Lifehacks to spend less in Singapore

There is this adage that it’s not how much you earn, but how much you can save that matters. As I get older, I get more focused on saving where possible because the cost of living only goes up over time. My current philosophy on “wiping the material life” has also helped sharpen that focus a little bit more.

Unlike most articles on the web, I’m not here to write about which bank savings rate you should invest in, or how to calculate your retirement earnings. You may not live long enough to retire anyway, who knows right?

I’m more concerned about staying alive each day and ensuring I am healthy so I can use my hands and brains to work. I’m not going to dwell on property or car choices either, since those are highly debatable on needs versus wants.

So on a daily basis, there are simple small practices (or lifehacks, as is the current lingo) that many people already practice, and that you might find useful for your lifestyle. Our expenditures are often a case of death by many small cuts, so where can we avoid getting hurt?

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It’s ok to be bald, people

I was shaving my head in the bathroom today when I realized that it has been 18 years since my hair started to thin out. It really feels like a lifetime ago when I first became terribly distraught about becoming a balding man at the tender age of 21.

My university days was the period which I had to grapple with this issue head-on (ok, bad pun) and I decided not to take any medication as it was both expensive and not permanent in restoring my hair. I also had the support of my girlfriend, and now my wife Goy, who liked my lame jokes better than my departing hair.

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On donation drives and the ACS spirit

I was looking forward to visiting the ACS Barker Carnival today with my family when I read the most distasteful story in the Straits Times titled “Carnival tickets: Students feel sales pressure“.

An upset housewife had uploaded the principal’s letter (original PDF here) to STOMP (no, I don’t link to hate-filled sites) and claimed that she couldn’t sleep over the letter as she felt that the students were being forced to donate.

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Why and how to buy a UHD TV

This is not a great time to buy a new television for your home as the industry is in transition from the old full HD 1080p standard to Ultra HD (UHD) standard, otherwise also known as 4k TVs.

But if you’re like me, whose faithful Samsung HDTV died after six years of service and it needed to get replaced, you would still have to figure out what type of TV to buy. I learned a lot of things when I was TV shopping back in June and am finally putting down my learnings here for people getting all confused about 4k, UHD, Full HD and all that jazz.

TV-buying is not as easy as buying a PC or a smartphone, so here’s the crash course.

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A Practical Guide For Motorcycle Owners In Singapore

Now that you’ve decided you want to ride a motorcycle, passed that really difficult Traffic Police riding practical test and have purchased your dream machine, here are some ownership tips that I’ve learned from others, or from trial and error over time.

Many people think that owning a motorcycle is easy and low-maintenance, but to be honest, it’s not.

A motorcycle requires a minimum amount of TLC and your personal time because it needs to be road-worthy and safe to ride. It is also easily stolen or vandalized. Many great motorbikes are works of art and deserve to be properly cared for. Some of the tips here may sound shallow but they’ll resonate with more experienced bikers who will get it.

Updated 28 July: Added “Lane-Splitting”, “Modding” and “Upgrading”

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How to drink to lose weight and save money

There is one common thing that I’ve frequently observed among people who find it difficult to lose weight and those who wonder why they don’t seem to be able to save much money – they’re simply not very self-aware of their own habits, and they often complain that it’s hard to lose weight or save money.

This post is more on our drinking habits, so I won’t talk much about how to save money because it’s different for everyone. Some people have big necessary bills to pay, some have big unnecessary bills, and some people find it tough to get a good job. (What I do each month is to simply carve out my forced savings the minute my pay cheque gets deposited into my bank and transfer it into another account.)

Now to jump to my conclusion about healthy, economical drinking – just drink plain water all the time (duh).

People know that plain water is beneficial to the body, but you need to look at the economics of commercialized water – you may not be aware of how much money you are literally pissing into into the urinal and helping to fund the huge advertising campaigns of beverage makers to get you to drink even more sugared water. Continue reading How to drink to lose weight and save money

Goodbye 2013, when meaningless gained meaning

Upper Peirce 31 dec 2013
Upper Peirce Reservoir, 31 Dec 2013. It was a surreal scene with mist and light rain, as if we had stepped into another dimension.

I’m glad to see 2013 come to an end. It’s been a year of many new experiences, many learnings and even more sobering realizations of the human condition. You might say that’s a good thing, but it wasn’t a fun year.

The biggest change in me this year came with the Great Clean-Up Diet, where I discovered how easy it was to lose weight (and keep it down). I still can’t believe how this massive transformation came about due to a bad case of bad foot fungus – I was forced to examine my entire diet and exercise regime and that’s when the snowball started rolling. Continue reading Goodbye 2013, when meaningless gained meaning