Savvy Consumer Tip : Scenting Your Wardrobe

Filed Under (soap, tips and tricks) by rinnah on 21-02-2013

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I stumbled upon this tip purely by accident last month and I’m sure it’s not new to many people.

You see, I have this OCD complex about clean and fresh smelling laundry. But my wardrobe in Singapore tends to attract this musty old smell (I think it’s the humidity) during the rainy months and my nice clean clothes would need to be washed again because I’m anal like that. My first line of defence was to put in lots of dehumidifiers at every level of my wardrobe. That solved the humidity problem and the musty smell but my wardrobe still didn’t smell nice and fragrant like I wanted it to.

Enter this little saviour!

l'occitane soap bar

This is a free bar of L’Occitane soap that I brought back from Bangkok (it was part of the complimentary toiletries the hotel provided). All I did was stick it inside my wardrobe and viola! Wonderful fresh clean scent every time I open the door. I just love it when a solution is perfectly simple x easy.

Do you have a savvy tip for the home to share?

My First Haul from Boots Pharmacy Thailand

Filed Under (moisturiser, retail shopping, serum, skincare, tips and tricks, travel) by rinnah on 23-10-2012

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So I made my maiden trip to Bangkok, Thailand on a work-related visit last week. Even though my trip was for work, I still managed to squeeze in some time to check out the pharmacy wonderland that is Boots Pharmacy, or Boots Retail Shop as they are known.

Boots Retail Shop

Boots is very much like your local drugstore Guardian or Watsons with a slight difference. The majority of products at Boots are mostly housebrands, under a variety of lines and brand names. Having never had access to Boots before, it was like stepping into a whole new world for me. I tweeted that I wanted to buy the entire store but lack of time and luggage space was a very big factor that stopped me from doing so. Anyway, I had to buy something from Boots just to say I’d been there. :P

Boots Thailand mini haul

I think I was a good girl and valiantly restricted myself to just the 3 items of skincare you see above. I’m still on my hydrating craze, so I picked up three different moisturizers from three different ranges.

  • Boots Simply Sensitive Anti-Redness Serum
  • Boots Fragrance Free Moisturising Cream
  • Boots Sakura Blossom & Lemon Whitening Day Moisturiser (I was suckered into buying this because it smelled so good)

It’s been a week since I came back from my trip and I’ve already started on the Simply Sensitive Anti-Redness Serum and I’m loving it! Time to stock up on another tube (or two?) when I have to head back to Thailand next month. :D

Quickie shopping tip : If you’re going to be buying Boots stuff in Thailand, unless absolutely necessary, buy from the stores in the city outside the airport. Strangely enough, the Boots Retail Shop in the duty-free area at the airport sells their products for between 10 – 50 baht more compared to the city area.

Reviews will hopefully follow shortly!

Savvy Consumer Tips : Your Daily Coffee

Filed Under (coffee, food, tips and tricks) by rinnah on 27-08-2012

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Hello folks! Happy Monday! :D

It’s been quite a while since I last posted a “savvy consumer tip” – the last one was over a year ago! So as I was sipping on my morning cuppa, I thought it would be fun to share with you a simple savings tip I practice. :)

If you’re like me and most other people, you’ll probably have a regular dose (hit!) of caffeine in the morning. You might have it at home, or on the way to work or at the office. Maybe you might have even more than 1 cup a day.

KT's Grill Cafe Mocha
Cafe mocha at KT’s Grill, Universal Studios Singapore

When I first came to Singapore, I no longer had the luxury of preparing and eating breakfast at home as I rent a room with no access to a kitchen. So, out of necessity, I began to buy my coffee (or tea, depending on how alert I felt in the mornings) from the local bakery downstairs near my office. No doubt it wasn’t Starbucks or Coffee Bean where the smallest/cheapest size goes for an average of SGD 6.00 or more but I was still spending SGD 1.20 a day on my coffee.

Doesn’t seem like much, but it did add up when I did my math. My cup a day habit cost me between SGD 35.00 – 40.00 every month. That’s like the cost of one lipstick every month (or in my case, one skincare product a month).

I told myself that all I really wanted was a cup of coffee in the morning. It didn’t have to be premium coffee as long as it woke me up. So, the next time I dropped by the local supermarket, I picked up a multi-pack of 3-in-1 coffee premix. 30 sachets for just SGD 6.90, which is more than the number of working days in any given month. The bonus was that the brand was throwing in an additional 5 sachets for free.

Cost of switch? Just the initial cost of buying my 3-in-1 mix = SGD 6.90
Savings? SGD 1.20 (weekdays) x 35 = SGD 42.00 – SGD 6.90 (initial cost) = SGD 35.10
In the long run? Assuming 1 year duration on average = SGD 420.00 (SGD 35 x 12)

Now, I’m only advocating that you do this if it makes you happy. If you need your daily Starbucks shot, or cannot stand the taste of premix, by all means go ahead and keep on doing what you’re doing. :) I’m happiest when I get to save money and still get what I want to make me (relatively) happy without feeling deprived.

Buying a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong

Filed Under (mobile phones, services, technology, telecommunications, tips and tricks, travel) by rinnah on 05-04-2012

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During my recent trip to Hong Kong, I needed to have access to data on my smartphone while roaming but I didn’t want to pay expensive roaming charges. (This is what living in a connected world does to you. You feel bereft of something important, like checking Twitter, Facebook, email and blogs. Or having to reply your Draw Something games.) :P

So I did some research on the Internet (doncha just love Google?) and found that it was very easy to get a prepaid sim card in Hong Kong with reasonable data charges. The network provider that I eventually went with was 3 (I think they are located in Australia as well) and it proved to be a good enough choice for the 4 days I was in Hong Kong.

3

Where to buy
You can buy your prepaid sim card from convenience stores (7 Eleven et al) or from mobile shops. I chose to go to the 3 mobile shop located at the airport terminal itself upon arrival. You just have to go up one floor to where the check-in counters are located – both 3 and rival operator CSL have shops there.

3 mobile store
Unit No. 7T038, Level 7, Departure Hall Row G, Hong Kong International Airport

3 shop at HKIA

Which type of sim card to buy
I initially wanted the HSDPA Broadband Access Rechargable starter pack recommended on various travel forums (which is only available at mobile shops), but was rather short on time to explain to the salesperson which starter pack I was looking for – the salespeople will automatically recommend you to take the basic mobile prepaid pack.

The basic mobile prepaid pack costs HKD 98.00 and it’s as easy as pie to pop in the sim card and be instantly connected. Since you’re using a mobile prepaid, naturally you will be able to make local and international calls as well as use data. (Side note : If you are using a tablet device, you may have to point your settings to the correct APN before the device detects the connection.)

Fees and charges
I didn’t really do much research into the call rates so I’m not able to list them on the blog but at the time of my trip (March 2012), the data charges for 3’s network were as follows :

1MB = HKD 2.00
Maximum daily charge = HKD 28.00
Monthly charge = HKD 388.00

Basically, as a tourist you would only need to pay up to HKD 28.00 per day for unlimited usage of data. The usual fair usage throttling only starts after 5GB so you’re basically running around with a free hand on how you use your data. :P

Although I did read some reports online about poor connectivity or coverage by 3’s network, I didn’t experience any problems throughout my trip. In fact, I was highly impressed that even underground in the MTR tunnels, the Hong Kong network gave me far more stability in coverage and faster network speeds compared to Malaysia and Singapore networks.

Top-ups
I did miscalculate the amount of data I had used (dang the fast download speeds that seduce you into using more than you originally planned!) so towards the end of my trip, so I learnt the hard way that 3 will cut off your data once you’re down to HKD 10.00 worth of credit in your prepaid account. You’ll have to top-up to continue enjoying their services.

Nevertheless, top-up is fast and easy – I did mine at a 7 Eleven convenience store. Do take note that the minimum amount to reload is HKD 100.00 so if you foresee that you won’t be using up this amount, you may wish to monitor your data usage accordingly to maximise your credit.

Your prepaid sim card and its corresponding number will be valid for 180 days from the date of your last top-up and if you don’t top-up additional credit within that time frame, whatever balance you have in your account and the number will expire.

All in, I consider buying a prepaid sim card to be a cost effective way of enjoying unrestricted data coverage while you are in Hong Kong (finding free wifi spots are not easy at all!) and would recommend 3’s network to leisure travellers (do note that online forums do not recommend 3 if you are travelling to China or the outskirts of Hong Kong).

Style File : Lisa Eldridge’s No Makeup Makeup

Filed Under (cosmetics, style file, tips and tricks) by rinnah on 03-08-2011

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I love this concept!

No makeup makeup is all about using barely there, minimal makeup to achieve a polished, no makeup look that is like the natural and original you, but better. I’m not a fan of bold, bright and colorful makeup although I do admit that on some women, it looks fabulous and perfectly suited to them. Some other women though, are sadly misguided in the school of thought that more is better and usually end up with too much makeup that you can spot them a block away. I’m pretty sure all of us have seen at least one or two perfect examples of this in real life, no?

As for me, I usually eschew any form of makeup on all days, except those rare occasions when I have an event to go to. That’s when I break out my makeup stuff. But watching Lisa Eldridge’s No Makeup Makeup tutorial below has really inspired me to want to start doing this even on workdays! Just watch the video below – how can anyone not like what they see?


Video credit to Lisa Eldridge

Savvy Consumer Tips : The Daily Newspaper

Filed Under (tips and tricks) by rinnah on 06-03-2011

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Growing up, I used to think that the daily papers was a necessity. This was mainly due to my dad’s habit of buying the papers at work and bringing it home. So, when I myself started to work, I carried on the same habit because it just seemed like the right thing to do. In the early days before I bought my car, I used to travel by commuter train and I could get a free copy of The Sun at the train station so it was no big deal. Later when I switched to driving my car, out of force of habit, I ended up buying The Star daily because my office building just didn’t have the free paper giveaway. See how a habit can make you spend money without thinking about it? :P

newspaper-future
Image credit

After this went on for about a year or so, I got to thinking, “Hey, I can do without this. I don’t need to know everything that’s going on in Malaysia right now and don’t you think the papers print mostly bad news anyway?”

Nowadays, I just go online to the newspaper websites and read the headlines that interest me. I’ve found that this new habit of mine saves me quite a bit of time as I routinely skim the headlines of the day faster than I would if I actually sat down and read the papers. I won’t deny that there’s something very retro and nostalgic about hearing the newspaper pages rustle and actually feeling it in your hands but think of it this way – you’re also saving the environment this way because fewer trees have to be cut down to produce newsprint. Oh, there’s also the added benefit that I don’t have to store up the old newspapers before hauling them off to the nearest recycling center on a monthly basis.

Cost of switch? Nil. It just took a change of routine.
Savings? RM1.20 (weekdays) x 20 days + RM1.50 (weekends) x 8 days = RM36
In the long run? Assuming 1 year duration on average = RM432

So, think about your habits just a little bit and see if you can come up with your own savvy consumer tips.

The best deal for you

Filed Under (online shopping, retail shopping, tips and tricks) by rinnah on 20-02-2010

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I like to think of myself as a savvy consumer. Make no mistake, I don’t mean being a stingy consumer, just a smart consumer who knows value when she sees it. So, how can you ensure that you end up with the best deal that is just right for you, the savvy consumer? Let’s have a little demonstration of what I mean.

shopping-deals
Image credit

Sometime last month (in January), I knew I was running out of my Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief. And I definitely knew that I needed to repurchase this staple in my beauty routine. Instead of waiting till the very last moment to repurchase, I decided I needed a plan of action. I would use the time I had between when I decided to repurchase and when I would run out of my moisturizer to ensure that I got the best possible deal.

I already knew that the regular sized jar (50ml) retailed for MYR 160 at all Clinique counters. Was there any way that I could get a better deal? I was willing to pay the full retail price of MYR 160, but yet I wanted assurance that I would get the best possible value for my MYR 160. Let’s see what I did.

Firstly, I checked out the price of online retailers. From friends’ recommendations and good experiences, Strawberrynet seemed the ideal place to start with. Unfortunately, they were having no special promotions and it would have cost me MYR 166 (with free shipping) when purchasing from them. Strawberrynet was a no-go.

At the recommendation of another friend, I checked out BestBuy World. Although the prices there are much cheaper, the product is not the full sized product, but rather travel/sample sizes as a discounted rate. The different type of packaging did not bother me, but unfortunately, they had no ready stocks of Moisture Surge then.

So, at that point of time it seemed as though I would need to pay the full retail price for my moisturizer. No problem, since I was already prepared to pay MYR 160 for the product. The next question was : Where to buy it? I decided to make my purchase at Parkson, since they have a retail program with Bonuslink which allows you to collect reward points for all purchases. In this way, I could be assured of accumulating reward points for future redemption against shopping vouchers. At least there would be some return on my money spent.

Then, as luck would have it, I received a flyer from Bonuslink informing me that there would be a members’ day at Parkson, which would allow me to collect 5 times reward points on any purchase. Even more value for money, right? So I deferred my purchase for a few more days while waiting for the members’ day to roll around.

During the time between the Bonuslink flyer and the members’ day, I received an email from Clinique, informing me of their latest promotion to redeem a sample of their new anti-aging moisturizer. I decided that I would redeem my free sample at the same time when I made my purchase.

When I visited the Clinique counter, I was able to accomplish a number of things at the same time – restock my moisturizer, redeem my free sample and I also asked the consultant for another sample of Clinique’s best-selling All About Eyes eye gel. Even though I did not purchase enough to meet the Gift-With-Purchase limit, I’m satisfied with getting samples on top of my purchased item.

Better yet, since I made my purchase on the members’ day, not only did I get the 5 times reward points, I also got MYR 20 worth of Parkson vouchers for spending above MYR 150 in a single day. Can you say score?

Total haul on that day :
Moisture Surge – MYR 160
Youth Surge sample redemption – free
All About Eyes sample – free
Parkson vouchers worth MYR 20 – free

Wouldn’t you say that’s a good deal? And all that for just waiting 1 week extra.

You might think that I unnecessarily spent a lot of time comparing prices and still ended up paying the full retail price for my moisturizer, but when I look at all that I managed to get for just one trip, to me that’s worth much more than randomly going out shopping.

So, plan your purchases ahead of time and save money.
Getting additional satisfaction in knowing you got a good deal? Priceless.

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