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Seven of my money habits.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

This blog post is mainly inspired by a conversation with my mother on some of my habits. 

Recalling a popular book titled "Seven habits of highly effective people", I came up with "Seven money habits of AK's". ;p

Habit No. 1:
I never order canned or bottled drinks when dining out. 

Fresh food needs on site preparation but I can walk to a nearby supermarket to buy the same canned or bottled drink for a much lower price. 

Some might say it is convenient that we buy drinks from the eateries but the premium paid for this convenience is way too high. 

A can of Jia Jia herbal tea costs $0.60 in NTUC Fairprice but could cost $1.50 at a kopitiam! 

A can of Coke could cost $0.55 in NTUC Fairprice but could cost $4.00 (before taxes) in a restaurant!

Habit No. 2:
I always check my bills.

Huh? Can we really save money this way? 

You bet. 

I have lost count of the number of times I have been overcharged by pharmacies, supermarkets and restaurants. 

Very often, the larger bills are the ones we have to be more careful with as overcharging even a few dollars could be hard to spot. 

It is because of this habit that I have avoided being overcharged for many years now. 

Oh, check the receipt just outside the shop, not after getting home!

Habit No. 3
I always compare products on offer between shops.

For the same product, two shops which are side by side could have very different prices. 

Guardian and Watsons are very often found in close proximity to one another. 

Many times, I saved quite a bit of money comparing their prices before deciding who to buy from.

Habit No. 4
I never take for granted that buying more is definitely buying cheaper.

Many times, I stopped friends and family from buying bulk packed products as they actually cost more than buying loose! Huh? 

Of course, they cost more since we are buying more, you might say. 

No, no, that is not what I mean. 

I mean we should check to see how much is the per unit price in bulk packed offers. 

Don't assume that bulk packed products are always cheaper.

Habit No. 5
I always try to get discounts off my bills.

I always get a discount off my bills at Kopitiam and Food Junction. 

Yes, go get the discount cards if you have not done so. 

If I should be in an unfamiliar establishment, I would ask the service staff if they had discount agreements with credit card companies.

Habit No. 6
I never pay in cash.

Well, unless that is the only mode of payment acceptable. 

Often, I see people before me in a queue choosing to pay in cash. 

Some transactions were rather high in value too. 

Imagine the number of reward points they could have accumulated if they had used a credit card, if they had one, or the amount of cash they could have received in rebates!

Habit No. 7
I bring my own food to work.

I always bring some food prepared at home to work and I save quite a bit of money this way. 

Anyway, I enjoy oatmeal regularly and I don't think they sell oatmeal in the coffee shops or food courts.

If we work to increase our income and reduce our expenses, our financial health will improve over time. 

As the saying goes, it is easier to spend money than to make money.

So, if we just put in a little effort, we could be saving some money as we spend money. 

Sounds good, doesn't it?

When I was in primary school, the POSB bank squirrel came to us and taught us how by saving just a little every time, we could have a meaningful sum of money stashed away over time. :)

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2. Money management: Needs and wants.
3. Queue for $1 parking fee redemption.
4. A common piece of advice on saving.
5. Inflation hits fried bee hoon.


B said...

Very good habits.

Like you, i cater to all of the following habits as well and it has served me well over the years too.

AK71 said...

Hi B,

Very good habits. :)

What kind of food do you pack to work?

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


If you girl, you're the type I would bring home to mom ;)

But if I girl and you do this "no order drinks" routine on me on our first date, I won't let you hold my hand!

Komatineni said...

The best part of it is these points are practical and helps us in daily life. I do all except bringing food. Due to my job nature I can't be at one place(might be an excuse) and wish i could slowly do this.

FoodieFC said...

hard to pack food to work. I tried packing beehoon before. Jut microwave. But v mafan (I am lazy)


Ah John said...

Hi AK, do you register for any magazine/newspaper that related to investment, or only search free stuffs online to save money?
I saw you sometimes buy , is it valuable? I am thinking to register it, yearly $118.

hyom said...

Hi AK71,

Just stumbled onto your blog from

I am always attracted to posts that talk about money-saving techniques because successful saving provides a guaranteed return as opposed to investing which is risky by nature.

I have bookmarked your blog. Thanks for it.

B said...

I would packed a couple of oatmeal sacket in my bag as well as some biscuits and/or sandwich.

My intention was not to save money but rather I would prefer a light bland meal in the morning. For some reason, I can't seem to have much appetite in the morning, so can't really have the beehoon (even though it looks really delicious :) )

AK71 said...


Hahaha.. Yes, it always depends on where we stand. Now, I know why my relationships never last very long... :(

AK71 said...

Hi Komatineni,

I believe that with a bit of effort, anyone can make these habits theirs too.

If you are always on the move, I have the perfect meal you could pack, a sandwich. Not cumbersome and easy to eat. ;)

AK71 said...

Hi FoodieFC,

Very easy to pack food to work. I have been doing it for years. Haha.. However, if you find it mafan, I understand. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Ah John,

I am afraid I don't quite understand. A yearly subscription of $118? What is it for?

AK71 said...

Hi hyom hyom,

I like the way you look at money saving as a way of getting guaranteed returns. It is a refreshing slant. :)

AK71 said...

Hi B,

My preference is for oatmeal for breakfast. However, I would cook rolled oats instead of having instant oatmeal. Of course, instant oatmeal has the advantage of convenience.

I love bread although I have been told that gluten is bad for us. Sometimes, I would buy a raisin loaf which would serve as a meal for 3 to 4 days. Yummy and inexpensive. :)

Bill said...

Hi Ak71

These are good habits but from my experience dating women they don't like men who are too calculative. This can work both ways.

Although you save more but the women who you know like big spenders n generous material men can be out of your league.

It's always a dilemma I face during dating.

Bill said...

Hi Ak

Although this is good for saving money. Girls or women in this country do not like men who are not big spenders or generous

It always puts me in a dilemma when dating. Cause u try to save but you know you can't

Ah John said...

Hi AK, pls refer to the link, 52 issues/year for $118. I just think some data analysis will help in stock picking, individual stock or industry, do you have any recommendation?

AK71 said...

Hi Bill,

Indeed, there are gold diggers everywhere. OT, a reader and fellow blogger, would say they "eat money". ;p

Important thing is to be happy and I am happy the way I am. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Ah John,

Ah! The EDGE. :)

Yes, it is a very good publication and I used to subscribe to it. However, I did not find every issue interesting. So, I buy only when an issue has articles which interest me these days.

hyom said...

Hi AK71,

Today is the first time I stumbled onto your blog and I just spent the last 1 hour reading your blog. Yet, I only manage to read a few posts only because each post is full of quality comments. I am amazed at your patience in replying to all the comments. Some of your comments are just as long as a post. Cannot help but respect the time and respect you give to your readers who commented on your blog by writing lengthy, thoughtful replies. You have put a fellow blogger to shame.

I have added your blog to my blog list. I think I would do my readers greater service if they stumbled onto your blog through my blog-list than if they read my posts :)

In one of your posts, you mentioned that you are taking a break from blogging because of impolite comments from netizens who disagree with your REITs-intensive investment style. Since I am a cheapskate who likes to get good advice for free, I hope you will ignore them. If one is to really count the number of supporters versus the number of detractors in the comments, I am pretty sure the supporter camp vastly outnumber the detractor camp. Therefore, your blogging has not been in vain. However, I do hope your fans do not mindlessly follow your stock/REIT picks because they will blame you when things go wrong. Of course, when things go right, they will not share their profits with you although they will follow you even more closely until the fan "bubble" burst (that's why the hate-mails flood in).

Anyway, I am glad you are still around. Glad I made a worthwhile discovery today:)

K-Enterprises said...

Words of a wise man =)

AK71 said...

Hi hyom hyom,

I am a bit of a boy scout, some told me. I believe in being considerate and courteous. Unfortunately, in reality, both virtual and otherwise, we cannot expect everyone to behave in the same way.

If people take the time to write me a comment, I should take the time to reply, even if it is just to acknowledge the comment. I strongly believe in this.

Blogs are part of the social media fabric and should be places for interaction. I enjoy hearing from readers and in many instances I learned valuable lessons from them too. This is really what makes blogging enriching.

Of course, there will be people who think that my primary motivation for blogging is for income from advertisements or affiliate programs. There will be people who think that my motive for blogging is to influence others to push up the prices of my investments. I cannot stop them from thinking the way they do. So, I shouldn't worry about it. :)

Although I have been asked a few times before in the last couple of years to organise courses or to collaborate in other fee based events, I have declined because whatever I know, I share here in my blog for free. These would have been great money making opportunities. ;p

Yes, please take my blog as a place where an ordinary investor shares his thoughts and where ideas are exchanged through thoughtful and civil comments. Please don't take what is found here as the Gospel truth. :)

AK71 said...

Hi hyom hyom,

I just clicked on your nick and popped by your blog to take a look. Now, I know why your nick is "hyom hyom". ;)

I have added your blog to my "RESOURCES" list in my blog's left sidebar.

I will pop by again to read your blog posts in greater detail soon. :)

AK71 said...

Hi Kelvin,

Has wisdom anything to do with these habits? Haha.. ;p

I just think they are good habits and I hope people agree. :)

hyom said...

Before I start my comment, I would like to start by asking you not to reply to my comment as it is time for bed now. I appreciate your kindness and respect to your readers.

At the risk of offending some of your readers, I think it is so obvious the accusations that your detractors hurled at you cannot be right. Firstly, advertising income from blogs are too little to be worth the time. Secondly, it does not make financial sense for someone with a huge passive income just from investments alone to spend so much time on blogging to earn that pitiful income. If it were for money, you might as well spend your time on your investments. It will yield more income per minute spent. Thirdly, the most lucrative channel to make money from investment advice is to give seminar and trainings that charge by the thousands for a course that spans a few days. There are plenty of such advertisements in the newspapers. If the objective is to earn money, someone has to be seriously stupid to blog for free and decline offers to conduct lucrative training sessions. How can someone that stupid be able to achieve such a high annual passive income? Lastly, blogging about your investments may work against you by pushing up the prices if you have not accumulated enough. Why needlessly add to the competition without getting paid for the advice? It may make sense for short-term traders to talk up their investments and sell for a quick gain. Your REITs investments hardly sound short-term. Actually, if you are a long-term investor, you have more to lose by blogging about your investments. This is why Warren Buffett never shares his stock picks, though he shares his knowledge on investment techniques as generously as you.

Thanks for adding my blog on your list, though I am not sure if it is good enough for you because the frequency of my posts is nothing compared to yours.

PanzerGrenadier said...


Good habits. I try to focus on generally consuming less and differentiating between my needs and wants.

For my wants, I use my discretionary fund where a percentage of windfall gains, dividends, interest and capital gains go into. These are for me to buy staff without guilt as it is spending a small portion of gains (over and above earned income).

For needs, I just try to live simply, i.e. weekends I would cook my own breakfast for Sat/Sun and Sat lunch by stir-frying some veggies, mushrooms, meat with noodles and pack them into lunch boxes.

Nowadays, I spend my wants fund on experiences and the occasional gadget. :-)

Be well and prosper.

SnOOpy168 said...

AK - thanks for sharing. I tot I was the only one to do so.

SMOL - if a girl wants you to buy her dinner all the time, then this cash sponge I will not want as there are plenty more sweeter looking choices out there. If she insist on sharing the bill and you took her to it, high chance that you won't get to see her again. I don't mind, eliminations by natural process - this I liked very much.

Anyway, I used to roam in Mustafa in the late evenings to do my shopping. Sometimes I do fell that I have very good deals there on food & household stuff. Even if the prices are almost the same, the NTUC version is made in Indonesia/thailand/malaysia/china, whereas Mustafa's are imported from UK/Germany/somewhere in the EU. I do feel happier using these edition - mom & (dad) used to be able to tell the difference about this soap/shampoo smells and feels better.

Ordering drinks while in kopi shop. Usually, I will do it for the hot drinks, which is not sold elsewhere or that I am too lazy to prepare at home (try doing teh tarik in the kitchen). Canned drinks, for the same price or a bit more, I can get a 1.5L bottle from the provision shop / seng siong / NTUC / ABC.

Didn't think that I can use credit card while at hawker centre. More affordable and plentiful option than places that has menus in English and air-con. Plus these hard working hawkers, needs our support esp in face of McD, BK, LJS and other atas establishments.

If I ever get to dine atas-style, I will look at DBS Induge apps for coupon or 50% discount deals. Helps to make easier choice on "where should we eat". Unless included or that water is available "on order" with some branded stuff from Europe, I rarely ever order drinks there. Unless mom wanted to try something.

AK71 said...

Hi hyom hyom,

You come across as a really nice guy, intelligent and thoughtful. So, I would like to spend some time reading what you have blogged and having a hyperlink in my blog to yours makes it easy for me to do so. :)

I enjoy writing and I enjoy thinking about personal finance matters. Blogging is good for me, an accidental discovery but a good one.

I am also a very homely person, preferring not to go out if given a choice. With the crowded roads, malls etc, not going out is a good idea anyway. I rather stay home with my own thoughts if I am not at work, out running errands or spending time with family. So, blogging has the additional benefit of widening my social circle, virtual though it may be. I have to say, however, that this was also an accidental discovery.

Actually, some people do think I am "stupid". Who? Certain family members and close friends. Why? Refer to your last point in the main body of your last comment. They think I should share my thoughts and ideas only with them. ;p

Mr. Market will do what Mr. Market does. If my blog has any bearing on price movements, I would be rather surprised. Well, unless institutional investors and fund managers are responding to my ideas, I doubt my blog has any ability to move prices at all.

LCF said...

Agreed with #1. I only order plain water, some people think it's cheap but yea, it's a ripoff, even for plain water.
Yea,good to make credit card as a method of payment, not as a mean to extend purchasing power.
When you bring your lunch to offices,do your colleague thinks you are anti-social AK? I asaume they go out for lunch and you don't?

AK71 said...

Hi Panzer,

Indeed, simple living is what I try to do too.

My needs are simple and my wants are few. Actually, I am a very low maintenance kind of guy. :)

AK71 said...

Hi SnOOpy168,

I don't think we are the only ones but we could be a minority. ;)

I have not been to Mustafa before. One day, I should visit. It is a homegrown success story, after all.

My latest favourite thing to do after dining out is to walk into a supermarket and to buy F&N's Chrysanthemum Flower/Wolfberry Tea. 2x 1 litre cartons for $3+. I would finish 1 carton and bring the other home to drink at a later time. :)

Kopitiam has a stored value card which functions as a discount card too. Food Junction has a plain discount card. Cannot pay with credit cards lah. ;)

AK71 said...


These days, some restaurants in Singapore would tell us to buy bottled water which they sell. No more free ice water.

From time to time, I would ask my colleagues to help buy lunch for me when they go out for lunch but they know that I usually bring my own food and that I don't like to go out for lunch. I cannot take the heat from the afternoon sun. :)

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

Your habits are not applicable to me as I don't spend on anything. :D

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Oh, all in good time, my young and fortunate friend. ;)

It has been a while. Anything happening on the investment front?

INVS 2.0 said...

Hi Ak71,

I used to skip lunch during my primary and secondary schools to save money. Monthly expense was always at $0. But now, impossible to do it again as my health can't withstand it.

Nothing happened for my portfolio, except that I was selling bits by bits of shares to lock in profits as prices rose to new high. :)

AK71 said...

Hi INVS 2.0,

Wow! I can imagine how skinny you were as a kid! Bad to skip meals, you know. ;)

Good to hear that you have been locking in profits. :)

Garfield75 said...

Hi ak71,

U are really an uncle in your habit, just like me....but sometimes I believe u need to spend a bit of money such that others can make some profits so that the world economy can prosper. Btw, can u kindly open a Facebook acc And tag your post so that I know u have new updates

AK71 said...

Hi Garfield75,

Hahaha.. I am sure I am doing my bit for the economy. I bought properties and cars before and those are BIG ticket items in Singapore. ;p

Also, recently, I bought a new wallet. ;)
New wallet.

I do spend money on life's luxuries but I will try to save money prudently where possible.

Some time back, I did start a facebook account as suggested by a friend and I signed up for automatic updates of my blog posts on facebook with a 3rd party. Unfortunately, the 3rd party started to post advertisements too and that confused my readers. So, I terminated that.

I have a Twitter account which does what you want. Would that work for you? You could also subscribe to my blog so that you are notified by email/feedburner when there are updates. You could also follow me on Google Friend Connect.

The various ways of following my blog are listed on the left sidebar under "Following my blog". :)

Garfield75 said...

Hi Ak71,

How come u r so loaded? U spend on cars and properties....ok I used to save every single cent of my pocket money and invested in first day cover.....haha it turns out to be a good invt;) I think I need to start eating oatmeals that's my favaourite breakfast when I was a kid. But with the sashimi waving at me now ;) it is quite tempting and I tends to spend a lot on food. Oh , by the way, being vain and weight conscience an oatmeal meal is good for the figure..... Haha....

Garfield75 said...

No twitter account but the flipboard suggestion on your blog which I chanced upon later....while exploring your blog works fine for me. Thks.

Garfield75 said...

May I know what is the job of biz mgt, CEO har? No wonder ah ni wu lui.

AK71 said...

Hi Garfield75,

I used to collect stamps and first day covers as a schoolboy too. I gave away my entire collection a few years ago when I moved. Don't know if the collection was worth much or not. :)

I am basically doing sales and management. Sales is where the money is but the hours can be long and we have to be prepared to work weekends too. I have been powering down for a few years now though.

Buying real estate and cars was not that big a deal up until a few years ago, you know. They were not always so expensive as they are today and, of course, I had to borrow from the banks.

As for oatmeal, yes, it is very healthy but I also like eating lots of unhealthy stuff. I assure you that I do not have a good figure. ;p

I like Flipboard and I am happy it works for you too. :)

gagmewithaspoon said...

wow! glad to find such an old thread! heh, i noticed there were some comments on materialist girls here so i thought to share my pov. I think most girls like their guys when chasing them to appear a little more generous (and yes, that may include paying for the meals and definitely all girls will run away if you are going to do a split till last cent kinda thing) but this doesn't mean that all of such girls are materialistic. This stems from wanting the guy to treat us well, special and know that we have a place in the guys' heart. Girls are basically insecure creatures and uses very very indirect read between the lines kinda of communication. Absurd right? but that's the way it is. imho!

AK71 said...

"Girls should find a boyfriend as soon as possible.

"Boys should stay single for as long as possible."

AK said this at InvestX Congress. LOL. ;p

AK71 said...

I ordered a can of 100 plus at a coffeeshop as my dad was grouchy and needed a drink.
I was shock when the lady say $1.50!!!!! So expensive. I normally bring water bottle out so I don't buy drink but as my dad was grouchy I got no choice but to buy.

Haha. Daddy's happiness is worth more than $1.50. ;)

AK71 said...

Reader says...
Has been 7 years... any lifestyle changes since 2012?

AK says...
I try to be more easy going with money these days but it is hard to kick a lifetime of habits.
I am still pretty predictable. ;p

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