Small is Beautiful

“Small is beautiful”, this is something I cannot forget from one of Jack Ma’s speech. This has translated into many meanings for me. Being small, starting small, but definitely not staying small.

Surprisingly, I was able to assimilate this phrase into many situations I have encountered over the past two weeks. In terms of growth, I want to continually adopt the mindset that I’m small. Because when I am ‘Small’, I always think how to grow bigger. Growth, breakthroughs and expansion always comes through continual pushing for more and demanding more. However, although we adopt a ‘Small’ mindset, we must NEVER leave it to fate and remain small. Commitment, dedication and sacrifice is required to grow!

Serving the nation is not easy, neither is surviving on that kind easy, assuming you use to have a lavish lifestyle. But I want to do a small projection to show you how much you can actually save with small savings. Of course, note that I’m only using an NS context where we survive on pittance allowance. Imagine how much more you could do with your salary!


NS pay as of now stands at $480/mth for BMT. Since you’ll be in camp most of the time, where food and lodging is all covered, money not spent is money saved! Let’s now break down into what $480 can do:

Allowance – $480

Less: Misc stuff like Aviva / Comm Chest, etc. – $20

Less: Spending – $200 ($50/weekend is more than enough to treat yourself something nice, or it could be way less)

Saving: $260/mth

Now let the magic happen, and I’ll show you why ‘Small is beautiful’.


Savings of $260/mth translates into $6,240 in your 2 years NS life!

This is probably the worst savings you get. For me, it’s a little different, albeit at the sergeant pay scheme which I think is a somewhat reasonable scale to work on. If you show interest in your NS life, I’m sure your commanders will take notice and likely push you for Sergeant.

Now, your allowance becomes something like this:

Allowance – $880

Less: Misc stuff – $20

Less: Spending – $200

Saving: $660

This then translates into $260*2(BMT) + $660*22 = $15,040!!

Also let’s not forget there’s IPPT and ATP bonus, with the new scheme now, it adds a total of $1,000 for the 2 years!

Now, most of you may already be out of NS. If drawing $880 and I can still save $15,040 in two years, What more you can do with $2000 or $3000 or $X!! Yes, now there’ll be food and some other costs coming in, but isn’t the addition from $880 more than enough to cover these costs? If you noticed, even when my pay rose from $480 to $880, my expenses were the same. Because, why should it increase? Just because you can? Think about it!


I challenge you all to project your savings! Just for the sake of seeing how much you could possibly save in 2 years, or even 5 years! The small numbers add up eventually, just like how a bucket is eventually filled with tiny raindrops! Give it time, and surely you will achieve a significant savings by the time you ORD or by a certain time you have set for yourself! Will your bucket be empty, or will it be full? 🙂

More articles on Savings in my related posts below! Would someone benefit from this article? Share it!

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