Second month into my expense tracking and I’m starting to get use to doing this. My total expenses for November is up to $3151.21 (including fixed expenses of $1900.99). While I didn’t manage to reduce my variable expenses by half like I wanted to, I’m glad to find that many one-off expenses were greatly reduced. November’s challenge was a partial success because while I failed to reduce the costs of eating in restaurants (for good reas0ns), I managed to reduced my shopping expenses to ZERO!
The biggest impact to my expenses this month was going for a Tonsil operation to remove my defective tonsils that have caused me to fall ill on several occasions. I chose to do the operation this month because it’s the quieter part of the year where there wasn’t a lot of work to do and I could spend 2 weeks on medical leave, working from home. The best thing was that my insurance agent informed me that the operation would be 100% covered by my shield plan because I had bought a rider on top of the basic shield plan previously. As I was spending half of November at home recuperating, expenses should be reduced by quite a bit.
Commuting charges on the B.M.W (bus, MRT, walk) went down a little this month due to my 2-week medical leave and working from home.
I thought that I would spend less on food after the operation but because the tonsils hurt so much, I spent more money on soft food and desserts.
I didn’t buy much groceries this month because I couldn’t eat any of them anyway.
Woohoo! I actually didn’t do any shopping this month at all. I’m pretty proud of myself for not spending money buying anything I don’t need.
Entertainment expenses went up quite a big this month as a Japanese friend was visiting Singapore this month so I brought him to a nice dimsum restaurant for some food. We also had a birthday celebration for a friend of mine so we treated him to dinner.
Birthday gift ($40) – I contributed some money for a friend’s birthday gift. Well worth the price because he liked it very much.
IC Re-registration fees ($10) – I paid $10 to re-register my IC. Everyone has to do it at the age of 31.
Haircut ($10) – Got a haircut to look decent for a change.
A return ticket to Taipei in January 2015 ($282.56) – I saw that Scoot had a pretty decent promotion for flights to Taiwan and since I had to clear some of my annual leaves early next year, I bought a return flight to go for a well-deserved holiday.
When I bought 3 lots of Singapore Post Limited (SingPost) 2 year ago at a cost price $1.149 per share, it was a pure dividend play. A no-brainer really, to put money in a stable stock that has been consistently distributing around 5% dividend yield every year.
This all changed after Alibaba acquired a 10.35 per cent stake in the postal company. Speculators started trading SingPost shares and the stock price started soaring to a 52-week high almost every week! This dividend stock has changed into a growth stock in my portfolio.
After piercing the resistance level of $2.00 per share for a few hours, the share fell back down to $1.88. I did my calculations and decided to sell all 3 lots of SingPost at $1.905 a few days later to lock in a modest gain of 64.95% and an annualized return of 28.4%. This is after the stock has past its ex-dividend date and that means I’m going to receive my last dividend of $0.0125 per share as well!
At the time of writing this article, SingPost’s share price has gone up to $1.93 but I don’t have any regrets selling this stock because I personally don’t see much upside in this stock from its current price.
One of the little indulgences I embrace is watching television. Unfortunately, the local free-to-air channels are often creating crappy shows, or broadcasting the good ones way too late. The paid channels are so heavily monopolised that it makes no sense paying for them. Not to mention the fact that they can change the pricing terms whenever they want.
This year, I have made the switch to a Hulu Plus subscription for USD$7.99 per month and never looked back ever since. I get to watch all the latest shows I want, on demand and on any platform of my choice. It’s perfect!
In the past few days, I found a way to pay a lower subscription price for Hulu Plus and I want to share it with you.
In one of the Internet forums that I participate in, I saw someone posted a message saying that it’s possible to buy cheap Hulu gift cards on Ebay. So i did a check and, lo and behold, I found a number of Hulu Plus gift cards listed for auction on Ebay.
At the time of my search, the cheapest Hulu Plus 12 months gift card was listed at USD$29 on auction and after checking with the seller to confirm that the gift card would work for existing Hulu Plus users, I made the bid. Given that there are quite a few listings, there was no one competing with my bid. Perfect!
Once I won the auction and made payment via Paypal, the seller promptly sent me the codes on the gift card (you didn’t think the seller was really going to mail me a gift card right?). I gave it a try and it works! I went ahead and cancelled my current Hulu Plus subscription so that the 12 months subscription from the gift card can take effect next month.
At USD$29, I have effectively reduced my monthly subscription of USD$7.99 to USD$2.42 for the next 12 months. Lovely!
If you are a Hulu Plus subscriber like me, do a search on Ebay and you may find a cheap gift card listing just like me.