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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Simple Money Tips - Savings Part 1


The following are some of the tricks I learned over the years and thought of sharing them here.

Cashback Cards

A few years back, I looked my credit card and how I used it. I found that it was better to get cash back than to accumulate points. This was what I concluded:

  1. Most credit card points expire. Often the points will expire before I could accumulate enough to redeem items that I wanted.
  2. In many cases, I could not find anything worth redeeming (or at least needed).
  3. When I compute the points needed to exchange for cash vouchers, the cash back yield was a better option.

This is why I prefer cash back credit cards over other credit cards types of credit cards. I consider the cash back as discounts since I have to spend money to earn the cash back. Other type of cards is useful if it provides items that is otherwise not available.

I have earned quite a lot of cash back since I switched over to cash back cards. However, in the last few years, the banks have reduced the amount of cash back their cards provide.

For example, OCBC card used to provide 5% cash back, which they reduced to 1% and then to 0.1%. Wise card used to only require spending RM 50 ten times in a few selected categories to earn cash back, but that has been changed to a minimum of RM 2000 for the month before earning any cash back.

For now, I will continue to earn the little cash back I can still earn. The ones I still like are:

  • UOB One card for petrol with 5% cash back (but only for weekends). Additional UOB Cash is earned if spent on BHPetrol stations. UOB used to waive the annual fee in the past but refused to do that this year.
  • Hong Leong Essential card which provides 0.6% cashback for all spending (for spending below RM5000).
  • The Public Bank Signature card provides 6% cashback for online spending, groceries and food (but maximum cashback of RM50 per month).

There may be other cards providing better yield, but the ones mentioned above are the ones I am familiar with.

I consider cash back from credit cards as discount since I need to spend in order to earn the cash.

Loyalty Cards

Loyalty cards like BHPetrol eCards can be used with UOB card to earn additional points. It takes 550 points to redeem RM5 worth of petrol. Among all the petrol station loyalty card, Petron Miles card provides the highest rate of return. It only takes 950 points to redeem RM10 worth of petrol.

The TGV movie card earns 10% worth of Movie money for all spendings in TGV cinema. However, I found that using the movie money will not allow you to enjoy the early bird price for movie tickets. It is better to use the movie money for popcorn, food or drinks. TGV movie card cost RM30 per year, but I was given free renewals for the last two years. The renewal comes with two free movie tickets.

Domino’s Pizza express cards cost RM50 (for new sign up) and RM30 for renewal. The card comes with a voucher for free regular pizza (which offsets the cost of the membership). With the card, we get an equivalent size pizza for any pizza we order (but only if we pick it up from the store). This is a good deal for me since my children and I love to eat pizza. Pizza Hut came up with a similar deal, but I find Domino’s more convenient for me.

The Popular book card is another useful loyalty card, for adults RM12 for one year or RM25 for three years. If you have kids, you can just get the student card for RM10 for two years. The card entitles you to 10% storewide discount.

There are other loyalty cards like Tesco card, Bonuslink, BCard but I do not use those as much and do not find the discount provided very compelling. The cards mentioned are the ones I used most often.

Follow up in Part 2.
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