Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Moved in after 2 weeks and an $8,000 renovation.

I shared in Facebook how I spent $8,000 doing up my apartment 6 or 7 years ago and moved in 2 weeks after I got my keys.

Someone asked me how did I do it and whether I could blog about it.

I did a quick summary in Facebook in the wee hours of this morning and I am doing a cut and paste here since the majority of you guys (and gals) don't follow me on Facebook.

"Terrence, it was so many years ago. There isn't much to write really... Lights >$1K... Curtains/Blinds >$1K ... 26" LCD TV, Medium size 2 door fridge, top loading fuzzy logic washing machine >$1K... Furniture from IKEA (Queen Size Bed/Single Bed/Mattresses, 2 Seater Sofa, Dining Table + 4 chairs, TV Console, Shelves, Side Tables) >$2K... Painted the place myself in one weekend...  

"It really depends on what we can accept. Many people told me IKEA furniture CMI but mine lasted >4 years and when I sold my place, the buyer asked to have all the furniture. Still good. Just imagine that the money I spent on all my furniture cannot even pay for a bed or a sofa for some people. -.-"

"I am not saying that I am right and they are wrong but there are choices. The same goes for electrical appliances. I spent less than 2K on washing machine ($299), fridge ($499) and LCD TV ($699). For some people, their TV already costs $2K (or more)!

"Very often, I see people trying to keep up with their friends and relatives. "They have, I must also have! If I don't have, I will lose face!" Big problem if they think like this especially if they cannot afford it. Even if they can afford it, should they spend that money?

"To me, it wasn't about affordability although I could afford better. I could put the money to better use. People laughed at my TV back then. It was CHIMEI brand. My Taiwanese friend told me it was Taiwan's 2nd biggest brand. Good enough for me. 26" LCD TV at $699 7 years ago was a very good price. I think SHARP would have cost 50% more.

"I don't think I was extreme in delaying gratification but I did delay within reason. Why use our hard earned money to buy a super high tech TV when we could get one "free" later on with passive income generated by our investments?"

We have choices in life.

We can choose to be 
"Under-accumulators of wealth (UAWs)"
"Prodigious accumulators of wealth (PAWs)".
Source: The Millionaire Next Door.

"I have been labelled a person with a peasant mentality when it comes to wealth building... Unfortunately, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth... I can only do what I can with my limited resources to move upwards."
Source: To be a happy peasant.

As long as we are not severely disadvantaged in life, this is definitely something which all of us can do. 

If AK can do it, so can you!

Related posts:
1. A reader in his early 20s.
2. The secret to avoiding financial ruin.
3. From rich to broke.
4. If we are not rich, don't act rich.
5. Not enough money to be married.


  1. Nice place you got there. And you are right that I do not follow you on Facebook. Thanks for sharing it over here.

  2. Hi L Young,

    My blog has a couple of thousand regular readers at least but I only have 200+ "followers" in Facebook. So, it is an educated guess. :)

    My place was somewhat Spartan but it was comfortable enough and it was home. ;)

  3. Hi AK,

    You're the best in sourcing for deals! Some people say you need to think and live like the rich to be rich. I wonder where this mindset came from?

    By the way, is the picture here your real home? If it is then its really nice :p

  4. Hi SGYI,

    Oops. No, they are not photos of my home. LOL.

    Now, I understand why L Young said "nice place". ;p

    My place was Spartan! -.-

  5. "Why use our hard earned money to buy a super high tech TV when we could get one "free" later on with passive income generated by our investments?"

    Hello AK. I like this statement you said. And i agreed wholeheartedly. I will use this statment to "educate" my wife. I hope you dont mind.

  6. Hi Benson,

    Please go ahead and share this with as many people as you like. :)

    Jim Rogers, many years ago, persuaded his wife not to buy an expensive sofa but to invest the money instead. Years later, the wife used money made from her investments to buy a beautiful sofa. Fully paid for by Mr. Market. Made her and Jim happy, I am sure. ;)

  7. Hi AK,

    My humble new house will come in 3-4 years time.

    The purchase price of the property is less than 5 years of combined salary of my fiancee and me.

    My fiancee agrees that we should not have a lavish wedding, just a simple one will do. Renovation does not need to be excessive as well.

    With the money save, we can it put into our finance warchest to reap rewards when the time is right.

    "Being Frugal is the corner stone to wealth building"
    Source: Also from the Millionaire next door. Haha

  8. Hi Ak71,

    I am really impressed. Just curious, but how much did you spend on the renovation for your current place?

    Because it would be even more impressive if you moved beyond delaying gratification!

  9. Hi Solace,

    Congratulations on a practical new home and finding a prudent other half! :)

    This sounds like perfect material for a guest blog! ;p

    My future hut in the sky will cost 3x my total annual income. That makes me happy. After all, there is no guarantee that my earned income or passive income will not be affected negatively in the coming years. -.-"

  10. Hi Stoical Keynes,

    Er... Just to clarify. The photos in the blog post are not of my past home. My home wasn't very impressive at all. It was really Spartan.

    Now, I am living in the spare bedroom in my sister's flat. It is even more Spartan. I don't even have a wardrobe.

    My future home will probably need another year before it is ready. It will be half the size of my old place. However, I intend to be a bit less frugal in doing it up. Just a bit. ;)

  11. haha, AK well done.
    i spent 1300 for my LED 42" TV, but now most of the time, i just look at my laptop..
    hahaha, really waste my money...

  12. Hi yeh,

    I hardly watch TV actually but prices of LED TVs have come down so much that I might consider getting a 37" TV for my hut in the sky next year. $499? ;p

    This also tells us that manufacturers of LED TVs are bad investments. -.-"

  13. haha, then those buy LED TV also bad purchase.

    i bought it 3 years ago and it depreciated so much!!

  14. Hi yeh,

    Hahaha... Well, same same but different. Consumption vs investment. ;p

  15. Nice. I painted my current flat too.
    Many years ago I bought a nice condo downtown and spent about there 8K to buy the same stuff and moved in right immediately. my friends jaw dropped and asked why not do it up?! such social attitude exists and it's how we live our own truth.

    I don't understand the term "delay gratification" who invented it?
    if we are happy at the moment with what we have, it is prosperity. nothing delay nothing expecting. :)

  16. Hi Ling,

    $8k for you too? I am not alone. ;p

    "Delayed gratification". I don't know who coined the phrase but it simply means not buying what we might desire now and to buy it at a later date. The idea being that there is opportunity cost of using the money for consumption now.

    I do agree with you that if we are contented with what we have now, there is no need to delay any gratification because the simple things that we have now is all that we will ever need. :)

  17. Hi AK,

    In today Sunday Times, under the life section, the topic of "one of a kind Wedding" was discussed.

    It seems that many people spend alot on wedding on the average. Some the figures quoted was $50K, $70K and even $160K woah!!!

    Then there was another couple interviewed who spend only $900 for wedding by hosting it in their HDB flat :)

    $900 Wedding and $8K house renovation (AK Style), this provides an inspiration for me LOL.

  18. Hi Solace,

    Some believe that a wedding is a once in a lifetime affair and no expense should be spared! It is a very personal thing and I could step on some toes here if I am not careful with what I say. LOL.

    So, I will say only one thing. Don't borrow money for a wedding. If we cannot a afford a wedding, we cannot afford to be married. :)

  19. Hi AK. Which renovation company did you use? I'm on a budget too & would like to explore this option.

  20. Hi Anisa,

    I didn't use any renovation company. I basically got most of my stuff from IKEA. Did it myself. :)

    For TV, fridge and washing machine, get them from the hypermarts when they are on sale. The TV was an OEM, not from any big brand.

    Have fun. :)

  21. Hi Anisa,

    It would work for anyone who is not into big brands and grand ideas of luxury. :)

  22. All of us want a comfortable home to go back to and many are willing to spend a lot of money on renovation, high end goods and furnishing.

    Some even take a renovation loan to splurge on interior décor.

    Do we need to spend a lot of money to make our home comfortable?

  23. Reader said...
    $70,000 renovation for industrial-style 5-room BTO with very unique features.
    Now reno so ex!

    AK said...
    Keep it simple.
    Want very unique features?
    Be uniquely simple. 😛