Monday 29 January 2018

Giant Has Done It Again

Around 2 weeks ago I wrote a post about some money-saving tips among which one of them is to always check your bill.

Subsequently 4 days after the post, I followed up with a comment after I discovered that Giant Hypermarket at Tampines has overcharged on an item that I have purchased.

Well, they have done it again. This time it was at Giant supermarket, Loyang Point. They have again overcharged me on one of the items purchased.

And apparently my family members have also encountered this issue at Giant supermarkets before.

Now these are not the first instances from Giant. The first time was some years back though I can't remember the amount anymore.

For the latest two instances, the amounts overcharged are 25 cents and 30 cents respectively.

These are small amounts. But if you multiply that by the number of customers who overpaid unknowingly, Giant would have made a handsome profit over the years.

It is easy to overlook the wrong charges on a bill especially if you have several purchases in the receipt.

However I urged all readers to take some time to check through your bill after shopping.

Who knows how much you might save over the years.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Update on My Healthy Living

This is a follow up to this post written last year. Surprisingly I have ran marginally more in 2017 than I did in 2016.

Surprise, because I felt that I wasn't as disciplined as in 2016 and some of my workouts were replaced with swims in 2017.

Nevertheless the total mileage is still far from my target. Hopefully in 2018 I can clocked at least 480 km by year end. That's a modest target that translate to 10 km a week. Not too much but better than last year.

On the dietary side, I have stopped my low carb / no carb week days dinner. Simply because it's hard to think of a good variety of meals that can fulfill this criteria. Most importantly, there's too much temptation in Singapore!

Monday 22 January 2018

Give You a Drumstick, Take Back a Chicken

Couple of days ago wifey cooked a dish of soy sauce chicken for our dinner. It was her first ever attempt and I was pleasantly surprised.

Though the chicken was good, it is not the main point of this post. However it coincides with what I have been thinking about these few days.

Somehow in our current society, the adage "Give you a drumstick but take back a chicken" seems to be taking shape judging from the news from recent years.

From the removal of certain goodies to the increment of certain charges, there have been several such news in these 2 years so much so that I can't help but took notice.

For the general public,

1) Water tax increased by 30% (15% from July 2017 and 15% from July 2018).

2) Electricity tariffs increased by 6.3% for first quarter of this year.

3) Service and conservancy charges (S&CC) increased from June 2017 at 15 town councils.

For vehicle owners and those looking to own vehicles,

1) Vehicle registration and other related fees increased from December 2017. The former increased by 57% in one shot.

2) Public car park parking charges increased from December 2016 to $0.60 for half an hour and $1.20 for an hour.

3) Season parking charges increased from December 2016 to $110 for sheltered car parks and $80 for surface car parks.

4) Parking fee hike from December 2016 for some car parks at peak hours.

5) Not to mention the numerous ERP fee hikes such as this.

For couples waiting to get married,

1) Marriage fee increased from $26 to $42 from July 2017 for Singaporeans.

For parents,

1) PAP Community Foundation (PCF) and My First Skool, the two biggest pre-school operators in Singapore are raising their fees in January 2018.

For the elderlies,

1) The public transport council has scrapped the $40 monthly unlimited travel pass for our seniors above the age of 60.

How much can the seniors travel? Why the need to do this to them?


1) Travellers MAY soon have to pay extra fees to fly out of Changi airport. This is to help fund the new Terminal 5, scheduled to complete in around 2030. What? Really?

2) Guys, the news doesn't ends here. I'm sure most of you would have already heard about the possibility of GST hike. Brace yourself.

Very soon our plate of char kway teow is going to cost $8 in hawker centres?

Tuesday 16 January 2018

My Money-Saving Tips Towards Becoming a (Millionaire)

Okay. These tips might not help much towards becoming a millionaire.

However living in Singapore is not easy when things are not exactly cheap.

Hence in order to live more comfortably we have to build up our savings for the proverbial rainy days (not the kind that we experienced these few days) and at the same time achieve income increment that at least beat the inflation rate.

There are essentially two ways to go about achieving the former.

One: Increase our income.
Two: Decrease our spending.

Easy isn't it?

Since increasing our income isn't always within our control especially when it comes to salary, the other way is to look out for money-saving opportunities in our daily lives.

As a matter of fact, I did not consciously set out to do these acts. Somehow they have became part and parcel of my life after so many years, so much so that it is almost natural.

So here is goes.. Some of my money-saving tips for sharing..

1) Not ordering canned drinks at coffee shops

Canned drinks are by far the most price-inflated drink in a typical coffee shop. For the same canned drink that costs $1.50 at the coffee shop, I can get it at the neighbouring super market at half the price or less. Luckily I'm not a particular fan of canned drinks too.

2) Return appetisers and wet tissues in restaurants

Usually restaurants place appetisers like peanuts and pickles to your table before you even begin ordering your meal. However since I don't really fancy appetisers like these, I usually ask the staff to bring it back.

Same for the wet tissue. I don't really mind using my handkerchief or own tissue to wipe my mouth after meal.

3) Always check the bill

This is important. Always check your bill before and after payment. I have on more than one occasions been billed wrongly at eateries and super markets.

Simply by checking, I have saved quite a sizeable amount over the years.

This also applies to all your purchases, not only for meals and groceries.

4) Buy Online

I'm not saying everything must be bought online. Personally for items such as shoes, I still prefer to buy in brick and mortar shops.

However certain things like hand phone covers, casual attires and household items do indeed cost much lesser than in physical shops.

One of my recent online purchase:

Cost me a grand total of S$47.90 and 1 hour for assembly. Worth it isn't it?

5) Compare and Compare

This has been my habit for the longest time whether in my private life or in my work.

Shops like Watsons and Guardian are often located near each other in the mall. It helps to compare the price of same product between similar shops before buying. Sometimes the price difference can be significant.

6) Bulk pack isn't always cheaper

Again, this require some work on your part. Whip out your hand phone and calculate the unit price of the bulk pack item that you are eyeing.

There are times where we found the single pack is in fact cheaper than the unit price of the bulk pack of the same item.

7) Discount cards

Member cards like the Kopitiam card need no introduction. 10% discount off meals by using the card is a no brainer.

I don't usually pay to sign up for member card. But sometimes I do that if the advantages outweigh the price. For example I am a Jumbo member as I figure the savings achieved easily exceed the member fee.

8) Use credit card as far as possible

My style is to use my credit card as far as possible especially for big ticket items.

Nowadays cards like OCBC 365 card and UOB One card are tied to the respective savings account. By using the card, I can get cash rebate on my card and increased interest on my savings. Win-win.

Importantly: Pay off all the bills before due date.

9) Movie tickets

Yes I do watch movies too though I may sound miserly from above.

The trick here is to buy the tickets on the spot instead of online. Simple enough but I have friends who like to buy online thus incurring unnecessary surcharges.

However I heard from a friend that the surcharge is a fixed amount no matter how many tickets are bought. If that's true then bulk purchase of tickets might be worth it after all.

Having said that, I have an even better deal when it comes to movie tickets. As a M1 customer, I get to watch movies for free on Sundays! M1 customers enjoy one-for-one tickets on Sundays at Shaw cinemas. It used to be Cathay cinemas though.

Caveat is that I need to wake up early to buy the tickets as there is a limited number to this deal.

Nevertheless to me, it pays to wake up early and at the same time I get to spend more quality time with my loved ones.

10) Free parking

I always look out for free parking when I drive. It costs a lot to drive in Singapore so every little saving helps.

Certain malls offer free 2 hour lunch time parking.

Some areas offer free parking after 5 pm.

On Sundays there are plenty of free parking in estates around our sunny island. Even those close to malls. Very often I see cars queuing up to enter the malls' car park. But just a stone throw away there is free parking available at a HDB block and I don't even have to wait to enter.

Some times the free car park is 10 min walk away. But that is not an issue for me and my family. The walk back to the car park can be a nice time for a heart to heart talk.

Monday 1 January 2018

Goodbye 2017 Hello 2018

Happy New Year everyone. Hope you had a good 2017 and may you stay healthy and happy in the new year ahead.

Actually I have written this post halfway through to take stock on the different aspects of my life in 2017 and to start 2018 with some goals. 

However I was simply too busy to finish it before end 2017. Nevertheless it's meaningful to post this on the first day of the new year I guess.

Here it goes..


On the work front, there is major change in 2017. I have left my previous company in which I am also a minor shareholder, to strike it out on my own.

Business has been not bad so far. Customers have been supportive and I am thankful for that.

My focus remains on growing the business and working on adding a new capability to the company by this year.

Other Incomes

Previously I set a target of doubling my side and passive incomes of S$2,712.86 by 2017.

Result for 2017: S$6,527.40 (Target met)

Moving forward I have to set a more modest target for this year due to a number of reasons. There is no point setting an exorbitant target and failing to achieve by year end. Also it's not my style to set an easy target to bluff myself when I achieved it later.

Hence the target for this year will be 20% growth in this category.

Equities and REITs

My holdings as of 29/12/2017:

Most of the counters in my current portfolio belongs to my long-term income holdings with the exception of CapitaLand, ISOTeam and RHT Health Trust.

CapitaLand is meant to be a trading stock. However it might turn into part of my long-term holdings if the dividend continues to grow which is the case for the past four years. Based on my purchased price, the yield is 3.36%. Below my target of min. 4% but still not bad actually.

Currently sitting on 17.9% paper profit.

ISOTeam is a loss-making counter for me so far. However I will continue to hold as I believe in it's growth potential and strength of the management team.

Unless something fundamental changed drastically, I intend to hold it till at least the next AGM. I'm pretty confident this year's results will be glowing for ISOTeam.

The share price has hit $0.42 some time last year. I don't see why it cannot happen again in the near future.

And the bit of dividend helps to cushion the paper loss so far.

RHT Health Trust is a pure punt on the Fortis buyout. Results of the deal (or no deal) should be finalised by this month if I remember correctly.

If the deal pans out this should leads to a small capital gain for me. If not I'll have to see what's the future plans from the management and of course the future dividend trend for the trust.

In summary,

1) Yield on Total Amount Invested 2017: 1.48% (Drag down by couple of trading losses)

2) Yield of Income Portfolio 2017: 3.62% (No dividend from Netlink Trust and Viva Industrial Trust yet)

3) Cumulative Yield of Income Portfolio: 5.42% (No dividend from Netlink Trust and Viva Industrial Trust yet)

2017 was also the year where wifey started her passive income portfolio. Her holdings as of 29/12/2017:


Last but not least, I also wish to share a piece of good news. I'm going to be a dad soon. Yeah!
My wife and I are expecting our first child this year and coincidentally he or she shares the same zodiac sign as me! 😄