Category: Shopping

Warehouse Club Membership: Is It Worth It?

The new NTUC Warehouse Club is the Singaporean version of Costco.

Ever since I was a child, my family always had a Costco club card that allowed them to make bulk purchases at a discount. It definitely comes in handy if you have a small business or a huge family, or have to organize large social functions and gatherings on a regular basis. But when I left for university and was on my own, it just didn’t make sense to continue my membership and pay the annual membership fee. So does the NTUC Warehouse Club make sense for those Singaporeans who do not have businesses or large families, and do not attend social gatherings that require bulk purchases? Let’s compare the alternatives and you can be the judge. (more…)

The iPhone 6’s Real Legacy and an Inconvenient Truth in Singapore

apple iphone 6 launch
The iPhone 6 launch drew large crowds around the world, but in a couple years, where will all these phones end up?

It’s been over a week since the launch of the iPhone 6, and the worldwide demand is still quite high. In Singapore, I’ve heard stories of people queuing for over a day and of people getting into fights over this new phone. Personally, I would advise people to think twice before taking the plunge and upgrading to the new iPhone, though not because of its price tag. To me, there is a much bigger and far more important reason and it’s something that most Singaporeans aren’t even aware of.


Another Used Furniture Store where You can Find Tons of Bargains

thrift marketing boon keng
Find high quality used office furniture at discount (negotiable) prices.

Whereas Hock Siong specializes in used hotel and restaurant furniture and The Salvation Army Family Thrift Store receives their inventory from donations by individuals (you can read about them here), Thrift House Marketing (69 Boon Keng Road S339772) specializes in used office furniture. Whenever there is an office renovation, relocation, or liquidation, the furniture is often sold to second-hand shops such as this one. (more…)

Fine Jewelry & Luxury Watches at Steep Discounts

pawnshop auction
Join jewelers, reseller, and collectors each month at the pawnbrokers auction.

(UPDATE: As of Oct 2015, pawn auctions are no longer being held.) As a bargain hunter who finds happiness and fulfillment in simple and frugal living, you might wonder why I’d be interested in fine jewelry and watches. Well, of all the various things one can buy, fine jewelry and watches (for the most part) tend to retain their value more than other personal property, as long as they are kept in good condition. They may even appreciate in value. And if I can buy these at steep discounts, or if they increase significantly in value, then I can sell them and make a profit. This is something I did when I started living on my own, and it was also what led me to explore the world of auctions. (more…)

The New Sharing Economy: How You Can Save Money and the Environment at the Same Time

The more we share, the more we have.
The more we share, the more we have.

We were all taught at a young age to share with others, yet as we became adults, individual ownership and being self-sufficient were considered more desirable and noteworthy. As a person who lived the American lifestyle, I feel ashamed to have owned items that were only used a few times a year – such as power tools, a sewing machine, a ladder, snowboards, bicycles, and a guest bedroom. These things served more time gathering dust than being put to use. On a per-use basis, not only did I pay an exorbitant price for them, but they added to my carbon footprint and took up valuable resources and storage space. At that time, I didn’t realize how wasteful it was, until I read a statistic that said if everyone in the world lived like an American, we would need more than 4 earths, and that one American consumed as much energy as 31 Indians and 370 Ethiopians. Thankfully, I have changed my ways, and more and more people are coming around to this new paradigm of sharing, which is helping to save money, time, resources, and above all, the environment. (more…)

Furniture Stores with Better Quality and Prices than Ikea

Hock Siong
Find high quality furniture for your home at steep discounts.

Ever wonder what happens to the furniture in show rooms, offices, schools and hotels? My first experience in shopping for second-hand furniture was at a time when there was no Craigslist (not in my area at least), and print classified ads (as opposed to online ads) were still the norm. I was living in a university dormitory when I discovered that the furniture there, which were made of solid oak, was replaced every 7 years even if it was still in great condition. That made me wonder about other furniture and equipment, and this led me to the campus warehouse, which sold everything from furniture to laboratory equipment, lighting fixtures, televisions, and computers (you can even find CT scanners, electrophoresis machines, and welding equipment for sale). Since the warehouse space was quite limited, everything was priced to sell quickly. I’ve recently visited their web page and you can still find office chairs for $10 and desks for $35. For those who don’t like to browse online listings or deal with unknown sellers of questionable reputation, but like to see and touch their items and have a large selection of other items to choose from, you’re in luck because such places do exist here in Singapore.


How the Cost of Living in Singapore Compares to the US

Singapore currency
Prices in Singapore may be higher than in the US, but there are good reasons for it.

I’m writing this post partially in response to the article that ran on 20 May, 2014 in The Straits Times entitled “Five things in Singapore that are cheaper than other cities“, to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) ranking published earlier this year which cited Singapore as the “World’s Most Expensive City“, and to the many comments these two articles generated. As an American, I believe that living in Singapore in some ways is more challenging than living in the US, and there are many basic things that are more expensive here. Because of this, people are always asking me why I chose to move here and become a PR, especially when they find out that as a US citizen, I still have to pay US taxes (the US taxes worldwide income and at a higher rate compared to Singapore). Safety and being closer to my cultural roots were definitely some of my initial reasons, but as I continued to live here, other reasons started to outweigh these initial reasons, which include health, environmental, ecological, and monetary reasons.

And what surprises people most is that since moving here, my husband and I have been able to save more (as a percentage of income), despite being double taxed. But it has only been through diligent planning and budgeting that we’re able to achieve this. Also, we’ve had to drastically change our way of living. Though people may see this as a sacrifice, I see it as being more environmentally and ecologically conscious. I am very aware that this way of living is not for everyone, so this post doesn’t attempt to speak for all Americans. So from my own perspective, this is how living expenses in Singapore compare to the US: (more…)

5 Meaningful (and inexpensive) Gifts for Mother’s Day

personalized notes in a jar
These gifts are not just inexpensive; they are priceless!

Being a good, responsible, and dedicated mother is perhaps one of the hardest responsibilities in the world – there are no off days or MC days, no salary, no (monetary) benefits, yet there are plenty of insane working conditions and hours. But the role does come with huge upside potential – a lifetime of purpose, memories, rewards, personal growth, and meaning. So why would I “cheapen” this by opting for an inexpensive gift?


Rent Your Clothing – Wear Today, Gone Tomorrow

Why buy when you can rent?

There are certain things that a person should definitely buy second-hand (or borrow), especially clothing that is only meant for occasional wear such as maternity clothing, winter clothing, costumes/festive wear, and formal attire. These clothes are often just worn a couple of times before they are discarded or given away because a person’s style and/or size has changed. Because children grow so quickly, I would also include children’s clothing in this category, particularly newborn and infant clothing which a baby will quickly grow out of so there’s no sense in buying them new. (more…)

Get an Entirely New Wardrobe – for Free!

Swapping is the new shopping.

Most people have a collection of clothing that they simply do not and will not wear anymore, for one reason or another. These items typically will remain in a person’s closet unworn for years until they are disposed of. Instead of having these clothes pile up, create clutter, and take up precious wardrobe real estate, why not exchange these items for something new, something different, and something that will get some wear and use? On April 5th and 6th, 313 @ Somerset will be holding its annual Green and Gorgeous Fashion Swap. From now until March 30th, you can drop off your pre-loved clothing and accessories atΒ  #B1-30 in exchange for “trend stars” that can you can use to swap for other pre-loved fashion items during the fashion swap event. The event is completely free, you get to update your wardrobe, while keeping your old clothes out of the landfill – how awesome is that? Here’s what to expect when you drop off your clothes and on the day of the swap: (more…)