Manners & Misdemeanors
How to Lead the Truly Rich Life
One, spend on experiences over material objects.

Invest in a high-quality bed mattress (not a HDR curved TV). 
People of the world, we spend a third of our life on our beds. That’s eight out of 24 hours every day or, if you are like me on some weekends, 12 out of 24 hours (I like to linger). It is only wise to purchase a mattress that will support your body like a mother’s gentle hand or a firm cloud covered in sexy red leather (I do not judge). Yes, procuring the best mattress may cost more than the bed or the average rent in a city apartment, but we are talking about the health of your back and, the more importantly, a great night’s sleep.

Choose a book (not your phone).
Sorry, reading books on your smartphone doesn’t count. Call me old-fashioned, but the act of creating a nest in your bed, taking a sip of correctly prepared tea, turning up the AC, and then curling up with a page-turner, whether it is light reading such as The Feminine Mystique or serious stuff like Bossypants, remains the height of luxury. Reading a book combines many priceless experiences: plenty of daydreaming, lots of time, lying down, and (what I like the most) touching and turning actual paper.

Eat one fabulous meal (not many cheap meals).
My Truly Rich Mother can sometimes be vexing because she insists that I have a good and proper meal even if it’s just a late-night bite. No eating sandwiches over the sink or chowing on takeout. Everything should be beautiful: plates, cutlery, glasses, flowers, and of course, the food she has cooked (or asked our cook to cook). Even on holidays, where the desire to explore as much as you can may lead to the temptation of eating whatever you see on the road, she insists that we lunch at some fabulous place where the background music is the tinkling of cutlery mixed with the soft murmur of conversation and laughter. And, yes, the food is also great. Thanks, Mom.

Visit a museum (not the mall).
Confession: I have been obsessed with Monets ever since I heard that line, “From far away it’s OK, but up close, it’s a big old mess.” And so I endeavored to find out what this riddle meant, venturing to the Musée d’Orsay, where “Women in the Garden” and “The Water Lily Pond” are found, and the Orangerie Museum, where his “Les Nymphéas” series is displayed. My investigations have led to the conclusion that these blurry visions are actually refreshing (and really is a meeting of genius and miracle—Monet suffered from cataracts).


Anyway, the person who said it was a “big old mess” was probably not standing in the right spot. More importantly, why spend another mindless afternoon at the mall when you can have realizations such as these about art (they can be blurry and beautiful). You don’t even have to travel far. Admission to the National Museum of the Philippines has been free for some time now.

Spend on experiences (not on stuff).
I am so glad to hear that this group called "millennials" shares my preference for experiences over things. I mean, I do not desire another meticulously made leather handbag. I want to visit the tannery where the skin is processed or take a peek at the factory where the bag is assembled. I’d even want to learn from the old man who makes the bag by hand—and then make the bag myself. And if I ever get the itch to buy the bag itself, I can always do it over there, in Paris, where the weather is cool and the bag cheaper.

Pay premium for business or first class (versus anything else).
This is the sound that my Penny Pinching Buddy made when she spied my plane ticket: “Si-si, for the cost of your first class seat, you could have seen more sights, ate more food, or visited another country!” This is what I said in reply: “Extra-wide seats that turn into beds. See you later!”

About The Author
C.C. Coo
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