Since young I have cultivated the habit of saving, for every $1 my parents gave me when I am in primary school, I will save $0.3-0.5 out of it and put it in my piggy bank. Back then one bowl of noodles only cost $0.5 and drinks only cost $0.30 in school. We used to stay at my grandfather’s place and my uncle was running his fruit wholesale business back then. My sister and I would help to count his coins and stack them nicely for him and he would pay us $1 each for our hard work. 🙂
In secondary school days, I would save up my money to buy Super Nintendo RPG games such as Final Fantasy, Chrono Trigger and Secrets of Mana. I didn’t remember having a lot of allowance but a mere $3-4 per day.
JC days were the same, I would be able to save some from my allowances. At 19, I entered BMT as a recruit, it was tough, back then was only paid about $250 as a recruit and as a corporal about $400+. Throughout the army days, I got to teach tuition and performed guard duties (people sell their guard duties) on behalf of others for money. I did have some money to party but on a very budget mode every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I remember I would take the night rider instead of taking taxi.
I remember to go out on dates during university days, I worked every single holiday whereas my wealthy friends will go for exchange and travels. I have worked as store man, dress up as an elf at Raffles Place for an event, work as a zoo facilitator (that’s fun) and giving 2-3 tuitions for the entire 4 years. The money I saved since army allowed me to pay down $15k of my university school fees and loan the rest from my father.
I continued to give tuition from 2007 to 2009 during my first 3 years of working to supplement my income. Tuition days were tough. I remembered that I had to brave the rain to reach my student’s house, walked in the afternoon sun (in short brave the weather) and waited at the bus-stop late at night after classes. In order to save some money, I went to the bus-drivers’ coffee shop to buy dinner as the price is cheaper than other places. I remember my first take home paycheck was not even $2k. It was $1,999 less CPF contribution and charity to Chinese Society. I was very hungry to be rich.
Fast forward 10 years after graduation, despite earning high income, my saving habit is still the same. I am able to save at least 50% of my income for investment. I can easily afford the Audi Q7 and AP watch my secondary school classmate has but I choose not to. It is a choice, a lifestyle choice. Maybe it is a habit which I have cultivated since young.
I am your typical millionaire next door. I will highly recommend that you read that book.