Friday, January 31, 2014

The Spendthrift's Tips to Spending for Value (Part 1)

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When one price for a commodity goes up, business vendors everywhere would jump on the excuse to raise their own prices unscrupulously. Food especially, which is an important aspect for single city folks who loves eating out. Single people has it the worst, because you don't have your family to cook for you if you're living out of your hometown, or your family abandoned you for some financial squabble and these poor single people depends on restaurants. Despite your status, this article is meant for people who loves to spend. I know certain people who's lethargic to spending, then this article is not for them. For people who loves to spend, sometimes they tend to over-spend, which is fine, because you make other people like me very happy. Spending keeps money moving around, and keeps various industry moving.

I used to spend like there's no tomorrow. In my early 20s, I paid my Maxis bills nearing to RM100 monthly - and smartphone wasn't even in yet that time. Then I joined a few gym memberships, one in particular is Fitness First. I paid RM180 monthly for the international passport, meaning I could use their gym centers located everywhere in the world outside Malaysia. How about perfumes, facial creams, magazines, movies, music and men's grooming products? Dinners for my friends? My biggest regret is spending close to RM500 on text messaging for a contest organised by 8TV with the grand prize being a serviced apartment. It was a wild, wild, wild spending spree that period of my life.

Unfortunately for a non-Muslim artiste like me, money doesn't come in at all from the local entertainment industry but always going out. That's why I've compiled a list of tips over the years with the hope it wlll help everyone, including non-artistes, to thrive in a world surviving on undemocratic business practices. Survival is the order of the day, and spending needs to be wiser. Whether you spend on me, or I spend on you, a democratic practise is always the best way to ascertain the value.

Spending should never be always dependent on the price. A lot of Malaysians are dependent on the price when they buy. Cheap and biased pricing often comes at the expense of value. A bad example I share here is when I purchase a 64GB pen drive off the street from a man at only RM20. It's really cheap than when you buy at retail which costs RM130. When I transfer my files into the pendrive, all my files went missing. See my point? Cheating and manipulating are the order of the day for the cheap-minded undemocrats. They're everywhere, and they're disgusting.

Why do Malaysians love cheap stuff? It comes down to our own distorted, undemocratic logic that cheap is value. Sometimes it is, but rarely always. When you invest on an experienced person, the higher the money the better - like when you hire an awards-recognised Acting Coach like myself to help you in your acting skills. Read about my PERSONAL COACHING's TOP TEN success stories here:
1) Coaching You to Success
2) Full Attendance
3) Fashion Students Showcase
4) Bigger Class
5) Taking Students on Roadshows
6) International Students
7) Student on Magazine Cover
8) Student Casting Session for Real Jobs
9) Students Photo Shoot
10) Students Performing for Event

For how to become a better ARTISTE tips:

My coaching package includes my teaching notes, casting appointments and a ready portfolio to give you a headstart. Because of the undemocratic way our entertainment industry functions, now everyone thinks they can be an artiste without any help in coaching, which is untrue. When it comes to consumer goods, it is the reverse. So we need to think more democratically for the flexibility in evaluating when it comes to spending money - Let us start with the first point.

1) Think Positive Democracy
When you have negative thoughts in planning to buy, the consequences are often bad. Negative people are usually undemocratic spenders and often comes with negative consequences. For example, when you spend too much on eating, it is because you have some negative thoughts about your friend or some issue you failed to resolve. You use food as a way to "forget". Soon you become overweight, and who to blame but yourself? So before buying anything, your thoughts need to be positive and democratic. Sometimes when you are positive minded, your head is cleared, and decided you don't really need to buy the stuff anyway - and save your money (and lose your weight). See how beneficial positive thinking can be?

2) Get a Second Stomach
This is what I often do. In the mornings when I wake up, I am too lazy to eat anything. Usually when I wake up from a deep spacey sleep, food is far from my mind. So I would get my plastic container which acts as my "second stomach". Cows do that, in fact cows have 3 stomachs to process their food intake. Why shouldn't you too? Usually I take in a lot of food at the cafeteria, but eats only half of it and sometimes even less - like a mouthful, and that's it. What do I do with the rest? I put it in my plastic containers for later consumption. The type of food I select are meant to last me through the day without any serious hunger pangs. Food to consider are: potatoes, chicken, rice or bananas.

3) Eat in one place, drink at another
This is a wonderful way to double the value of your lunch or dinner budget. Very rarely the places I eat have the best food and drinks in one place. I've scoured everywhere and write about them too, but none ever even comes close with the right combination of food and drinks to my liking. I would usually take-away the food, and drink at another place where the drinks are more to my liking. This way you spread your money around a little more - meaning more people stand to benefit from your purchase and at the same time get the food and drink that you like! Some restaurants I go have free wi-fi connection, so it is good way to save money in internet connection. Especially at Mamak restaurants with expensive cup of teh tarik, I would bring my 2 smart devices and use their free internet connection. See, double my internet usage in one expensive purchase.

4) Buy in-store house brands
I was surprised to see a 5kg cooking oil in Kedai Malaysia costs 5 times more than a Tesco in-house brand with the same weight. So why not buy from an in-house brand like Tesco? Most of the extra money in the price for other more well-known brands is used for advertising and feeding the endorsement fees to some local celebrities who thinks they're better than you and I. So why should I give my hard-earned money to them? Unless you love that celebrity, that's different. People in Malaysia rarely love their celebrities that much unless they're very young and dumb. But money to an abandoned non-Muslim artiste like myself is hard to come by and better use for value on product, rather than on that celebrity who is rich anyway. Other products you don't need to spend extra on are branded instant noodles, face creams and hair shampoo (so many local celebrities endorse them). Most of these product categories are highly inflated with their expensive prices to feed these celebrities' arrogant lifestyles. Be smart, buy in-store house brands is better.

5) Get containers instead of refrigeration
Do you know how much a refrigerator consumes electricity? The tariff on electricity is set to go up, so get rid of your refrigerator or resell it to get some money. Get plastic containers instead to store all your dry food. All my containers I got for free when I purchase a certain brand of milk powder or oats. Keep a look out for free containers that comes with, for they do come useful to store, say your unbranded dry noodles. Most of the time I get invited to dinners by admirers and I cannot finish the food. I would pretend by acting like some obnoxious unhappy patron of the restaurant, oops. I would usually ask for take-away or request it stored in my containers. Don't take advantage of your admirers, but if they do offer  to pay for dinners, take it....with a container of course.

6) Buy one for multi-function
If you buy one device, be sure you can use it for other functions. Use your imagination please. Especially gym memberships, where do one find time to go to the gym and hop around like some silly rabbit just to get attention of other members from the opposite or same sex? Please. If you really want to work out, why not walk to the LRT station and take the train. That way, you kill two birds with one stone - exercise and travelling to work. And on the way to the station, you can even flirt with some people walking the same way as you do and exchange telephone numbers right away. How about TV - should you waste money and buy a TV? Why not get an expensive tablet-PC hybrid and use it as your all-in-one entertainment centre? Like my Asus Transformer Prime, it can be a tablet or PC. It is portable and you can take it anywhere with you. Invest your money in one to get maximum value. Wash your clothes at dobby stores outside to save money on water and electricity bills. Or better use your hands to wash.

7) Transform throwables into usables
What do I do with all my socks with holes in them? I cut them up and turn them in dirty rags to wipe clean my table and cupoboards. What do I do with all the top covers of canned condensed milk I've collected? Use them as coasters for my guests when they come visit me for tea and coffee. The thing to remember is don't throw away stuff immediately. Keep them around and see what you can do with it later. When you buy a product, keep in mind that it can be taken apart, and each part can be used for different purposes - if you put your mind into it. Even your old clothes can be transformed into something new when you cut and sew them into new fashion pieces. During a flight, I would keep the toiletries given, especially the pouch. You can use it to keep your sunglasses for it has a hard exterior to prevent it from squashed when put inside your bag. So many throwables can be turned into something useful to save your money.

8) Buy Big
I cannot imagine reading on a 5-inch smartphone. Now, my 7.7-inch tablet is the minimum requirement for me in anything to be even considered as an acceptable smartphone. (and I never go out to buy a smartphone for the sake of appearing up-to-date with the latest) Yes, I use my tablet as a phone as well, going strong for 3 years now. There's a growing demand for phablets, so buy big. In groceries, it is always recommended to buy in big sizes, especially cooking oils and milk powders. For hybrid-PC, I look for the battery size. The bigger the more attractive to me, because it means longer time I can use it wherever I am. Any consumer goods that is big, is good. With my cup of teh tarik, I always wanted it extra extra sweet. Same with my food, I always ordered big. For lovers too, big is good. Something you can hold onto, and hang into for longer periods of enjoyment. Big is good. Small is for small-minded people.