Tuesday, February 7, 2012

How to save money

Food
Malaysia is considered a food heaven. One way to save money is to cook your own meals. However, not all of us can do that. A good way to save money while eating out is to cut out the drinks, especially alcoholic ones. Go for water, it's easy on the wallet and also the waistline.

Transportation
Take public transport. I know it can be hard when the system in place is not fantastic. But Malaysian public transport has improved quite a bit. I enjoyed taking the LRT. The trains are frequent and on time. You can save on petrol, parking fees and tolls.
If you do have to drive, there are many ways to stretch your petrol. Check out Simple Dollar's guide on how to practise good gas conservation habits.

Utilities
Electricity and water costs little compared to other countries, but that doesn't mean we should waste. Common sense goes, turn it off when it's not needed. Choose energy efficient models whenever you need to replace an appliance.

Communication
Look for the phone plan that suits your needs. I can survive without a data plan, but not everyone can say the same thing. Free wifi is provided almost everywhere nowadays. If you have an Android or iPhone, try out Viber or Watsapp. You can make free phone calls and send free messages.
Tip:
P1 Wimax - get your 13th month free when you subscribe to autobilling.
Digi - get RM5 off per month with autobilling.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Consumerism in Malaysia

I was pushed to write about this topic after reading about the "Protect our Pockets" campaign. Sometimes I do wonder, how did we get into such a mess. On weekends, you would see shopping malls packed with people. Everyone is there to buy, buy, buy.

Where I come from, most of my weekends are spent lounging around at home or with friends. Sharing a pot of freshly brewed coffee at home only costs less than RM1. That's almost free compared to the prices people pay at Starbucks. Whenever I walk past high end branded shops, I wonder how many of the people who shop there can really afford to buy those items.

I've been reading The Millionaire Next Door. It's quite and old book but the concepts are still applicable. If we were to live like real millionaires, we would be spending a lot less. It's about time we changed our mindsets. Being rich doesn't mean owning all the fine things that money can buy. If we lived below our means and be happy with what we have, then the world will not be in so much debt.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

World Carfree Day - 22nd September

It's time to leave your cars at home! Over in Malaysia, rail companies are giving out free coupons. A total of 150,000 free one-way coupons on the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Monorail will be given out on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays from Sept 22 in support of World Car Free Day. As typical Malaysian mentality goes, I doubt this will encourage new users. It is not big enough a carrot to lure car addicted citizens to take public transport, though it would be a nice little reward for existing users. 

What we need is a more efficient public transport system. Here is a typical itinerary of a highly efficient transit system (i.e. Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, London): 

Walk to station: 5 min
Wait for train: 0-15 min
Ride to center: 10 min
Change platforms: 1 min
Wait for train: 0-15 min
Ride to end: 10 min
Walk to destination: 5 min
Total: 31-61 min
Average: 46 min

In contrast to our Malaysian transit:

Walk to station: 10-15 min (If you stay near one, otherwise you'll need to beg someone to send you to the station or park your car there)
Wait for train: 0-30 min
Ride to center: 30-60 min (the slowest being KTM Komuter)
Change platforms: 1-15 min (takes longer to walk from KL Sentral to the Monorail station)
Wait for train: 0-30 min
Ride to end: 10 min
Walk to destination: 5-10 min
Total: 56-140 min
Average: 96 min

These are just my rough estimate, but I'm sure most would agree with it. So, if we want more people to use public transit, we would need to make the journey faster.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Pre-raya shopping rush


Tesco ran out of shopping carts so my fellow shoppers had to wait at the lifts and grab a cart once the lift doors open!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

New trains on the way for KTM Komuter

I was so happy when I read today's Star - New trains expected to cut waiting time at KTM Komuter lines. Say bye bye to this
 and this

Finally something is done to improve our public transport system. I hope more people will chose to take the trains instead of driving. Personally, there are so many reasons why I prefer to take the train. I can avoid traffic jams, exorbitant car parking fees and tolls. I don't have to go round and round looking for a parking space and I save on petrol.

A big thumbs up to KTM for adding more trains!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Stop car idling

I have this urge to knock on windows of idling cars to tell the drivers inside that they're polluting the air, draining our limited resources & wasting government subsidies. Somehow I've never gotten the nerves to do it.
We should learn from Vancouver where they have a 3-minute idling rule in the city. Once, I sat on an idling bus for 15 minutes while it waited for passengers in Malaysia. That would have been frowned upon if it happened in Vancouver. Some would argue that the weather here is too hot and we need air-conditioning, but that bus was so ancient, it doesn't have one.
When are we going to change?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to gain weight

I'm not a fan of junk food. I don't drink soft drinks. I'm underweight eventhough I have my 3 main meals & snacks in between. I've checked my full blood counts, renal profile, liver function, thyroid hormone levels & blood sugar levels. All of them were normal.

I've been searching online for healthy ways of gaining weight. I think the key is to increase my healthy fat intake. They provide more calories per weight without the artery clogging effects of unhealthy fats. My work consists of walking around and standing the whole day, so it'll be burning most of my food intake. But some site suggest I do some light weight lifting to build up muscle.

I'll be trying all these for the time being. Hope I won't look so skinny after this.