Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Cable TV

I just had our cable tv provider changed today. I was unhappy with the previous service provider which I have subscribed for the past 5 years.  I lost several channels for the past months due a move by the cable operator to go to digital. I have to have digibox installed to be able to watch the channels  I am paying for.
Our house has a cable tv distribution where I have cable tv ports in our major rooms. Should I upgrade to digibox, I would have to purchase additional boxes.

Well I thought we don't have other options since the cable tv industry here in the Philippines is monopolized already by one company. One alternative was to go with a satellite TV but it is a very expensive service.
Guess what, there is still a cable TV (Click here for their website)operating in South Manila area. They have a basic package half the price of my previous cable tv service provider but offering more channels. And note these are not just ordinary channels, but premium channels ie now I have the following channels:

1. Disney Jr - something I need to purchase to have in my previous cable TV provider
2. Discovery Channels - something I need to purchase to have in my previous cable TV provider
3. StarMovies
4. Universal
5. Fox Filipino
6. Turbo

And last thing, now  I have better tv quality pictures than before. Now I can enjoy again watching cable TV.
There goes my eletric bill.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Tips: Saving on Electricity

I just received our electric bill this week. Guess what, our bill for the past month was at 6.7k. The previous electric bill was at 8.5k. That's a whopping 1.8k reduction and that's huge. Apparently our consumption reduced from 694kwh to 572kwh. That's a difference of 122kwh. So I tried recalling the things we have done to be able to achieve these savings.

The following are so far what I have recalled:

1. I had our two window-type aircon units cleaned.
2. I used electric with speed setting low and placing the fan nearer to me.
3. I used my 3G usb modem more often than our dsl + wifi.
4. I shutdown my laptop instead of sleep mode or hybernating.
5. I changed my usage of laptop and TV, ie not having them switched on at the same time.

I wonder if this trend will continue in the next bill as the next months will be summer and the aircons will consume a lot of electricity.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tips: Investment on Insurance and Savings

At a early adult age I was influenced by mother to invest of insurance and savings. I greatly appreciate and thank her because I was able to saved a lot. There a lot of investment instruments nowadays that even double your investment in 5 years. For example, my mother invested in a double your money in 5 years and it will mature this year. Her investment of 500k will be 1M. In this type of investment, we have to be careful of the companies offering these types of products and make sure these companies are stable.

You have also stocks where you can invest your money,
a) short term where you profit from buy low and sell high
b) long term where you gain from dividends issued by companies, increased in stock value over long period.

My first insurance saving investment I made was when I as in the early 20's.  My total investment in 5 years was 150k and since 2003 I have been getting a pension of 2k a month and this is for life. I hope the investment company will not close.

The second insurance investment was long term savings with a huge international insurance firm. Since 2010, I have invested over 500k over for 8 years. Since 2011, the investment's income has paid for my premium. To date, I have a cash dividend amounting to 200k and this investment is returning to more than 60k year on year. Not bad right? If you are interested on the insurance company please drop a comment.

Tips: Save on Fuel on Full Tank

Just yesterday fuel pump prices increased by more than 1 peso. It was good thing a day earlier I had our two cars filled their tanks to full. Our SUV's full tank is 75 liters of diesel while a small car was at 43 liters of gasoline. Then it hit me if carrying around the extra weight of the fuel affects my mileage at all. So to satisfy my curiosity and peace of mind, I researched and evaluated if is it worth to get a full tank (to avoid the price increase) versus carrying around extra fuel weight (affecting my fuel consumption).

Here are some information (mostly from the internet)  I have searched to be used for my evaluation:

1. 1 liter of diesel has a weight of 0.851kg or 1.872lb (source: google search)
2. 1 liter of gasoline has a weight of 0.749kg or 1.648lb (source: google search)
3. The study Impact of Vehicle Weight Reduction on Fuel Economy for Various Vehicle Architectures by Ricardo Inc. for The Aluminum Association in 2008 showed that

      a. for a small car a 100-lb weight reduction resulted to 1.7% improvement in fuel economy city driving
      b. for a large SUV a 100-lb weight reduction resulted to 0.9% improvement in fuel economy city driving

 So how does it compute? For example for our SUV, the full tank is 75 liters of diesel which is about
140 lbs. Let's say if I want to remove 100lbs of excess weight driving around MetroManila, I will only fill to 30 liters. With this, my mileage would improve by 0.9%. Let's assume that I would have save 0.9% of my 75 liter full tank which is about 0.75 liters. I would have about 32 pesos per full tank. Compare this versus a price increase of 1 peso and full tank of 75 liters equivalent to 75 pesos saved.

For a small car, filling up to half full will reduce my weight by more than 35 lbs. The equivalent fuel economy improvement is about 0.62%. Now that's equivalent to 12 pesos. Compare this versus a price increase of 1 peso and a full tank of 42 liters equivalent to 42 pesos saved.

Hmm so what's the verdict? I will not definitely drive around MetroManila on a full tank. It will improve my fuel economy saving me at least 1 liter of fuel, helping in the carbon monoxide reduction. I will only fill our cars to full if there are scheduled fuel price increase of more than 50 centavos.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Auto Loan: To Settle or not to settle

I am planning on settling my auto loan this year. I have about 26 months of amortization still and the main reason for considering this settlement is that I can be able to control my cost ie.

1. Achieve cost avoidance, that is by settling the loan early, the settlement amount is smaller than the total balance loan to be paid.

2. Reduce my cost for insuring the car, ie I can dictate the insured amount for the car. The lower the insured amount, the lower will be my premium.

I called up the bank and inquired about my settlement cost. Likewise, I checked also my capability to pay the settlement amount either thru loan from family member or from another credit facility. My credit company was offering a low monthly interest. I evaluated the situation and I made a graph to simplify my analysis.


From the graph above, I can say,

1. I can avoid cost of 11k if I settle my auto loan by this month. That's about 10% cost saved. Now the only thing to do is here is to look for the money to settle it.

2. My credit card offered me a low interest per month. This facility will give at least few months to look for the money to pay the loan aside from the fact that I can still achieve cost avoidance. This cost saved will get smaller as the payment duration is increased. Another advantage of this option is I can earn reward points which I can use to pay my annual credit card free.

3. Let's say you have the settlement money of 104k. What if we just invest it and continue to pay the monthly amortization. At the interest rates banks are offering, 104k will not yield 11k in two years time.

The bottom line here is that settling this auto loan will let me avoid cost. I can be able to reduce also my insurance premiums and that's another cost avoidance. So what's the next thing to do? Find a family member whom I can borrow money with little or no interest, and/or check my credit card facility for good low interest offers? What do you think, should I continue paying my dues or settle it if I can get the money?