Eat your way with financial prudence

One category of expenses I find difficult to keep track of is eating-out expenses. It is too tedious to record every single meal eaten. In order to reduce excessive spending on meals, we adopt some practices even before sitting down for a meal. We stop excessive spending at the source rather than regret later after paying the price.

Some ideas that we find effective:

  1. Do not over-order. This not only reduces food wastage but also cut back on spending.
  2. Some café and restaurants charge reasonable prices on food items but charge highly on all drinks. Forgo buying drinks to go with the meal.
  3. Go for value meals instead of ala carte meals. Some cafés offer brunch items at lower prices. For example, Starbucks has morning value meal with drink served until 11.30 am.
  4. Go for food outlets that do not charge GST and service charge. This can set you back more than 17% on the meal (10% service charge, 7% GST).
  5. Share a large pizza instead of buying each one a personal pizza. Cost of three personal pizzas can exceeds cost of one large pizza.
  6. Hawker food and food court food are cheaper than café and restaurant meals
  7. Not all food courts are the same. Some are more expensive.
  8. Avoid buffet food since we are small eaters. The price we pay is not worth it.
  9. Avoid high teas because cakes are expensive. Reserve high teas for special occasions.
  10. Look out for deals or rewards such as 1-for-1 meals. Some efforts upfront pay.
  11. Pay for quality food and it needs not be Michelin-star food. It is cheaper. There is no lack of good food for us to choose from.
  12. As a family, we eat mixed vegetable rice. Some food stalls pile a lot on a plate that we may not be able to eat all on the plate. Instead of buying three items for each plate of rice, we can buy 2 plates with three food items each and then one plate with two food items. We distribute the food items among the three plates when we settle down to eat.
  13. We eat some meals at home with home-cooked meals. This is cheaper with regard to out-of-pocket costs.

Eating healthily does not burn a hole in your pocket. It is a matter of choice. We can choose to spend a lot on meals or eat well and cheaply. The choice is up to us.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Living Tips

Dividend yields for 2019 were lower than 2018

ACTUAL dividend yields based on my costs of shares were compared between 2019 and 2018.

Dividends had declined this year. Almost all, except STI ETF, SPH Reit, ComfortDelgro, showed a drop in dividend yield.

2018 2019
Counter Avg Cost $ Dividend Yield % Dividend Yield % Change

(% Points)

NetLink NBN Trust 0.81 7.0 6.1 -0.9
SPH Reit 0.95 5.8 5.9 +0.1
Lion-Philip S-REIT ETF 1.02 5.1 4.8 -0.3
Singtel 4.03 5.1 4.3 -0.8
Keppel Reit 1.48 3.8 3.7 -0.1
STI ETF 3.23 3.6 3.7 +0.1
Comfort Delgro 2.93 3.5 3.6 +0.1
SPH 4.12 3.2 2.9 -0.3
Keppel Corp 9.86 2.9 2.3 -0.6
StarHub 4.26 3.8 2.5 -1.3
SingPost 1.47 2.4 2.4 0.0
Overall Portfolio 3.55% 3.34% -0.21
STI ETF 3.6% 3.7% +0.1

The worst stocks were:
StarHub (-1.3 percentage points)
NetLink NBN Trust (-0.9 percentage point)
Singtel (-0.8 percentage point)
Keppel Corp (-0.6 percentage point)

Despite lower dividend yields, the overall portfolio dividend yield was 3.34%. By invested in local equities, I got to receive dividends.

The SPDR STI ETF returned 3.7% on dividend received. This is a good yield for me.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management

Transport Costs since giving up my car

I gave up my car on 8 February 2019. From that date onwards, my transport costs were:

Taxis = $122
Public buses and MRTs = $370
Total costs on transport = $492

Total number of weeks = 41 weeks from 8 February 2019

Total Transport Costs = $12 per week
Public buses and MRTs cost = about $9 per week

I travelled less since I am retired. I also did a lot of walking and relied less on public transport. My public transport on buses and MRTs costs me about $9 per week. This is far better than owning a car and using it for moving around. I have gotten used to not driving and I do not miss driving around in a car. This is transformational for me.

I did not rely much on taxis for my travel preferring to use the buses and MRTs. My carbon footprint has been greatly reduced!

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Life Journey

DBS’ DigiPortfolio doing well in terms of returns

On 3 September, I invested using DBS’ DigiPortfolio. (Refer to my earlier post in September)

Amount invested = $10,000
The recent market value of the portfolio = $10,198
Over a period of nearly three months, the return rate was 1.98%.

During this period, cash dividends were received.

The manager rebalanced the portfolio by switching out from one unit trust to favour another unit trust.
They sold Investec Global Strategic Equity Fund for BNY Mellon Long-Term Global Equity Fund.

DigiPortfolio did the above transactions based on the mandates of Comfy Cruisin’ (Risk Level 3) type of investments that I subscribed to.

The management of portfolio comes at a cost in the form of annual fee of 0.75% of amount invested at the end of each day, payable annually.

Using DigiPortfolio, I do not have to watch the portfolio on my own. I leave it to the professionals at DBS.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management

What if we were to live to 100 years old?

A frightening thought? With modern medicines and medical technologies, this idea is not farfetched. The average life expectancy for Singapore was 84.8 years in 2017. Life expectancy is moving up instead of going down over the decades. There is a real possibility in the future that 100 years is the new norm unless we die sooner due to climate change, disasters, wars, famine, and disease epidemic.

Are we prepared to live to 100?

Based on current re-employment age of up to 67 years, there is going to be 33 years of living after gainful employment. This is a long period of time. How are we going to occupy our time? Do we have the money to live our lifestyles? What if we were to live in poor health for a longer period of time? Besides physical health, mental health is just as important when we look at old age.

Honestly, I did not look at these issues until I read about Professor Andrew Scott in the news recently. Prof Andrew Scott is the co-author of the book “The 100-year Life” with Professor Lynda Gratton, both from London Business School.

What am I concerned about?

  1. Health is number one concern. Can I still be as independent as I am now? Will my mental faculty be still intact, i.e. no dementia? This has huge implications. I will need someone to look after me.
  2. Do I have the money to last me till 100? Without my own financial resources, I may need to rely on public assistance. Will there be public assistance to talk about in the future?
  3. Can I still work to finance my old age? Will there be jobs for the older people like me? Will younger persons accept older persons in the same organisation?
  4. I will need to embrace new technologies, firstly to work and secondly to use them in my daily lives. Can I learn new things in the future or will I withdraw from new technologies?
  5. Will my family be around? Is my circle of social contacts still around? Must I make new friends to pass my days?
  6. The government policies on old age matters are my next concern. This will depend on the governments elected through the years.
  7. How am I going to pass my free time? This aspect covers both mental engagement and spiritual pursuits.
  8. The inter-generational gaps are my next concern. Can I still connect with younger persons?
  9. Will there be enough institutional old folks’ homes for me to check into? I will need the support if I am an invalid, going back to concern number one above.

Everyone must go through old age, whether he is 80 years old, 90 years old, or 100 years old. The sooner the society and individuals begin to think about this, the better. Preparation for it is the first step to ageing well.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Social Issues

Using DBS PayLah! for ComfortDelgro Taxi ride incurs administration fee

PayLah! is an electronic wallet of DBS. I used PayLah! to pay for my recent taxi ride on a ComfortDelgro taxi from Airport. This method of e-payment charged me 30 cents of administration fee (inclusive of GST). Had I known that the 30 cents charge will not be waived, I would pay my taxi fare in cash.

I checked the DBS website afterwards and realised that the promotional period of waiving 30 cents administration fee ends on 30 September 2019.

That is the problem with cashless payment in Singapore. One never knows what are the charges a person will be paying on cashless payment mode. It will be too late once he had paid for the service. The extra administration fee had been charged. The above case shows one example.

Cashless payment does not mean it is free. There are always fees to pay for the convenience of cashless payments. So cash is still the best.

Even the amount of 30 cents is small, it is the principle I am talking about. To encourage Singapore to go cashless in a big way, additional fees turn me off.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

Posted in Social Issues

Moving in different directions – Stock Markets

We are into the middle of November. Stocks markets were diverging. For the two weeks into November, the American and European (except UK) main stock indices were putting in good performances. France, Germany, US key indices rose between 2.7% to 3.7%.

Stock Indices 31-Oct-19 15-Nov-19 Change
CAC 40 (France) 5,729.86 5,939.27 3.7%
Dow Jones (USA) 27,046.23 28,004.89 3.5%
Nasdaq (USA) 8,292.36 8,540.83 3.0%
Germany DAX 12,866.79 13,241.75 2.9%
S&P 500 (USA) 3,037.56 3,120.46 2.7%
Australia All Ordinaries 6,772.90 6,898.90 1.9%
Nikkei 225 (Japan) 22,927.04 23,303.32 1.6%
UK FTSE 100 7,248.38 7,302.94 0.8%
Mumbai BSESN 40,129.05 40,356.69 0.6%
STI (Singapore) 3,229.88 3,238.86 0.3%
Hang Seng (HK) 26,667.71 26,326.66 -1.3%
Shanghai Composite 2,939.32 2,891.34 -1.6%

At the bottom of the list above, Shanghai Composite Index lost 1.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 1.3%. The Straits Times Index (STI) was flat with an increase of 0.3%.

With lower interest rates globally, investors are putting money into equities for dividend yields and capital gains. The US is the beneficiary of capital flows since its economy is not expected to slow down significantly this year. The picture is different for China and Hong Kong.

Copyright © 2019, limkimtong for Living Investment

The material presented is intended to be general and written in layman’s language as much as it is possible. The author shall not be liable for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of material written. Please seek professional advice from your financial advisor or financial institutions on material written covering financial matters.

Posted in Financial Management