How Anyone Can Be A CPF Millionaire

cpf chalkboard
The easiest (and safest) way to be a millionaire.

As a Certified Financial Planner, whenever I even mention the word “investment”, people are way too eager to ask about “stocks/equities”, “bonds”, and “funds/unit trusts”, thinking that these are the best, sure-fire way to financial security and financial freedom. But they are always surprised when I instead mentioned CPF. Although most people think CPF is a retirement tool, I’d like to think of CPF as an investment tool. What other investment is low-risk (or virtually no-risk) and has a guaranteed return of 2.5% up to 6%? What other investment is adjusted for inflation, is commission-free, is out of reach by creditors, and has an annuity payout that you cannot outlive? To learn more about CPF, please visit the CPF website. (more…)

The Cheapest Buffets in Singapore ($10 and Under)!

A round up of all the best-value buffets in Singapore.
A round up of all the best-value buffets in Singapore.

I’ve been asked to update the list of buffets priced at or below $10 so here it is. Since that previous post first appeared 2 years ago, some restaurants have closed, one has rebranded itself, while new ones have appeared. There are a lot of people who value quality over quantity, and probably would not find these places “acceptable”. But having grown up in poverty (I was on public assistance for school meals), I appreciate that there are still low-price choices for filling you up. The following list is in alphabetical order: (more…)

Clothing at “Daiso” Prices

doc-john-shop
Where to find clothes that cost less than the public transport fare.

I imagine that if Daiso sold clothing (other than socks, hats, and ties), it would look similar to what you’d see at Needle Boutique (aka Doc John Alteration Services). At this shop in Lucky Plaza, you’ll find an assortment of t-shirts, jean shorts and skirts for $1, $2 and 3 for $10, respectively. Their prices are similar to what you’d pay at thrift shops. Needle Boutique also sells similarly priced accessories, including shoes at $5. This shop has been around since 1999, and the owner, Doc John has been a tailor for nearly 3 decades. Here are some photos and other details about the shop: (more…)

A Fun & Frighteningly Frugal Halloween

Looking for an easy way to scare yourself?
(Photo by Gary Cobb)

You don’t have to spend $65 for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights tickets (which itself would give me quite a fright!). Instead, why not spend this Halloween at any of the following frugal events, which are all under $15 (on average, for 1 child + 1 adult). If you can’t find a single event on this list that you deem as “scary enough” for your taste, and you really want to scare yourself silly, try living paycheque to paycheque. Now that will surely leave you with nightmares.

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How Much is Your Complaining and Rudeness Costing You?

complaints
Complaints anyone?
(Photo by ehpien)

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to meet a deadline, your boss just scolded you, your significant other says “we need to talk”, your children are quarreling, and you accidentally delete an important file…. We’ve all had the experience of being bombarded with a series of mishaps, and all we want to do is vent out our frustrations and anger at someone – anyone. If it’s not personally directed, is it ok to gripe, complain, and curse? Perhaps, but our venting may cost us in ways we may later regret. (more…)

Free Galleries, Tours & Edutainment Your Family Would Enjoy

maritime-museum
Did you know we have a Maritime Museum?

In addition to our public libraries, museums, heritage centres, monuments, and parks (also don’t forget the myriad of events in the Frugal Week Planner), there are other lesser known places where you and your family can experience Singapore like a tourist, bond and make memories, and gain a deeper appreciation for our nation’s history, national institutions, and civic and urban visions for the future. The best part is that all these places are free for Singaporeans and PRs. In visiting most of the places listed below, I’ve had an enjoyable time, took advantage of many photo ops, and learned a great deal about the inner workings of our nation. And since 1 Oct, a new site has just been added to the list – now you get a free tour of the Incineration Plants and Semakau Landfill (inclusive of a free ferry ride). (more…)

WINK+ is Like Hunting Pokémons but with Real Rewards

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Have you ever noticed these and wondered what the heck are they?

Have you ever wondered what those bright pink QR codes near the entrances of certain MRT stations and trains are for? They tell you to scan the QR code with your WINK+ app so that you can earn points and redeem rewards. But what exactly is this WINK+ app, how good are these rewards, and how much effort must I make to earn them? After a couple of months of using WINK+, here’s what I found out: (more…)

What to Do When Your Family Member Has a Critical Illness

rt-0708
17 steps to consider when you’re a caregiver.

For some people, the word “retirement” evokes images of dancing seniors on cruise ships. For me (and increasingly more and more people), retirement has always meant a period of time when you have a drastic reduction of income either purposely due to choice, or unexpectedly due to unforeseen circumstances. By this definition, retirement can occur at any age. My past experiences have convinced me that at any moment, we can be “forced” into retirement. This is why I’ve spent my entire life in constant preparation, though I know that when a tragedy strikes, it will seem like no amount of preparation was adequate. If your family member or close friend has been forced into retirement by unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances, especially due to a critical illness (and is not yet at the official “retirement age”), here are some steps to consider:

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Discrimination & Stereotypes – Why Looking Rich Won’t Make You Rich

suit
If you look like a million bucks, you might be targeted.
(Photo by Jonathan Mueller)

All of us use stereotypes and other pattern-recognition techniques (whether we admit it or not) because our mind needs to take shortcuts; otherwise, we’d be inundated with too much info, enough for us to go insane. And others will use stereotypes on us, whether they are accurate or not. Our demographic data, occupation, habits, and appearance are used by others to quickly speculate and derive additional information about us such as our spending desires and spending potential. And now with each of us leaving a trail of data for marketers to mine and analyse, we leave ourselves open to be discriminated upon financially. Discriminatory practices in pricing have always been in existence, but now they can be even more sophisticated. (more…)

Your Stuff Spends Money Without You Knowing It

devices
The cost of a handphone doesn’t just include the price tag and service contract.
(Photo by Luke Wroblewski.)

When you see an item for sale, you usually think of it as a one-off purchase. When somebody asks you how much, say, your microwave costs, you usually will respond with whatever you paid to buy it. You typically don’t think that items, such as your microwave, have “ongoing overhead expenses”, but they do – all items do! In my last post, we discussed how to get stuff (in particular, furniture) for free. This week, let’s talk about how stuff, even so-called free things that were #OOTD (Out Of the Dumpster), are not really free. The microwave, for example, if left on standby, will consume more electricity than when in actual use (i.e, heating food), according to the Economist. Many other devices are also this way. All your stuff has an ongoing expense tab. (more…)