Money Part 5: Mastering Over It: BRINGING UP SARA 1.8

circa 2015 - 2019

After I quit my career to be a homemaker, it took me a while to adjust - emotionally, mentally and financially. I told my friends: I can run a corporation with 500 people but cannot manage with just 3 kids! It was a challenge to learn how to slow down for them and listen to them as they speak. 

It was during this time that God sent SW and her husband to live next door to me. I learnt so much from her about how to look after myself and how to manage. 


Lifestyle Adjustments, Losing Friends

We also had to let go of some close friends along the way too as we could not afford the lifestyle we had enjoyed with them previously. It was one of the low points of my life – losing our friends of many years. 

One day, the Lord led me to watch a movie, “Money No Enough 2”, by a local director, Jack Neo. It tells the story of a family who have to adjust to a humbler lifestyle when Yang (played by Neo)’s business fails. 

I cried like a baby at one point – Yang’s wife has finally saved up enough to go to her usual hair salon. Her old ‘tai tai’ (lady of leisure) friends happen to be there, and start to whisper and gossip about her. Humiliated, she leaves the salon in tears, without getting her hair done, feeling utterly sorry for herself. 

One of her old girlfriends chases after her to console her, telling her to ignore them. Between sobs, she utters these words, “It is okay, it is not them who have changed … It is me who is different now.” 

These words struck directly into my heart and I knew it was God talking to me.

I said to the Lord, “You know the price I have paid to obey you. I have chosen to give it all up and yes, it is me who has changed, not them. So, I will let go of these friendships and continue to walk on the path you have set out for me.” 


Discovering the Value of Money

This “sacrifice” turned out to be God’s way to teach me the value of money. 

My mentors showed me that God, despite all his unlimited resources, is very economical. He doesn't waste. Everything He does is perfectly adequate, with no excess. So, I learnt to be like Him, to be economical and not to waste any money.

I discovered that when I earned a good salary, money had little value or meaning. They were just digits. But when I did not have any income and had to depend on my husband for money for our household, it increased in value and worth. $100 bought a week’s supply of food and $50 paid for each kid’s school bus fare for a whole month. 

I learnt how to make every cent count, and stretch every dollar in order to stay within our budget. I ruthlessly cut back on our expenditure and never touched my hard earned savings again; it continued to grow from that time onwards.




It was a great blessing in disguise too. 

When the economy was booming, everyone was upgrading their property or borrowing huge sums to acquire a second or third property, we chose to pay off our mortgage fully instead. We started building up a war chest of savings, as this time I have a financial plan and goal.

When the property bubble burst, the Lord told us to start buying properties again. It involves borrowing money from the bank to finance the purchases, something we are not uncomfortable with at that time after getting completely out of debt. We were a bit scared but we obeyed Him once again. We acquired some properties, sold some for a good profit when the market rebounded and paid the remaining off fully. To my elation, we are debt-free again! And we met our financial goal for retirement much earlier than planned.


No Lending, No Borrowing

My first mentor and Bible teacher, Boon, said something that I will always remember. She said, “Do not a borrower or lender be.” 




The Bible says:

 “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” – Proverbs 22:7 (NKJV)

That is, don’t borrow money from anyone, for you will become a servant to your creditor. 

And don’t lend money to others so that they do not become slaves to you.

I couldn’t agree more.. Aside from the roof above our heads, if we could not afford to buy something that was not a necessity, we worked hard until we had enough money for it. 

In the earlier years, we couldn't afford vacations in nice faraway places. So, we just take the family on a ferry to a rustic Indonesian island with basic accommodation or drive across to Malaysia for a cheap getaway. We have to look for new friendships that are compatible with our spending ability. We did not ever borrow money nor spend on anything we could not afford. I invest only with my savings, never with borrowed money. 

In times of economic uncertainty, this helped to keep our lives free from worry.

If someone is truly in need, I don’t lend – I’d rather just give. However, my personal principle about giving is this – I do not give to those who are under any form of addiction, e.g. gamblers, drug takers, womanisers. I also do not give to lazy people – those who are capable and able to work but refuse to. As my father would say in Teochew, our Chinese dialect, “If you have hands and legs to eat your meal, then your hands and legs can also work to feed yourself.” 

I also do not believe in signing any personal guarantees, nor do I expect others to do so for me. I enforce the no borrowing and no lending rule very strictly in COBS. Those who have gone behind my back to do so have always ended up creating more problems for the borrower and with problematic soul ties or discord. 

Finally, I do not lend or give without the Lord’s permission. He is the Messiah. Not me. 

I once saw a signboard in a bar, which read: 

“In God we trust, the rest pay cash.” ☺ 


Invest Time and Energy, Be Teachable

With money comes responsibility. 

I work hard to manage it wisely. I read financial reports and books, attend talks and conferences, and look out for investment opportunities. I stay informed of what is going on in the world. I analyse and crunch information and numbers, and discuss these with financial advisors and some of my learned friends. 

Having done my due diligence, I bounce them off with the Holy Spirit for His final opinion. After all, God is the best predictor of future events, isn't He? When I think about it, my best investment decisions have always come from God, not from the professionals.

Crunching numbers and information may not be your strength, but you can depend on the Holy Spirit to guide you and teach you how to budget and spend money wisely. You just need to be teachable and be willing to act on it.

Everything starts with a goal.




> Back to Journal Listing  


Suggested Posts to Read With This One:





50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.