Category: SG Budget Babe

IPO Analysis: Clearbridge Health Limited

While there has been quite a number of IPOs getting listed on SGX recently, none have managed to successfully capture my attention, but I was admittedly quite intrigued when SGX informed me that there was a new healthcare IPO coming to the Catalist Boa…

A step-by-step guide to buying alt coins

There’s been a lot of sponsored ads popping up on my Facebook recently, each claiming how to teach you to buy your first Bitcoin. 

All of those ads were mainly promoting CFDs (contracts for differences), which basically allows you to speculate on the rise or fall in prices of Bitcoin. For those who are new to CFDs, you are basically buying a contract between yourself and the CFD provider, and NOT the underlying asset. In other words, you’re not buying the actual Bitcoin(s) and neither do you own it.

I won’t name and shame the companies here, but their tactics are similar:

  • – Talk about how some young Singaporean investor became a millionaire by investing in Bitcoin and tell you to “learn how he did it here!”
  • – Highlight how you could have been rich by now if you had invested in Bitcoin earlier this year
  • – Tell you to either go for their paid course / sign up on their platform to start buying before you miss out 

None of them actually tell you how to buy and own your own Bitcoin, but I will. If you’re a beginner, head over here for a legitimate step-by-step guide where the Bitcoins you buy is yours and entirely yours for keeps.

In a recent (private) readers’ meet-up held on 1 Dec, someone asked me if I was buying any alts other than Bitcoins, and I mentioned that I was buying heavily into Litecoin on Coinbase. Here’s how both currencies performed since:

1-Dec 18-Dec % gain
Bitcoin $11,000.00 $19,500.00 77%
Litecoin $99.00 $321.00 224%


(Disclaimer: I invested in Bitcoin and Litecoin much earlier on, prior to the meet-up)


If you’ve already bought the big 3 – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin – and you’re looking at buying other types of cryptocurrencies (termed as “alts”, short for alternative coins), there are a few cryptocurrency exchanges (similar to stock exchanges) that will allow you to do that.

Binance

My top exchange of choice now is Binance, which is also now the #1 cryptocurrency exchange in the world. They’re registered in Hong Kong (a key financial hub in Asia, aside from Singapore) and support many of the alts available for trading.



You can sign up for a secure account on Binance here.

Note: I previously used Bittrex, but I won’t recommend them because my account has been pending verification for months and there’s still no word on when verifications will finally be complete. This is a huge problem, because as an unverified user, you can only deposit funds and buy, but you’re not allowed to withdraw / cash out at all!
If you’re interested on the problems plaguing Bittrex, you can have a look at this article here.



HitBTC

Another exchange I use is HitBTC, although I’m not a complete fan because HitBTC got hacked in early 2015 where coins were stolen. However, they do have a wide variety of trading pairs as well so it is generally easy to find alts that you wish to buy.





I’m lost! How exactly do I buy alts?

As most of the exchanges don’t accept direct cash to alts, you’ll have to first convert your cash into either BTC or ETH, and then send them over to the exchange where you can buy alts. 


Here’s a full step-by-step guide:


Step 1: Buy Bitcoin / Ethereum on Coinbase or Gemini.

I use both, but would recommend Coinbase as it is the most secure and offers instant purchases. Using the SCB Singpost credit card gave us 7% cashback, which offsets Coinbase’s fees, but the card’s T&Cs has changed since. Gemini, on the other hand, requires you to wire transfer USD into their overseas bank, and takes 2 – 5 days to clear your deposits before your funds appear on your account and are available for trading. Thanks to Gemini’s inefficiency, I’ve missed out on many opportunities to buy at a low in the past weeks, so I still prefer Coinbase when I need to purchase BTC / ETH immediately so I can buy my alts.

Step 2: Send your Bitcoin / Ethereum to your exchange wallet



Step 3: Once your coins are received on the exchange, you can now use them to buy alts


For security reasons, do not leave your coins on the exchange(s) where they can get hacked or stolen. As such, I would recommend getting a hardware wallet such as a Trezor or Ledger Nano S to store your coins securely.

I’ll write about how to buy and set up your hardware wallet shortly, but if you’re in a hurry to get one, you can buy them from an authorized distributor here and enter promo code “SGBUDGETBABE” for a freebie 🙂

With love,
Dawn

Buying a car? Here’s the best deals on car loans in Singapore for you

With public transport in Singapore being a letdown in recent years (who’s tired of hearing SMRT announce a “track fault” by now? I sure am!), I take back my words from 2015 when I wrote about how ditching the car could make you a multi-millionaire (assuming you took your monthly vehicle expenses and invested it instead). 

As we progress in life and start a family, the benefits offered by a car cannot always be measured in monetary terms. Although I would disagree with the need to get a car just to keep up with the Joneses, it is hard to argue against the convenience and reliability it offers (in contrast to the frustration we commuters face from train breakdowns today).

But before you choose your car, it is vital to consider if you have the financial resources to pay for it. Obviously getting a car will be akin to taking up another “financial bomb” (the others being a wedding, a house, a child, etc) and most of us commonfolks will find it difificult to afford a car on simply our savings and salary alone. Hence, we’ll need to get a car loan, and you’d want to find the best deal while you’re at it.

Important things to know about car loans

Since May 2016, MAS regulationsnow allow banks to give 70% financing for cars with an Open Market Value (OMV) of less than or equal to S$20,000, and 60% for vehicles with OMV more than S$20,000. Assuming your car’s OMV is less than S$20,000 and your car costs S$75,000, then a bank will give you a maximum of S$52,500 as loan. The remaining amount – S$22,500 will then have to be paid from your own pocket.

Do also note that the maximum tenure of a car loan is 7 years with any bank. So before you decide to take a loan, make sure that you can afford to make repayments on the loan, without any late payments or defaults.

My husband and I will be getting a car this year, and these were some of the best car loans we looked at:

The best car loan deals

1. DBS Car Loan

DBS is offering a special interest rate of 2.28% (flat rate) and 4.29% (EIR) for online applications of new car loans up to 31 January 2018. For offline applications, the interest rate is pegged at 2.78% p.a. (flat rate). You can buy both new and used cars through DBS fundings, and don’t forget to get your free credit report while you’re at it!

2. OCBC Car Loan

OCBC offers new car loans at a flat interest rate of 2.78% (EIR of 5.09% to 5.27% p.a.). For used car loans, the rate is 2.98% (EIR of 5.46% to 5.64% p.a.).

If you are thinking of refinancing your existing car loan, OCBC will give you 100% loan transfer and a flat interest rate of 2.08% (EIR of 4.03% to 4.52% p.a.). Find out more here.

3. UOB Car Loan

UOB has a unique loan plan called the UOB HP50 Car Loanwith a five-year tenure. This product allows you to pay just half of your monthly instalment amount for a limited period in case you need greater cashflow at the moment. You’ll now be able to enjoy this half-payment for 59 months, and in the 60th month (the end of the tenure), you can either pay the remaining amount and claim your vehicle for your own, or sell your car in the market or to the dealer.

For new cars, the flat interest rate is 2.78% (EIR 5.32% to 6.03% p.a.) whereas for second-hand cars, the rate is 2.98% (EIR 5.68% – 6.46%).

If you’re applying for this loan before 31 January 2018, UOB has an existing promotion where you could stand a chance to win SPC vouchers or even an entire year worth of petrol.

4. Hong Leong Finance Car Loan

HLF also has both new car loans and used car loans. The interest rates are similar to those offered by UOB at flat 2.78% p.a. and 2.98% p.a., respectively. Find out more here.

5. Maybank Car Loan

Maybank also offers both new and used car loans. The interest rate starts from 3.25% p.a.

Car loan

Flat rate

EIR

DBS Car Loan (New)

2.28% (limited period only)

4.29% (limited period only)

OCBC Car Loan (New)

2.78%

5.09% to 5.27%

OCBC Car Loan (Used)

2.98%

5.46% to 5.64%

UOB Car Loan (HP50)

2.78%

5.32% to 6.03%

UOB Car Loan (Used)

2.98%

5.68% to 6.46%

HLF Car Loan (New)

2.78%

NA

HLF Car Loan (Used)

2.98%

NA

Maybank Car Loan

3.25%

NA

*Figures provided by BankBazaar.sg

Should I choose a dealer loan or bank loan?

This question is often posed across forums and in the context of our discussion, it is an important consideration to address. The average car loan interest rate currently offered by banks in Singapore hovers around the 2.78% mark. However, the interest rate will change as per the repayment period.

Car dealers do things differently – some have tie-ups with banks while some offer their own independent financing options to buyers. When choosing a dealer, it all comes down to what car manufacturer you choose. Honda and Toyota, as we know it, are the biggest players in the market, accounting for over 40% of new car registrations. So buying a Honda or a Toyota and choosing a dealer-financed option will most likely give you a lower interest rate compared to other brands like Nissan and Mazda (which are of course popular too, just maybe not as much) which provide dealer-financed loan options.

So how do dealer loans compare with that offered by banks? Well, for one, interest rates offered by dealers tend to be higher than banks. But the benefit with dealerships is that they often offer lower monthly repayment options and longer tenures. So coming back to what choice is economically ideal, choosing a bank will automatically eliminate the middleman in the equation, which of course is the dealer in this situation.

Dealerships entice customers with lower monthly payments. But in reality, you’d be paying more interest on longer tenures with dealers, than what you would if you’d taken your loan with a bank. Most importantly, there are times when banks run attractive loan promotions for car loans and if you’re lucky / resourceful enough, you might be able to snag a deal at an even lower rate.

For those of you who already have cars, did you go for a dealer or bank loan? Do let me know in the comments below! 
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with BankBazaar.sg. All opinions are of my own.

Best Cashback Credit Cards to get for 2018

If someone came up to you to offer you free cash on the money you’re already spending every month, would you say no?I didn’t think so either. Everyone needs a good cash back credit card, period.If you’re still paying via NETS / your debit card, it is h…

Terms to know in the cryptocurrency social universe

When I first dipped my toes into the universe of cryptocurrencies, I could barely understand a word of what the crypto folks were talking about on Reddit, Medium and the various other forums. It was like a whole new different language, and I’m not even…

Cashback vs Miles Cards – Why I’m on Team Cashback

Hello guys!

For those of you who didn’t manage to get tickets to the live event earlier, you can watch the full video here!

I hope I’ve convinced you guys about the merits of being of Team Cashback 😛

You can tune into the video to hear both sides of the argument (I didn’t get to present all my pointers yet, but will do so in a subsequent writeup) and decide for yourself whether the miles or cashback strategy will be best for you.

At the end of the day, the choice between miles vs. cashback cards really comes down to an individual’s lifestyle profile and preferences (especially how much a personal values premium air travel). If you’re a frequent business traveller like Aaron (The MileLion), it’ll be quite silly for you to be playing the cashback game. But for mere mortals like the rest of us who don’t get the privilege of travelling (especially via our company) that often, then cashback might be a better option.

For someone who’s content with flying economy (like my husband and I), then cashback cards truly offer us better value and control in redeeming the flights that we want PLUS with leftover cash to spare…which can then fund our holiday discretionary expenses.

Don’t forget about restrictions imposed on miles redemption either:
– Miles are subject to devaluation at a rate faster than inflation
– You can’t earn interest on your miles, unlike cashback
– You’ll often find yourself on the waitlist for flight redemptions
– You’ll need to have that flexibility in your travel dates because you don’t have control

Sure, cash is subjected to inflation too, but if you invest that cash right, you’ll be able to keep up or even earn more than what it costs you in inflation.

Most importantly, with the competition among airlines and increased budget travel options, cash can go a much longer way than miles in this regard.

I’m not saying adopting a miles strategy is bad. I’m saying it depends on your lifestyle and preference. In my case, a 100% miles strategy doesn’t work for me, and I get much more value being on Team Cashback (cash back on my credit card + extra interest on my high-yield savings account!).

And you know what? Although Aaron and I are on opposite camps when it comes to this topic, that doesn’t mean both strategies are exclusive! You can even adopt the best of both strategies – cashback PLUS miles. I’ll talk more about this in a later post.

There’s a few cards and tools I recommended during the session and I know it can get quite complicated, so don’t worry, I’ll be sharing that spreadsheet soon! I’m currently finalizing some details and promotions with the various companies and will be releasing the
2018 Cash Maximising Tools (An Ultimate Guidebook to getting more out of every dollar) in a few weeks, so stay tuned!

#notsponsored

I got a few PMs about my outfit details, so here they are!
Dress from Playdress: $19.90
McDonalds LINE fan (Cony): $6
Seashell bag: $12.90 (Buy from Zalora + Shopback)
A lot of Instagram influencers have been recommending Cluse watches recently on my feed.
I didn’t think it was worth all that hype, so here’s what I got instead.
Top photo: Cluse watch
Bottom photo: Mine

With love,
Dawn (aka Cashback Girl, heh)

Everyone is a millionaire on hindsight

With Bitcoin’s price having broke through the $10,000 threshold a few days ago, many of us are kicking ourselves in the ass for not having invested earlier.

For me, I’m kicking myself for not putting in MORE earlier.


It is easy for us to look at Bitcoin’s historical graph today and think, “Dang, it was so obvious. I’d be rich today if I had invested back then!”
But let’s get real. Reality isn’t that simple when you zoom in deeper, especially when you have no crystal ball to tell you what the future price will be.
If you had invested $10,000 in Bitcoin in January 2013 and held it until December (a 1000% gain), you’ll probably be celebrating the fact that you grew your pot to $100k. But then suddenly, the price starts free-falling. In less than 3 weeks, your $100k has suddenly shrunk to $50k. That’s half your wealth gone! 
What do you do? You’d probably sell in panic before you lose all your gains entirely. Then, as price starts recovering, you’ll be kicking yourself for making such a stupid mistake and buy back more Bitcoins.
Then it drops again, this time crashing to below $500, and for the rest of 2014 it continues on a downward spiral until it bottoms in January 2015. But then it stays low.

In 2015, price (slowly) starts recovering. What will you probably think? Bitcoin will have to more than triple in value to reach back its previous peak. And as it inches closer to the $1000 mark, you look at the charts and think, “Hey, that looks like it could hit $1000 and then crash again”. You decide to stay out.

Be honest with yourself. Each time you think about how you could have been rich today if you bought back then, ask yourself if you would have really been able to stomach the ride and hold onto your Bitcoins until now.

What would you have done?

“Shit, I better sell all my Bitcoins now before it goes to zero.”

“Nah, the price increase must be temporary. I’ll wait.” (and wait, and wait, and wait…)

“I don’t know if I dare to put in a large amount into this…”

Warren Buffett could have said the same – we all know about how he missed out on the meteoric rise of Internet companies – but does he?

In my case, I invested only money I could afford to lose, and I know that if I were to go back in time again, I would have done the same because I simply didn’t have the knowledge then that Bitcoin would rise to $10,000.

It is easy to say “I wish I invested in XX a few years ago”. Heck, I do it too; just ask my husband.

Then I smack myself and say, “Okay Dawn, stop it. You know very well you would have made the same decision.”

A friend of mine shared this post, written by a Joseph Lee, which I thought was worth sharing here to serve as a reminder for myself to keep coming back to this post whenever I start to harbour similar (useless) thoughts.

Joseph referenced Amazon’s stock, and there are many parallels here to Bitcoin. His words are reproduced below in grey:

When we look back at selected stocks 10 or 15 or even as far back as 20 years ago, we all wished we had looked into the crystal ball 20 years ago and seen the explosive growth of companies like AMZN and poured in all the money we had at that time, sat tightly for the next 20 years and today, we might even afford to buy a private jet!
But is it that simple ?
Look at how many choppy ups and downs the company went through between the years 1998 and 2012 before it finally took off steadily to hit a record high price of $1,186 today. The chart resembles the choppy waters of a raging sea doesn’t it?
Suppose you had been lucky enough to invest several thousands in AMZN at around $10 in 1998 and it shot up to $120 ( a 12-bagger) at the peak of the dot-com bubble in year 2000, would you not have sold most of it, if not all of your investment in AMZN since you grew your money 12-fold in a few short years?
Imagine what would have happened if you had become greedy and think the stock will continue smoothly up to give you maybe a 120 bagger in another 3 years time in 2003?
That’s how most people get sucked into that kind of thinking whenever there’s some mania going on and everyone is telling everyone else the kind of easy money they made and why you should not miss the boat and join the ‘party of easy money’.
What happened then?
The music stopped, the bubble burst and the party came to an abrupt halt.
Anyone who did not take profit while AMZN was rising to $120 got badly burnt- particularly if you had joined the party too late and bought near $120, you’ll be the victim who suffers the “highest degree burn” in that calamity.
Will you be feeling very happy hanging on to a stock you had bought at say $100, watched it plunge all the way down to a bottom of about $7 in 2001 – a 90% loss?
AMZN never recovered back to $120 again until almost 10 years later in 2010.
How will you feel during those 10 long years?
Let’s get real.
If I were you, I’d probably be kicking myself when the crash happens for my greed in joining the ‘party of easy money’ and most likely will dump AMZN sometime between 2002 and 2010 just before AMZN took off!
Then after dumping AMZN in the year 2010, let’s say, you watched AMZN lift off from that point to $200 or even $400 in 2015 but you were already too scared to touch AMZN since you were badly burnt in 2001. How will you feel?
Will you not kick yourself again for being so foolish not to load up on this super stock in 2010 instead of dumping it off since it just broke even after 10 long years, having bought it at the peak before the bubble burst?
You see, everyone is a millionaire or a billionaire on hindsight.
You and I will never be so clever as to spot every opportunity or smell danger by recognising a ‘bubble ‘ until it’s too late.
So why do I even bother to ramble on and on with my long story, you may wonder.
It’s to prove to you and me and all who bother to read, that we should refrain from talking in terms of “if only I had done this and that” then ‘I will be sitting on a pile of cash today’. “If only I knew… “ “ If I had the foresight to know…”
Things are never that simple in life.
Instead of lamenting and regretting for having missed the boat of cryptocurrency and Amazon, allow me to gently but strongly advise you to make the greatest investment in your life.
Invest in yourself.
Then the returns in future will be so handsome you’ll never have to kick yourself again because you’ll be so wise, you’ll be able to recognise most opportunities when they come by and profit from them slowly but surely, that at the end of the rainbow, you’ll surely find the proverbial pot of gold.

I know why I bought Bitcoin only a few months ago, and why I only bought it using money I could afford to lose. The price has more than doubled since then, and it is easy for me to wish I had bought it even sooner (or more of it when I did), but I know why I didn’t. Do you?

You see, we often forget that we have information today that we didn’t have in the past. What is obvious today was not obvious in the past, but nothing has really changed about the fundamentals of Bitcoin.

Harping on these kind of self-defeating thoughts don’t bring us anywhere, nor do they make us richer (unless you can invent a time-turner…or get Hermione Granger to lend you hers).

Folks invested in Amazon, Facebook and Apple because they believed in their strategy and that these companies would eventually come to dominate. The ones who invested in Bitcoin did so because they believed in its breakthrough technology and that it would become a store of value in the future. They made a projection of the future of the company based on hard facts and then decided to put in their money. None of us had any clue that Amazon / Facebook / Apple / Alibaba / Bitcoin would succeed, but they believed it would based on its underlying fundamentals.

So let’s focus on the future. If you want to make sure you don’t make that kind of stupid mistake again, then the best thing you can do for yourself is to invest in your knowledge.

Read. Take courses. Go for workshops. Talk to like-minded people. Listen to experts speak. Watch the news. Absorb information.

That’ll increase your chances of spotting the next Facebook or Bitcoin.

That’s what I’m doing. What about you?

With love,
Dawn

Miles vs Cashback Cards – Which is better?

All my cashback aficionados raise up your hand.This is a challenge. An ultimate showdown. The one you’ve been waiting for (since it was first mentioned on 2 Nov in this post, to be exact).As some of you might have already heard, there’s a crackpot…

Countries with a lower GST than Singapore

Everyone’s fussing about the recent claims that there will be a GST hike soon, but I honestly think there’s no point overreacting. In case you’re not in the loop, DBS recently released a report claiming that Singapore’s GST could soon increase to …