Friday, 24 June 2016

CapitaStar Rewards

If you like shopping at Malls or your spouse likes to shop, you can signup for rewards Programme as the Malls. For example, if you shop at Malls managed by CapitaLand Mall, you can sign up for the Capitastar rewards. You can download the apps from Apple Store and use the Apps to scan your receipt. Every time you spend $20 and above, you can use the app to capture the receipt image and send it in to get the rewards points.

I was lucky to be surrounded by these Malls and every time I spend at the mall I will use my phone to capture the receipt image and send it. You don't need to queue up at the kiosk to scan the receipts. You can do it at your comfortable time and place using your mobile phone app. However, do note that you need to scan and upload the receipt with the next day.

My points are expiring on 30 June 2016. I managed to accumulate 40,000 points and was able to redeem $40 CapitaVoucher. The validity of the voucher is 1 year.

Who says you can't earn money by shopping? It pays to go around and check what type of rewards Programme is available. Besides CapitaStar, I Aso have JEM rewards app. However, I seldom shop at JEM, so I have not reached the amount to redeem any voucher. 


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

ePayments.com Payment Method

Personally, I would prefer to use PayPal as a preferred payment method for my ad network programme. However, some ad networks do not use PayPal due to some issues and they have other payment methods which are not common in certain countries.

I'm going to evaluate one of the payment methods that is available for one of the ad networks that I'm using. It is www.ePayments.com.

The available payment methods are:
  • ePayments
  • EPESE
  • Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard
  • Payoneer Bank Transfer
  • Wire USD
  • Wire EUR
  • Webmoney Z
I chose ePayments because I think the setup is easier and minimum cost needed to signup. You can go to the ePayments website to under it better.

I took a couple of days to figure out a problem to signup a personal account. I used my Hotmail.com account to sign-up but every time it failed because it did not send an email to my Hotmail.com account for the confirmation code. I tried other Hotmail.com account and also failed. I asked the support for help and they advised to use other account which is not Hotmail. I tried using gmail.com account and immediately I got the confirmation code in my gmail account. So, to avoid the frustration during the sign-up process, you need to use gmail or other account but not Hotmail. I think ePayments.com should mention this in their FAQ or resolve this issue with Hotmail.

You will need to verify your ID, address and phone number too. I'm stuck at verifying the phone number because every time I tried to confirm my phone number, it did not send my any confirmation code. I tried other phone number with different Telco, it is the same issue. I have submitted a ticket to ePayments and they are trying to check with the Telcos. I hope this can be resolved soon.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

OIBR - SOLD!

Forgot to update on my OIBR stock. I have sold all my holdings a couple of months back. I have made a loss of 90% of my capital. Luckily I only invested USD1.6K only and managed to get 10% back. Well, it is a lesson learned and I think when you see a stock that is low in price, it does not mean that it is a value stock to invest.

I sold it because I think that if it is below USD1 for many months, it will be delisted from the stock exchange NYSE and I would need to do OTC trading if I want to sell it. So, to avoid this from happening, I have decided to sell it and I have not regretted since the day I sold. It is a relief for me.

Luckily, I have made more from Apple stocks and already covered the loss from OIBR. There is nothing more to expect from this OIBR except for it to be delisted from the exchange.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Goodbye SGE and Welcome SKX

Today, I say goodbye to my 10-year old car with the licence plate SGE. That was almost 10 years ago car. It is sad to part with it since it has served me well for the past 10 years. It has not broken down once. I think it is due to the regular car servicing and maintenance with C&C. The only thing that I have replaced is the timing belt and one time tyre change. Amazing that I have clocked 180,000 km with this car and yet when my colleagues sat in my car, they always said that it is a waste to scrap it.

Yes, there are some problems though as it ages:
  1. The horn is spoilt. Actually, the connectors are worn out and will connect automatically when the car is parked under the hot sun. I had to remove the fuse to conserve battery.
  2. The leather at the driver's seat has cracked at the side but no issue.
  3. The radiator is leaking. I have to top up the water to the reserve tank every 2 to 3 days.
  4. The engine brackets are corroded and the engine is supported by the mounting. No issue but it may vibrate a bit.
  5. The suspension on the front tyre has issue and will vibrate and create some noises when the road is uneven.
I think the wear and tear is not too bad as compared to other cars. I must say that I was thinking of renewing my COE for another 5 years while waiting for the COE and car prices to drop further. However, I think I will lose my scrap value and need to replace the 5 items should I choose to renew my COE. After much consideration, I decided to purchase a new car.

I made my decision quite timely when LTA said that the COE quota for Nov to Jan will reduce because fewer cars were being scrapped. I chanced upon this and quickly made a purchase and locked in the COE. After two rounds of COE biddings, the prices of cars started to increase by $2K. Luckily I managed to save this $2K.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

How to invest in property in Singapore?

How to invest in property in Singapore? Many people will ask themselves as the property price has skyrocketed over the past years. They are waiting for the price to come down but still every year it keeps increasing and you will never know the right price even when it comes down.

If you are a salaried couple who earn say a combined income of $10K and above, I think you should go and buy a HDB. Don't buy a DBSS as it is overpriced unless you really, really want to buy one. For information, DBSS has been discontinued already as it is not that value for money. Buy a 4-room or 5-room or even an executive unit that falls within your means and budget. Buy a new one and not a resale as it is cheaper to buy new one with the grants given by the government.

A typical 4-room flat at Bukit Batok for example, starts at $272K before grants. After grants, it is about $217K. The flat can be easily paid off within 10 years. After the flat has been paid off after 10 years, the couple can consider to buy a private property. Once the loan has been paid off, the couple can borrow 80% of the private property price from the bank. Consider a condominium with a price-tag of $1 million, the couple needs to come out with only $200K plus to purchase the private property. Of course, the couple will need to check with the bank whether they can borrow the 80% of the property price. My advice is to go to the bank to ask for loan in principle before signing on the dotted line for the property.

The private property if newly launched will take about 2 years to complete. So, still have time to save up for the renovation of the unit.

Since you are staying at the HDB flat, you don't need to worry about the completion of the property or TOP date. After the TOP, you will need to do defect rectification and then renovation. This will take about 2 to 3 months. After the renovation, you can start to move in and in parallel when the renovation starts, you can look for tenants for your HDB flat. A typical 4-room flat rental is around $2.5K for the whole unit. The monthly instalment for the condominium loan is about $2.2K. The maintenance fee is about $250 per month. So the rental for the flat can almost cover the instalment plus the maintenance fee. Assuming the couple rents out the flat for the next 15 years and also saving to pay off the loan, I think the outstanding loan can be paid off within 15 years. Then on the 16th year onwards, the rental will be a passive income for the couple.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

COE Bidding for October 2015 2nd Open Bidding

My Lancer Sports is coming to its 10-year term. The current COE will expire in March 2016. In Year 2006, the COE was about $10K and at one point, the COE was $8K. I quickly went in to buy the Lancer Sports 1.6A which was selling for $52K with the COE at $8K. I got the COE at the first bidding which was about $11K, so effectively, I had gained $3K from the COE.

The Lancer Sports is quite durable and the only major repair (or replacement) is the timing belt. Every two to three years, I had to change the car battery. I have no problem with the air-conditioning. The one good thing about this car is the tyres. C&C gave Yokohama Aspec DB tyres which are very durable and hard. They had served me for almost 5 years (100K km) before I really needed to change them. Well, I think I'm a good driver who knows how to take care of the wheels while driving. I had heard friends or colleagues who changed tyres every one or two years. They are surprised when they heard that I changed every 5 years. I remembered the first Lancer that I bought in 2004, it was having the same Yokohama tyres and when I traded in to the agent in 2006, they thought I just changed my tyres when they inspected them. Well, I told them that I had not changed them since 2004. The only drawback about the tyres is that they are quite noisy when driving over certain road conditions. You need to get used to the noise but I saved quite a lot with these tyres.

Coming back to the COE Bidding for October 2015, I knew that it will go up because of the reduced number of COEs for Nov-Jan period. This was because a lot of people are renewing their COEs and fewer cars are being scrapped. The reduced number will cause some kneejerk actions and drive up the prices. True enough, the COE for CAT A went up by $1.3K and the price of Lancer EX went up by 1K too. Luckily, I locked in the lower price and yet got a higher COE price. What a good deal!


I got the bid!
I got the bid!
The PQP for CAT A is $56,583 and if you want to renew your old car for 10 years, this is the price to pay. If you want to renew for 5 years, I think the price is halved. But if you renew for 5 years, you cannot extend it at the end of the 5th year. So, at the end of the 5th year, you will need to scrap the car. Another thing to note about renewing your COE for old car, you will lose the scrap value of the car, yes, it will be zero if you did not scrap it at the end of the 10-year COE. Also, the road tax for the car will increase every year for old car. The other problem is the maintenance of the car, most likely at this point (9th to 10th year period), the car will have a lot of issues, such as leakage radiator, engine brackets corroded, leather seats worn out, horn spoilt, rusting parts, air-con problem, suspension issues, noise from car, gear-box issue, chip and dent on paint-works, etc. That will be another $3K to repair or/and replace the spare parts.

COE Bidding Results - source from http://www.onemotoring.com.sg
COE Bidding Results - source from http://www.onemotoring.com.sg

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Rinnai Gas Dryer

I have been using Rinnai Gas Dryer RD-600 CG from City Gas to dry my clothes for almost 8 years and have only done one time of repair. It is a durable machine and can dry clothes say 5 to 6 kg of washed clothes. The time taken to dry one load is about 30 minutes. Normally, for an electric dryer, the time taken will be double of the gas dryer.

When you start the cycle, the gas will be ignited to provide the hot air to dry your clothes. You may want to provide some ducting to channel the hot air out of the house. It is recommended to install this near a window for ventilation. This Rinnai Gas Dryer can be installed above your washer via mounting brackets to the wall. I don't think it can be stacked onto the washer directly as it is 5cm wider.

I have anticipated to install this Rinnai Gas Dryer in my new condominium unit but now after collecting the keys to my unit, I realised that the width of the washing area is only 64cm. Even if it is 65cm, I don't think I will be able to fit the Rinnai Gas Dryer into the space because there should be some clearances between the wall to the sides of the dryer. I was very disappointed with the design as the developer has not considered that people may want to install gas dryer which is around 65cm in width. I was hoping that the washing area width will be around 70cm which is good to fit in the gas dryer. I was considering the possibility of knocking down the wall to make way for the gas dryer but the DB, OpenNet Fibre Optic cable and telecom points are located behind the wall. It will be a major renovation work if I need to hack the wall.

There are only two options available. One is to get an electric dryer instead and stack it above the washer. The other option is pray that Rinnai can manufacture a gas dryer which is around 60cm in width (which is closer to the standard washer/dryer dimension). The later option does not seem to happen in the next couple of months or even years. Well, I will need to switch to an electric dryer for my washed clothes. This will definitely increase my electricity bills.