By Yoke-Yin Chong Purcaro

Who doesnít like money? Everybody loves money because money can get you anything you want. Do you agree? In nowadays, even a three years old kid knows the importance of money. Iím sure you know how important the money is, and I also know that you have been trying your best to get the most you can. However, you always feel like you donít have enough money. Am I right? I used to be one of these people who complain about not having enough money. But, one day, I sat down and think carefully why I couldnít safe money. I also looked at the stuffs I spent my money on. Itís not that hard to figure why I always short of money. The reasons are I didnít plan the budget; I bought whatever I think itís cute and cool.  Since then, I started to plan my budget well, and control my buying behavior. I only spend my money on something necessary such as tuition fees, text books, food (no snack or junk food) and some cloths that keep me warm during the winter. I tried to think carefully before I spend every penny. Because of this, people think that I am a cheap person.  

I used to be a server at a restaurant. Since we donít have cashiers in the restaurant, the servers have to prepare some changes for the shifts. Try to imagine when you have to carry some coins in your pocket for five or six hours running around in the restaurant. Itís not comfortable at all! So, a lot of servers donít like carrying coins with them. When they need change for customers, they beg other servers to loan them some coins. Most likely, I would be the one they like to ask because I always have coins with me. Sometimes, they ask for a quarter, a dime even if a couple of pennies. They always said, ďI will give you back at the end of the shift.Ē At the beginning, I believe what they said. However, ten out of ten times, they forgot. After a while, I realized that I was losing my money. You probably would say, ďA penny is nothing, not even a quarter. Why do you care about a penny so much?!Ē Yet, this is not me. To me, a quarter is money, a penny is still money. Think about it. If you owe your credit card company a penny. Guess what they would do? They would spend more than a penny to print a letter, envelope and postage to remind you that you didnít pay off your balance. Assuming that you thought that is not a big deal, so you disregard the letter. Guess what the credit card company would do? Send you another letter again! This time, they would apply the interest rate on your balance. Let say your interest rate is 9.99%, your balance of one penny became more than ten cents now. A penny is not ďjust a pennyĒ. A lot of wealthy people in the world started their business with a penny. As a result, I always I asked my colleagues to give me back the coins they have loan from me.

In this materialistic society, if you canít afford a couple of carat princess cut diamond for wife, you are not cool. If you walked into the Nordstrom shoes department with a regular T-shirt and jeans, no one would greet you as they greet those who have a Cartier watch on the arm and carrying a Bally purse. In addition, some people think having a cup of Starbucks cafť late will differentiate them from those who paid a dollar fifty at the gas station. Some women complain that they need to work two jobs to be able to pay the rent, the insurance, and the minimum of their credit card balance. On the other hand, they would spend $150 plus $10 tips to dye their hair, about $20 on their nails, and maybe $75 on their facial service. Let me ask you something, are these necessary? In my opinion, if you spend more than you made; then, they are absolutely no need to spend your money on those expenses.  

Sometimes, I feel sad that some young people donít have the concept of saving money and planning the future. Besides, they have no idea how hard it is to make a living due to the competition out there and the high rate of unemployment. Personally, I started my retirement plan when I was 29.  Regardless some financial advisors said at age of 29 still young for the retirement, I still think that I should start it earlier. In my opinion, if you drive a 700 series BMW, wearing some carrot princess cut diamond; from the head to your toes, you have Luis Vuiton, Cristine Dior, and Versace, but you have ten thousand of credit card debt and have to work two jobs to pay at least the minimum of your credit card balance, you are not cool! A cell phone is for the emergency use; therefore, itís not necessary to have the smallest and lightest one that has ten different games on it, photos taking function and internet function. I have a simple cell phone with the least expensive plan that gives me 300 minutes a month and free on weekend. I donít chat on my cell phone; instead, I try to use email. I donít have a one carrot princess cut diamond ring although I would really like to have one. I donít spend a lot of money on my cell phone accessories because I donít think itís necessary to have different color of shell for my cell phone. I stop drinking Starbucks coffee when I realized that a cup of Cafť Late cost me about $3.50 that I could buy a bag of Sweden coffee from IKEA. I stop thinking getting a brand new A4 Audi because itís out of my budget and my little 1989 Toyota Corolla is still in good condition.

The older I get the more I treasure every penny I made. The more I treasure the money I made, the less I have the materialistic desire. Ten years ago, if you give me one thousand dollars, I would spend it on the Tiffany jewelry store. But, today, if you give me a thousand dollars, I would either safe it or paying the series 7 NASD exam. Compare now to ten years ago, I find myself more mature on my own financial planning and managing. There is no doubt that money can buy us almost everything. As a result, why donít we spend our money on something useful and meaningful? In order to have a better life in the future, please start planning your budget and your retirement plan now. There is a Chinese saying that to have the bitter first, then the sweet. The saying implies that we have to work hard first, then enjoy and relax later. So, what do you think?