As the price of COE premiums fall (Cat A prices now at $61,000), some of my colleagues are considering buying a car. One of them decided to buy a used car with 3 years remaining on the COE (her old car was recently scrapped after 10 years). She’s in her 50s and figured that in 3 years time, she would either be semi-retired or have flexi-work arrangements, so she thought 3 years was more than adequate. But when she told me the price she paid on this supposed “good deal” ($35,000+), I was shocked and wondered if she had done the math. So I decided to in this post. (more…)
Get the best value for your money
This year, your January utility bill should reflect a lower price for the electricity tariff, which is now $0.2329/kWh (a decrease of $0.0199/kWh from December). This lower tariff will be in effect until 31 March, where it will be reviewed again by EMA (Energy Market Authority). The new lower tariff translates into an average monthly savings of $7.93 for families living in four-room HDB flats. Though the savings is great news for everyone, it may give people the false idea that they are actually consuming less energy. We should all still do our part to practice good energy-saving habits for the benefit of the environment as well as our savings account. Here are a few easy hacks to further lower your energy bill. (more…)
When Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong listed the various ways in which a “cash poor” senior can get extra income from his/her home in retirement, he said, “It is better if you keep your property. Even if you rent out the whole flat, it does not matter, it is yours, and you can fall back on it for your old age, just in case anything happens.” I disagree, though I understand and appreciate where he’s coming from. He’s worried that many people who end up selling and cashing out their property would not be able to appropriately ration the lump sum earnings and make their windfall last throughout the remainder of their lifetime. This is why he put constraints on taking lump sum withdrawals of one’s CPF. Additionally, owning a home provides some assurance that you will have shelter, which is a basic need. But in the case of selling your own property, I believe if you are prudent with your money (perhaps you can buy an annuity with the proceeds, or just keep it liquid in an account), the option to cash out your property should be a viable consideration for seniors.
The average cost of a wedding in Singapore can be more than an entire year’s salary of a new university graduate. This one event can be quite burdensome for a young couple, particularly if they have just started working. Parents may offer to help pay for a portion of the wedding, but this too can result in future burdens to the parents as they head into their retirement years. As mentioned in the previous post, having a great wedding is not correlated in any way to having a great marriage; however, it may set the couple back financially. If you have opted to take the more frugal route, but still want to have a beautiful, “proper”, and memorable wedding, here are some ideas on how to cut costs way down on your big day: (more…)
The wedding season is upon us, and if I could offer newly engaged couples one piece of advice, it would be to not focus so much on the wedding itself. Although many have dreamed about and waited years for this one momentous event, there are a few good reasons why you should opt for a more frugal and less extravagant wedding. It may even lead to a happier marriage.
4. Healthcare: My personal experience with healthcare in the two countries is somewhat limited, but I have researched various healthcare issues from different angles in my ongoing attempt to live frugally. As an adult, I have never been warded in either country. But I have had plenty of outpatient and pharmacy visits. Healthcare is a very broad topic, so I will divide it into four separate categories – outpatient & urgent care, inpatient care, medications, and healthcare insurance.
I’ve been stuck on Level 290 in Candy Crush for a while now; I even took a 2+ month hiatus because I got so frustrated with the level. I came really, really close to beating it, with just one move left, but could not bring myself to pay money for extra moves. Many people (about one-third of players) will eventually give in and end up buying extra lives, moves, or boosters. While these purchases are rather small, usually no more than a couple of dollars, with 590 levels, these small purchases can and do add up. So how much do people spend on this “free” app?
Everyone knows that there are operating cost in running a business, but rarely do people consider how much is actually spent on their own personal overhead, that is, the cost associated with working or other money-generating activities. For many businesses, how overhead is managed and controlled is often what makes or breaks their bottom line. Many important business decision are based on operating costs, yet so few people consider what their own personal operating costs are and whether these costs, compared to their earnings, make their income-generating pursuits worthwhile.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the example and various calculations from the previous post. Our defined variables are as follows:
Although I own properties overseas, I am a renter here in Singapore. People keep telling me that “renting is just like flushing your money down a toilet”. When I ask these people whether they rent or own, they proudly proclaim “own, of course!” But do they really own their home? Most people who purchase a home, do so with a mortgage, a word that originates from Latin meaning “death pledge” because it often took the entire life of a person to fulfill the pledge. Until recently, a person in Singapore could buy a home with 5% of its value in cash, 15% in CPF funds, while the rest (80%) is lent by a bank. For a BTO, the rules used to allow for 10% down and while the other 90% was financed. The amount financed, of course, comes with interest. So let’s dissect what is actually owned. (more…)