Grab upsizes their Grabpay $30 promotion to $8 off rides!

Grab has upped the stakes in their weekly promotion trying to promote Grabpay, an initiative they are building in the likes of Alipay and TenPay as a vertically integrated payments system.

Last week they reduced the top up quantum to $30 from $50, this week, they’ve increased the promotional discount to $8 for 4 rides in a day for that week.

Top up at least $30 worth of GrabPay Credits this weekend to get $8* off rides all week

Starbucks 23 June Free Tall Frapp First come first serve and 50% after

Quite a self explanatory deal to be combo-ed with your existing Starbucks techniques. The 50% is good too with any combo if you can’t make it for the first 10 at your neighboring starbucks. Guess there would be a queue between 3pm to 5pm

'Tis the season to sip on Frappuccinos. From 3-5pm, 23 Jun, first 10 customers to flash this in stores (at each store),…

Posted by Starbucks Singapore on Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Swensen’s 1 for 1: Main Course Week 19-25 June with App

For the month of June, Swensen’s has a series of various 1 for 1s to promote their new mobile app. Naturally, the 1 for 1 you want to look out for are the main courses. This week is such a week, so you can probably pop by for barramudis, steaks, or the various Swensen’s course that suits your fancy, or when you dine with a friend looking for halal selections!

If their main courses isn’t to your fancy, you can go for their usual 1 for 1 desserts on the off week.

The Parable of the Prime Minister and the Monk: Budget Hacking Philosophies (Entering the Antifrugal)

*loosely paraphrased and adapted

The Prime Minister and the Monk were childhood friends before they went their separate ways. Many years later, they bumped into each other again.

The Prime Minister, garbed in grand robes, pitied the scrawny, scruffy monk before him. “My old friend, if you would but cater to the king, you would not have to live on rice and beans”

To which the monk responded, “My old friend, if you could but live on rice and beans, you would not have to cater to any king”.

The short parable cleanly shows two approaches to life. That of the prime minister, who has the influence over the corporeal but is stuck in the treadmill of the rat race; and then the monk, who is beholden to no one but at the cost of detachment.

In trying to change the world, one cannot act in a vacuum; yet the threat of the rat race and keeping with the joneses will always severely inhibit one’s ability to make a difference. Be it Steve Jobs, Philip Knight (Nike) or Walt Disney, drawing existence from dreams and visions takes exertion and dogged determination to bring the intangible into the present.

Everyone has their own goals & path in life. Even should it not involve business, thinking of yourself as a startup or small business heading towards your wants, dreams or ambitions will go a ways towards optimizing the resources you have available at hand for your use.

Budget hacking reduces your financial exposure, increasing your resilience against being beholden to anyone, allowing you the financial gunpowder to stick true to your principles (ethical &/or philosophical) or to build your own temple (be it your business/hobby/family)

The world today is in a state of technological upheaval, shifting bargaining powers & decentralization eroding consolidation of powers. New possibilities abounds at every corner, crushing old industries and established incumbents. Quantitative Easing at every turn by Central Banks has starved hedge funds and venture capital into a bloodied frenzy for yield. Much as a cartel manipulated oil price heralded the advent of shale oil technologies that completed the circle torpedoing its price, cash flush startups challenge monopolies and incumbents with abandon. (As Uber sieges taxi medallions, Airbnb hotel lease rights)

This is all an unprecedented reforging of social-political-economic playing fields ; Uber and Grab locally acts as counterweights against salary lowballing by the famously named SMEs in a country without minimum wage.

The vast flush of very real monopoly money allows you to tap on VC funds, froth and largess, channeling it for your own devices and developments.

Defending against your financial expenses and tending to the garden of your temple will go towards building your antifragility in the roller coaster of modern living.

The Antifrugal

As Taleb describes his antifragility; the fragile is that which breaks upon impact, the robust/resilient that which survives the impact, and the antifragile that which grows stronger upon impact.

To understand Antifrugality accordingly: the prime minister/spendthrift bleeds money through every orrifice keeping up with the jonses, the monk/scrooge bleeds money as a rock would (the blood comes from the hand gripping it), the Antifrugal/Budget Hacker grows stronger channeling the excesses of venture capital.

As the banks made taxpayers foot the bill in 2008-2011, the Antifrugal channels this path in the opposite direction.

Learning the strategies of tapping into marginalities will go towards becoming your own sovereign individual, an unbeholden temple exerting the realization of your own goals. In exerting against the world, you have your own balance sheet, your own cashflow considerations, accruals/assets and liabilities/writedowns. The better you restructure your temple, the stronger you will be in sticking to your core principles (ethical or philosophical) in the face of pressures peer or otherwise. You will become unbeholden to the treadmill.

Identify the key essence of your quality of life, and push the costs to the hedge funds while you channel the value generation and/or savings into your main goal in your life. The overarching strategy is to channel the hedge fund froth into subsidizing your own temple, whichever purpose you may bring your mind to bear.

As a friend puts it, Uber and Grab will be the easiest Venture Capital/Hedge fund monies you will ever take.

Financial firepower with zen expenditure is not just about money, it is about the antifragility and resilience to stick to your principles, or hunker down waiting for a better moment to strike. It will also hopefully, with time and effort, build the foundation of your temple to better reach your goals and aims.

Haagen Daaz Ice Cream Latte 1 for 1

Haagen Daaz has a new promo to promote their line of ice cream lattes, which are $6.80 before taxes. Using illy coffee (farrr better than nespresso), a dopping of ice cream from the tub (to be whisked) and a pinch of milk, you can choose between a hot latte or a more dessert-like cold ice cream latte.

Mid-week treat for you & a friend with our Buy 1 Get 1 Free Flavoured Lattes! Available for both dine-in or take away on Wednesdays & Thursday for the month of June.Enjoy 😉

Posted by Häagen-Dazs on Monday, June 12, 2017

The macademia, being from the ice cream, has the actual nuts swimming about in the latte.

This makes another contender for the already promotion heavy school holiday of June; Grab’s grabpay spam, Starbucks perennial 1 for 1s, Ramen Extravaganza, and some imminent card promotions

Spate of Ramen Promos June 2017

Ippudo Opening Promo 1 for 1 (14 June)

IPPUDO is opening at Tanjong Pagar Centre!! To celebrate this joyous occasion, we will be offering 1-for-1 ramen ALL DAY…

Posted by Ippudo SG on Thursday, June 8, 2017

Otoko Free Ramen 300 Bowls x 2 (19 June)

We thank you and appreciate your continuous support. To celebrate our 2 years anniversary and our new Kaneta Shoten…

Posted by Otoko Ramen on Sunday, June 11, 2017

J Passport; Menya Sakura, Santouka, 1 for 1 ramens/Free Birthday Ramen

Foie Gras Ramen 1-for-1, Premium Japanese Buffet, Free Flow Meat and Seafood from $5 and many more!

Posted by J Passport on Tuesday, June 13, 2017


Deal of the Month: May 2017 90c DBS Apple Pay

This particular promo was so good it ended after 4 days, 27 days less than the initial planned run.

The Deal: 90c Brackets for Starbucks (Single Drink), Toastbox (Toast Set), Uber (Single Ride)

Eligibility: Applepay (again iPhone)

This promo basically hit all the right spots for a budget hacker. In terms of the bare essentials: you will want to cover accommodation, travel and food.

While you won’t be seeing 90 cents rent anytime soon (unless AirBnB?), arguably the miles goes towards it, though it’s unlikely you will reach the minimum threshold for computation. Rents and Mortgage instalments have other monetization methods not yet covered.

Back to the main topic; the 90 cent combo wombo covers your typical day. Wake up early in the morning to take a 90 cent uber to work (covered up til $10) eat a heavy 90 cent Toast box toast set breakfast and takeaway a 90 cent Starbucks rainbow Unicorn Frapp (terrible choice, please get something else). If you’ve been hitting the gym and need tons of protein, you can repeat the Toast Set against for lunch and the mini meals. You can also buy 90 cent Starbucks for your friends or colleagues.

If you’re really looking for some punishment, you can do this for the entire day: 90 cent uber ride to work, 90 cent breakfast, 90 cent lunch, 90 cent starbucks, 90 cent dinner, taking the train/bus home $1.23? So about $5.73 for a semi luxurious protein filled diet. That would be $179 for the month for your expenses. And that is before your credit card points/rebates kick in.

(Also, you can shopback $0.20 the first uber ride of the day, cutting $6 off)

One more technique could be using a base uber ride with promotion code for the morning ride, and the apple pay 90 cent for the home bound trip.

And you can use it for the pricey Starbucks Reserve offerings too:

Too bad this one didn’t last, but I guess it pays (literally) to keep a close watch on Apple Pay promotions.

Deal of the Month: Apr 2017 $2 off Starbucks

There was actually two DBS Applepay promos in this month, but the key to generation would be the unlimited $2 off transaction Apple Pay promo.

(Generally, great promos have some element of unlimitedness for combo or value extraction) (Keep in mind, like airmiles, promos aren’t free, there is usually a policy rationale or marketing gimmick involved)

The Deal: $2 off Starbucks with minimum transaction size of $2
The Catch: Applepay (means you need an iphone)

This promotion is actually quite common (along with the Starbucks $2 off if you use x payment)

The trick is to have the right credit card (or debit card) everytime it swings around, along with a Starbucks membership card (it’s okay if it’s not gold as this will push it along).

Note that if you don’t drink coffee, the Starbucks Teavana series is not an effective way to get your tea fix. If you like western teas/infusions, you’re not gonna get your rooibos or darjeeling, if you’re a bubble tea person tough luck, an eastern tea person? no tieguanyin or dahongpao for you.

You’ll also need to be okay with Starbucks food, because that is the most effective use of rewards. At Gold level (don’t worry if you are not, interim green rewards have a good stepladder), every $60 of card spending gets you a free drink or food item the latter of which can redeem an $11.90 smoked salmon wrap. Like Airmiles for business/first class, you can value it at $6 for a smoked salmon wrap elsewhere, or at face value of $11.90, so that’s your implied return of 10-20%. The alternative redemption method is to pop by a full Starbucks Reserve and have a sip from their fancy siphon brews, which would otherwise set you back $10++ possibly.

With that set, you can top up $10 at a time to the starbucks card, getting 10 Starbucks points, $2 off via Applepay promo and the presiding DBS/Posb card promotion (the DBS Debit would be 5% cashback off cashless transactions; an Altitude card would be miles etc). This pares it down to about $5.60 for $10 in Starbucks face value. When combined with the very common 1 for 1 promotions, this knocks it down to $2.80 per $10 drink, or $2.52 per $9 venti drink. You can see that as a 72% discount off face value.

There is also another straight method for knocking the $2s, use the presiding promotion to get a Brewed Coffee, cutting it from $3.70 to $1.70 upon which your card promo kicks in. You get your coffee below Toastbox base $1.80 pricing. You can then customize your brewed coffee into the usual mixes by requesting milk and so on. (I would take it black, but its a cheap milk coffee) One more avenue is the $2 Short Brewed Coffee at certain full Starbucks Reserve. The Short size is a “hidden” menu in most Starbucks around the world including Singapore. (it’s however an open size in Japan)

Deal of the Month: Mar 2017 Free GrabPremiums

The deal of this month would have been the free Grab Premium Rides.

The Deal: $15 off GrabPremium rides, which starts from $15
Eligibility: All; 5:30pm to 10:30pm

You can see where we are going with this, just make sure your trip falls into the $15 mark. Taking it further, some people will rebook to try and get the same BMW.

What people don’t really pick up is that they would think have a mercedes or bmw chauffeur is overly expensive, but due to the pricing mechanism Grab Premium is not too far away from a normal flagdown taxi at peak. The base $15 actually covers about 3-4 MRT stops, and it gets me to Nex from Eunos/Paya Lebar (without surge pricing) for $17-$15 = 2 via the Bartley end.

And yes then you can rebook for multiple destinations. I’ve not had any success getting the same vehicle lol. Don’t cross the ERP however as you would be out of pocket for that. You can also use this to dodge Grab’s own surge pricing as Premium is less likely to surge.

The cars you get range from the Airport Limos: Toyota Alphard and Velfire, to Mercedes C E S (I think I got a Mercedes S Maybach), the usual Audis A3,5 etc to the usual BMW 3s and 5s. They are usually pulled from the Airport Transfer companies, so you get their cars as well as their bosses, the occasional Sales day job rep in his Jaguar or an Insurance/Property agent in an Audi.

Unfortunately, all cars are the same to me so I suppose I would not be eking out full utility. YMMV, literally.