Reflection on FIRE Journey during COVID-19 days

JC Project Freedom - Reflections on COVID19 days

Looking back 1 year ago during last year March 2020 (read about what I did last March here), it seems like yesterday only. I went back to Malaysia to work for half a year before returning to Singapore early 2021. Most of the time, I am working from home. This post is to reflect on the last 1 year.

Clothes and Shoes

I have not been spending much on new clothing as there is no chance for me to wear them. I am wearing my Uniqlo AIRism Micro Mesh T-shirt everyday. From the moment, I wake up, take my breakfast, log on my laptop and start my work, I will be wearing this. Maybe this is the start of my minimalism journey. I don’t need to spend time to decide what to wear. I have 5 pair of leather shoes in Singapore and I left 2 pairs in the KL office. Now you know that some guys do like shoes!

The problem with leather shoes in humid country is you need to wear them now and then, if not the sole will drop out. To overcome this issue, I will wear my leather shoes to the library instead of slippers. I don’t like to maintain my personal wear, I don’t like to maintain a car, I don’t like to maintain a mechanical watch. One of the key reasons why I sold all mechanical watches, they can be very costly to maintain the lubes and components. I remove all mechanical things from my life.

Source – Uniqlo

What happen to all the leather bags? They are placed in boxes with dehumidifier. There are no opportunities for my wife to use them for now. I hope she won’t have a rude shock when she decides to take one out in the near future. Rude shock in the senses that the bag is moldy.

Don’t you think the lesser stuff we have, the lesser time you need to spend in maintaining them? With more time, I can spend them on what truly matters such as friends and family members, community and charity.


One of the greatest regrets I learn during the pandemic (maybe this will become an endemic) is to gain experiences dividend. While pursuing FIRE journey, we have spent too much of our time accumulating wealth but we forget to spend money to accumulate experiences. 70% savings rate – great! But now you cannot use your money to spend on things. What if this COVID-19 becomes an endemic and will always be around us? What if we need to wait 10 years for all nations to receive vaccines to achieve herd immunity? What does it mean if we cannot travel for the next 10 years? IATA predicts that the global air-travel won’t recover from the COVID-19 crisis until 2024.

I discussed with my wife that we need to have our experiences buckets. There are a lot of places which I want to travel to. I want to stay there for a few months to experience the local culture and lifestyle. I want to live. I really respect this young couple who took the campervan from Singapore to Thailand. You can read it here. It is one of my dreams to travel in a van around the world. Then I read about recreation vehicle, that’s how I chance upon this listed company called Thor Industries. While writing this post, I was checking out Youtube video #vanlife. Check out the video link, Malaysia has lots of beautiful places to travel around. Maybe after the COVID-19, I may apply for the MM2H visa to retire in Malaysia.

Living Expenses

I want to take stock for first 4 months of expenses in FY 2021, removing those big one-off expenses such as the cost of delivering a new-born. You don’t deliver a baby every month right? 🙂

January – SGD 6,953
February – SGD 6,179
March – SGD 3,653
April – SGD 5,645
Average around SGD 5,607/ month

This is to my pleasant surprise. Maybe I miss out some of the expenses as I am too busy with work to do the bookkeeping. In pre-COVID-19 days, our monthly expenses are around SGD 8,000/month. Due to COVID-19, we try to reduce going out, spending mainly on groceries, education, maid expenses, insurance, parents’ allowance. In short, we only spend on necessities and not much luxuries or fine dining. I do see a trend of utilities bills climbing steeply and we don’t use air conditioners at all. All the monitors, laptops, milk warmers and UV sterilizing machine use a lot of electricity.

Maybe that’s what it means when you retire and in your 60s, 70s, and 80s. Your lifestyle changes and your expenses just drop.


Maybe we can live a more fulfilling life. Maybe we don’t to keep spending our time accumulating more money. Maybe we can do something that inspires us and make a living out of it. Maybe we should start gaining more experiences while we can.

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