What money cannot buy

When I was a kid, my mum always said to me, “Money is not everything, but everything needs money.” This is the financial education I got from my mum. How true is this statement? I did not know at that time as I was too young, but when I grown up I found the wisdom of the statement.

About ten years ago, I graduated from university. I got my first job, and I got my first paycheck. It felt great, as I work hard to earn it. Even though it’s not a lot of money. I felt that I got enough money to spend. It was the first time I got this feeling, but it was the last time as well. I never felt I had enough money, as my spending kept increasing at the same time. And I realized I enjoyed getting paid, more than I enjoyed going to work.

Every time I changed my job, every time my salary increased. After I earned a higher income, and naturally, I needed to change my lifestyle. In the past, I was living in a small room with my parents in Hong Kong, it was very crowded. I want to feel independent. So I rented a condo. I lived by myself and enjoyed my freedom.

With this new style of living, I did not have a lot of savings. Why? Because I also bought a nice car. I want to show off a bit. And I want quality of life without taking public transport. My car is a mini cooper. It was a small car but it had a powerful engine. I love it so much, I polish it every week and I drive around with my beautiful car. I treated it like my life partner.

Until I met her. About five years ago, I met my girlfriend, she is the girl I fell in love with at first sight. Although her body figure is not perfect, she looks beautiful. Ever since I met her, I can’t stop falling in love with her. I still remember the first time I picked her up at her place, she said to me  “wow your car is so beautiful”. I was so happy for a couple of nights. Everything is worth it. 

As a good software engineer, I was earning a pretty good salary. As a good son, I pay my parents with a good allowance and my mum was happy. At the same, as a good boyfriend, my life changes as well from being single to the world of a couple. 

Every day, I picked my girlfriend up with my car, driving her home like a Grab driver. Every month, I get extra spending on our dates as I brought her out to nice restaurants. You know, we could not just go out to eat at McDonald’s. Every festival, I got extra spending to buy her nice gifts. She loves handbags. Her favourite brands – I don’t even know how to pronounce them properly. Those Italian and French brands like Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Any one of these handbags would cost me months of salary. You see? “Money is not everything, but everything needs money”.

Until we talk about our marriage. About two years ago, my girlfriend had a plan to get married. When a woman gets a plan, everything has changed. She became very strict. The problem is I don’t have a lot of savings. She said, “it doesn’t matter, we can start saving money today for our future.” My girlfriend is a nice person, but she started to control me and forced me to save money with her.

Having a car is a big expense. Between my girlfriend and my car, that is the question. These are two options, and I can only choose one. Of course, I chose my girlfriend, therefore I sold my car to save money. I miss my car so much, it travelled with me everywhere with lots of good memories. I still remember my girlfriend said to me “wow your car is so beautiful”. But now I need to give up my car key to the new buyer. I held the car key and did not want to let it go. Eventually, it was heartbreaking to see my car leave me. At that moment, I know how much I love my girlfriend.

Now, without my car, eating less and buying less, every month I can save some money. I began to cut off my parents monthly allowance. And I feel guilty about it. My mum was right. “Money is not everything, but everything needs money.”  Money can buy cars, handbags and even an engagement ring, but still, love is what money cannot buy.

By Victor Leung

Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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