Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What one could do with $160

Well. I've been bitching quite a bit about my impending net pay cut next year due to my workplace offering a new HR scheme to us. Basically we will have to pay full CPF once we move over and there will not be any adjustments to the gross pay. This means that our net pay will decrease.

I calculated and it's gonna be about $160 less a month.

Now what could I do with $160 a month??

64 plates of chicken rice (at $2.50 each) a month.

40 days of transport ($2 per trip, 2 trips a day)

Buy a PSP in 2 months.

Holiday in Japan in 12 months.

Go for 3 buffets a month (estimate $50 per buffet)

Buy 2 new DS games a month. (estimate $70 a game)

Buy a new phone in 2 months. (estimate $300 budget)

Buy 17 Threadless.com tees (at $9 each) a month.

Pay for my Japanese language lessons which currently averages about $140 a month.

Pay for 2 hours of vocal training. (my friend is learning at $70 an hour)

Buy a new PC every year and have money left over.

Top up $68 and buy a Nikon D90 in a year. (based on RRP of $1988)

Top up $48 and buy Nikon D700 in two years. (based on RRP of $3888)

Ok, I think that's enough of delinquency. After all, when I mentioned this, people go "Oh but it;s still your money..... it still goes to you....CPF is good for you.... you can buy house with it.. it saves for your retirement.... 4% interest where else can you get?" So I think we should discuss something a little bit more constructive.

Seriously, they really did tell me 4%. However, I think they have forgotten that Ordinary account only attracts 2.5% atm, although an additional 1% for the first $20k in the ordinary account will be credited to the Special Account.

4% is currently applicable for the Special, Medisave and Retirement Accounts (SMRA). However from 2008, the SMRA interest rate has become a floating rate pegged to the 12 month average yield of the 10 year Singapore Government Securities plus 1%. For the first 3 years , as an interim measure, there is a floor rate of 4%. After 2010 , the floor rate will be 2.5%. This means that the SMRA interest can drop to 2.5% interest. Same as ordinary account.

Next, I really don't see myself buying a home anytime soon. Anyway I don't think I can afford a home in these trying times. Half a million for a HDB?? You must be frigging crazy.

So what am I to do with the extra money in CPF? Invest? You can no longer invest the first 20k in each of your accounts. I have already invested what I can from my CPF but that's money I can't use now. I would love to have a little more 'now can use if I want' money.

While I agree that putting money into CPF to attract the minimum 2.5% interest is actually a good idea, I would personally like to aim for an investment goal of 5-10% growth. Of course, investment is no sure thing and you can certainly end up being worse off, but then that would have been a choice that I made and I would (probably) have had no one else to blame but myself. Besides that, it would be cash I can readily use on hand.

Or, if I were so inclined, I could use the $160 to buy an savings policy which gives me higher than bank interest rate and gives me a small amount of sum assured in case of contingencies.

At the end of the day, I know that this policy will not change and I will take up this new HR scheme anyway.... I just don't quite like the way that instead of addressing my query and telling me "well that's too bad but we really cannot do anything about it", they decided to go be a nanny and say "CPF is good for you. Shut it."

It even went so far as someone saying "If you are really that hard up that this amount of change in your take home pay constitutes a major financial issue, then you have a problem with your finances."

Yeah I would agree, but that would be MY problem wouldn't it? I certainly do not need other people to start creating financial problems for me when I can do that perfectly fine myself lol.

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

New British Council Teaching Awards Requirements!

So I had been interested in getting a Teaching Award from the British Council Singapore.

I even made a nice chart back in June to figure out how much each individual award would potentially cost me and try to plan out the most cost / time effective way to get each award. You can get an award once you get 50 credits in the modules required for the award within 18 months.

For 2010, there are new changes. In fact, the Teaching Award for Adults went up about $700. I'm not sure if I made a mistake in the original chart made in June, because there is an optional course "How to Teach English: Kindergarten" in the Adults list... Oh well, you can see the list made in June here: June's List

Now for the updated list.

The dark blue ones are core modules that must be attended in order to get the award. The light blue ones are optional ones. You can choose to attend any light blue ones in order to make up the 50 credits. I have not included the number of credits each module gives you, but you can work it out through the course fees. $500 = 10 credits, so you need to attend $2500 worth of modules to get an award.

You could also just choose to attend every course and get all the awards.

Please pardon the slight colour mess ups, I can't get the colour to turn out right after it's uploaded to google docs.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Crazy Crazy Internet

Aw.. internet's been driving me crazy recently in more ways than one.

First I tried to upgrade my PC's hardware and it ended up quite a sorry situation. Fortunately, it now works. *prays hard*

Initially, my PC wouldn't even boot up. I brought it to a shop and they got it to boot up but when I brought it home, it would either BSOD, or act like it shut down. I just couldn't figure out what went wrong.

A friend insisted that it was a BIOS issue, so I decided to change the HDD while I was at it since I was unable to boot up the PC long enough to back up the data on my original HDDs. After I got another shop to install the HDD and OS for me (the initial shop I went too tried to charge me double the price for HDD, plus he was this naggy uncle who hates AMD), the problem still persisted!! I was totally devastated...... it worked fine at the shop, why not at home?

I brought the PC back to the shop and it worked fine there. The shop suggested changing mouse, or power supply cables. Another friend on mine suggested that it was a power supply problem and suggested I get an UPS. Why so many problems..?? I just want a functioning PC!

This time, after I got it back, it worked fine for a day and started acting up the next...... from then till now... it was ... er.... kinda ok. I hope it stays this way. I want to play FFXI!

Also, I have been having problems with facebook and blogger. Blogger would give me this really messed up dashboard and I would be unable to post blogs (I hardly post blogs nowadays anyway, I plurk a lot more.) and facebook would just totally quit on me. Apparently there's some facebook issue but when I access it on different PCs, sometimes it works on other PCs but just not on mine.

I haven't been playing Mafia Wars, Farmville, Barn Buddy and Restaurant City for quite some time now lol. If you play these games and you are on my facebook, do look out for me yeah?

Finally today, it seems like Blogger has decided to give me a break and let me post. Actually I am still typing this out so as of now I am hoping that it posts. However, you are reading this, so it obviously got posted.

Been pretty busy these few months. Not even had time to catch up with friends (not that I'm one to always catch up with friends anyway). National Day's over, it was fun but I didn't get my actual day tickets ( *angry!* ), someone took 2 of my team's funpacks and refused to be contacted so I think he is playing punk, and we haven't heard about additional offs to be given.... oh well.... At least it's over.

Also stopped standing in for my colleague at her workplace. Another guy took over. It was like crazy trying to run that place.... in the midst of the H1N1 craze and incoming audits in someplace I was new at, it was absolutely bat shit crazy. Kept running late for my Japanese classes and I actually missed quite a few of them. Now I'm quite sian about attending classes because it's a little harder to understand things now too.

Not all's been nasty stuff though. Last Sunday, I performed with the JCS Choir at the 39th Japanese Cultural Festival. I guess that finally puts a little credit to a post I did last year or so which listed what I wished I could do. Singing in a performance was in there somewhere I think. Although it's not quite what I wanted, it was definitely an exhilarating opportunity for me. In fact, it felt good to be in the group! You have immunity lol!

I guess we did well enough on Sunday. It was a concert with several performing groups and we sang five songs. The following are versions of the songs that we did on Sunday. These versions are the same as (or very close to) the version we did. Quality excepted lah... These people probably did better than us lol.

少年时代 Shounen Jidai

千の風になって Sen no Kaze ni Natte
Not quite how we sang it, but it's the closest I can find.

This is the original

手紙 Tegami: The Japanese Association's Ladies Choir who was performing at the same concert actually did this song as well, but they did it a tad more classically. My friend says that she preferred our rendition of Tegami. Yay!!!

This is the original

遠い日の歌 Tooi Hi no Uta

春に Haru ni

I especially like Tegami and Sen no Kaze ni Natte. Well, Haru ni too, but the first two feels so meaningful to me. Unfortunately Tegami is quite difficult to sing!

I also asked one of my choir friend about her voice lessons. She told me about the price and it's $70 an hour..... WHOOOOOOO! OUCH.

That's at least $280 a month... and maybe it is more expensive!!!!

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