Spend-thrift

The word “spendthrift” has always been confusing to me. It describes a person who is the exact opposite of “thrifty”. Without further investigation one would not know that the meaning of “thrift”, as used in the word “spendthrift”, was prosperity or wealth, which is to say that a spendthrift is someone who spends all his wealth.

I’m going to hijack this word for my blog to share what i spend money on, and how i try to be thrifty while spending. You get double the thrill when you spend, while being convinced you’ve spent the least amount possible, right? It sounds ironic, but, spend to save!

86OF revamps website, sort of

86OF has launched a revamped website. What they’ve done is basically putting up a company website proper. The current website at www.86of.com showcases the company business and is not aimed at end consumers who want to do parcel forwarding. I wonder what’s the point.

The original website with the “Member Centre” for managing parcels is still around and is now moved to the website address amk.86of.com. Not surprisingly, this annoucement is only made in the Chinese version of their website. I’m sure some customers would have panicked when they were not able to find the “Member Centre”.

The new website reveals that they have opened up 5 other branches around the island – Woodlands, Clementi, Hougang (in the Chinese version of website it is said to be Kovan), Tampinee and Boonlay (*facepalm* they are still not bothered about using proper English for their website and don’t even care if the names are spelt wrongly).

This is probably good news to those customers who stay far away from Ang Mo Kio. What i found puzzling is the way they have organized their operation. Every of these branches operate independently of each other with a different company name and website address. Also, with the exception of the Tramlines branch (called TPparcel), neither the company name nor the website address give you any clue that it serves a specific region. For example, the Clementi website address is www.taobao2SG.com (or cm.86of.com – is cm a good abbreviation of Clementi?) while the Woodlands website address is www.888ocean.com (or wl.86of.com – i’ve never seen Woodlands abbreviated as wl). They are operating in a franchising model, but i seriously think the execution is not briliant at all. All the franchising businesses I have seen operate as if they are the same and one entity.

Anyway, what’s most important for us consumers is that we can ship our Taobao goods at rock bottom prices, and i will continue using 86OF until they fail me. If you’re new to 86OF (do read my reviews on them), here are the sign up links for the various self-collection points – Ang Mo KioClementiWoodlands, Hougang and Tampines.

86OF second review

I have just collected my second round of shipment through 86OF parcel forwarding, and generally speaking, you could say it turned out just fine.

My bounty this time, amounting to 0.24 CBM

Here are some details of note during the course of engagement with 86OF for the shipment. Continue reading 86OF second review

Taobao is back on Shopback

For two months probably, Taobao went missing on Shopback. Apparently, they were revamping the mechanism for tracking Taobao purchases through Shopback.

Previously, you had to search for the item you wanted to purchase through the search bar in Shopback’s Taobao page. The obvious disadvantages of this approach were you would not be able to filter nor sort the search results like you could on Taobao website. For example, you wouldn’t be able to find the seller with the highest sales volume, and you normally want to do that. Continue reading Taobao is back on Shopback

Amazon product recommendation – Philips Sonicare 3 Series

I have used a sonic toothbrush for quite a few years by now, and i will not settle for less. I have been quite happy with the Arm and Hammer Sonic toothbrush. Me and my wife, we share the toothbrush by swapping the brush head. Even though the battery’s retention of charge has deteriorated, it is good for 4 days’ usage per charge, which is still decent actually. However, due to wear and tear, there is now a hole in the flap that covers the on/off switch, and this could be dangerous, so it is high time for an upgrade.

Time for retirement

Continue reading Amazon product recommendation – Philips Sonicare 3 Series

Amazon product recommendation – GermGuardian AC4825 Air Cleaning System

I have had the GermGuardian AC4825 for a few months now, but have not written a review on it, because it’s really hard to assess the effectiveness of such a product. Well, i now have evidence that it really works.

One of my better half’s student has acute nasal allergy. She would be sneezy for 5 minutes when she enters the room, possibly due to dust. Yesterday, we tried turning on the GermGuardian, and within a few minutes, she was relieved of her runny nose. Her mum was so impressed that she wanted to get the GermGuardian too. Continue reading Amazon product recommendation – GermGuardian AC4825 Air Cleaning System

No more free shipping with iHerb

I was trying to put together a new order on iHerb, and i was startled to find that the shipping is no longer a flat US$4 for orders below US$40, or free for orders above US$40, as it had been for the past 6 years during which i have been a loyal customer. I’ve only just placed an order on 25 Dec 2016, but, apparently, iHerb has overhauled the business from 2017.

There is, unfortunately, no clear explanation about the exact change in the shipping fee calculation on the website, which is a shame. The claim in their announcement about what’s new in 2017 is this: “significantly lower prices across the majority of our products, better shipping rates to your country–or both!”. Yeah, right. The supposedly lower prices (i checked, some items are around 10% cheaper, but others are the same price or even more than before!) may not offset the shipping fee. Continue reading No more free shipping with iHerb

Deciphering 86OF’s website

Owing to Ming’s comments about having to decipher 86OF’s website, I felt I could help some readers out there who may be confused 86OF’s workflow and website. As of now, 86OF’s website is still a mix of English and Chinese, and the terminology they have adopted can be incomprehensible to even novice users of ezbuy.

Customer service and business development contact numbers listed on the website in Chinese

Continue reading Deciphering 86OF’s website

Review of 86OF – Ocean freight to Singapore for Taobao and China goods

I don’t know what is it is with the Chinese, that they love to use numbers in their branding. Ezbuy was 65daigou previously, and they had to undertake a labourious re-branding exercize. Now we have 86OF, also a parcel forwarding company. In case you’re interested, here are some articles that explain why the Chinese love to use numbers in their URLs and branding. By the way, 65 is the phone number country code for Singapore, and 86 is for China. Sorry for the sarcasm, but how creative is that!

Moving on to 86OF, i’ve been wanting to give them a go, and i finally did. The main attraction is the price. Typically, ocean freight shipment requires that you take up at least 1 cubic metre (CBM) of volume each time, which is hard to achieve for retail consumers, unless a few people pool together to do the shipping. Enter 86OF. They let you ship a minimum of 0.1 CBM, which is a lot easier to attain for retail customers. 0.1 CBM of volume is roughly equivalent to 5 rice cookers. The price for shipping 0.1 CBM is S$11.50, which is a lot cheaper than what it will cost if you used ezbuy (it will cost you S$120 and ezbuy no longer does sea freight). Update: price for 0.1 CBM is now increased to S$13, still cheap.

Continue reading Review of 86OF – Ocean freight to Singapore for Taobao and China goods

Kitchen Hack: storing tomato paste

Tomato paste is often called for in recipes, but usually the amount required is less than the can they come in. The way to prevent wastage is to freeze the unused portion. I got this idea from a forum posting, whereby someone suggested using cling wrap to apportion the paste before freezing. This way, you can easily apply them in the future.

Well, I improvised on the idea by using this plastic storage box usually used for storing tiny knick knacks like nails and needles. You can easily find such a storage box in those shops selling hardware and household items. I used to store minced ginger this way too.

The yellowish stuff on the upper right are chicken/pork stock. I drop one of these when stir frying vegetables.

Best travel prepaid data deal on earth

I doubt you will find a better deal – S$32 for 1GB of data over 30 days in 42 countries including Europe and USA. Or S$54 for 12GB. This incredible deal is offered by Three, UK, and even though it is intended for UK residents, there’s no way they can enforce it, and they won’t. For m1 subscribers in Singapore, the data passport option is also pretty good, at S$50 (plus S$2 activation fee) with 3GB and above for one month of usage in 28 countries in Europe. Update: Not wanting to be outdone, SingTel now offers a competitive package – ReadyRoam. Pricing wise, it is expensive for Asia (S$20 per 1GB) but competitive (S$35 per 1GB) for USA and Europe. It has the advantage of not being tied to your statement date unlike m1. The list of countries included is more limited though.

The problem with the m1 data passport is having to be mindful of the monthly statement rollover date. If the rollover date happens during your trip, you’ll be paying the monthly data passport subscription fee twice, which is terrible. You could be paying for two months of subscription for 2 days of usage in the worst case.

Continue reading Best travel prepaid data deal on earth