more of course. Naturally, I would have been able to save more. Do you think that is the case? Truth be told… I hardly save any. Not that I do not wish to save but somehow, money just finished without me knowing it.
Let’s pause and do a lunch habit comparison. Certainly, McD is no longer a luxury. I did some observation on myself lately and I noticed that I spend an average of RM12 per lunch. That is almost 9-times what I was paying when I was an infant modern slave. Now, the question is, did my salary increase 9-folds? OF COURSE NOT!
I think I am not alone when I say that the more we earn, the less money we seem to be left with in the bank at the end of the month. We are somewhat led to believe that with a little increase in our salary, we can afford so much more but in actual fact, we can't. If we are not careful, we may land ourselves in a 5 figure credit card bills and with your 4 figure salary, you are going to have a very tough time paying it off.
I know many of you will say that our employers are not paying enough and that we are made to work like dogs with a puny salary. That is true, it is a modern slavery world after all. but at the same time, we should also examine ourselves to see whether are we doing our lives any justice. To those who live on a earn-all-spend-all motto. Let me just tell you that you have not reached a point of your life where you are desperate for cash and … not having them.
We don’t need to alter our entire spending habit to make a big difference. Just keep a check on some minor things and it does make a big difference. I am going to start my not spending too lavishly during lunch. What about you?
P/S: My company just blocked our access to blogspot this week. KNNCCB!