Thursday, May 20, 2010

Citibank Australia: ATM card charges for foreign transactions? Sheesh.

Today I received in my email inbox a reminder to get and put in my documentation for the Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

Sure. But on closer notice, I realised that there were fees for using my ATM citibank card/visa debit even in international Citibank ATMS. I could understand that for just normal retail foreign transactions.

But even for withdrawals at international Citibank ATMs?

I'm like, what the?

I am so not going to bother with the application.

I'll just use my Malaysian Citibank visa debit card for transactions with them in Australia. If ever.

I had a friend who saw my Malaysian citibank in my purse earlier. and remarked, "hei, that's a Citibank Visa Debit card!" Yeah, it is. Everything's the same. Everything from the blue design to even the logo.

Except that the Malaysian Citibank Visa Debit cards are able to accumulate reward points (for items!) and its free wherever it is used in ANY Citibank automatic teller machine ANYWHERE in the world. 

By right, if Citibank ATMS are used in any Citibank ATM anywhere in the world, it SHOULD be free. This is just too much!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Australia: Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

I just applied for a Citibank Plus Transaction Account.

Not only is it fee-free, but there is no minimum deposits,
it is
- $0 monthly fee
- No minimum deposit
- Unlimited free transactions
- Free Citibank Global Transfers (not to Malaysia though!)
- Unlimited free ATM withdrawals at any Westpac, St George*, Bank SA or Citibank ATM in Australia
- Visa Debit Card for online, domestic and overseas purchases
- and Cheque book access!

I was actually thinking of doing the ING Direct Visa Debit card,
but Citibank is so much more recognised than any other local bank!

 Go Figure.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is Spruiking?

Spruiking is the act of standing in a public area (usually outside the related store) and advocating (quite loudly) the offers and bargains to be found inside (usually with the aid of a megaphone).

Hanson- an australia comedy act.Based in Sydney.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Art of Haggling.

Extracts are taken from:
1.      Do RESEARCH on how much a product costs.
If you're dealing with expensive and complex items (like electronic and jewelry) be sure to examine the details. The seller will quickly try to dismiss it by saying "Oh, but their product has feature A, which is inferior to feature B on our product." Depending on your research, you might say "Yes, you're right, but feature A is all I want, need, and am willing to pay for" or "While feature B might be considered superior by most, feature A is actually more appropriate for my particular needs."

2.      Paying Cash "might" get you more discount. 
3.   Show hesitation about buying the product. Even if it's the perfect item, the moment the seller sees that wistful look in your eyes, they'll know they've got the upper hand. Appear interested, as if you're willing to buy the product if the price is right, but you can certainly live without it as well. When the seller tells you the price, say "Hmmmm....I don't know....".
  • Use silence to your advantage. A long, awkward silence is likely to work in your favor. While you stand there as if you're wavering on the fence, the seller will probably get nervous and drop the price a little further, or throw in an extra.[3]
  • Talk about what you don't like about the item, or emphasize its shortcomings. If it's a ring, for example, scrutinize it on your hand and say "I don't know if it's exactly my style...". If it's a computer, ask "Does this come with a wireless keyboard?"[4] At the same time, be respectful. You could easily offend the seller by pointing out or criticizing points of taste. Point out issues of workmanship or wear.
  • Examine the item for any chips, scratches or flaws. Even in major retailers, they will often give you a "open box" or "display" item price if you notice a cosmetic imperfection. Check the back and bring to their attention the smallest flaw. This is especially useful when you are looking to buy the last one of something. Also make sure you really want the item because often, these discounts make the sale final.
3.      Pretend to consult with a reluctant partner

4.  Ask for freebies. If the salesperson is not willing to bring the price down, ask for other freebies, such as coupons to use at a later date or other items he might be willing to throw in. Remember, haggling is not just about the price - it's about walking away satisfied.

5.  Be prepared to walk away. Haggling is all about knowing how long to stick it out to be satisfied and when you need to walk away to look somewhere else for a better price. Don't be afraid to walk out of the store. Often, the salesperson will call you back into the store, telling you they'll give you a better price or deal.

6. Ask local stores if you can get a discount for “Being a Loyal Customer”.
- Ask quietly to avoid putting the store owner manager on the spot (inc case other customers want the same too).

7. Are there any coupons, promotions or discounts I should know before going.. the merchant may give you one just to get and KEEP your business.

8. Whenever possible, offer to order the entire inventory of a  product which has limited shelf life at a discount. They will be happy to reciprocate…

9. NEVER start by asking “whats your best price”.

10. ALWAYS ask if the item you want is going on sale any time soon. If the answer is yes, suggest that they sell it to you at the lower price now, or else you might buy it elsewhere in the mean time.
11. Merchants might be willing to give a higher discount to items which are no longer the “hot new products’ in order to get rid of them

12.  Never pay the listed price on a piece of jewellery.  Haggle accordingly.

13. Offer to pay in cash! (like the above)

14. Travel and leisure
Playing different travel agents off against one another can be a good negotiating tool. So once you have found a holiday you like, ring different agents and ask them if they can beat your best price so far.
If you're travelling independently, haggling is a bit more tricky, and it's virtually impossible to get a price reduction on flights.

"It is unlikely that you'll be able to get a discount when booking a flight," says Bob Atkinson, a travel expert at "But if you arrive early, there is a chance you may be able to get an upgrade. If you're travelling for a special reason - a honeymoon or anniversary trip, for example - it's always worth mentioning this at check-in, just in case there are any extras they can offer.
"Your best chance of getting a discount on a hotel room is to walk in on the day and ask what is available for the best price. Again, there's no harm in asking if your room can be upgraded. If you don't ask, you don't get."

It's also possible to haggle over the cost of your gym membership. In some cases, the one-off 'admin' or 'joining' fee can be waived by the gym manager, and there may also be room for negotiation on the monthly fee - especially if you join as a couple or group. 

Key Phrases to use:
  1. Hmmm… I don’t know le….
  1. All prices on big-ticket items are negotiable.. you just need to find the right person who can do the deal, and then have the courage to ask.
  1. Your rivals can do it for less… “You’re entitle to make a profit, but if your competitors can do it for less, you guys probably can too”.
  1. “I feel like I was tricked”.. talk about how you feel as a customer.. you stand much better chance of getting your way if you are an innocent victim rather than an angry shopper.
  1. “But you broke your promise”…. Whenever a company breaks its contract, you have every right to expect something in return. Just be sure you know in advance what you want when you’re asked.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Insurance Policies in Malaysia, and Australia.

When one is neither a resident of here, nor there, sometimes there are just some plans that can be difficult to make. However, Providence sometimes provide us good network connections to make sound decisions. Thank You, God!!

Anyways, these are some tips that Richard, a high school mate (who's currently in Brisbane) threw out:
  • If you already have life insurance policy in malaysia, just get the basic medical/hospitalization policy in Australia. This is for taxation purposes, as clients are normally not allowed to make the same insurance claim from more than 1 party.
  • Insurance agents don't necessarily have to check really how many insurance policies you have, but they will do this when the client wants to lodge a claim. 
  • It is up to the client to be aware of this as the law does not prevent more than one provider from selling the policy to them. The law only prevents clients from making a claim with more than 1 provider.get the most basic one in australia for taxation. 
  • From other news I heard, it is possible to make claims on as many life insurance policies (but can you really afford it?), but claims for hospitalization/medical is limited.  
The Australian Government provides a basic universal health insurance, Medicare. Private health insurance in Australia is limited to those services not covered by Medicare or to services provided in private hospitals.

The Australian Taxation system encourages middle to high income earners to take out Private Health Insurance. While most taxpayers pay a 1.5% Medicare Levy, an additional 1% Medicare Levy Surcharge is payable by those taxpayers who earn more than $50,000 and do not have Private Health Insurance. (From Wikipedia).

As such, Richard tells me that if I already have life/savings insurance in Malaysia, to just stick with it, and get the basic ones in Australia for taxation purposes.

Malaysian endownment and insurance policies are not taxable, and clients can still get their money back on maturity in the later years. They are written way better than Australian policies....!

So yeah, even if you are migrating to Australia, it is still worth thinking getting a policy (that you can service on a yearly basis), and enjoy shopping like a king on your retirement when you do come back to Malaysia for a visit!!

(This is purely my perspective, and not a financial advice. For that, you'd have to refer to your Financial Planner for more information!!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Investing: The Basics II

Here are some links I found to jump start on the research to finding out more on investing.

Investopedia: Investing 101.

Investopedia: Start Investing with 1,000 Dollars.

What is a Managed Fund?

(More to be added...)

Investing: The Basics I

I have referred to the Investment pages as per the information given on the Commonwealth Bank site, to provide a check list on the basics of investing to start my research on investing on.

There are about four categories, or asset classes. 

  • Cash (e.g. money in the bank, bank bills)
  • Fixed interest (e.g. government or corporate bonds)
  • Property (e.g. residential, commercial or industrial property trusts)
  • Shares (e.g. Australian or international shares).
These four asset classes can be separated into two broad groups – defensive investments and growth investments.

Defensive investments

Cash and fixed interest are generally classified as defensive investments. The main features of defensive investments are:
  • Aim to provide regular income and do not usually grow in capital value
  • Aim to experience only slight fluctuations in investment returns and values over short period.
  • Returns are generally lower than those of growth investments over the medium to long term.
Knowing my personality, I personally prefer investments which provide fixed investments which provide regular income, and for starters, am pretty much risk free,
as I do not really want to be bothered with the hassle of checking the 'board" to see if prices have risen, or gone down on a weekly, much less on a daily basis. (Time is money, as they say....)

According to this list:
  • Your reasons for investing
  • Your performance expectations
  • How long you intend to invest (investment time frame)
  • Your knowledge of investment markets and past experiences
  • How you feel about sudden increases and decreases in the value of your investments.
At my stage in life, my reasons for investing would include that I would be saving towards a goal- i.e. intention of marriage, house and car.
As for performance expectations, due to my low level of risk tolerance, I would rather just let there be a safe haven for my income to be 'stationed' at whilst earning compound interest.

My knowledge of investment markets and past experiences is almost close to nil. My experience with investment has so far been limited to Term Deposits, and compound interest. Safe investment, you may say.

I am, and would not be too happy about the decrease in the value of my investment, like any other person who earns a salary. Who would anyways?

As for investing in a product with a higher risk, I believe that would come with experience. For now, let me continue reading up on this issue before making a decision on what I would do with my salary...

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Simple Savings- Saving away for the rainy day. ^^

Not exactly the theme of the website, but it rhymes. Anyways. 

Was googling the world-wide-web, and found this Aussie portal called  Simple Savings.

It is an Australian-New Zealand based website which offers a lot of tips, as well as an Aussie and Kiwi pdf. version of a "savings calendar". The calendar proves to be an effective visual aid in helping people keep to the habit of finding ways, as well as providing other tips and themes and ideas to develop this cost-cutting habit for twelve months of the year.

The Simple Savings website reminds buyers to learn to say ‘NO’ is very valuable to wasteful spending,
to kiddies’ demands, to telemarketers and ‘NO!’ to time wasting, and through that, individuals would be able to we can say ‘YES!’ to a happier and peaceful life.

Check it out to save for the rainy day. ^^

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Curbing that urge to buy?

This evening I was at Sunway Pyramid. I had so wanted to buy this particular body care set which I had initially planned on getting.

However a number of reasons stopped from me from doing so.

1) I am waiting for the product from this particular range to clear from my blogshop.  Yes, it's one of the products from my blogshop.

2) I have yet to finish using the particular product from this set at home.

3) If its really a star product, I believe that the company will continue to restock it. (that is, if it makes money).

4) The proof is there. It's a loss and risk that I do not want to take until I am sure to be able to clear off the current stock that currently have.


Term Deposits: Citibank Malaysia & Maybank.

Today, or rather last night, I "pledged" two Term Deposits, as what my friend in the banking industry calls it.

Term Deposits is an Australian term I picked up, but here in Malaysia, it's called Fixed Deposits. I prefer calling it Term Deposits. So, one was created at Citibank via online. The other at Maybank via online.

The term deposit created via Maybank online was automatically created. So I knew for sure my money was already in the TD. However, the one at Citibank took a while...

I called up Citibank this afternoon, and was told by the person on the phone that if my application was successful, I'd receive an email in a matter of three days that it had been created.

Well, what's the deal with this? Why do they require us to have to go to the outlet, and show our identification cards just to create the Term Deposit?

It makes no sense when it is with the intention of keeping money in the bank and not withdrawing it? What a Total Waste of Time. Citibank should learn to communicate better with the locals and make things easier for themselves by not requiring such red tape.

Maybe I should drop their Customer Service a note to query them on this matter.

It so happened that I received a call from Citibank this evening. I didn't pick up their call as I was in a company meeting with another bank. For all I know, it could have been some person from their Credit Card department trying to sell their cards.

Well, we'll see what happens tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

17 Ways to Save Money.

Recently I read this book, The Millionaire Next Door, courtesy of one of my cousins who dropped it at my home many months ago.

Here are some ways we can live, if we want to start saving on those dollars and cents.

1. Don't bring your credit card out if you know you are a impulse buyer/shopaholic. 
I don't. It really saves me in a lot of situations where I could have made senseless purchases. A lot of show owners and managers use the line "you can pay on a monthly instalment basis" to trap you to buy. You may end up buying something you don't actually need.

The next best alternative is to bring only CASH, and a Debit Card with limited money, enough to get you through the day, travel and probably some meals. 

2. Bring your own meal from home every so often. 
It's healthy. You know what you put into it. And you won't be spending a bomb on meals.
Or just fast every so often to detoxify your body.

3. Keep from socialising with people who spend money. 
People who spend money like water! Hmm..... you just have to learn to say NO to a lot of things that your so-called friends do.

They aren't your friends if they don't care about your financial situation. However, if they offer to pay for you to join them, that is a different situation altogether.... ^^

4. Wait for SALE time to do your shopping. 
When it comes to clothing, yes. Who really cares what brand of underwear you wear to work?

You might be wearing Victoria's Secret, but were you going to go around telling people everyone? Just wear that pair of tightie-whities for all people care...

5. Impulse Buy. 
Yes, this happens a lot to me when I see skin care.. *sigh*.Walk about a bit, and wait about two to three days.

6. Take a serious look at what  you spend each month, and write out what  you have spent for it so far.

7. Start a blogshop, and get buyers.
Hah! Just did that.. am wondering how many people will actually buy from the shop. Not that good either, but hopefully trying to drum up the response to it.

8. Start an Investment Portfolio. 
Use and Invest your money on objects/items which appreciate, not depreciate in value.
Buying a Brand New Branded Car? Are you sure that is worth your money? The re-sale value of the car depreciates rather quickly, so you may want to rethink it.

If not using your money, at least keep it away somewhere you know you can't have access to it! Hopefully in a Term Deposit with a high interest returns. Perhaps some stocks or shares from a company which is doing well?

Sometimes these companies send out magazines, vouchers, etc which will offer a good deal, or savings on the services they provide.

9. Chill Out at Home and Stay AWAY from the Mall.
Get your news from the websites. But KEEP AWAY from the malls. You'll definitely not spend any money at all. LOL

Read a book. Feed the fish. Play with the dog. Take a jog. 

10. Take care of your health.
Take responsibility of taking care of your own health. When you are sick, it is a burden on others, as well as yourself. Have enough sleep, and drink enough water, and exercise at that too!

You'll cut down on the doctor's bills & meds.

11. Find ways to share, or give without having to spend money.
They say time is money. What more valuable is your time?

12. Never Ever Pay Retail. 
There is something called Internet Shopping, as well as SALEs for this very reason. If you are willing to wait it out, you will save the money that you could use for other more important things.

13. Don't Be Greedy.
I learnt it the hard way. If you don't need it, don't buy it.There is no such thing as a promotion that is too good to be true.

If it is TOO GOOD to be true, it probably IS. There is always a catch behind it. 

14. Why Buy when you can BORROW?
Sharing is Caring. Borrow it from a friend.
Want to watch a movie? Borrow it, watch it at home. You'll save on the petrol, parking and time that went with it.

But make sure you do look after it when you do. 

15. Car Pool. 
Why waste petrol each driving your own car? Though, each person must contribute to the petrol, or take turns driving to be fair to each other.

16. Take time to Shop Around.
As above, don't pay retail. There is no such thing as one fixed price. If its a huge ticket price item, its worth it.

17. Pay By Cash. 
As above (no.16), using cash actually allows you to negotiate for a discount.  Even if there was no discount, at least you can bargain for other freebies which you may have to pay out of your own pocket instead.

Related Links: 
The Simple Dollar: The Millionaire


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