My Lingham’s Sauce Theory

This universe is finite, its resources, finite.

Thanos – The Avengers: Infinity War

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my economics studies, it’s that resources are scarce. Take water as an example. Whenever SYABAS comes up with a water disruption notice, we immediately go into saving mode. Households will start storing water excessively, worried they will run out of it. Moreover, during the notice period, we tend to limit our water usage. For instance, one pail of water for each shower session.

Now, think about the time without any water disruption. How much more do we consume for the same activity? I have the habit of leaving the water tap running while brushing my teeth. We take things for granted thinking the water supply will always be available and infinite. It’s only during a water crisis, we change from wasting to saving.

What has all these got to do with Lingham’s Sauce?

I can’t recall when exactly Lingham’s Sauce came into the market or before it became mainstream, but I suspect somewhere around the mid-90s, during my primary school days. Prior to that, it was always Maggi Sauce in my house. I’ve checked with other friends, and they have said the same thing; they can only remember Maggi Sauce.  

Instead of buying one bottle of sauce, now my mother had to buy two bottles because we, siblings were pestering her. One Maggi and another Lingham’s Sauce. When a new supply, Lingham’s sauce came into the picture, there were more supplies for the same product and for some unknown reason, we just decided to consume more of it.  


I believe this is what consumerism is all about. Back then there was only one famous sauce brand on the supermarket shelf, now there are more than one. I can easily think of Maggi, Lingham and Heinz sauce. Let’s not kid ourselves, there were times we purchased more than one brand of sauce. Instead of consuming all of it, some will be left unconsumed till the expiry date.

This whole thing got me thinking recently. Why is it my parents are good savers but not me? I am very sure, if someone were to offer us a million Ringgit now, I know exactly how to spend it while my mother knows how to save it. When it comes to money, I don’t think I’m off the mark to assume people from different generations behaves differently depending on the supply of money and choices available to us as consumers.   

When supply is abundant, we spend and waste more. When supply is limited, we save more. It’s just human behaviour. Think about all the redundant items or unneeded products we have purchased over the years and you will realize how good we are at spending. I guess, it is just a generation thingy. We are the spending generation, poor savers while our parents are good savers, poor spenders. In their mind, resources are still scarce while in our mind, resources are unlimited.


There is a lot written on how World War 2 survivors behave with money right after the war and the initiatives taken by governments to encourage spending. From an economic point of view, spending isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Spending gets the economy moving, and it creates jobs.

However, from a personal finance point of view, we must learn to control our spending habits. There are many marketing ploys out to there that lures us to spend money. Know the difference between want and need. It’s not easy but try not to overspend.

Note: I am not promoting or have anything against Lingham’s or Maggi Sauce. It was just a lazy observation on my side.