We’ve crossed the middle of the year again and if you’re as lucky as I am, you should have been informed of your salary increment for 2018.
This year, I got a small increment of $195 in my monthly payroll so that’s an additional 195 one-dollar soldiers awaiting for deployment every month!
I checked my salary allocation budget that I update every year and it looks like there’s no additional expenses incurred so far. That’s good news to me because all the 195 one-dollar soldiers will be deployed to investment wealth accumulation.
Saving money can sometimes be tough.
I mean, it often means doing something less convenient. Like cooking a meal at home instead of eating out, or waking up earlier taking the train instead of rushing out of your home and taking a taxi.
To make money saving activities more interesting, I decided to add a gamification component to reward myself. Because we all love to play games, don’t we?
Gamification is the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.
The most popular case study that has been used to explain gamification is Dropbox’s rise to fame where they used gamification techniques to encourage its users to learn more about their product, use it and share with their friends. Dropbox currently has 500 million users around the world and a value of around $5-6 billion.
So how do we implement gamification with money saving activities?
If we break down gamification in its simplest form, there are only 2 components to this. Creating money saving challenges for yourself (and your family), and rewards for completing the challenges.
Simple enough? Let’s do this!
Let’s use public transport as a case study.
I pay a train fare of $1.16 to travel from my home to my workplace and incur the same cost going home after work. I give myself a money saving challenge to cycle to work instead of taking public transport. This could be challenging for some so you could also consider taking the train instead of taxi as a win too.
By cycling to work, I save some money in my transportation and food budget (because I would stop for a beer or snack along the way home occasionally).
Now that we have a challenge, let’s talk about rewards.
Cycling to work is a very simple challenge I’m setting for myself so I’m keeping the reward fairly basic.
For every time I cycle to work and back (that’s 2 activities), I will reward myself by transferring $2.32 ($1.16 multipled by 2) into my Discretionary Fund. My Discretionary Fund is a savings bucket that I use to spend on things that are not considered a necessity. Like that relaxing weekend vacation in Bali or the spanking new Apple iPhone.
Well, you get the point.
I also created a stretch reward for cycling to work more often. For every 10 cycle to work activities (that’s 1 work week of cycling to work), I will reward myself with an additional $10 in my Discretionary Fund.
Here’s how my little money saving gamification activity looks like
With some reward, I think this will definitely incentivise me to cycle to work more often. I’ll keep you updated in a few months’ time to see if this works out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
This is an update on how I saved money on my Hulu subscriptions this year. Its slightly different from the Hulu savings tip I posted in a few years ago and in this post, I will also cover on VPN subscriptions as well.
In 2014, I blogged about how I saved money by purchasing disconted Hulu gift cards on eBay to pay for my Hulu subscription. That’s one way to get around paying for monthly Hulu subscriptions because I don’t have a US credit card. That ship has already sailed and if you do a search on eBay, the Hulu gift card deals aren’t that great and there are hardly any discounts.
I found this guy (or girl) on Carousell selling Hulu shared accounts who is selling Hulu shared acccounts. Essentially, it just means that someone in US paid for a Hulu subscription and is trying to make some money back to offset the subscription fees by sharing his/her Hulu account. The only condition of the deal was that I cannot make any changes to the account or create my own Hulu profile (which isn’t a big deal to me).
The price is rock-bottom cheap because it’s only $10 for lifetime use. Now, I’m very wary of lifetime subscriptions because they only last as long as the account is not terminated. In this case, the Carousell seller guaranteed at least 6 months of Hulu subscription usage or they will give me another shared account to use.
Which is not a bad deal because I take it that I’m paying $10 for 6 months of Hulu subscription.
I decided to share this on my blog because I’m already using my shared account for about 4 months now and everything is still working smoothly. I also paid for a Crunchyroll shared account to catch up on the latest animes. For my crunchyroll shared account, I’ve only had a problem with the account once but the Carousell seller was quick to give me another shared account to use within the same day.
To watch shows on Hulu, we need to make Hulu think that we are logging in to their platform in US. One of the ways to do this is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which allows us to connect to Hulu through a US-based network to ‘pretend’ that we are accessing Hulu in US.
For the working adults, they should not be new to VPN because many companies have VPN software that allows their employees to have a secured connection to their file and email servers when they are using public wifi networks.
We all know that VPN can be quite cumbersome and in most cases, result in a slow Internet connection.
For me, I only watch shows on Hulu using my Apple TV or iPad at home. If you’re like me, there’s another option that you can consider. Smart DNS.
Smart DNS is a sophisticated technology which allows Internet users all over the world to unblock Geo-restricted (or Geo-Blocked) websites like Netflix, Hulu, WWE Newtork, BeInSports.net, BBC and many more popular websites which contain regional-restricted content by re-routing traffic required for determining your geographical location.
Sounds complicated but essentially, Smart DNS only requires you to change your DNS setting to the designated IP address provided by your Smart DNS provider.
The Smart DNS provider that I use at home is GetFlix.
GetFlix offers a rather cheap subscription of 4.95 USD per month and a heavy discount of up to 54% off if I sign up for 24 months for 54.90 USD.
While this is a pretty sweet deal, I’m always on the lookout for even sweeter deals.
I found that StackSocial is offering a lifetime GetFlix subscription for a crazy low price of 35 USD.
Get Lifetime Subscription to GetFlix
This year, I’m paying less than $50 to access my favourite TV shows on Hulu. I think this is the best deal possible (at least in 2017) and I’m enjoying huge savings without being tied to any contracts.
If you have any other money saving tips, please share them with me in the comments section below.