Saturday, December 27, 2014

Frugal living in Singapore

Singapore is expensive and a difficult place to live frugal. On the other hand since it is expensive, it is important to live frugal in Singapore. If you live here long enough and are not on a fat expat package, you will (be forced to ) find ways to live frugal in Singapore. But for new comers, I have compiled a short list of money saving tips for new comers:

Rent the smallest possible place  - A new comer to Singapore usually rents. And thanks to his/her friendly property agent or the places he looks first (i.e. expats in Singapore web sites) they over-rent. If you are single and do not need a lot of space, you can rent a room instead of a whole house.

Rent public house not a condo - Thanks to the run down conditions of central public houses and lack of experience combined with the shyness of being in a new country, many also tend to rent a condo unit or room. Indeed, many new comers do not know that they can rent in public housing estates with a valid work pass. There are many very good HDB's in Singapore which comes with usually 60% rental price of the cheapest condo. You can basically rent a 1,000 sqft, 4 room, less than 10 years old HDB flat instead of squeezing yourself in a condominium studio (HDB 4 room flat in most cases will be cheaper).

Cook your own food - Do not follow the "eat-out" culture of Asia too long. Cooking at home is still much cheaper than eating in food courts and in most cases it is much healthier (although food courts are hygienic because of high cost of business in Singapore they tend to use the cheapest of the oil and not the best of the ingredients).

Shop online - Retail rent is expensive and brick-and-mortar shops will fully pass it to you. In the past decade you could be able to find everything online such as Amazon (free ships to Singapore), Lazada, Zalora, QOO10. This item is here because a significant number of us comes from countries where online shopping is relatively underdeveloped and unreliable. In Singapore, it is developed and usually reliable.

This is a short money savings tips list for frugal living in Singapore for new comers.
Do not smoke - Smoking kills and in Singapore it also burns your pocket. If you are smoking, this is a great place to stop it. Seriosly, I have seen many people stopped smoking in Singapore and indeed I am one of them.

Eat less meat - This is not only healthy, it is also quite cheap because the meat, especially the beef, comes from Australia and is expensive here.

Number 1 site in Singapore for education - Learning Courses

Most of us almost never think of further education in Singapore after we graduate from the main stream schools. Life usually weights in with its responsibilities such as a demanding job and family. Laziness also kicks in with the difficulty of finding a suitable something to do in the later years.

Most of us also think that after education courses are expensive, time consuming and difficult to find. But this is usually not the case. There are many further education courses in many areas and with short course hours. They also do not cost arms and legs. There are many cooking classes, dancing lessons, yoga sessions and arts classes falling into this category. Yes, you may have thought of a long term night class or online university for further education but now as the parent of yourself, you can take many small classes to learn something new, have a new hobby or even to learn something to start your side business.

Courses are everywhere but it requires some search to find them. In Singapore for example just googling gives many course ideas but plain google search is not refined enough. There is a better option though : Learning Courses web site. Learning Courses is the biggest directory of courses in Singapore and lists many courses such as Cooking classes, Dancing lessons, Photography courses, Professional Diplomas, Computer Classes, Coffee Brewing sessions, Make Up courses, Google Adwords, Marketing events, SEO courses, Golf lessons, Yoga sessions, Photoshop courses, Swimming lessons, Arts classes and many others.

Learning Courses does not offer these courses directly. Instead it is a listing for the courses. If you are also conducting a course in Singapore and want to list it in this directory, you can simply go to the web page and submit a new course.

Search for courses in Singapore
Learning Courses is Singapore's number 1 site for education.
In short, has got every kind of course listed out there. From baking to diplomas to photography to yoga classes. Just name a course in Singapore and you will probably find one there. What I suggest is also scroll through the courses without any filter to find a new and interesting course which you may have never thought of but would love to have. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hokey Pokey Playground in Singapore

The Seletar Mall has just opened its doors and made Senkang area a little more colorful. Last week when we were walking in B1 level of the mall, we have realized that there is a nice playground for young kids. Next day my wife took our 22 months old daughter to there and since then our daughter has been there 3 times.

This new playground named Hokey Pokey is for kids below 6 years old. There are a lot of toys and nice slides with ball pools for the kids to play safely. One of the best thing about it is that there are not a lot of big kids to knock your little one down while running around :)

The company is the brainchild of 5 Singapore mothers who looked for suitable toddler gyms in Singapore but at the end they could not find the perfect one. Luckily instead of only complaining about these places like rest of us, they have decided to create the dream place for the toddler.

Monday to Friday, it is unlimited entry and 26 SGD for non-members and 16 SGD for members. We decided to bring our daughter more often so we have paid 56 SGD for 1 year membership. In weekends each entry is limited to 2 hours.

Unlike some other playgrounds we have tried in Singapore, Hokey Pokey playground is quite safe so I can simply let her run around while sitting somewhere inside or just outside, The place is also rich with toys and there are two small pianos for the young ones two play.

Hokey Pokey currently has two playgrounds in Singapore, one is in Millenia Walk and the other one is in Senkang. We have heard that Millenia Walk is bigger so we will give it a try this weekend.

Hokey Pokey playground is a very nice toddler gym and offers a very safe environment with lots of toys.
You can visit this Singapore playground's website at Hokey Pokey Playground. There is also a Hokey Pokey Facebook page.