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This is the message from Commissioner General Sam Koim in his weekly address to the Staff of IRC. This week’s message – CGs Message 5 of 2020 – was on Frugal Living.
I may be the least of the persons qualified to share some insights into “frugal living” (living within your means), but I would like to share this as I’m learning it myself.
For many of us, we struggle between the allures of modernity and the demands of tradition. We want to live a modern life, pay our bills, take care of our immediate family needs and save some money for future uncertainties. More often than not, however, we find ourselves having competing interests – our personal needs against the needs of the community or tribe we come from.
In most cases, our tribe/community creates cultural and social obligations for us to fulfil. When we don’t fulfil them, we find ourselves being rejected and ostracised. The search for social approval is therefore putting a lot of strain on the working class Papua New Guineans.
Whilst it is not my intention here to encourage you to abandon your cultures and traditions, I implore you not to commit beyond your means.
Similarly, we have to be mindful of our consumption behaviour. If you are someone who spends money on unnecessary consumables and haven’t taken account of how much you are actually wasting, you probably do that now. You’d be amazed at how much you would have saved that was spent on non-essentials.
Warren Buffet once said “If you buy things you do not need, soon you will have to sell things you need.” I find a lot of sense in this statement.
I am not just simply promoting a savings culture, or asking you to be a cheapskate or tightwad. All I am advocating is for us to live within our means.
There will be rainy days, as they say: times when you may be out of job, or some unforeseen emergencies that require money. Not only that, if you live beyond your means, you will soon become slave to the money lenders for survival. Personally, I despise borrowing for survival. I would rather borrow for some capital investment: something that will either generate revenue or become part of my asset that I will one day securitise.
I am telling you from experience that I was out of job for five years but survived because I managed to save up when I had a job.
My Message here is for us to live within our means so that we are not forced into doing the wrong thing to survive.
Yours in Making a Difference