Alex the galley steward (lowest rank)and I decided to walk from Gloucester Hotel where we stayed in London to Earl's Court station to have breakfast. It was a 20 minute walk and the spring weather was pleasant with bright sunshine amid a cool 22 Celsius.
I was the one who had encouraged Alex to come out and have breakfast with me.I had promised I would treat him. The breakfast at Earl's Court was relatively cheap. A full English breakfast with free flow of coffee cost 5 pounds sterling (about S$11). We sat at the cafe from about 8am till 10am and that was when he revealed to me how he managed to saved $200,000 in his 6 years with SIA.
Flying into London from S'pore the day before,Alex asked,"boh tong have you ever saved $100k a year?" My answer was "never but have you Alex?",I asked. "Yes" Alex shot back "and it's pretty easy" he said.
I replied,"tell me how?" "Hmmm.. will tell you over a meal if you like" said Alex. That's when I promised him the breakfast treat at Earl's Court.
Over breakfast,Alex proudly told me he saved $3,000 of the $3,500 he earned every month. In one year it came up to about $36,000. If you add up the bonuses,he would have saved about $40,000 a year. Multiply that figure by 6 years, Alex saved $240,000 in his 6 year career with SIA. That meeting with me was about 6 years ago.So you can imagine,Alex must have easily saved half a million dollars by year 2008.
I was amazed by this young man ability to save so much money in a short span of time. But how did Alex do it?
Alex confessed he was a thrifty person. He rarely ate in restaurants,cafe etc. He usually brought with him cheap instant noodles,bread and canned food like sardine,baked beans etc.and cooked them in the hotel rooms. He would often stuffed his stomach with aircraft food just before the airplane landed so he did not have to spend any money on food during his first day at a station.
He did not spend much on clothes and during the breakfast with me that morning I noticed he was wearing his uniform pants.
When asked about spending money on women,his reply was " go Dutch with them if they wanna a f***, after all it is gonna be mutual fun". He did not believe in spending money on women. No wonder Alex was not married nor had a girl friend,I thought to myself.
I've also heard of stewardesses saving that kind of money but I've not heard from the horses' mouth.