Avoid Financial Planners Wearing Cartier, Birkin, Hermes, Burberry, or Other Luxury Brands

Should financial planners be dressed like socialites?
(Photo by Jonathan Mueller)

People seek the advice of financial planners because they want to make better financial decisions and improve their financial situation. But I believe the most important decision they make is whom they engage to be their financial planner. Some may seek a financial planner based on a friend’s recommendation, but if you don’t personally know someone in the industry, it’s easy to fall into the trap of choosing a person who “looks like a million bucks” thinking that they will be your best bet. Why is this a very bad idea? (more…)

Get a Health Screening (and $50 of CapitaLand Vouchers) for Only $15

Orange Health Screening
Stay healthy and get rewarded.

Staying healthy is not easy. We live in a society in which unhealthy food is quite abundant and ubiquitous, and often viewed and used as a reward (e.g., birthday cakes, celebration treats, etc.), and a sedentary lifestyle is the norm and is also rewarded (e.g., office desk job). But here’s a reward that actually encourages healthy behaviours. The Orange Health Screening by NTUC Income offers a basic health screening (BMI, blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting blood glucose level) for just $15, and if your results are within a healthy range and you are currently under NTUC IncomeShield or Enhanced IncomeShield, you can get a $50 CapitaLand voucher. (more…)

Thoughtful & Frugal Gifts Ideas for Father’s Day

fathers day
Frugal gift ideas for Father’s Day
(Photo by J Mark Dodds)

Father’s Day is just around the corner, and for those procrastinators who have not gotten a gift yet (myself included), here are some gift ideas that are thoughtful yet frugal. Most dads, as I’ve been told, don’t really want ties and money clips. Instead, they secretly want gadgets. However, gadgets can be very expensive, and too many of them are bad for the planet as they contribute to the excessive amounts of ewaste. A lot of gadgets also end up underused and collecting dust on the shelf (the average drill is used only 12 minutes before it’s discarded) as technology evolves and new gadgets replace the old ones. Because of budget and ewaste considerations, my list includes primarily experiential gifts, along with some tech gadgets, all reasonably priced! (more…)

Are Property Agents Really Needed in Singapore?

Buy, sell, and rent properties directly with DirectHome.

Imagine for a moment the Singapore property market without any property agents. Some would argue that this would make the industry disastrous; others would cheer and say that the industry would not only be more efficient but also be more value-driven. For years now, the internet has disrupted many industries, and the FIRE sector (finance, insurance, real estate) is no exception. Many believe that this sector is parasitic in nature, charging exorbitantly high fees and delivering little in terms of value while producing absolutely nothing. Just as we’ve seen the rise of Direct Purchase Insurance (DPI) through CompareFirst which started last year, now comes DirectHome, a portal in which you can buy, sell, and rent properties directly without the middlemen (i.e., the property agent), potentially saving you both time and money. (more…)

Get Groceries, Snacks, Alcohol, Baby Supplies, or Your Next Meal Delivered to Your Home for Free with Honestbee – plus a $10 off code

Save time, energy and money with honestbee.

Honestbee, since their launch about a year ago, has rapidly gained popularity and has recently added more stores and restaurants to their platform. Their motto is speed, accuracy, and quality. They offer same-day delivery on your favourite grocery products, beverages, or meals from up to 21 different stores/restaurants (and counting), including NTUC, Cold Storage, The Butcher’s Dog, Jones the Grocer, Joe & Dough, Watsons, and even Ben & Jerry’s. Unlike other grocery delivery services, honestbee has 6 major advantages: (more…)

Would You Ever Steal…. From Your Own Future?

Debt can bond or restrict your future.
Photo by Simon Cunningham

There’s a deadly epidemic that hardly anyone talks about. No, it’s not Zika. It’s happening mostly to Indian subsistence farmers (but please read on to see how this relates to you), and the deaths are caused by…. debt. The livelihood of the vast majority of rural Indians depends on subsistence agriculture. Because of this, they are very vulnerable to weather conditions (that affect their crop yield) and also susceptible to market conditions (for the extra amount they produce to sell to the market). When they have misfortunes, moneylenders quickly come to their aid. There are also times when a subsistence farmer is allured by a promise, such as an advertisement of a service or product claiming to improve their standard of living. Whether the promise is real or false, many are tempted to go into debt to try to improve their quality of life. But for them and for many others, debt can spiral out of control and sadly, the only way out that many of them see, is to take their own life(more…)

Refinancing – Where to Start and What They Don’t Tell You

Short-term teaser rates might be outweighed by long-term effective interest rates.
Photo by Hans Splinter

Before you refinance your housing loan, please think carefully about all the factors which may be affected. Many of these factors I covered in a previous post. A lot of them will appear in your contract (mostly in the fine print) but I find that very few loan consultants will take the necessary time to explain to you all the fees and terms. At times, refinancing could be a very frugal and prudent decision and at other times, it can mean trading short-term gain for eventual long-term pain. Below is one of many real-time up-to-date loan aggregate search platforms.  (more…)

Where You Can Get a Free Lunch

butter naan
Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but the man behind Free Famous Food disagrees. Free Famous Food is a voucher site where you can get 100%-free meals. There are absolutely no gimmicks, no up selling and no hard selling, and the partner restaurants don’t serve you old, rotten, or “experimental” food. The restaurants will give you actual food items in the same portion and description that is on their menu. You’re probably thinking (as I was), how are they able to do this and where can I sign up? I’ll go into more details and also share my own personal experience with a couple of the restaurants I’ve tried. (more…)

Why Watsons Free Allergy Consultations May Not be Frugal

Free allergy consultations still need to add value.

Many people I talk to mistakenly equate “frugality” with “being cheap”, but being frugal is not about just seeking the lowest price; it’s about value and your Return on Investment (ROI) where return can come in the form of enjoyment, experience, knowledge, assurance, fulfilment, protection, and of course, actual money. The investment usually involves some combination of time and money. Doing something for free means that you’re likely going to have a high/positive ROI because your investment is so low, but sometimes even free things can result in bad or negative ROI. (more…)

Factors to Consider and the #1 Question to Ask Before you Refinance Your Loan

home money
Refinancing is all about costs versus benefits.
Photo by Mark Moz

For the first time in decades, the SIBOR rates (these affect your mortgage loans) rose significantly higher than LIBOR rates (which implies that interest rates in Singapore can go up as a result of factors other than what the US Fed does). SIBOR stands for Singapore Interbank Offered Rate and is a daily reference rate based on the interbank interest rates at which banks lend to one another.  At 1.06% (3-month April SIBOR), this key benchmark rate is 2.5 times higher than the 0.4% in 2014. As mortgage loans are priced according to SIBOR, this is causing many people to wonder if it’s time to refinance in hopes of seeking a lower interest rate. But you don’t get something for nothing (at least not typically in the financial industry) so you need to consider the costs versus the benefits. Lenders, loan officers, and bank advertisements will entice you with interest rates, but what they never advertise is all the fees and restrictions. Here’s a countdown of some things to consider before happily handing over your signed loan documents to an eager loan officer. (more…)