Sunday, October 3, 2010

Thought Question #2

I spend the majority of MY money (as opposed to what my parents spend on me)-- on traveling and it adds up very quickly. If you were to take a look at my traveling habits, you'd realize that I seldom scrimp on traveling expenses, because I usually prefer the most comfortable option. For health reasons, I've cut down on the number of cab rides in the city, but when given the option, I'd choose that any day over the metro. My longest cab ride was when I "stupidly" took a cab from Boston to Newark International Airport (because I didn't realize that there was a thing called Amtrak train which can directly take me there). My most expensive cab ride though was when I took a cab from London to a very small town 2.5 hours away, called Cromer--maybe the cab driver had X-Ray vision and saw the newly exchanged pounds in my pocketbook. When I was in Beijing, I took cabs was so cheap comparatively, and as a result, never rode in the subway which I heard from various people that it's wonderful.

When traveling by train, especially over long distance, I like to travel by 软卧, soft beds for sleeping. In the morning, there are also "room service" available, serving fresh fruits and omelets. Actually this summer when I went to Xi'An, it was my first time traveling by 硬座, hard seats (it was pretty awful)-- 12 hours ride just sitting in one place, surrounded by people who didn't even have seats, yep it was a first time experience. When I was in Mexico City and traveled to a small town (was it 6 hours away?), I took a bus--except this was a super cool bus, it had only 8 passengers and the entire experience felt like a spa treatment because in addition to someone on the bus serving fresh food, there were also masseuses. I got a nice cucumber facial which promptly gave me a rash that lasted two days. :(

I guess I'm supposed to be thoughtful here... so let me take a step back and think about the essence of this question. Now, how one person spends money is indicative and can provide a vast amount of information about that person's personality, values and habits. I think if I were an outsider looking into my personal life, that person (if he does not know me) might think that I am spoiled or has lived a life in luxury. One can say that, perhaps, though that statement is not entirely true. To understand my money spending preferences, I think we should take a look at my mindset.

To be honest, it's a little bit strange analyzing how I think, but when I take a step back and think about finances and money in general, I admit that my thoughts are a little bit different from that of the average person. For instance, I strongly adhere to the personal finance advice learned long time ago: pay yourself first. To pay yourself first means simply this: Before you pay your bills, before you buy groceries, before you do anything else, set aside a portion of your income to yourself. The first bill you pay each month should be to yourself. I may have mistook this rule a bit out of context since the goal is to save money, not find creative ways to spend money, but I'm a strong believer of giving oneself the best treatment (before paying anyone else, especially the IRS--more on this later).

The second principal that I abide by is that I am always time conscious. If there's one thing I hate in life, then it's I hate wasting time. I'm always thinking about opportunity costs and efficiency. If it's a choice between something more expensive but more efficient, I'd go with that option over something cheaper but less efficient. Perhaps, this is the training I received in college (the whole idea that we must produce A LOT under a short amount of time). Though over the last few months, I've been trying to tamper this spirit and force myself to be more observant of the present and take time to smell the roses (even though that's an inefficient time to spend 2 minutes!)

I admit that I probably don't have the best grasp on my finances as I should, especially given my finance background. So, in thinking about and writing this post, I've decided to track my personal spending a little bit more and start developing a strong personal financial habits. Apparently, is a good site to look into.

Now, it's your turn, don't just read my posts and leave! Leave me your thoughts and questions! How do you spend the majority of YOUR money? And what life principals do you live by?


  1. I couldn't use
    When I was college student, I spent majority of my money on playing with my friend and girlfriend.
    It was really enjoyable and awesome, but I regret a little bit. I should have spend my money on getting special experience such as traveling abroad more.
    So recently I try to spend my money on such things, but now I am graduated student, so I don't have enough time and money to do such tings, and worse, I guess, after graduating school, I would not have enough time to travel even though I would have money because Japanese company doesn't give us enough holiday in common ..
    Hmm, on what should I spent my money in the future?

  2. Yay! Thanks for posting!

    I think spending $ on your friend and gf is not so bad, because though you didn't get the special experience, you are left with fantastic memory, right?

    In the future, you can spend your money on this. :)

  3. ha! you sound like me- i LOVE taking a taxi, any day of the week, of hoofing it or hopping on the tube. :)

  4. Technically speaking, most of my money goes on the mortgage and property taxes.
    But in terms of 'spending' money, it's probably in buying new furniture and accessories for the house. At least I have fun in the process!

  5. I believe in paying yourself first, after all you're working hard, one should get to enjoy the money on something they really want and/or interests them. I run into trouble because I tend to pay myself a little too much, lol! But I try to rationalize that I will save dollar for dollar that amount in savings. It really helps to keep things in balance.

    Although convenient.. I'd rather drive or be driven via cab than to take bus or train. =)

    Great post Sophia.