Surprisingly Affordable Hotel Buffets in Orchard

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Pile on as much as you want on a 31cm diameter plate.

Don’t be deterred by the swanky, upscale appearance and prime location, the restaurants at Hotel Jen (part of Shangri-La International Hotel Management) are very affordable. At Hotel Jen Orchard Gateway, [email protected]’s weekday lunch buffet starts at just $11.90++, while at Hotel Jen Tanglin, J65, the new restaurant where CafeBiz used to be, is just $15 nett for one-plate buffet serving (these plates are HUGE so one plate is likely more than enough to get your fill!). And if you are still deciding on an affordable place for a Chinese New Year’s reunion meal, why not gather your family and friends and head to Ah Hoi’s Kitchen where 12 courses of CNY delights cost just $12 nett per person! Furthermore, all 3 restaurants have additional promotions to get even a better deal (see details below). (more…)

What You’ll Find at Salvation Army Praisehaven Thrift Store

Finally, one of the largest thrift stores in Singapore is easily accessible!

With the opening of the new stations on the Downtown Line, it’s now easier than ever to get to Salvation Army’s Praisehaven Mega Family Thrift Store (located at Hillview Exit A). Out of all their thrift stores (there are 5 of them), this one is by far the largest, and thanks to the DTL, it’s probably the most convenient one to get to. Here are some things they have that make the trip worthwhile. (more…)

Why Money Resolutions Fail

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Who’s driving these luxury cars? The answer may surprise you.

It’s that of year again when we, with all our good intentions, list all the various health, self-improvement, and financial goals that we aim to achieve in the coming 12 months. Each year, the same New Year’s resolutions appear – make healthier food choices, exercise regularly, spend less, save more – yet most resolutions are broken within the first 2 weeks. It seems that we all know exactly what we need to do, but the knowledge-behavioural gap is wide, and translating what we know into actions is where we fail. So here are some ways in which this gap might be lessened, at least when it comes to meeting our financial goals. (more…)

Fresh may NOT always be better

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Save money and minimize food waste by buying “reduced to clear” items.

Although I was an “extreme couponer” when I was living in the States, there were simply no coupons available for fresh produce, which for a health-conscious person like myself, made up the vast majority of my food expenses. So to save money on vegetables, dairy products, fruit, eggs, and meat, I would frequently shop at the “reduce to clear” sections of the store or at a place called Grocery Outlet, a store dedicated to overstocked, discontinued, “b” stock, and soon-to-expire groceries. Unfortunately, a place like Grocery Outlet does not exist in Singapore (yet), but there are some stores that offer “reduce to clear” produce and meats that are worth checking out. (more…)

How to Save on Your Groceries at NTUC, Giant, Sheng Siong & Cold Storage

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With self checkout, memberships, credit cards, and senior discounts, how much can you save on groceries?

As a former “extreme couponer”, I’ve had to find other ways to offset my grocery bills ever since I moved to Singapore. Surprisingly, there are many tricks and strategies to accomplish this. The savings you get aren’t as “extreme” as using multiple stackable coupons (like in the US), but these strategies are far less time intensive than clipping, sorting, and organising little pieces of paper. And with the slow-growing economy and wages, every little bit counts! Here are some ways to offset your grocery expenses at the various supermarkets in Singapore: (more…)

Thoughtful & Frugal Gifts Ideas for Christmas

Where to get cheap gifts without appearing to be cheap.

There are times when buying second-hand is not really an option; office or holiday gift exchanges are one of them. Here are my top picks for frugal gifts, all around $25. I’ve chosen these based on their thoughtfulness, utility, and value. As a gift giver, I don’t want to appear “cheap” but I also don’t want to give something that is useless and creates more “stuff” in this world. Many of these are gifts that I’ve personally given to others, including in-laws and office colleagues. Today is also a good day to do some online shopping as many shops have a massive 12-12 Sale. (more…)

The Best Year-End Investments for 2015

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What will you do with your 13th month bonus that your future self will thank you for?

We’re nearing the end of the year, and in addition to holiday celebrations and get-togethers, many of us also look forward to the AWS (a.k.a. 13th month bonus). As an American, the AWS still surprises me, as it is a business practice that is specific only to this region. Though it is not required that a company pay AWS, many people count on it and will even earmark the spending of it, instead of treating it as a discretionary bonus that varies depending on company earnings and economic conditions. If you don’t depend on the AWS to make ends meet, and you already have a sufficient emergency fund and are debt-free (with the exception of a mortgage), here are some suggestions on how to invest your AWS: (more…)

No Wallet? No Card? No ATM? No Problem!

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No cash, card, or nearby ATM? No problem! Just use your mobile to pay for groceries.

Dash Pay is a convenient mobile cash (mCash) account that lets you pay businesses (such as NTUC Fairprice, Cheers, Watsons, 7-Eleven, Comfort Taxi, Food Republic, BreadTalk, and KFC) using your mobile phone. You pay by using NFC or by entering a Business Counter Code. This means no longer needing to carry cash or cards, or looking for the nearest ATM. All you need is your phone. There is also no admin fee and you can even earn rewards. Like DBS PayLah! (another mCash account), you can also send money directly to other users, which can be useful when splitting the dining bill. (more…)

Best Kept Secret: A Food Haven that is Affordable

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An affordable Food Haven in the West with a buffet under $15 nett.

As a nation, we have a reputation of being a food haven. But unlike many of the other food havens in the world, while you can find very exotic and expensive restaurants here, you can also find plenty of quality inexpensive and affordable restaurants – and you don’t have to sacrifice variety – at least not at Food Haven (the restaurant). Aptly named, this restaurant has an affordable a la carte menu that is very popular and serves huge, generous portions. On top of that, they also have a very affordable weekday and Sunday buffet ($12.80+, $14.80+; no GST). So why don’t more people know about it? It’s a bit hidden, as it is located at the Staff Centre of Singapore Polytechnic, but it is open to the public.

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A $1 Million Jackpot with Your Name on It?

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Here’s where unclaimed money goes when the beneficiaries can’t be found.

Just in the last two months, two of my friends have had to help settle a family member’s estate. Both of them were the primary or sole beneficiaries of the estate. For one friend, this was expected; for the other, it was a complete surprise. Every now and then, you’ll hear about some millionaire who left all of his money to an unsuspecting person or even to a complete stranger. A common question that arises is how will you know if you are a beneficiary of such an estate (if only we can all be so lucky)? If reasonable efforts were made to identify and find these unsuspecting beneficiaries, but they are nowhere to be found, what happens to all the unclaimed money? (more…)