Thursday, April 28, 2016

Frugality And The YOLO Lifestyle

Have you ever envied those people who live a YOLO lifestyle? If you don't know what is YOLO, it means "You Only Life Once". This is a mindset that since we really only live once, why not just enjoy life first? Why think and plan for the future?

When I was younger in secondary school, I had a classmate who came from a rich family. The parents gave him $50 a day. At that time, my allowance was only $20 a week which was just sufficient for my meals in school. Each meal cost about $2 then. With $50, this classmate could buy lots of stuff he wants. He was the envy of many other classmates and friends surrounded him to get some benefits from him.  Sadly, later on he got suspended from school and in the end got expelled because of some police case. Later I found out he was caught stealing from a book store in a shopping mall. It was an irony that he has the most money but still steals from a book store.

The YOLO Lifestyle

Money can cause a lot of problems. Just last week, MAS and CAD raided a few trading firms such as DBS vickers, Maybank Kim Eng, Phillip securities and OCBC secutiries. Some remisers were taken away for questioning. The MAS confirmed on Friday that together with the CAD, it is investigating possible contraventions of the Securities and Futures Act. Money can cause people to do things that breaks the law.

I'm sure all of us have friends who live from pay check to pay check. They empty their bank accounts and enjoy life to the fullest. They travel around the world, enjoy the finest food, enjoy luxuries and live for the moment without thinking about the future. This is even better than my classmate who has $50 to spend everyday. It is possible to spend hundreds of dollars per day.

I am not against enjoying life. In fact, I've ditched my budget and spend as much as I can currently. I wrote a post on this previously here.

The Frugal Lifestyle

The frugal lifestyle on the other hand is a life of prudence. This person spends wisely and thinks for the future. He tries to save as much as he can because he thinks he will need the money in the future. There are also extreme frugality cases where a person saves and saves and forgets what enjoying life is all about. Both the YOLO and frugal lifestyle becomes a habit. Both can be bad or good.

There is a fine line between frugality and cheap. Our lifestyle ultimately affects the people around us. A person with a YOLO lifestyle may have spent all his money and can't even pay the bills on time for his family. Or he may have got into too much debt and made the family suffer. On the other hand, a frugal person can also affect the people around him negatively. He may have saved too much and compromises on quality. The family doesn't get much enjoyment in life and live on a tight budget.

How To Balance Frugality and the YOLO Lifestyle?

Saving money for the future and enjoying life needs to have a balance. This is easier said than done. But with a conscious effort, we can balance the frugality and the YOLO lifestyle. First, we have to identify are we more prone to spending or saving. Most of us will lean more to one side. For me, I'm definitely more prone to saving money so I have to make a conscious effort to spend more on the things that are important.

For a person who saves more, it is sometimes hard to spend. $50 for a meal per person seems too expensive and it is very hard for him to indulge in luxuries.  To balance up, a frugal person can indulge in luxuries occasionally. It doesn't hurt to spend a bit more once in awhile especially for the people he loves.

Just last year, I decided to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday in one of the fine dining restaurants in Singapore. This was at a restaurant called Pollen, right inside Gardens by the Bay's flower dome. This is the first time I've ever went to a fine dining restaurant and I must say the experience is worth every single cent. The service is good, every dish is carefully selected and prepared with unique taste in every single bite.

Bread and mini bun with truffle cream served before the meal

Appetizer: Some figs and goat cheese

Mains: “Risotto”, hazelnuts, brie and pears

Mains: I forgot the name of this fish



As you can see, every plate is an art work. Delicious and full of flavours. Their service is so good that they gave us a holder to put our bags, explain every dish in detailed and even provide a scarf for my girlfriend in case she's cold. They also provide buggy service before you come and after you finish your meal. The buggy sent us all the way to MBS after our meal. And I forgot to mention they actually reply to my emails very promptly. I actually arranged for a surprise birthday cake with candle to be sent in after our meals.

The meal also includes an entry into the flower dome, another plus points if your girlfriend likes flowers. Just a few steps away and you're in the flower dome full of beautiful flowers. This is definitely a place to consider for a date or to celebrate special occasions with your other half.

To me, now it doesn't hurt to spend a bit more just to enjoy. In the past I was probably too tight on money and am slowly changing it. I am now more focus on increasing my income than just saving money alone.

How about the person who lives a completely YOLO lifestyle? To this person, luxuries are too common in his life till it becomes a norm. He has no savings and always complains of not enough money. Yes he's enjoying life fully now but when crisis strikes, he loses his job or one of his family member gets sick, he has no money for all these. The family goes through a period of tough time.

As long as we have plans for the future, spending a bit more doesn't really hurt. Just $100+ on food on that special occasion doesn't hurt if you still have savings. If you borrow money to enjoy, then that is a red flag. If you use your credit cards to enjoy and cannot afford to pay the bills, then it will be disastrous. If we just use a part of our income for enjoyment while still paying ourselves first, then I think this is perfectly ok.

Frugality and YOLO lifestyle, do you think it can be balanced?

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  1. Great post. Now I wanna try Pollen too hehe, a good fine dining place is indeed a joy to experience ;)

    I agree that we have to find a balance between frugality (or even cheap) and YOLO, can be quite tough at times.

    Regarding budgeting, I also noticed my expenditure slightly more than doubled but for unplanned expenses I try to save any excess each month from my assigned budget and store it for future expenditure. I do relax my monitoring from time to time, but sometimes I feel I become too lax (money starts disappearing and I don't know where they went), I start trending for a few months again to put me back on track.

    1. Hi Azrael,

      Yes you should try pollen with your date. Haha

      Not easy to find a balance betwern spending and saving money. Wow your expenses also doubled but i guess its a good thing if we spend it on things that are meaningful.

    2. I previously tried DB Bistro at MBS for the last one. Pollen will be on the to eat list hehe.

      Yes, it is hard initially, but once we filter out what is meaningful, removing the rest is easy :)

    3. Let me check out DB bistro. Hope you enjoy pollen. :)

  2. Hi SGYI,

    Great post on balancing Frugality and the YOLO Lifestyle. By the way, we went to Pollen for a celebratory dinner two years ago and the service & food were excellent then too. Good to know the high standards are being kept!


    1. Hi TFS,

      Glad you enjoyed pollen too. Looks like they are really up to standard even after so many years.

  3. Frugality (but not cheapskate) has to be the main engine to drive your YOLO(when the occasson calls for it).

    If you have the money to eat your favorite food everyday, can you really do it everyday?

    In fact i always imagine the very rich will soon get tired of everything in life on Earth, just because they over indulged.

    Me never bring my family to restaurants until i made my first 100K from the stock market, many, many, years ago.

    The secret is even if you are rich enough to indulge in the things you like anytime, don't do it anytime.
    You have to make sure that each time you do it, you want to do it again.
    Very difficult isn't it?
    It is never easy to hold yourself back from over indulgence when you have the means.
    Ha! Ha!
    And why not once in a BLUE MOON?
    i do.

    1. Hi temperament,

      I do have the same thinking that the rich will get tired of all the luxuries. That's why there's always a feeling of wanting more and there willbe more luxuries to satisfy this demand.

      As for indulgences, it really depends how we see it. People in the past only get to eat chicken on special occasions such as chinese new year but now we are having chicken almost everyday. It may seem like an indulgence to the people in the past. Likewise we see people who go to restaurants are indulging but it may be a daily affair in the future. At that time, a new indulgence will be created again.