Is it worth to go the extra mile to stretch your dollar?

It’s no secret that I’m kind of an expert when it comes to knowing the best promotions/discounts/deals. Despite having to live with the ‘label’ of being cheapo and auntie, I think it is fine to act my way as long as I can live by my ethics, not cheat the system (unless it is an obvious flaw which they need to fix) and don’t act like an entitled customer.

Yes, I worked in service line before and I know what type of customers I shouldn’t be. I’m a strong believer of karma so.. yep, I would love to position myself as a smart and budget shopper, less of being cheapo and auntie alright.

Right, so what do I hope to achieve in this article? I want to convince my fellow friends/colleagues/readers that.. there is indeed tangible ‘savings’ if you shop smartly. To be honest, I feel a little dejected each time I fail to convince people that what I’m doing makes sense so.. I’ve decided to compile all the benefits, all the calculations, all the savings, all my entitlements I have received since the start of the year. I will be looking at my credit card billings, receipts, emails to churn out the data. It’s gonna take a long time but this post will be constantly updated for me to share the love and knowledge and hacks to be a smart and savvy shopper.

My long list of never ending savings

Food

  1. Savings using entertainer – approx $400 since start of 2018
  2. Savings using Fave (vouchers + cashback) – approx $30 since start of 2018

Entertainment

  1. Watching movies on Tuesdays with GV Movie Card – $6.50 instead of $8.50 – Save $2 per ticket
  2. Watching movies with HSBC All-Day GV Movie Card – $9.50 instead of $13 – Save $3.50 per ticket

Best Picks from Entertainer (2018)

  • Burpp – I love their tacos and they have 2 locations, 1 in tanjong katong and the other in bedok reservoir. The screen soccer on weekends too and gosh, it can be full.
  • Pizza Express – pretty delicious pizza/pastas (reasonable at half price)
  • Firebake – I’m quite surprised to see this shop in the list. They are pretty crowded every single time I drive pass but oh wells, worth a try since its kind of half price.
  • Kith Cafe – available at a couple of outlets
  • The Lokal – love the food here but do remember to make reservations!
  • Rookery – The food is not bad but definitely not worth the price if you’re paying full price

Credit Card Rebates

  • DBS Live Fresh (5% rebates, paywave and online purchases, with min. $600 spend per month)
    • Online Purchases (5%)
      • AirBnB online booking
      • GMarket/ Qoo10/ Lazada/TaoBao Purchases
    • Paywave Transactions (5%)
      • Weekday Dining or other non F&B shops on Weekend that accept PayWave

Note: DBS Live Fresh has announced changes to their cashback model in June 2018. Minimum spend has reduced to $600/month and max cashback earned is capped at $60 whereby $20 comes from online spend ($400), $20 from PayWave ($400) and $20 from other spend (0.3%). This means that I should only bother to spend $600 between the online and paywave category, not exceeding $400 in any category to get the ‘best’ out of it. Sighs.. it’s gonna be tiring to keep track..

  • OCBC 365 Credit Card (min. $600 spend per month) ~ Earn $15 – $19/month
    • Weekend Dining (6%)
    • Weekday Dining (3%)
    • Online Spend (3%)

Airline miles accumulation

  • DBS Altitude (Miles are calculated as DBS Points and you need to hit 5,000 points to claim your first 10,000 miles, subject to admin fee of $26.75 per transfer)
    • Earn 3 miles/$1 when buying airtickets/accommodation including singapore airlines, airbnb, expedia, agoda etc.
    • Earn 2 miles/$1 foreign spend
    • Earn 1.2 miles/$1 for local spend
  • American Express Krisflyer (Useful for mico redemptions as they transfer your miles to your krisflyer account every month)
    Best sign on Promotion to my knowledge is about 15,000 miles (now it is only 7,000 + 2,000

    • Earn 3.1 miles/$1 for Grab rides
    • Earn 1.1 miles/$1 for eligible spend

Capitaland Points

  • Capitastar program
    • Well, most malls have some sort of loyalty program and this is pretty much the most well-established one. The base earn rate seems pretty low at 0.5% but it’s kind of like a by the way thing. Ever since I discover this, I kind of make my necessities purchase at Watsons/Guardian at capitaland malls. It might feel abit auntie at first but once you start, you will kind of get addicted to scanning receipts to earn points. The points can be used to change for vouchers or redeem deals in their app and it’s pretty easy to accumulate especially with the american express capitacard.
  • American Express Capitacard
    • I signed up for this card when they were having a $70 + $50 worth of signup bonus. To be honest, this card is not very useful unless I’m shopping in Capitaland malls. Sometimes, they offer up to 3% or 5% ‘rebates’ but it is usually seasonal.

Other Shopping Malls

  • Suntec Rewards
    • I kind of visit Suntec City quite frequently in the recent few years. I guess the Cow Play Cow Moo arcade, GV theatre and cheap parking after 5PM is one of the key factors. The earn rate is low at 0.5% and the point scan only be used to redeem for Suntec vouchers and sadly, not all shops accept the vouchers. It’s a little annoying cause you need to check the list of accepting merchants. Nevertheless, it’s still a by-the-way thing but haha, the good thing about suntec is that a lot of my friends are not members so they will send their receipt to me for my upload.
  • Changi Rewards
    • This is only useful if you frequent Changi Airport but I have no idea what I spent on, I actually could claim $15 worth of vouchers last year. Their rewards is slightly different because it is not via scanning receipt but you need to downoad the app and show them your QR code at the counter for them to scan and award the points to you. More seemless process but less opportunity to get free receipts from your friends.
  • I gave up on all the other malls – Asia Malls, Frasers, Parkway. I guess I don’t frequent their malls often enough to maintain my loyalty. Oh wells.

Shopback Savings

  • Hotels.com (up to 9% cashback during promotion) – Earned $14.86 from a recent overseas trip
    • Note: Hotels.com has a free 1 night (average value) with every 10 nights bought and stayed. That’s additional 10% off and I’ve redeemed about 2 nights to date (and 1 night expired and my appeal was unheard of..). So, the best tip of ‘earning‘ saving more money is always offering to do the research, book the hotel and pay first when you’re going with a group of friends. A couple of years back, I used to volunteer to do the hotel booking for my managers and keep all the nights accumulation to myself. I declared to them the ‘benefit’ I was getting but they simply just can’t be bothered. Well, I guess if you make the extra effort and go the extra mile, you could slowly collect the pennies.

On a side note, I kind of stopped wanting to book airbnb cause it doesn’t give me any benefit or rebates. I stopped staying in airbnb in Japan cause I wasn’t very satisfied with most of their beds which were usually sofa beds or cheap ikea furnishing. At the same time, I realised that business hotels, though they look unappealing, has more comfortable beds. Also, I learned that airbnb tend to impose charges on customers rather than the property owners. There was a property in margaret river which was listed more expensive in airbnb as compared to the other website. Ever since there was that 1 solo case study, I always triple check my airbnb stays (well if my friend insists on staying in one) to make sure I’m not getting shortchanged. 

Shopback is not the only rebate-giving online platform. There’s a new entrant in the market called Rebate Mango which gives you the option of cashing out in miles, points instead of just cash. I’m still trying to explore it but I really hate the UI/UX. Let’s see how things go with them.

Earnings via Referrals

  • SOCASH (SERIOUSLY FREE MONEY) (www.socash.io)
    • This is my newest and most favourite startup right now. It aims to replace ATMs by making mini marts become touchpoints where you can withdraw and deposit cash. For a start, their new users promotion is that you can receive FREE $5 CASH upon your first withdrawal.
    • Well, if you use my referral link, each of us will get additional $3 CASH upon the 2nd withdrawal. No strings attached, very easy and you just need to link the app to your DBS iBank or PayLah! account.
  • DBS PayLah!
    • Are you already not on PayLah? To be honest, the integration with PayNow makes it so convenient.
      Do you have friends that always say ‘nvm’ when you want to pay them back the money for coffee/lunch? You don’t need to have that awkward moment where you stuff/hide notes or coins into your friends/bosses hand. You can just PayLah! them the cash and get over with it. Most of the time, they won’t bother to ‘return’ you the money since receiving is so much more hassle-free than paying =p
    • No referral code? Use mine ‘JIAGSZ711‘ and receive $5. I will receive $5 too =p
  • GrabHitch
    • Do you know any driver who is not yet a GrabHitch driver? Refer them and earn $20 to $40 for each successful referral!
      I would love to share my referral code but damn, they use mobile number and it is obviously something I won’t be sharing in this post.
  • SHOPBACK (www.shopback.sg)
    • You and your friend can get $5 each when you refer a friend and your friend makes a successful booking.
      To help feed my domain and hosting fees by using my referral link.
      I’ve been using it since 2015 and wrote 2 review posts about it (Review 1 Review 2)
    • Earnings to date: $XXX
  • Fave
    • Have you not heard about Fave? It’s the brand that took over Groupon when they exited the market. I find that they have been growing rather healthily and I find myself buying their item or using FavePay at least once a week! Their branding has been rather prominent and I even used them at a hawker store in amoy! I really love the cashless motion and perhaps I’ll do a cashless challenge someday.
    • The good thing about them is that they always offer cashback bonus and rebates and it’s so easy to be stuck in the endless loop. Hope they are here to stay and that they will continue to expand so I can continue to benefit from all their freebies!

Investments (Money outflow)

  • Entertainer App
    • $85 (Somehow, not sure if it is allowed but we realised that the account can be shared by doing multiple logins across devices)

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This will be an ongoing entry that I hope to update whenever I have free time.

Do you have anymore tips for me? Feel free to share and I’ll love to add on to my list and share the love with people who bother to go the extra mile to stretch your dollar. heh.

 

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