Sunday, August 22, 2010

Beware of the Marketing Schemes

I was watching TV the other day and I saw an ad for automatic liquid soap dispenser. It comes with a built-in infra-red sensor and when you put your hands underneath the nozzle, it dispenses the soap for you. Doesn't that seem luxurious? The ad was making a point that their touch-free product prevents harmful germs from transmitting. If you want to prevent germs from transmitting, you shouldn't even enter the toilet! LOL

I find it funny people inventing these stupid things and find it even more funny people falling for these things. You seriously don't need an auto soap dispenser in your home. I would rather spend $2 for a soap dispenser with a simple spring mechanism than buying this cute little machine. My simple manual soap dispenser has lasted me over 2 years already and it is still doing it's job. Every time I run out of soap, I just buy a large container of liquid refill soap and fill up my dispenser.

This is just one of the examples. There are plenty of these marketing schemes we see everyday that entice us to use their products and services. Some schemes are fairly straightforward while others come with hidden conditions. I especially hate those mobile phone deals. I find it absolutely hard to figure out their deals. Since I don't use my mobile phone much, I don't have to worry about them.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ditch that Credit Card

I had my first credit card in my early 20s. It started out with a credit limit of A$1000. I was pretty excited to have a credit card. In fact I didn't need a credit card then. I have always been a wise spender. My bank just offered me one and I simply thought, "Wow! They offered me a credit card". I felt like I was specially treated. Yeah I was perhaps a bit naive.

The credit came with rewards points. So I started using it to accumulate the reward points. The credit card had an annual fee and the rewards points feature also charged a small amount of annual fee. I was enticed by the rewards points and kept using the credit card even though I didn't need it. The reward points would expire if not claimed within a certain period and the points I had accumulated over a period would be so little that they would just expire before I could claim anything. In 10 years I only successfully claimed reward points once. I could manage to get a kid's watch for my niece.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Do you really need to drive?

I don't drive but I live near a big city. I usually commute by train or bus- mostly by train. I find most places easily accessible by public transport. They are fairly punctual and I don't have to worry about busy traffic and road accidents. I can just enjoy the ride, read a book or do a bit of thinking while I commute. That's one of the advantages.

I haven't really done a serious cost comparison between owning a car and using public transport. I've always thought using a public transport comes out to be cheaper than owning a car and is a lot safer and you get to do other things while you commute. Paying the insurance and regular maintenance costs add to your overall expenditure.

If you live closer to work, friends and family, maybe you don't really need a car. However if you have to travel longer distance regularly, then this may not be a right option for you. Personally, I can still go on without a car. Any thoughts?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Debt Is Your Mortal Enemy

Having to pay off debt, no matter how small the amount, is something you would want to avoid at all costs but there are instances where we simply can't avoid debt. For buying a house, most of us can't afford to pay the entire amount at once. We take out mortgage and we start paying that off for the next 20 - 30 years. Buying a brand new car could be another example where debt seems inevitable.

However, there are times when we may be able to avoid debt if we plan ahead and start saving for a purpose. It's also advisable not to incur debt unless you really have to and pay off your debts as soon as you can. The longer you hold on to it, the harder it gets to pay off. On the money you've borrowed, you may need to pay heavy interest on top of the principle.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Pick Up FREE Items from the footpath

Our local council conducts clean up collections every year for removing bulky household items. I can't remember how many times a year they conduct these collections. I think it's about 3-4 times a year. Every household leaves their unwanted goods on the footpath for the council to pick up. Check your local council website or ring them to find out the clean up dates.

People also leave goods for pick-up when they move houses. So keep an eye on your neighbourhood.

The items may include:
  • furniture e.g. chairs/computer chairs, tables, beds, mattresses, sofas, etc
  • carpets
  • cloths
  • books
  • toys
  • kitchen utensils
  • fitness/sporting equipment such as exercise bikes, trampolines, bicycles, etc
  • white goods such as fridges, stoves, washing machines, etc
  • electronic goods such as TV’s, DVD players, video recorders, printers, computers etc.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Becoming Frugal and Learning to Save Money: A Lifestyle Planning

When talking about becoming frugal and saving money, you have to start by looking at your current lifestyle. You may need to plan things differently to make the most out of what you currently have. Saving money and becoming frugal is not only about how much you earn and how much you have in your bank account. I look at it from a much broader perspective. It's the lifestyle you choose that either makes it easier or harder in becoming frugal.