Man is greedy. I belong to this species as well, so I am no exception.

I used to have pocket money of S$30 per week. I had this amount since I was a little girl. Yet, when I reached the level of university, my mother still did not raise the amount. I did not grumble. I hated confrontation, so I made do with whatever I got. Besides, she was paying for my university fees, handphone bills, meals at home, transport fees, clothes and any other miscellaneous expenses as well. I thought I was quite fortunate, compared to some of my other friends who had to work and study at the same time. I remained pure when it came to money. At least at that time.

Yet, when my social life expanded and I was invited to this, that, and the other, I discovered that my money was short. All of a sudden, the materialist within me reared its evil head, and I was sucked in just like that. I started taking part in any money-making scheme. Whatever could make money, I have tried it.

I guess I was spoilt when I had lots more money when I first started working during my six months vacation prior admission into university. My very first real job as a customer service officer earned me quite a comfortable sum of money. When I received the cheque, I was so happy. I signed up at a relatively upmarket gym. I bought clothes. I spent it on this, that, and the other. And before I knew it, it was all gone.

Ever since the economy hit Singapore, I have not had such good fortune again. Most employers only pay well for permanent jobs nowadays. Temporary jobs pay crap.

With no savings and a paltry sum of pocket money, naturally, I felt deprived. After being the "good girl" at university for a considerable period of time, I mustered up all my persuasion skills to ask for a "pay raise". Let me add that I had to apply some ointment to make my skin thicker in the meantime.

Anyway, my mother's final response was "S$50 per week, including transport fees, and no more bargaining". Now, considering that my monthly bus concession stamp was S$52 per month, I protested. When that failed, I agreed to it in a docile fashion.

Yet, when it came to the time to pay for my concession stamp,I managed to wheedle my mother into paying for it. And the next month, she paid for it again. And again.

I was elated. Thought I was very smart. I got my way. I had more money. What more could a materialistic girl ask for? Plenty, I was soon to discover.

My initial plan was to save some money each week, accumulating it into my account. Yet, the first week that I got my "increment", I spent it all. And the week after that, and after that. And so it continued. The truth is, I didn't even know what my money went towards. Before the week was over, it was already gone.

Recently, I took up jobs again. Seriously, I was severely underpaid, but I slogged anyway. Worked like a dog, that's what. "Hard work never hurts anyone," I told myself. When I finally got my money, I knew I had to be careful with it.

I bought a suit with my own money. It cost close to S$200 for just one suit. It may seem weird to some of you, but the maximum amount thus far that I had to give cash on payment on a single purchase was S$100.It was thus a painful moment when I parted with my money. I was like "ouch!"

Ever since then, I have cut down considerably on my spending. If I could find a cheaper substitute for a product or service, I would try to. It doesn't come naturally to me. Yet, money is not easy to earn.

Now that the lesson of money is learnt through the real world, I realized that my parents must have loved me so much to spend so much money on me through all these years. My mother was not a stupid and gullible woman when she paid for my transport fees in addition to my increment in my weekly pocket money. She simply loved me. An unconditional love.

I will be stepping into the working world very soon after my graduation this semester. Now is my turn to take care of them. Now is my turn to give them money as unconditionally as they gave me.