Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Saturday Morning Affair

Look where this Mat and his girl went on Saturday...

My 'Minah' with our PFIS goodie bags

It has been a long while since the last post as I have been very busy with school and my final year project. Fret not, this Mat is still very much into personal finance and investing! 

Anyway, I went to the PFIS on Saturday and brought along my girlfriend. It was a good experience. I believe those who are starting out, someone like my girlfriend, would have gained a lot from the seminar. 

Personally, I really enjoyed Lionel's presentation and my girlfriend was also receptive to the ideas that he shared with regards to investing. To be fair, the other speakers were informative and interesting too. 

Now, here is the cool part. Tell me.. where can you find a seminar which cost $8/ticket(early bird price, original is $16) that provide a nice spread of pastries and drinks at the start of the seminar and also a packet of kueh for break? This one does! Value for money!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

My Stock Market Ride: Late Update

What happened to my foolish investment? (Read: My Stock Market Ride: A Foolish Investment)

Well, I sold it off and even made a few dollars out of the transaction. Most importantly, I did get back all of my invested capital besides the extras.

So, what will I be doing with all my cash now?

Until prices become much more attractive, I will be happily waiting with my stash. 

"Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget Rule No.1" - Warren Buffet 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Bike Maintenance

WK Motorsports in JB

For students with the responsibility of having a bike, maintenance can sometimes be an issue due to the costs involved. Besides, the bike shops in Singapore are also not making things easier by pricing things ridiculously.

Due to high costs(external) and bad financial planning(internal), I have come across a couple of my friends and also others who would continue riding with worn out tyres, brakes that are not working as they should and also crucial parts which are faulty.

Personally, I think by neglecting the maintenance needed might cost them much more(an arm or a leg?) if something were to happen due to their ignorance. As for myself, I definitely spare no expense when it comes to the maintenance for my bike. But of course, I do it frugally by having major maintenance done across the border in JB. The savings can be very significant and definitely worth the time travelling.

Anyway, I will be adding a page soon which will list down the different prices of bike maintenance in JB's "Lorong Bapok". Do google and check the bike forums on how to get there.

The Frugal Mat

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

My Stock Market Ride: A Foolish Investment

What would you do if you had foolishly "Buy High"? 

Well, I had purchased two lots of NeraTel at a very unattractive price in terms of my standard back in May. It was only my second stock purchase and definitely a foolish one. What am I going to do about this? Honestly, I'm not sure and have been thinking about it for quite a while.
  1. The purchase price was very high and it was near the 52-week peak. Clearly, I did not have a margin of safety. A small correction can make me bleed for a little while, that's for sure.

  2. Generally, the market is rather high and uncertain at the moment. A market correction in the near future seems to be expected by many, including myself. A major correction would definitely "kill" me.
My position in NeraTel.

Here's a confession, I did not put in much effort back then to determine the price that I would be comfortable paying for NeraTel. This was unlike my purchase of SATS where I did a lot of research. Fortunately for me, I have received dividends amounting to a total of $120 from this foolish purchase. I hope I will figure out something soon with regards to this "Buy High" issue.

Anyway, for those who are wondering why would I be worried about a market correction? Well, in this case, it is a double-edge sword for me. Being a student, my investment capital is limited. If I were to purchase more lots of NeraTel during a correction, it would mean having less capital for other opportunities. Hope that would answer your question.

The Frugal Mat

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Just Passed Your Class 2B? (Students)

From what I know, majority(if not all) of the students from post-secondary institutions are currently having their vacation. This would mean many are taking the opportunity to either have fun, make some money or achieve some of their personal desires.

Based on my trips to BBDC recently, there seems to be a lot of students(overheard conversations) who were waiting for their Class 2B Traffic Police Test. After all, majority are having our vacation right now and have a lot of time for such activities.
My driving license. Yup, just passed my 2A.
Having gone through the excitement of getting a bike, I would like to share some opinion with regards to owning one as a full-time student. To be exact, the financial considerations before buying one. 

1. Type/Brand of bike 
This is important. It will affect all your future and other expenses. Please put your needs before your pride and ego. I know many youngsters prefer a sportsbike as it makes one look garang. As for me, I am riding an economical moped(kup kia) which uses less petrol. What do you expect? I just have the taste of a typical Mat. HA.. HA.. HA.. 

2. New or used
This is also an important thing to consider. Picking a new bike would mean paying a premium for the fact that it's new and reliable. Besides inflating the ego, it also gives you the peace of mind of not having to worry about any breakdown as more often than not, the bike is covered with a warranty. There is no right or wrong here. When considering the different pros and cons, do remember that you are a student!

3. Cost of bike
Well, this would of course be the main factor to consider when purchasing a bike. Can you afford it? Do you need to take that bike loan which charges 4% per annum these days? Can you pay the bike in full hard cash? Do remember that you are a student. You might have to work part-time to afford the monthly repayments if you wish to be a responsible young adult and not burden your parents. And touch wood, what if something happened and you are unable to work? Do consider every possible situation.

4. Insurance 
This will cost a lot since you are a new license holder. From what I heard, those who are below 21 years of age would be paying a lot more. Remember your choice of bike? Well, that will haunt you if you had chosen a sportsbike. The insurance premium will cost a lot more as compared to the other type of bikes. Also, if your bike is brand new, you will be "forced" to take a more comprehensive insurance plan which will definitely cost more. Back then, my insurance premium was only $9xx.

5. Maintenance
This would depend on the type and brand of bike that you choose. Some type/brand of bike will incur more costs than the others. As for me, I set a side a sum of money every month and just let it accumulate to pay for any wear and tear that would take place. Other than that, I am just paying for the change of engine oil and such when needed.  

6. Fuel consumption
Do consider the FC of your intended bike. Petrol is not cheap. Even so, you can always decrease your potential expenses by picking the bike which gives a better mileage. Also, remember to sign up for the cards at the petrol station. Those are free and you can receive discounts of up to 10%. Personally, I don't bother to ride into JB to fill up my tank. My time is worth much more than the savings plus I am riding a fuel efficient moped :P

7. Season Parking
This is a monthly recurring expense. Mine cost about $17 for a season parking in a multi storey carpark. 

8. Miscellaneous cost
ERP, fines, parking, road tax and inspection. To each his/her own. 

9. Gear
Proper shoe, helmet for you and a pillion, raincoat etc. Again, to each his/her own. I think any helmet with PSB approved sticker which cost $60-$100 should be reliable enough. There's even a $20 PSB approved helmet. Personally, I would pay more to protect my head. I bought a $100 helmet from a more established brand. 

Anyway, that's all for now. Feel free to leave comments if you have questions regarding the 2B license or motorcycle ownership.

The Frugal Mat

Friday, 19 September 2014

Do You Track Your Expenses?

I'm not sure about you, but I certainly do! In fact, I track my expenses to the exact cents and have been doing so daily for about two years. It was quite a hassle when I first started, but the habit eventually became second nature. Basically, I invented a system to track my expenses and followed through.

It all begin with just an app in my iPhone and now, I have my very own "data centre" which is a personalised spreadsheet in my google drive. So far, whatever I have is good enough for my personal usage and best of all, it did not cost me a single cent. Also, my system has helped me to stay within budget each month!

1) Pocket Expense Personal Finance(Apple App Store)
What I like about this app is that it allows me to set the date for my own "financial month" unlike some others out there. It is also loaded with a lot of features. Do check it out, it's FREE!
  • I try my best to key in promptly for every transaction made(whenever possible)
  • Transactions made will be categorised accordingly and given a short description
  • Receipts(if available) are kept in my wallet for transactions which I don't have the time to log
  • No time + No receipt = Rely on memory or notes HAHAHA(so far, very low tracking error)

2) Personalised Spreadsheet (Google Drive)
In addition to the app in my iPhone, I also use a personalised excel spreadsheet to track my expenses. It is uploaded into google drive for easy access and storage.You should try making one, it's fun.
  • Less chance of being missing + 24/7 access as long as there's internet
  • Transactions from the iPhone app will be entered here twice a month
  • I do a quarterly review of my expenses with the data stored
  • A copy is downloaded into my laptop every six months as a form of backup
A screenshot of my spreadsheet. The mouseover shows the description of a transaction.

Hope whatever I shared was interesting enough and would encourage others to start tracking their expenses.

The Frugal Mat

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A Mat's Guide to Deeper Pockets (Students)

Besides the financial support given by your parents while you are studying, here are some ways which you can deepen your pockets:

Part-time Job
This option is a personal favourite of mine. I get to choose what I would like to do(retail, fnb, admin etc) and also the amount of compensation which I feel is fair in exchange for my time. 

Just to share, I joined a local company last year as their very first part-time retail consultant and which I asked for a $6/hr compensation. I "sold" myself cheaply in order to get their attention as I was looking for a super flexible schedule. Knowing that I was underpaid for the duties performed, I requested for a raise to $7/hr after three months of work and good conduct. It was approved. Few months later, it went up to $8/hr without me asking! 

Government Funded Bursaries
This is basically "FREE" money as long as you meet the requirements and willing to put in the effort to collate the necessary documents. I know a handful of classmates and friends who give this a miss just because they find it a hassle to prepare and submit the required documents.


This is another "FREE" money. Just perform well as a student and you will be awarded. It can be through your studies or your CCA. For more information:

This can easily be achieved if you really put in the effort. I have managed to bag a total of $1550 from this category. Two from my time in secondary school and two while I was in ITE.

Government Bonds and Scholarship
For those who have an interest in working for the government after your studies, you can consider the different awards/bonds/scholarships available. You can seek more information from sites such as, and

Personally, I am interested in the HOME Award(Poly) and will be applying for it when the application window for third-year students are open. 

Disclaimer: What works for me may not work for others. 

The Frugal Mat