How Lucky Will You Be This Year

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Life is filled with blessings, but expect to have disasters once in a while.

The start of the New Lunar Year (4714) will soon be upon us, and many are eagerly seeking forecasts and predictions from “Grand Masters” to find out what the year of the Red Fire Monkey will bring. This is also one of the busiest times for Singapore Pools, as ticket sales dramatically increase with the annual $12 million TOTO Hong Bao Draw. These are entertaining ways that sort of give us a sense of how lucky we are or will be in the coming year. And it’s fun and easy to daydream and fantasize about what you would do with the winnings. But what are your odds of winning?

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Purchase Life Insurance Directly (Commission-Free) to Save Money

[Photo credit: Got Credit]
If only insurance was as simple as hitting a computer key…. well, now it is!
(Photo by Got Credit)
Insurance is an asset-protection instrument, and with all the uncertainties in life, it’s good to have some protection against the inevitable tragedies one will face such as disability, critical illness, dependent care needs, and death. Despite its importance, most Singaporeans don’t have a life insurance coverage of any kind. Out of all the reasons cited for this, two of the top reasons were “the intimidating process” and “apprehension toward agents”. I definitely can relate to these two concerns, as I have been personally lied to by multiple insurance agents, who were unaware that I had Certified Financial Planning (CFP) education and experience. Well now there’s a way to circumvent the agent, to compare multiple insurance products (and not just the ones your agent suggests) and purchase insurance directly (commission-free).

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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

luxury cars singapore
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…)