Category: Budgeting

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Textbook Sharing Has Just Gotten Easier

As a uni student, I couldn’t even afford to buy used textbooks. Instead, I would borrow them from the library for 3 weeks, renew for another 3 weeks, then return them to do it all over again. The cost of textbooks can be a financial burden. I used to wonder why older students couldn’t just pass their textbooks down to younger students. “It’s not that easy,” people would say. Well now it is, at least for primary- and secondary-school textbooks. The FairPrice textbook sharing programme, now in its 35th year, has just gone digital. It is now an online platform and mobile app, making it super convenient and easy to donate and request books.  

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The Real Money Numbers You Need to Know

Personal finance and financial planning both focus on a set of numbers to gauge your financial health. If you ask people what is the most important number, many would say “their target sum for retirement”. This number is usually around $1 million or more. A few might mention their investment rate of return, their net worth, or their anticipated life expectancy. But there are more important (yet often overlooked) numbers you should really be concerned with.

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Top 10 Things You’re Wasting Your Money On

[Guest article co-written by Lucy Wyndham] Many of us are trying to make the most of our money. However, the vast majority of people do not carefully track how that money is spent. The same sources of waste come up again and again. Do any of these money draining categories apply to you? Through aggregate survey sites, find out what are the top 10 things that make you part with your money unnecessarily. (more…)

Rent or Lend Stuff with Lendor, the Peer-to-Peer Library of Things App

As I mentioned in a previous article, the stuff that you own continuously consumes money, space, and/or resources, whether you actually use it or not. It’s not always ideal to buy and own something (and this includes property). Often an item is bought to ensure access to it, but sufficient access can be achieved without all the downsides of ownership, such as the purchase cost, burden of full responsibility, and underutilisation, where the item sits around collecting dust. Collective consumption, where there are many users who share access, reduces the downsides of ownership and is also more eco-friendly. This is where the Lendor App comes in, as it connects suppliers of rental assets with consumers who wish to borrow those assets. Here’s why you should try them.  (more…)

Government Policies on HDB Housing – Simplified!

Affordable and quality housing is one of the cornerstones of building social stability, and the sense of nationhood. Singapore’s public housing programme is no doubt one of the most successful public housing programmes in the world, resulting in low rates of homelessness, the elimination of slums, higher cultural and social integration, and lower crime rates. By comparison, in Los Angeles, when I grew up, public housing (aka the projects) was a hotbed for crime, drugs, gangs, violence, and disease, with little chance of upward mobility or even integration. Because homelessness results in a whole host of problems, keeping housing affordable and accessible, still remains one of Singapore’s top priorities. Though with all the various government schemes, it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. Here’s an attempt to help simplify the various public housing schemes available in Singapore:

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Government Personal Income Tax Relief – Simplified!

Taxes are not evil. As humans, our progress, survival, and even wellbeing depend on benefiting from and contributing to a group. And in a sense, taxes are the “membership fee” to belonging to this kind of organised society, where a government is put in charge of certain civil aspects of society that cannot be entrusted to the private sector, such as utilities, healthcare, education, environmental protection, security, and defense. But with any group, some members are tasked with contributing more while others are bigger recipients, yet at any time, these tables can be turned. This article attempts to simplify the various tax reliefs available for individuals, many of which are put in place to benefit families and the “sandwich generation”.

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Government Policies on Social Safety Nets – Simplified!

We all wish to live and age well, and nobody desires to be disabled or dependent. You could have your life perfectly planned and yet be completely blindsided by tragedy (the 3 D’s – death, disease, and divorce – are cruel and notoriously common). And this is why we have government social safety nets. But when tragedy strikes, it’s hard to know where to start. With different schemes spanning different ministries and agencies, it can be quite daunting. So this is another attempt to help simplify the various schemes:

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Government Policies on Family Benefits – Simplified!

“I don’t know what resources are out there” and “Why can’t the government just make things easier to understand?” are two common complaints I hear from the public across all ages, races, occupations, and gender. It has becoming increasing apparent that government schemes, like all messages, cannot be successfully communicated without addressing the UI/UX (user interface/user experience) issues. And yes, I do agree that there needs to be a better way to disseminate information in a more clear and easy-to-understand fashion. But to be fair, just saying “this is too complicated and until they make it easier, I give up” is a bit like saying speaking Mandarin is hard or driving is complicated, yet so many people do it all the time. We too, need do our part to facilitate our own understanding through repeated exposure, practice, and patience. And this is my attempt to help in this process:

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An Investment that Yields Outstanding Returns – And Lessons from Lindsay Lohan

Everyone wants high returns, and yet, every single conference or seminar I’ve been to neglects to mention the one investment that is the most lucrative and high-yielding investment out there. It is the foundation that Warren Buffett, Amancio Ortega, Ng Teng Fong (Singapore’s once richest man), and other billionaires use which is almost NEVER talked about. Yet without it, they definitely would not be rich; instead, they would be among the high-earners who ended up broke or bankrupt. So what is their secret? (more…)