Khamis, September 30, 2010

Kaut RM30 juta anjur skim kutu

Oleh Syah Rul Aswari Abdullah, mymetro, 2010/09/29

SHAH ALAM: Sepasang suami isteri dihadapkan ke Mahkamah Majistret di sini, semalam, atas tuduhan menganjurkan pelaburan wang kutu menggunakan wang pos dinamakan Program Ekspres yang dikatakan sudah mencatatkan keuntungan kira-kira RM30 juta hasil penyertaan 30,000 ahli.
DISAMAN...Sabbri dan isterinya, Rahimah keluar dari Mahkamah Majistret Shah Alam, semalam.
DISAMAN...Sabbri dan isterinya, Rahimah keluar dari Mahkamah Majistret Shah Alam, semalam.
Sabbri Yusof, 49 dan isterinya, Rahimah Rahim, 39, pemilik World Heritage Resources, bagaimanapun mengaku tidak bersalah selepas saman ke atas mereka dibacakan di hadapan Majistret Hafizah Abdul Rajak.

Kedua-duanya didakwa menggunakan syarikat milik mereka untuk menganjurkan pelaburan wang kutu sedangkan syarikat itu berdaftar dengan Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) sebagai ejen komisen wang.

Mereka didakwa menjalankan Program Ekspres yang menyalahi Akta Kumpulan Wang Kutu 1971 di antara 1 Disember 2008 hingga 29 April lalu.

Pasangan itu berasal dari Kuala Lumpur disaman mengikut Seksyen 3 akta berkenaan yang memperuntukkan hukuman denda tidak melebihi RM5,000 atau penjara maksimum tiga tahun atau kedua-duanya jika disabitkan kesalahan.

Dalam prosiding semalam, pendakwaan diwakili Pegawai Pendakwa SSM, Steve Chin Yun Cheong, manakala pasangan terbabit tidak diwakili peguam. Hafizah menetapkan 2 November depan sebagai tarikh sebutan semula kes itu.
Tindakan terhadap syarikat itu susulan serbuan serentak dilakukan SSM terhadap tiga syarikat perniagaan yang dipercayai menganjurkan program pelaburan wang kutu dengan kaedah wang pos.

Selain World Heritage Resources milik Sabbri dan Rahimah, dua lagi syarikat dijangka berdepan tindakan undang-undang oleh SSM.

Aktiviti syarikat terbabit melanggar akta yang melarang orang perseorangan, perniagaan atau syarikat daripada menganjurkan program kutu seumpama itu.

Menurut suruhanjaya itu, berdasarkan maklumat, ada pelbagai pakej ditawarkan penganjur program merangkumi pelbagai pelan pelaburan.

Sebagai contoh, Pelan A Platinum mensyaratkan peserta membuat pelaburan RM312, Pelan A Emas (RM100), Pelan A Perak (RM50), Pelan B Platinum Bijak (RM396.50) dan Pelan B Emas Bijak (RM136.50).

Difahamkan, siasatan suruhanjaya mendapati World Heritage Resources yang beroperasi sejak akhir 2008 mendapat sambutan hebat di kalangan pelabur Bumiputera sehingga ada peserta melabur sehingga RM300,000.

Driver lured by promise of windfall in business venture

Wednesday September 29, 2010

By SEREAN LAU
sereanlau@thestar.com.my

KUALA LUMPUR: He was promised a windfall by a business partner and in exchange, Lim Seik Kuang signed bank forms and even masqueraded as a “big boss” in front of bank officers.

For his troubles, the 51-year-old lorry driver, whose monthly pay cheque is RM2,500, is now the listed owner of four cars – a BMW X5, a Volvo S80, a Honda Accord and a Myvi 1.3 – and a guarantor in the purchase of a RM500,000 Porsche Cayenne. And he is also RM1.6mil in debt, excluding interest.

Lim only realised that he had been duped when he received an SMS reminding him that he had defaulted on a car loan instalment.

“How can that be when I only have one lorry. I went to check with the Road Transport Department and was shocked when told that I owned four cars.
The full tally: Chong and Lim (right) showing the numerous debts that the lorry driver had chalked up as (from left) Vijay and Fernandez listen. Seated are department legal advisors Quek Ngee Meng (left) and Ivan Chen.

“I then checked with Bank Negara and was in a bigger shock when I learned that I am more than RM1.6mil in debt,” he said at the MCA Public Services and Complaint Department yesterday.

Apart from the car loans, Lim is listed as having eight credit cards with a debt of over RM160,000 and taken up 12 personal loans amounting to almost RM500,000.

Lim, who has since lodged a police report against his business partner known as Ong, said he was paid between RM200 and RM300 each time he was taken to the banks to sign forms.

Ong, he claimed, had also asked him to change the correspondence address on his MyKad to his (Ong’s) address when they started their business ventures two years ago and that was why he never realised that his name was being used to secure various loans.

“I was foolish to trust him. I even gave him my house grant recently.”

Lim, who was accompanied by his two neighbours Vijay Indran and Alex Marshall Fernandez, said he did not question Ong much each time he was asked to sign the form as he thought it was a normal procedure to start a business venture.

He said there were times when Ong instructed him to “act” as a big boss at one of the fruit stalls in Lorong Haji Taib when bank officers came to do their checks on him.

Lim said he had confronted Ong in Cheras after receiving the SMS about the car loan but Ong claimed innocence, saying he was only the middle man in the whole venture.

Ong has since disappeared.

Department chief Datuk Michael Chong said this was just the tip of the iceberg and believed there were many more similar cases.

“I urge the police to conduct a detailed investigation on this matter and Bank Negara to do an internal audit to find out how Lim was deemed qualified to have loans ranging from RM17,000 to RM500,000 with 13 financial institutions in less than three years.” said Chong, who believed it was the job of a syndicate.

Chong said two of his legal advisers would assist in Lim’s case.

Rabu, September 29, 2010

Spending on Happiness

Can money buy you happiness? Yes—so long as you spend the money on someone else. According to new research, giving other people even as little as $5 can lead to increased well-being for the giver.
That's the insight into the secret of happiness by HBS professor Michael Norton and two colleagues from the University of British Columbia, Elizabeth Dunn and Lara Aknin. Their article, "Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness," appeared in the March 21, 2008 issue of Science.

"Intentional activities—practices in which people actively and effortfully choose to engage—may represent a promising route to lasting happiness. Supporting this premise, our work demonstrates that how people choose to spend their money is at least as important as how much money they make," the researchers explain.
"Our findings suggest that very minor alterations in spending allocations—as little as $5 in our final study—may be sufficient to produce non-trivial gains in happiness on a given day."
Norton and colleagues found these results to hold in three different studies: a nationally representative survey, a field study of windfall spending, and an exploration in which participants were randomly assigned to spend money on others rather than themselves.

http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/5944.html

Ahad, September 26, 2010

Keeping tabs on your household debt




Written by Lim Siew May   
Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:12

Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) recent proposals to reduce loan-to-value ratio for residential mortgages, being stricter on the eligibility and number of credit cards owned, as well as reducing the limit of personal loans suggests that our nation’s household debt level may need a reality check. As at mid-2010, household debt is around 76% to 77% of our GDP, says a recent Citi Investment Research and Analysis (CIRA) report. The figure is reported to average around 67% from 2005 to 2008.

In this modern life, everyone is looking to enjoy an enhanced lifestyle, notes Sean Lee, Group CEO of Oscar Wealth Advisory Sdn Bhd. One common mistake people make now is to own something that they “want”, and not what they “need”, added Lee.

KC Lau, author of Top Money Tips for Malaysians, says that most people only realise that they have gotten into unbearable debts when the situation becomes too severe. “If several loan instalments have been defaulted for three months and credit cards are maxed out, it is quite late to look into the matters at this stage,” he said.

How do you keep tabs on your household debt? There are a few formulas to help you assess if you’re borrowing within your means, says financial practitioners.

According to chartered financial consultant Adrian Ho, as a rule of thumb, a healthy debt-to-asset ratio is one that does not exceed 50%. “Half of whatever we have (assets) should be funded by our own money, while the other half, may be funded by ‘other people’s money’ (debts),” he says. In other words, if you decide to purchase a car, you should put down 50% of our own money and take out a loan for the remaining balance. Better still, buy it fully in cash if you can afford to, he added.
Ho
Ho
Lee
Lee
Lau
Lau
“If you start buying our home, cars, furniture and household appliances and all other gadgets and gizmos under the 10/90 formula or Zero-Percent Instalment Schemes, it may spell trouble,” he said.

Another method is to look at your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, which shows how high your debt is compared to your income, says Lee. “A low DTI ratio means you don’t spend much of your income paying debts.

Meanwhile, a high DTI ratio means most of your income is put towards paying off your debt, leaving you without very little to spend or save.”

Lee offered a scenario: Assuming Alex’s household monthly income amounts to RM4,000, while his monthly household debt payment amounts to RM1,800. Going by the formula of DTI ratio, one should divide RM1,800 by RM4,000, and then multiply it by 100 to come up with a percentage. In Alex’s case, his DTI ratio is 45%, which indicates potential financial trouble, Lee pointed out. “35% or less is the healthiest debt load for the majority of people,” said Lee. “50% or more is a dangerous ratio where one should be aggressively paying off your debts or even restructuring your debts.”

One way to keep your household debt under control is to pare down your debt by making extra income. “Consider doing some freelance work that suit you such as writing, teaching, selling property, insurance selling and even doing Internet business,” said Lee, adding that one can also sell unused or surplus household goods in exchange for some cash. “Learn how to invest in stocks, unit trust and alternative funds to overcome high interest loans,” he pointed out. “But, you should first make sure that you have a good understanding of the risks involved.”

In Lau’s view, one should have a default set of criteria to deal with debt problems. This would include not buying stuff on installment plans (with the exception of big ticket items like cars and properties), not stopping at the minimum required amount for your credit card bill, and making purchases on cash terms only, he said.

Meanwhile, Ho summed up his debt management tips in the acronym SMART “Stay focused on your needs not wants. Manage your cash flows based on your needs,” he says.

Ask yourself before buying anything whether you really need it. Restructure your debts to achieve healthy ratio. Think “debt-free” and you’d achieve it someday,” he concluded.

This article appeared on the Personal Finance page, The Edge Financial Daily, September 23, 2010.

Sabtu, September 25, 2010

Gold hits record, nears US$1,300

LONDON: Gold soared to record highs within a whisker of US$1,300 (US$1 = RM3.10) yesterday, dragging sister metal silver to a 30-year peak as investment demand propelled precious metals higher.

Gold prices struck a record US$1,299.90 an ounce in midday trade on the London Bullion Market as investors sought a safe haven for their money amid increased uncertainty over the global economic outlook.

Silver, meanwhile, jumped to US$21.41 an ounce - its highest level since October 1980.

"The underlying bullish trend in the gold market continues to be fuelled by the high level of uncertainty regarding the US and European economies," said SEB Commodity Research analyst Filip Petersson.


"Wealth preservation are the keywords.

"As long as we do not see a reduction in the uncertainty regarding the long-term economic outlook, gold prices will remain well-supported as the currency of choice for risk-averse investors."

He added that "the strategic view remains bullish (positive) and we expect prices above US$1,350 an ounce before the end of the year." Gold and silver were also driven by keen demand from exchange traded funds (ETFs).

ETFs allow traders to invest money easily in commodities, without trading on the futures market. They are traded like shares and are regarded as an inexpensive and low-risk way of investing.

"Gold is fuelled by a combination of things," said Commerzbank analyst Daniel Briesemann.

"High investment demand can be seen in inflows into gold ETFs," added Briesmann.

"Some central banks in Asia are also diversifying their currency reserves further, even at the current high price levels.

"Furthermore, the general interest of investors is not waning and gold is sought for mainly as a 'stable currency'."

Gold also won support from the weakening US currency, which makes the dollar-priced metal cheaper for buyers using stronger currencies and so tends to stimulate demand and prices. - AFP

Read more: Gold hits record, nears US$1,300 http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/gold24/Article/index_html#ixzz10Vou8re1

Jumaat, September 24, 2010

We need more Muslim thinkers: Mahathir

Husna Yusop

newsdesk@thesundaily.com
PUTRAJAYA (Sept 24, 2010): Malaysia needs to produce more highly-capable and convincing Muslim thinkers to come out with the best alternative thinking and solution to the world problems and crisis.
Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the Muslim community must leave the rhetoric world and culture and shift to a more meaningful and practical approach.

"From the very beginning, the Quran encourages Muslims to think, study and do research. A lot is said in the Quran about this which has led to the many Muslim scholars and thinkers during the golden Islamic civilisation period. "However, the freedom to think in Islam is different from that of the West which does not have a limit,” he said.
Mahathir said this in his acceptance speech after being conferred with a Doctor of Philosophy (Hons) in Economics and Muamalat Administrations by Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) during its special convocation ceremony here today.

He said Muslims must be independent and capable of generating knowledge and technology as well as solutions to the various social, economic and international problems.
They should not be enslaved or dominated by Western ideas and thinking, he said.
"Muslims must change from being only users of existing knowledge and ideas to providers or explorer of knowledge or contributor of ideas which could be an alternative solution based on Islam.
"This generation of thinking based on religion must be the continuous focus and effort among Muslim scholars to come out with methods and solutions which could compete with the Western and conventional ideas and theories," he said.
Mahathir said although Western and conventional theories sometimes failed to provide the best solution, they could still conquer and influence global thinking in terms of social, economy, politics and finance.

He said without realising it, the world is facing a moral, social, political and economic crisis because it is too confined with the objectives and philosophy of the West.
"We now feel what we inherited from Islam and its teaching is not suitable and outdated. We feel inferior when faced with theories brought by Western thinkers which are not based on religion.
"From this Western philosophy of free thinking and individual freedom which are unlimited, people will lose direction and the actual objective in life."

Selasa, September 21, 2010

Taksub nak menang RM1.5 juta, lelaki kerugian RM62,000

KUALA LUMPUR 20 Sept. - Sukar dipercayai apabila seseorang sanggup membayar sejumlah wang yang besar semata-mata mahu jadi jutawan.

Bagaimanapun, itulah terjadi kepada seorang penyelia stor yang kerugian RM62,000 selepas ditipu 'Tok Guru' palsu, kononnya boleh memberi ramalan nombor ekor.
Segala-galanya bermula apabila mangsa, Lim Choon Leong, 50, menerima sehelai kertas iklan yang diletakkan di peti surat rumahnya awal bulan lalu menunjukkan kisah-kisah tentang kemampuan 'Tok Guru' itu membantu orang susah di Kedah dengan memberikan ramalan nombor ekor.
Dia kemudian menghubungi nombor telefon tertera pada iklan tersebut dan mengatur pertemuan dengan seorang lelaki yang hanya dikenali sebagai Tan di sebuah tokong terletak di Padang Terap, Kedah.
"Meskipun saya pernah terbaca berita-berita mangsa ditipu sami palsu, saya tetap ingin mencuba nasib dan sangat berhati-hati," katanya pada sidang akhbar di Wisma MCA di sini hari ini.
Pertemuan yang diaturkan pada 8 Ogos lalu bagaimanapun tidak menjadi apabila Tan tidak dapat hadir dengan alasan ada hal kecemasan.
"Tan bagaimanapun menelefon dan memaklumkan saya sekiranya ikhlas, 'Tok Guru' boleh membantu saya tanpa perlu bertemu dengan syarat saya membuat bayaran RM180 yang bertujuan untuk upacara sembahyang.
"Selepas saya membuat bayaran itu, saya dijanjikan ramalan satu nombor dan akan dikirimkan menerusi kurier ke alamat rumah saya," kata mangsa yang sudah berkahwin dan mempunyai dua anak.
Menurut mangsa, pada 23 Ogos, dia menerima kurier mengandungi nombor 4469 yang memenangi hadiah utama dua hari sebelum itu.
Berikutan itu, Choon Leong menjadi yakin bahawa ramalan sami itu tepat, cuma menyangka kurier yang sepatutnya diperolehi pada 20 Ogos, tiba lewat empat hari kemudian.
"Tanpa menyedari muslihat Tan, dia sekali lagi menghubungi saya, kali ini menjanjikan saya akan diberi lagi ramalan nombor, namun diperlukan membuat bayaran setiap hari mengikut permintaannya.
"Secara berperingkat-peringkat sehingga 4 September, saya telah mendepositkan sebanyak RM62,000 dan wang itu datangnya daripada simpanan, meminjam dengan saudara malah separuh daripadanya saya pinjam daripada ah long," ujar Choon Leong.`

Isnin, September 20, 2010

It's possible to have an economic meal

Monday September 20, 2010, By S. INDRAMALAR, startwo@thestar.com.my

The challenge: To cook dinner for four for one week, at less than RM10 per meal.

The caveat: The RM10 ceiling does not include staples like rice, flour, noodles, pasta, cooking oil, sugar and seasoning.

The point: We don’t have to spend a fortune on healthy, tasty meals.

FOOD is a necessity and good food should be everyone’s right; we really shouldn’t have to pay luxury prices for daily meals. The reality, however, is that food prices are steadily rising and a head of broccoli that used to cost RM3 a year ago now goes for about RM6 in the Klang Valley (and that’s broccoli from China, more expensive if it is from Australia), while a 250g block of butter can cost anywhere between RM6 and RM12.

As a result, we end up paying an awful lot for our meat and potatoes, and it’s not unusual for households (with children and/or pets) to spend more than RM1,000 a month just on groceries. Lawyer Jacqueline Lee admits to being a “chronic over-spender” when it comes to groceries, claiming she needs help to reboot her shopping system. “I live with my husband and I easily spend about RM800 every month just on edibles for the both of us. I do most of my shopping after work which means I only shop at supermarkets. I don’t shop for the week; instead, I go to the supermarket three or four times and buy just what I need for, maybe, two dinners. I definitely know I am overspending and I welcome help,” says Lee who lives in Puchong, Selangor.
She isn’t the only one. A random survey among friends and colleagues revealed a general sense of discontent about grocery spending. Determined to find a way to eat cheaply but well, I decided to impose a food budget on myself. After all, there is enough literature offering consumers tips on how to manage spending, specifically on foodstuff.

I decided to compile these tips and put them to the test: would they really help stretch my ringgit (without having to sacrifice my appetite) or do they just sound good in theory? I set a target and I set it high: RM10 for a meal for four. If I could stick to this, I’d be spending an average of RM300 a month on food – quite an amazing feat, if successful.To be fair, pantry staples like rice, flour, dried noodles, pasta, spices and seasonings, oils and sauces weren’t included in the budget as most homes are (or should be) well-stocked.

Also to make it more practical, I shopped for a week’s worth of groceries at the wet market and averaged the spending: RM70 for seven dinners. I bought:
> 1kg chicken (RM7.50)
> 20 eggs (RM7)
> 1kg spinach (RM2)
> 1kg kangkung (RM1.50)
> 1 packet of oyster mushrooms (RM2.69)
> 1kg potatoes (RM2.20)
> 4 pieces tofu (RM2.40)
> beansprouts (RM1)
> 2 cucumbers (RM1.30)
> 1kg fish (RM10.90)
> 1 head of lettuce (RM4.40)
> 1kg tomatoes (RM4.30)
> parsley (RM4)
> 2 grated coconuts (RM2)
> 500g anchovies (RM9)
> 2 blocks tempeh (RM3.20)
> 2 carrots (RM1)
> 500g dried chickpeas (RM3)
That brought the total to RM69.39. I also got a handful of red and green chillies and the vendor threw in some complimentary scallions – one of the benefits of shopping at a wet market.

The results were astounding. Not only did I reduce my grocery bill by half, I actually started eating more healthy and varied meals. All it took was a little planning and some discipline, although to be honest, it was a little hard-going in the beginning.Sticking to a budget means no impulse buys. Making a weekly shopping list meant I had to plan my meals ahead for the week. Finding the cheapest alternatives meant I had to scout around for the best prices instead of just popping over to the nearest supermarket. Once I did the legwork though, it was easy. RM10 may seem a paltry sum but it’s actually enough to cook a hearty dinner.

Dinner 1: Nasi lemak with chicken curry
> One-third of the chicken
> 1 cucumber
> One-third of the anchovies
> 4 tomatoes
> One of the grated coconuts (to extract coconut milk)

Dinner 2: Chicken burgers with homemade fries
> One-third of the chicken (mincing the breast meat and combining it with breadcrumbs, onions, flour and seasonings)
> Half the potatoes (sliced and fried)
> Lettuce

Dinner 3: Rice with three dishes
> Chicken korma (using the balance of the chicken)
> Kangkung
> Carrots
> Oyster mushrooms, stir-fried

Dinner 4: Fried mee hoon
> 4 eggs
> 2 pieces tofu
> A quarter of the beansprouts and scallions

Dinner 5: Egg briyani
> 4 eggs
> 1 carrot
> The remaining potatoes
> 4 tomatoes
> 2 pieces of tofu

Dinner 6: Rice with three dishes
> Fried fish
> Spinach
> 1 block tempeh
> Chickpea curry

Dinner 7: Fried rice
> 4 eggs
> Scallions
> A quarter of the anchovies
> 1 carrot
> 2 tomatoes

Balance: 300g fish, a couple of tomatoes, 1 block tempeh, 250g chickpeas, 1 cucumber and half the beansprouts.

Learn to shop smart with savvy planning

We can get all our grocery shopping done and still have change to spare.  NUDGING your way through a wet market will yield you cheap and fresh produce. But if the crowds and dankness of a pasar is not your thing, all is not lost. There are many, many ways to save money on groceries.
Just ask Rohani Jelani, chef, food writer and founder of the Bayan Indah Culinary Resort in Kampung Sungai Penchala, Selangor, who avoids shopping at hypermarkets, no matter how good the bargains may be.
“Although many people flock to hypermarkets for big bargains, I’m not a big fan. I find hypermarkets impersonal and soulless. I dislike shops which are so big, you have to push your cart around for miles to locate any particular item. I am usually in a hurry and I find that shopping in these huge warehouses much more time-consuming than popping into a smaller supermarket where everything is basically at arm’s length.”

Rohani, who admits that she isn’t always price-conscious when shopping for produce (“I do have a tendency to value quality over price”), says she finds other ways to save instead.‘I tend to buy from the same shopkeepers and  stall holders because I believe in creating relationships with people I do business with. I know them and they know me, and usually this is enough to ensure that they always give me their best goods at their best prices,’ says Rohani Jelani.

“I’m quite a creature of habit and tend to buy from the same shopkeepers and stall holders for years and years because I believe in creating relationships with people I do business with. I know them and they know me, and usually this is enough to ensure that they always give me their best goods at their best prices,” she shares.

Go online and you will find numerous tips on how you can save. For example, www.fivecentnickel.com advises shoppers to avoid shopping on an empty stomach – hungry shoppers are apparently more likely to load up on snacks and unnecessary food items. Another site, ezinearticles.com warns shoppers not to focus on produce that are at eye level. “Products placed at eye level are usually the most expensive. Before grabbing the first item you see, take a few seconds to look at the upper and lower shelves.”

While there are many useful tips available online, the basic good practices when it comes to shopping smart are age-old habits that reflect good sense – things our parents and grandparents used to do.
Here’s a list of 10 easy things we can start with:

1. Set a budget.
Whether it’s RM50 or RM500, having a budget is the first step to saving money. With a budget, you know exactly how much you have to spend and you will be forced to shop accordingly. Want to challenge yourself further? Leave your credit cards at home and just go out with the amount you have allocated. Maybe bring RM10 extra, you know, for “too good to resist” deals.

2. Always make a shopping list.
Do so before you head out to the grocery store. This is so you don’t forget to buy an item and, more importantly, to discipline yourself to get only what you need. Browsing in a grocery store can be hazardous to your budget. If you don’t have a list, chances are you’ll be tempted to buy at least a dozen items you don’t need and probably won’t get around to using.
One money-saving tip when you’re cooking at home: cook for several meals at one go.

3. Plan your meals ahead.
This actually helps you to make a comprehensive shopping list. It sounds like an awful lot of work but if you plan your meals for the week before you go shopping, you will buy enough supplies to feed your family for that week without having to fork out more money mid-week for last-minute purchases.

4. Cut back on meat.
Meat is expensive and we don’t really need to eat meat three meals a day, every day. Cook dishes like pasta or noodles where meat isn’t necessary. If you’re worried about your protein intake, you can get enough protein from beans, sprouts and tofu.

5. Timing is everything.
Do you know that grocers slash the prices of goods when they’re nearing their expiry date? And, things often go for less at closing time.
Fresh, unprocessed cheese is a good example. A block of good quality, imported cheese can easily set you back RM15 to RM20 and mess up your budget big time. We shouldn’t have to sacrifice the things we like to eat, so instead of skirting past the cheese counter, look out for those that are close to their expiration date – chances are they’ll be cheaper. Re-arrange your meals and use the cheese as soon as you can.

6. It’s where and when you shop.
It’s more convenient and comfortable to shop at the supermarket – they open all day (often as late 9pm), they’re clean and air-conditioned and parking is a cinch. But, a lot of the time, it’s more expensive to shop at a supermarket than at a wet market, hypermarket or neighbourhood sundry shop.
To illustrate my point: the supermarket price for a 450g can of dog food is between RM6.50 and RM6.90; the same product retails at RM6 at my neighbourhood sundry store. At 50 sen cheaper per can, I save RM7.50 a month (one can makes two dog dinners).
Having said that, not all wet markets are cheap and not everything in a hypermarket is a bargain. You have to do a little bit of homework. Visit a few wet markets and hypermarkets and suss out what is cheaper where.
There are several other plusses to shopping at a wet market. Prices are not net so there is room for bargaining and forging “goodwill” – if you build a rapport with the vendors (i.e. if you buy from them often enough and make friends with them), you often get better prices and sometimes they give you little things like chillies, scallions, celery and lime for free. You may scoff at the small quantity of these “free gifts” but often, all you need is a few pieces of chilli and a bit of celery. If you buy them at a supermarket, they are packaged in bulk and you are forced to buy more than you need.

7. Eat what’s in season.
Chef Rohani Jelani advises shoppers not to focus on beef, chicken, fish or prawns. Instead, she says, turn to ingredients which are plentiful and cheap.
“In this country, we have an almost unlimited year-long supply of fresh leafy greens, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, green beans, cauliflower and so on. Add to beans and pulses such as chickpeas and dhall, tofu, tempe and eggs, and you have all the makings of endless feasts.”

8. Make dried beans, eggs and tofu your friends.
Don’t recoil at the idea of eating beans and tofu! They’re wonderful sources of protein and if you know how to season them well and work them into a dish creatively, they can taste great.

9. Recycle.
Even meals can be recycled. Cooking chicken curry? Make a little extra and freeze it for another meal a few days later. You will save on ingredients and also gas and cooking time.

10. Stock up.
Essential items like noodles, rice, pasta, flour, cooking oil and spices can be bought in bulk ahead of time. Supermarkets always offer two-for-one deals on pasta (two packets of spaghetti for RM6.89, for example) and buying a huge packet of mee hoon which will keep for months is undeniably cheaper than buying a 250g packet every month. When you feel your budget is running astray, cook pasta/noodle dinners which are often cheaper but no less tasty.  

By S. Indramalar ,Lifestyle, TheStarOnline,Monday September 20, 2010

Labur luar negara mampu kurangkan risiko

PELBAGAIAN adalah prinsip pelaburan yang bertujuan mengurangkan risiko dengan melabur dalam pelbagai jenis pelaburan dan kelas-kelas aset. Dalam rencana ini, kami akan menunjukkan bagaimana pelabur unit amanah boleh mempelbagaikan pelaburan mereka dengan dana ekuiti luar negara sebagai sebahagian daripada portfolio mereka. 

Prinsip pelbagaian adalah langkah tidak meletakkan kesemua 'telur' yakni pelaburan anda pada satu tempat. Dalam istilah pelaburan, ia adalah kaedah mengurangkan risiko dengan cara mengagih-agihkan pelaburan anda dalam beberapa pasaran atau sektor.

Pelaburan luar negara adalah strategi berkesan untuk melindungi portfolio pelabur daripada kemerosotan yang mungkin berlaku dalam pasaran tunggal serta merupakan antara cara meningkatkan potensi pulangan mereka. Pelbagaian pelaburan merangkumi ekuiti asing boleh menolong mengurangkan risiko portfolio kerana pasaran dan ekonomi yang berlainan bergerak dalam kitaran yang berlainan. Oleh itu, dengan melabur dalam pelbagai pasaran dan bukannya satu pasaran sahaja, pelabur boleh mengurangkan kesan risiko yang khusus berkaitan dengan satu negara atau kawasan. Ini terutamanya benar dalam hal pasaran serantau yang merangkumi spektrum negara-negara sedang membangun yang berkembang dengan pantas dan negara-negara maju.

Faedah melabur dalam pasaran luar pesisir
Faedah utama melabur dalam pasaran luar pesisir adalah keupayaan pelabur memanfaatkan potensi pertumbuhan pasaran luar pesisir. Selain itu, pelabur juga mendapat akses pelaburan dalam lebih banyak syarikat berkualiti. Syarikat-syarikat ini, adalah cukup mantap dan mempunyai penguasaan pasaran yang kukuh manakala mereka yang sedang muncul pula memiliki potensi pertumbuhan kukuh. Oleh sebab permodalan pasaran kebanyakan syarikat yang tersenarai di peringkat antarabangsa adalah besar, maka melabur dalam pasaran luar pesisir juga membolehkan pelabur mendapat faedah daripada paras kecairan yang lebih tinggi.

Disebabkan kitaran pasaran saham dalam pasaran yang berlainan biasanya meruap dan sukar diramalkan, pelabur unit amanah dinasihatkan supaya mempelbagaikan pelaburan mereka dalam sebilangan pasaran yang menawarkan pelbagai jenis saham. Faedah pelbagaian dicapai apabila pergerakan pasaran yang berlainan tidak betul-betul berhubung kait antara satu sama lain. Bagaimanapun, sebelum mempertimbangkan jenis dana luar pesisir untuk melabur, pelabur unit amanah hendaklah menentukan peruntukan aset mereka yang sesuai berdasarkan profil risiko, objektif pelaburan dan keperluan kewangan mereka masing-masing.

Menyedari Risiko
Pelabur yang melabur dalam dana luar pesisir hendaklah menyedari tentang pelbagai risiko yang mungkin dihadapi oleh pelaburan mereka. Risiko ini termasuk yang berikut:

Risiko Pasaran
Pembelian ekuiti merupakan satu risiko kerana harga saham-saham yang mendasari Nilai Aset Bersih (NAB) dana turun naik sebagai reaksi kepada banyak faktor seperti aktiviti syarikat individu dan pasaran am atau keadaan ekonomi.

Risiko Kecairan
Risiko kecairan didefinisikan sebagai keupayaan sesuatu sekuriti itu untuk dijual dengan mudah dan cepat atau hampir dengan nilai berpatutan bergantung pada jumlah dagangan yang diniagakan di pasaran. Jika dana unit amanah mempunyai portfolio sekuriti yang besar serta kurang cair atau sukar dijual, sekuriti mungkin dijual pada harga yang lebih rendah daripada nilai berpatutan, dengan itu menjejaskan nilai dana unit amanah.

Risiko Mata Wang
Sekiranya satu mata peratusan daripada nilai dana dilaburkan dalam mata wang asing atau aset dalam mata wang asing, nilainya mungkin terdedah kepada risiko turun naik mata wang. Turun naik mata wang dalam kadar pertukaran asing mempengaruhi nilai pelaburan asing dana apabila ditukar kepada mata wang tempatan dan kemudiannya memberi kesan kepada nilai pelaburan pemegang unit.

Risiko Negara
Pelaburan dana di luar negara mungkin dipengaruhi oleh perubahan dalam keadaan politik dan ekonomi negara di mana pelaburan dibuat. Faktor-faktor politik dan ekonomi tersebut boleh mempengaruhi pertumbuhan dan pembangunan perusahaan perniagaan dan memberi kesan kepada harga saham syarikat-syarikat tersenarai.

Dana luar pesisir boleh pelbagaikan portfolio anda
Secara umumnya, portfolio pelaburan yang pelbagai terdiri daripada pelaburan dalam negara dan serantau boleh mencapai potensi pulangan lebih tinggi daripada portfolio yang tertumpu kepada satu pasaran sahaja. Ini kerana pasaran-pasaran tidak bergerak seiringan disebabkan oleh perbezaan kecairan, struktur ekonomi dan prospek perolehan korporat masing-masing.

Portfolio pelbagai yang diuruskan dengan baik dan mengandungi ekuiti tempatan dan serantau boleh menawarkan pulangan lebih tinggi kerana pasaran dengan prospek pertumbuhan yang lebih kukuh mempunyai kewajaran lebih tinggi dan pasaran dengan potensi pertumbuhan lebih perlahan pula adalah memiliki kewajaran rendah.

Sehubungan itu, pelbagaian pelaburan ke dalam pasaran luar pesisir memberikan peluang untuk menyertai dalam prospek pertumbuhan jangka panjang pasaran serantau. Walau bagaimanapun, adalah penting bagi anda memahami risiko yang terlibat sebelum anda menyebarkan pelaburan anda ke dalam pasaran antarabangsa. Melabur untuk jangka panjang dan menggunakan pemurataan kos Ringgit boleh menolong pelabur mengurangkan sesetengah risiko melabur dalam pasaran luar pesisir.

Rencana ini disumbangkan oleh Public Mutual Berhad, syarikat unit amanah swasta yang terbesar di Malaysia. Untuk maklumat lanjut, sila dail Talian Perkhidmatan Pelanggan Public Mutual di 03-6207 5000 atau layari www.publicmutual.com.my.

Limit on credit cards

PETALING JAYA (Sept 19, 2010): In a bid to keep household debt under control, Bank Negara Malaysia will impose new guidelines to make it harder for consumers to obtain and own credit cards.

A senior bank official told theSun that the new rules, to be unveiled in Budget 2011, will restrict the number of credit cards per consumer and allow only those with a yearly income above RM24,000 eligible to own a credit card.

“We are looking at two main aspects -- increasing the income level required for a credit card and restricting the number of credit cards per consumer,” said the official.

TheSun learnt that under the new rule, a consumer can only own credit cards from two banks of their choice while the minimum income limit to qualify for a credit card will be increased from the current RM18,000 per annum.

“This will tighten credit card spending as many in the lower income category and below the ages of 30 have been blacklisted and declared bankrupt due to increasing debts,” said the official.
“The move will also prevent consumers from holding a string of credit cards and cap their spending limit.

“The rationale is simple. If you are in the low income category, you should not own several credit cards and spend more than what you can afford. It is becoming increasingly easy for fresh graduates and the newly-employed to obtain credit cards.

"Most of them, upon obtaining their card, go on spending spree without taking into account the interest rates and late repayment charges," said the official.

"Over several months, the amount snowballs and the card holder is unable to service his debt, resulting in blacklisting and bankruptcy when the debts cross the RM30,000 mark.

"The new rules will curb this kind of practices by card holders, especially those below 30 years," said the official.

BNM is in the last stages of finalising details with banks and the relevant authorities before the rules become effective. It is learnt that the new rules when Budget 2011 is tabled in Parliament next month.

As of July, there are 7.9 million principal cards in circulation nationwide with outstanding balances for three months and below of RM1.96 billion.

Outstanding balances for six months and above stood at RM69.5 million.

Based on data from Bank Negara, there are 218,561bankruptcy cases as of June, out of which 4,417 were for failure to settle credit card debts.

Last year, 407 credit card holders were declared bankrupt.

In Budget 2010 unveiled in October last year, the government imposed an annual service tax of RM50 for every principal credit card and RM25 for every supplementary card with effect from January.

Following the move, there was a 18% drop in principal cards in circulation and a 17% decline in supplementary cards.

At present, credit card limits are set at a bank’s discretion with first time applicants usually given limits of 2.5 to three times their monthly income.

It is easy to qualify for a credit card, with some banks even providing pre-approved credit cards for consumers, based on their basic salary and credit ratings. Some banks offer credit cards to consumers immediately after they take up a hire-purchase car loan. -- theSun

Jumaat, September 17, 2010

Impak ekonomi hari raya





Menjelang 1 Syawal, pekan dan bandar di seluruh negara sesak dengan kenderaan anak rantau yang pulang berhari raya di kampung halaman.




Ramadan berlalu, Syawal pula menjelang sejak beberapa hari yang lalu. Semasa artikel ini ditulis, tentunya masih ramai yang sedang meraikan hari raya di kampung dan tentu juga ramai yang membuat persiapan khususnya warga kota yang berhari raya di kampung bertolak kembali ke Kuala Lumpur atau bandar-bandar lain yang menjadi tempat mereka meraih rezeki.
Selepas itu, tentulah suasana berhari raya di Kuala Lumpur akan berterusan sehingga ke penghujung bulan Syawal. Mungkin ada juga terlajak sehingga ke minggu pertama bulan Zulkaedah.
Saya sengaja menulis tentang suasana Syawal dan kaitan impaknya ke atas ekonomi kita secara menyeluruh. Di sini, terdapat tiga penyumbang kepada kesan ekonomi, pertamanya ialah perbelanjaan keluar, keduanya adalah pendapatan masuk dan yang ketiga, produktiviti menyeluruh akibat daripada perayaan ini.

Tentunya ia turut menyentuh pelbagai kesan mikro dan makro yang berlaku di antara keduanya. Rumusan ini hanya berdasarkan pengamatan mata kasar seorang yang bukan ahli ekonomi. Analisis dibuat secara rambang yang mungkin boleh dikaji dengan lebih mendalam oleh pakar-pakar yang berminat.
Penyumbang pertama iaitu perbelanjaan keluar. Daripada perjalanan sehingga kepada perbelanjaan untuk mengadakan majlis kenduri besar-besaran. Cerita tentang balik kampung menjadi penyumbang besar kepada perbelanjaan sempena hari raya. Sekiranya diambil kira hanya dalam masa dua hari sebelum raya, kenderaan yang memenuhi jalan raya sudah mencecah hampir tiga juta yang bersimpang siur ke mana-mana destinasi seluruh negara.

Sekiranya sebuah kenderaan membelanjakan RM100 untuk petrol, maka jumlah perbelanjaan perjalanan sebelum raya adalah kira-kira RM300 juta. Tentunya untuk perjalanan kembali setelah selesai berhari raya di kampung dengan nilai yang sama. Ini bermakna kira-kira RM600 juta telah dilangsaikan oleh seluruh masyarakat untuk tujuan balik kampung sahaja.
Nilai di atas tidak meliputi perbelanjaan makan minum sewaktu perjalanan, kos menyelenggara kenderaan dan juga susutnilai kerana minyak enjin, tayar dan segala wear and tear, yang disebabkan oleh perjalanan balik kampung. Sekiranya diconggak secara kasar untuk perbelanjaan makan minum sebanyak RM50 bagi sebuah kereta dan masalah wear and tear serta segala penyelenggaraan membabitkan kos sebanyak RM100 lagi, maka nilai kos balik kampung bertambah sebanyak RM350 juta lagi. Jadi, bolehlah dianggarkan di sini, kos keseluruhan rakyat Malaysia berbelanja untuk pra-Syawal menghampiri satu bilion ringgit.

Perbelanjaan kedua besar ialah kos untuk mengadakan majlis-majlis kenduri hari raya. Berapa ramaikah keluarga Islam yang tinggal di Malaysia? Sekiranya purata ahli untuk satu keluarga ialah lima orang, Malaysia yang mempunyai jumlah penduduk dalam lingkungan 27 juta, bermakna kita ada 5.4 juta keluarga. Sebanyak 60 peratus adalah keluarga masyarakat Bumiputera yang kebanyakannya beragama Islam. Ini membawa kepada 3.24 juta keluarga Islam menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Sekiranya setiap keluarga berbelanja sebanyak RM500 untuk mengadakan majlis hari raya, maka jumlah perbelanjaan mengadakan majlis itu adalah sebanyak RM1.62 bilion.

Itu tidak termasuk mereka yang berbelanja besar mengadakan majlis rumah terbuka atas kapasiti peribadi dan agensi seperti badan-badan kerajaan. Pegawai-pegawai kerajaan bertaraf JUSA, ahli perniagaan dan tokoh korporat bertaraf tiga bintang dan ke atas berbelanja dari puluhan ribu sehingga ratusan ribu ringgit.
Seorang penyedia makanan untuk majlis (caterer) dari Shah Alam berkata, beliau bekerja untuk tiga majlis hari raya untuk agensi-agensi kerajaan dan menteri dan keuntungannya cukup untuk beliau dan keluarga membiayai kos sara hidup untuk setahun. Mungkin ini adalah satu kenyataan yang keterlaluan tetapi boleh dikatakan betapa besarnya kos mengadakan satu majlis hari raya yang tidak dimasukkan ke dalam pengiraan di atas.

Nilai di atas juga tidak melibatkan kos perjalanan masyarakat dalam masa sebulan ini untuk menghadiri majlis-majlis hari raya yang dijangka berjumlah ratusan juta. Ini boleh disaksikan apabila kita mendapati jalan-jalan di sekitar Lembah Klang akan sesak dan terlalu banyak kereta di atas jalan raya terutamanya pada waktu tengah hari, lebih-lebih lagi pada hari Sabtu dan Ahad.

Aspek kedua yang hendak disentuh ialah pendapatan masuk. Dari andaian kasar untuk perbelanjaan keluar yang dikira di atas adalah sebanyak RM2.62 bilion tanpa mengambil kira banyak lagi variabel-variabel lain. Nilai perbelanjaan keluar mesti dan sepatutnya sama dengan nilai pendapatan masuk. Cuma perbelanjaan keluar adalah nyata dan jelas datangnya dari poket orang-orang Islam yang rata-ratanya adalah orang Melayu atau pun Bumiputera lain.

Sementara pendapatan masuk pula, poketnya adalah pelbagai. Sekiranya perbelanjaan petrol, poket besarnya adalah Petronas, Shell, Esso, dan Caltex. Sementara poket-poket kecilnya ialah pemilik-pemilik stesen minyak dari pelbagai kaum dan bangsa. Bengkel menyelenggara kereta terbahagi dua, sebahagiannya Melayu, sebahagiannya Cina. Maknanya nilai polar pendapatan sudah terbahagi.

Semua penyedia makanan adalah Melayu atau Islam. Tetapi ini hanyalah poket-poket kecil. Rata-rata mereka yang berbelanja dalam kategori RM500 untuk mengadakan majlis hari raya akan berkunjung ke pasar raya hiper seperti Giant, Tesco, Mydin, Carrefour, Econsave dan sebagainya. Sekali lagi kita dapat melihat polar pengaliran wang sudah terbahagi. Saya cuma mahu menggambarkan bagaimana putaran ringgit yang berada di dalam aliran orang-orang Melayu/Bumiputera atau Islam melalui perbelanjaan yang besar sebegini telah terpecah kepada peringkat pendapatan masuk.

Sekiranya nilai hipotetikal perbelanjaan keluar yang saya anggarkan sebanyak RM2.62 bilion ringgit yang dibelanjakan oleh masyarakat Islam di dalam satu perayaan besar Aidilfitri akan menyamai pendapatan masuk, berapakah yang akan masuk kembali ke dalam poket masyarakat Islam? Dan apabila ia telah berada di dalam putaran masyarakat peniaga kaum lain, apakah ia akan kembali balik kepada masyarakat Islam? Kalau dilihat dari senario di atas, seolah-olah ia tidak akan kembali balik ke dalam putaran aliran orang-orang Islam lagi. Jika balik pun hanya dalam bentuk cukai, dan perbelanjaan hasil daripada cukai hanya sebahagian sahaja yang akan balik kepada masyarakat Islam.

Artikel ini mahu menggambarkan betapa kedudukan ekonomi orang-orang Islam akan menjadi semakin mengecut pada setiap kali musim perayaan besar seperti Aidilfitri. Sementara ekonomi bangsa lain seperti pemilik Tesco, Carrefour dan Giant menjadi semakin besar.

Justeru, untuk membesarkan kedudukan ekonomi orang-orang Islam, perlunya diwujudkan lebih ramai lagi peniaga seperti MyDin, stesen minyak milik Bumiputera dan sebagainya. Dengan lain perkataan, masyarakat Islam perlu lebih menghayati falsafah Islam yang menggalakkan perniagaan seperti di dalam hadis yang menyebut bahawa 9/10 rezeki datangnya daripada perniagaan.

Perkara ketiga yang hendak dilihat di sini ialah produktiviti sepanjang Syawal. Apakah telah dijalankan kajian-kajian tentang impak hari raya ke atas produktiviti pekerja? Rasanya impak produktiviti begitu besar sekali. Seminggu sebelum raya, jika kita pergi ke kebanyakan pejabat-pejabat kerajaan, kakitangan sudah mula sibuk dengan soal-soal peribadi untuk persiapan hari raya. Seminggu selepas raya, malah dalam masa sebulan Syawal, pejabat tidak diisytiharkan tutup, tetapi para pegawainya sibuk berhari raya. Tentu sekali produktiviti akan merudum. Untuk menilai impaknya, ahli-ahli ekonomi boleh membuat kajian.

Artikel ini juga sekadar ingin membuat telahan dan yang terbaik sekiranya ada pakar-pakar ekonomi boleh memberi cadangan bagaimana kita semua boleh meneruskan tradisi berhari raya selama sebulan dengan gembira tanpa menjejaskan produktiviti pekerja.

Khamis, September 16, 2010

Doktor jadi mangsa sindiket tipu

Oleh Rashidi Karim
bhnews@bharian.com.my
2010/09/16

Pengamal perubatan labur RM400,000 dalam skim Celcom I Talk-Prabayar

KANGAR: Seorang pengamal perubatan antara 50 mangsa penipuan membabitkan nilai pelaburan dipercayai bernilai lebih RM4 juta menerusi skim dikenali ‘Celcom I Talk-Prabayar’ di sini, dan sekitar Kedah.
Sindiket dipercayai didalangi dua lelaki masing-masing berusia 41 tahun menjanjikan keuntungan 10 peratus terhadap nilai pelaburan dalam tempoh 10 hari hingga menarik minat ramai individu menyertainya.
Mangsa, Dr Hazlimi Salim, 45, berkata beliau melabur hampir RM400,000 menyertai skim terbabit selepas terpedaya dengan keuntungan mudah ditawarkan individu dikenalinya itu pada 2007.

“Saya membuat lapan transaksi pemindahan wang ke dalam akaun bank salah seorang daripada dua individu berkenaan membabitkan jumlah RM385,000. Sebahagian besar wang terbabit saya peroleh menerusi pinjaman bank.

“Pada minggu pertama pelaburan bermula Mac 2007, mereka memasukkan keuntungan 10 peratus daripada jumlah pelaburan hingga menarik minat saya menambah jumlah pelaburan,” katanya ketika ditemui di cawangan New Straits Times Press (NSTP) Kangar, di sini, semalam.

Bagaimanapun, katanya, beliau hanya menyedari menjadi mangsa penipuan berkenaan selepas dua bulan skim beroperasi apabila pihak penganjur gagal memasukkan keuntungan dijanjikan, malah dua penggerak utamanya menghilangkan diri dan gagal dihubungi.
Sehubungan itu, katanya, beliau membuat dua laporan di Balai Polis Kuah, Langkawi iaitu pada 25 Oktober 2007 disusuli setahun kemudian pada 22 Oktober 2009 selepas tidak berpuas hati dengan proses siasatan terhadap laporan berkenaan.

“Saya pernah menyiapkan laporan lengkap berhubung rasa ketidakpuasan hati terhadap proses siasatan di Langkawi bagi dihantar kepada Ketua Polis Negara, tetapi terbantut selepas dinasihatkan pegawai polis di Langkawi,” katanya.

Dr Hazlimi yang mempunyai klinik sendiri di Langkawi berkata, sehingga kini beliau tidak mengetahui perkembangan kes itu walaupun maklumat lengkap, termasuk individu yang menganjurkan skim terbabit sudah diserahkan kepada pegawai penyiasat kes berkenaan.

Rabu, September 15, 2010

Smarter spending and better savings

Sep 13, 2010, Star Property


 
One of the cruel ironies of life is that we only get to appreciate the true value of money after we experience a major loss of income, a career or business failure, an investment failure or a painful bankruptcy. Think about it. Prior to a life-changing experience where substantial finances are lost, money often seems very intangible and worthless.
Things truly look their bleakest when you have to contemplate selling your house to pay off your debts or you find that you’re getting behind your monthly housing loan repayments. “Your house is your castle”, but simply put, insufficient funds will make that castle difficult to defend.
Frugal living means smarter spending and better savings
Making money, wise spending, smart savings, effective asset investment and debt management are lifelong living skills that take time to develop. All five are an important part of a fruitful life. Today’s world is a complicated place. As we go through life, we will potentially experience unforeseen situations caused by career failures, business failures, investment failures, debts obligations, family feuds, relationship issues, marriage failures, physical and mental health failure and financial scams. If you want to avoid these negative experiences, one defensive mechanism is to adopt a simpler approach to living; being minimalist and avoiding wastage.
Focus on living with a purpose instead of spending time and energy living a lifestyle that is conditioned by consumerism and materialism. There are significant rewards that come when you focus on wealth creation. The first reward is not having to live in financial fear. The choice of adopting a frugal lifestyle is a wise lifestyle approach. Frugal living is not about being stingy or cheap. It is about being smart and wise with money – smart spending and saving more. There is an added bonus to living frugally – less consumption can lead to a cleaner environment, less clutter and wastage.

Healthy cash flow management
When it comes to property ownership, frugal living will help you to manage your cash flow to pay for your housing loan, or even pay your housing loan’s principal faster.This leads to savings on overall interest payments to the bank.
If you continue this good practice of frugal living, you will be able to accumulate enough cash to buy your next property, and build your wealth in property investments with lower gearing and loan exposure.
Top five spending drivers
If you want to venture onto the path of frugal living, you need to find out the top five drivers that make you to spend your hard-earned money. First step is to make a “conscious” financial decision to track and analyse your daily cash and credit payment expenses at the end of each day or week. Before you can discover the root of your present spending habits, you’ll need to know the spending drivers themselves

When you start to analyse your spending patterns often and pay attention to the five spending drivers, you will be in a better position to understand, correct and ultimately control your spending behaviours.
Smart spending
Once you are able to categorise your spending patterns, make a conscious decision to reduce the spending by adopting the following ideas.
- Idea #1
Control your emotions by doing something else instead of spending money. Solve the root of the emotion by confronting those causes. You’re your own worst enemy. Recognise your weaknesses and confront them.
- Idea #2
Change your thought patterns and convert to positive self-talking:
• I don’t really need it because ..........
• It is not necessary to have it now .......... because ..........
• There is no need to have it now .......... because ..........
• I can wait .......... because ..........
- Idea #3
Manage your relationship with people or family; communicate or discuss with them how to achieve compromised spending arrangements. Negotiate. There is no need to feel that you are worse off if you don’t get to spend or invest like your friends. You are unique and special in your own way.
- Idea #4
Keep a strict regimen of your spending. Use cash and avoid credit cards when possible. Think out-of-the-box and find new ways to save money. Make it a part of your daily lifestyle. Constantly look for cheaper alternatives and be contented with what you already have.
The more you practise smart spending, the better you become.
Money not spent is saved. The 10 tips below will only work if you truly have a desire for future financial success. Be persistent and disciplined in the course of your daily actions.
Tip #1 Saving money can be an automatic habit. One easy way to save automatically is to create bank auto-deductions from your salary account to a savings or investment account.
Tip #2 Save more than necessary. The reward of saving comes in the form of wealth creation. Set short-term savings goals that are easily achievable. Set specific investment goals like a down payment for a new property, purchase of gold bars, purchase of company stocks, investments in unit trust/mutual funds or settle your loans and debts.
Tip #3 Review savings regularly and during times when there are life stage changes e.g. single to married, becoming a parent, employment to retirement, employee to business owner. Conduct an annual, semi-annual or even quarterly review of your savings and investment achievements.
Tip #4 Continue saving money by spending wisely based on a spending system that works for you. Reduce regular spending habits or behaviours by reducing spending frequencies. For example, target every two weeks instead of weekly, and look for cheaper alternatives, recycled products and multi-functional substitutes.
Tip #5 Surround yourself with friends, colleagues and family members who you can educate and recruit to support your collective frugal spending. Create a “frugal friends and family” network!
Tip #6 Saving and spending money are daily affairs. Be conscious of your choices when you spend your money, and your mode of payment – cash, debit card or credit card. Develop a system that allows you to limit your cash spending and credit spending. Look for discounts, vouchers and rejoice in the frugal living lifestyle.
Tip #7 Manage your emotions and control your irrational “spend money” urges. Instead, involve yourself in activities that will either save or generate money for you.
Tip #8 Be knowledgeable about money by reading and talking to friends and acquaintances - Be financially savvy and intelligent – and be proud of it.
Tip #9 Be an accountant of your personal finances. Prepare a monthly cash flow budget and keep track of cash and credit spending to help you manage savings and spending. Prepare monthly net worth statements to keep track of your assets and liabilities.
Tip #10 Conduct monthly reviews of your personal finances with your family and loved ones if they have influences on your spending and savings. Work with them to achieve your mutual financial goals.

Ahad, September 05, 2010

9,000 tan dibazir

2010/09/05 BHOnline

Tabiat buang makanan meningkat menjelang musim perayaan

KUALA LUMPUR: Sisa makanan cecah 9,000 tan sehari! Itulah gambaran sikap membazir rakyat Malaysia yang semakin kerap berbelanja mewah membeli makanan terutama untuk berbuka puasa dan juadah Aidilfitri tetapi akhirnya dihumban dalam tong sampah.

Jumlah itu dianggarkan 45 peratus daripada 20,000 tan keseluruhan sisa pepejal yang dikutip di seluruh negara sehari. Pada 2001, jumlah sisa pepejal atau sampah yang dikutip sebanyak 17,000 tan sehari dan meningkat 19,000 tan pada 2005.
Terkini, jumlah kutipan harian dianggarkan lebih 20,000 tan dengan Jabatan Pengurusan Sisa Pepejal Negara menjangka ia bertambah kepada 30,000 tan sehari menjelang 2020.
Mengulas situasi itu, Ketua Pengarah jabatan berkenaan, Datuk Nadzri Yahaya percaya jika orang ramai dapat mengurangkan pembaziran makanan, terutama menjelang musim perayaan, kerajaan mampu menjimatkan kos pengurusan sisa pepejal yang kini ditanggung pihak berkuasa tempatan (PBT).

Sekarang kita jarang jumpa orang buang surat khabar atau kertas sebab ada orang yang datang kutip atau beli di rumah. Semua sampah itu ada harga, sama seperti tin minuman daripada aluminium. Ringkasnya, bila kita letak harga pada sampah, orang tak akan buang.

Kita perlu mendidik orang ramai supaya menghargai makanan, membeli ikut keperluan dan sekiranya terlebih, sisa pepejal itu perlu dinilai dari aspek positif seperti kitar semula. Semua itu perlu diasing secara sistematik supaya pelaksanaan berjalan lancar, katanya kepada Berita Minggu.

Sikap membazir membuang sisa makanan ketara di kawasan bandar berbanding penduduk di pedalaman atau kampung yang banyak mengitar semula makanan tidak habis dengan memberikannya kepada ternakan seperti ayam dan itik.
Daripada anggaran 20,000 tan sisa pepejal dibuang setiap hari, 45 peratus adalah sisa makanan, 24 peratus (4,800 tan) plastik, tujuh peratus (1,400 tan) kertas, enam peratus (1,200 tan) bahan logam, tiga peratus (600 tan) kaca dan lain-lain.

Jumaat, September 03, 2010

Jualan cekik darah

Oleh Siti Haliza Yusop
shyusop@bharian.com.my
2010/09/02

Pembeli kena pastikan potongan harga bukan sekadar gimik

KUALA LUMPUR: Sikap pengguna yang cepat 'teruja' dengan membuat lebih banyak belian setiap kali melihat tawaran jualan murah, lebih-lebih menjelang Aidilfitri menyebabkan mereka mudah tertipu.
Sebagai pengguna, mereka sebenarnya mempunyai banyak pilihan dan yang pasti perlu berhati-hati ketika membeli-belah kerana tawaran jualan murah yang dibuat peniaga tidak semestinya murah.
Tinjauan Sentral di beberapa pusat beli-belah di ibu kota mendapati ada peniaga mengambil kesempatan menipu pengguna dengan menawarkan harga diskaun atau potongan harga sangat menarik sedangkan pembeli membayar harga asal produk dijual.

Seorang kakitangan swasta, Saiful Mustapha, berkata beliau hampir terpedaya ketika hendak membeli sepasang kasut berjenama di sebuah pusat beli-belah yang menawarkan jualan murah, baru-baru ini.

“Cadangan saya untuk membeli kasut itu sudah lama, iaitu pada April lalu. Ketika itu harga sepasang kasut berjenama berkenaan ialah RM287, tetapi saya tangguhkan pembelian kerana menunggu jualan murah pada Ramadan.

“Ini berikutan pada bulan ini biasanya banyak pusat beli-belah membuat tawaran jualan murah dan kemungkinan harga kasut idaman saya itu akan berkurangan,” katanya kepada Sentral, semalam.
Bagaimanapun, katanya, ketika berkunjung ke kedai berkenaan baru-baru ini, harga kasut berkenaan meningkat sehingga RM387 walaupun ketika itu pusat beli-belah terbabit sedang menganjurkan Karnival Mega Sale.

“Harganya bukan turun, sebaliknya meningkatkan sehingga RM100 walaupun pusat beli-belah terbabit membuat tawaran jualan murah,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, itu baru satu contoh barangan, sedangkan ada ribuan produk yang dijual di pusat beli-belah itu dengan tawaran potongan harga bagi menarik perhatian pembeli yang tanpa disedari mereka sebenarnya terpedaya.

Seorang penolong pengurus sebuah syarikat swasta, Nurul Afzan Abu Bakar, berkata memang tidak dinafikan menjelang musim perayaan, kebanyakan peniaga akan mengambil kesempatan menganjur jualan murah.

“Sebagai pengguna, kita perlu berhati-hati dalam membeli ketika jualan murah. Jualan Murah tidak semestinya murah. Jangan sampai penat berhimpit-himpit tetapi tertipu dengan helah penjual,” katanya.

Katanya, beliau hampir tertipu ketika membeli pakaian untuk Aidilfitri. baru-baru ini.

“Saya teruja apabila melihat tanda harga diskaun diletakkan peniaga pada pakaian yang saya hendak beli, tetapi kemudian berasa hampa apabila diskaun antara 30 hingga 50 peratus yang ditawarkan hanya membabitkan pengurangan harga antara 50 sen dan beberapa ringgit saja,” katanya.

Perkara sama turut diakui pelajar Universiti Antarabangsa Islam Malaysia (UIAM), Nur Afiqa Muslim, 20, yang mengakui peniaga mengambil kesempatan membuat lebih banyak keuntungan dengan menggunakan taktik jualan murah kerana ia mampu menarik pembeli.

“Pastikan jualan murah itu benar-benar wujud atau sengaja digunakan peniaga untuk mengaut keuntungan lebih-lebih lagi menjelang musim perayaan,” katanya.