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Tea with AK71: Inflation hits fried bee hoon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Today, I went to the "economic fried bee hoon" store near my office to buy breakfast. I like fried bee hoon a lot. It is inexpensive and tasty. However, I would try to restrict it to once a week or fortnight. It is still less expensive to bring my own food to work (e.g. oatmeal).

I would usually order fried bee hoon with a piece of tofu to make it a more nutritious meal. Price? $1.50. If I am not feeling very hungry, I would have half of it for breakfast and keep the rest for lunch. Two meals for $1.50! I like this too.

We all know that inflation has come fast and furious to Singapore. For a while, I thought my favourite fried bee hoon would be spared as the price has remained the same since last year. I am mistaken. Today, I paid $1.70. So? It is only 20c more, right? It is actually an 11.76% increase in price!

Imagine how this would affect someone who does not have the habit of bringing food from home to work. If his eating out food bill is $300.00 a month, it would mean paying $35.37 more every month! That is enough for a nice dinner for me at Soup Restaurant and still have money left over for some grocery shopping.

With QE3 launched by the Mr. Ben Bernanke, inflation could get worse. Time to get cooking.

Related posts:
1. A simple meal.
2. Another budget meal.
3. A healthy, low cost meal.
4. Korean noodles for lunch.
5. A loaf of bread.


Sanye ◎ 三页 said...

1.50 fried Bee Hoon for 2 meals? How did you survive with so little food? Or is the serving so huge?


AK71 said...

Hi Sanye,

Hahaha.. I would supplement my food intake with crackers and milo available in the pantry at work. ;p

However, to be fair, the stall I buy from is in a canteen that sells to factory workers mostly. The portion is quite generous. :)

FoodieFC said...

A food blog next with recipes on home cook food? lol =P

Ray said...

Yah! talk about inflation! I went to buy my favourite peanut pancake at Jolly Bean yesterday. It went from $1 to $1.20! 20% inflation!!! :(

Why my pay didn't increase 20%?

JW said...

I just eat....

I'm still a growing child, normally economic bee hoon (the hokkien mee one) with egg and vege costs me $2.30, if with otah also is $3.30

AK71 said...

Hi FoodieFC,

I am not much of a cook. Haha... You might just see me throwing different stuff into boiling water each time in a blog on home cook food. ;p

AK71 said...

Hi Ray,

Yes, that is what I am wondering too. Why my pay no increase 20% har?

Inflation creeps in and we might not feel it because it is 20c here and 10c there. Put it all together and it could be a few dollars a day. Monthly, it could ammount to tens or even hundreds of dollars.

If we are not making more money, it is even more important that we manage our expenses well.

AK71 said...

Hi JW,

I am not a child but I am still growing... sideways... :(

OT83 said...

Wow! $1.50 for 2 meals!!!! Usually I spend $3 per meal.

Felt so guilty of myself. AK earn and collect least few times of my monthly income. but he spend so little while I spend so much.

I must reflect!

veronika said...

All the QE did not and does not cause inflation.

A) Money is created by book entry in buying treasuries from banks. The FED pays the banks by buying treasuries that the bank was holding.

B) The banks now have lots of money.

So, what do the banks do?

C) They buy more treasuries that the FED sells.

This cycle continues without money being released into the general economy.

The FED "hopes" that eventually the banks will release all this cash into the economy by loaning it to people and business.
Some of the money did get out via the stock market.

People are afraid of losing their jobs and so dare not take on loans to buy cars or renovate or buy new homes.

So, there is another cycle here.
Both cycles are independant of each other and they go on.

Only the Gov ( Congress ) can merge these two cycles. Until that happens there will not be any inflation since no money is available to chase any product or service.

In Singapore, it is unique ( what else?) prices go up because of the cost of petrol,COE and rents ( housing )

All 3 are self created by means of taxes, formulas and policies.
There is artificial pricing.

Remove all these 3 controls and our inflation rate is 2.5% only..
same as CPF. ( so, that is why the Gahmen confident that CPF is ebough )

I could be wrong though.

AK71 said...

Hi OT83,

Due to various reasons, my earned income is shrinking. More and more, the growth in my annual income is due to growing passive income from investments in the stock market. In fact, some friends are surprised at how low my earned income is.

As for expenses on food, I like visiting the supermarkets and buying oats, barley, fruits, bread, cheese etc.

I would also buy chocolates as I have a weakness for these but I buy chocolates these days from the Value Dollar chain stores. They are half the price or less compared to the supermarkets. ;p

So, I don't always spend so little on food. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Veronika,

Thanks for sharing your point of view. Much appreciated. :)

Indeed, Singapore's core inflation outlook is some 2.5%. Add housing rents and car prices, it goes closer to 5%.

No doubt the CPF OA now pays a minimum of 2.5% on deposits but that is untouchable. I would be more concerned with savings in the bank earning 0.1% per annum.

As Singapore is not able to fix interest rates, we are importing very low interest rates due to all the QEs. Now, it seems that interest rates will stay at near zero until end of 2015, for now.

So, housing prices remain bouyant as those who are able to afford the downpayment and borrow the rest to buy a second property would do so. I know of Singaporeans who gladly pay a 3% ABSD to buy a third or even fourth property as they see real estate as a more effective tool in protecting their wealth than leaving money in their bank accounts.

The very low interest rate environment is beyond the government's control. So, the high cost of housing is not totally self created.

AK71 said...

Singapore's inflation probably eased to its slowest pace in around two years in August as a weaker global economy reduced pressure for price increases, giving the central bank more leeway to ease monetary policy next month.

Singapore manages monetary policy by letting the value of its currency rise or fall against an undisclosed basket of other currencies and its next half yearly policy statement will be issued in mid-October.

MAS said in a report last week that economic forecasters have raised their forecasts for Singapore inflation to 4.4 per cent for the whole of 2012, up from 4.2 per cent in a previous survey carried out three months earlier.

However, the outlook for core inflation was lower at 2.5 per cent compared to 2.7 per cent three months ago.

Singapore's inflation averaged 4.9 per cent in January to July 2012 from the same period a year ago, higher than most Asian countries due to a spike in housing rents and car prices.

While car prices in Singapore continue to climb, other pressures appear to be easing, given the slowing economy and comparisons with already high price levels a year ago.

REUTERS, 20 Sep 2012.

hjteo said...

Hi AK,
I enjoy reading and learning your blogs on investing. Many thanks for your blogs.
For the amount that was invested, do also consider investing in health as well. I was also eating like what most Singaporean are eating - plenty of carbs and sugars as advised by the healthy eating triangle - and what I get was being overweight, lethargic and having things like sinus every day. This despite doing exercise on a regular basis. 2 years ago, I read a article in MCF on primal/paleo (caveman diet) and tried it for 3 months. I am now still on it and benefiting like no more daily sinus and yet being satisfied. Do consider investing in this aspect of life. (More info also can be found in Mark's Daily Apple.)

Cheers, hjteo

AK71 said...

Hi hjteo,

I agree with you 101%!

We have too much refined carbs and sugar in our modern day diet!

I read up on this diet plan you mentioned. In summary:

Centered on commonly available modern foods, the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of fish, grass-fed pasture raised meats, vegetables, fruit, fungi, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Source: Wikipedia.

Hmmm.. I guess I could give it a try. Thanks. :)

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