We came to this world bringing nothing (including money) but only ourselves. Similarly, we will leave this world bringing no money. However, during the journey, we require money as resources to exchange for almost everything.
Our parents spent some money to deliver us, from the moment we were conceived until we were delivered. Some people, perhaps our children or grandchildren, will have to spend money for our funerals. Most of our Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs require money as resources. While it is good to remember that money is not everything, but almost everything – from the cradle to the grave – requires money.
We spent many hours, countless energy, attention, sweat, tears and blood to develop knowledge and skills of living in order to apply them to earn money. Many people, in the pursuit of money, sadly lost the meaning of the money as resources for other things that matter more: survival, happiness, relationship, health, goodness, self-actualization, and the list goes on.
Indeed, material wealth (including money, assets, etc) can provide us and our loved ones with the best access to survival (e.g. buying a second citizenship to escape war ), health (e.g. specialists, choices to live in cities with good quality of air and water), education (e.g. music lessons, ivy league’s education) and fulfillment (e.g. travel, time and freedom to pursue own interests), as long as money is not the stumbling block.
On 20151015 , after spending some efforts tracking exchange rates using Yahoo Finance, I purchased the currency of the country that I am going to visit for the first time. Even without information for the future, I made the decision! Reflecting on this, I wondered why I spent the time, energy and efforts to save some money, though not a lot, can be sufficient for some meals . Based on my predicted budget, I would not spend more than USD 500!
You may think that I should spend my hours on other more productive tasks. It is essential to be penny wise and pound wise, and if we must choose either one, let it be pound wise. Nevertheless, this experience helps me to learn something about myself*. I also learned that Al Fardan gave a better rate than Lulu Exchange and Al Ansari, for this particular currency that I am interested in.
I made peace that even if the money exchange make a substantial profit from the differences in buy/sell rates, as long as the currency is becoming stronger, I will not lose a lot. I also learned that bringing USD or EUR is pretty convenient and getting the currency outside the country can be more expensive but sometimes we do need at least some amount of the currency for ground transportation. I am grateful for Euros, it makes travelling to Europe much more convenient than ever!
*While my mother who has spent years of her life working hard and living frugally for us, has kindly encouraged me not to hesitate to spend on healthy food for the sake of our health, I do not feel happy visiting expensive restaurants for the same quality of food that I can get elsewhere at cheaper rate . Once, my father remarked that the best steak he has eaten was at my graduation formal hall; this is a kind of dining experience that one cannot get even one is willing to spend whatever amount money on it.
I am grateful for this travel opportunity. I have transited at least three times to the country (without crossing the immigration) since 2004, and had to cancel our planned trip (with honey panda) there due to a natural disaster in 2011. Again in summer 2015, I was not sure that I could make it for this trip due to red tapes at work places. However as of today, I have my tickets and accommodation booked; and currencies prepared (3-4 types ready in the event that my ATM card refused to work). It is a good practice to inform our bank of our travel plan in advance so that it will not block the usage of our debit / credit cards in a foreign country. However, I do not like the surprise in the additional charges associated with overseas ATM withdrawal.
Since we will bring nothing with us when we leave this world, why don’t we leave this world a better place? We can and must create useful, beautiful and joyful things for ourselves and others. Sometimes those things can just be a smile or encouraging words. To create better, we need to continue learning and doing in our childhood, teenagehood, 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 100s and beyond. Remember also to stand on the shoulders of giant.
I need to increase my creation habits and decrease my wasteful consumption habits. For example, honey panda and I rarely order drinks at restaurants or cafe . Instead, we make our own coffee or tea. We also carry our own water bottles instead of buying bottled water. I also try to pack my lunch, it’s healthier as I can control the ingredients. We need to educate ourselves on the art of persuasion; understand and resist the manipulative nature of advertising.
Hopefully I can be like those tenbagger stocks with excellent financial ratios. My ratio of income to personal expense is increasingly higher than ever; I must be careful not to follow many people who increase their spendings significantly as their incomes increase. Many enjoyable things in life cost nothing or little.
In a nutshell, I am happy to use money for the following purposes:
- eat nutritious healthy food and treat people whom I care the same food through our food adventure, that’s what partly make our lives colourful!
- sleep at a safe place (while I find that my current accommodation is pretty expensive, I am trying to optimize the available health-promoting facilities such as swimming pools to exercise)
- travel to meet cherished people, to learn from and beyond the books, to make a difference in my life and others, to create photographic artworks using myself as the model
- save for a rainy days; saving != hoarding.
- invest in people: myself and others whom I am responsible of
- invest in tangible assets e.g. stocks, properties
I believe that I am capable of attracting money to support myself and others whom I support, I use money judiciously, I happily spend for people and things that matter. I also believe and strive to ensure that for everyone who comes into contact with me, an increase is given to his / her life in use value, which is more than the cash value that he / she gave me.
 20151015 ~ the day when I enjoyed a #happyswim in the morning and we walked at the Al Maryah Island.
 See also ref2016/happygreenpanda_money_20160711.txt
 See also email of this post contains the exchange rates and email entitled “Al Fardan is cheaper than Lulu exchange and Al Ansari 20151015”
 Be courageous to apply #pandaTFBH to ask in advance (with a smile) if a particular item is complimentary or chargeable. For example, during a happy lunch with Little Prince on 20160707, I asked if the sambal is free.
 According to a research by Joe Gladstone and his collaborators, our personality influences how much joy we derived for particular type of spending. For example, extroverts enjoy social experiences (hence they prefer group-dining vouchers), whereas introverts enjoy material goods or experiences that they can consume on their own (hence they prefer book vouchers).
As of 20170713, I am interested to learn more about behavioural economics from Dan Ariely and Dilip Soman.