Once again, the market behavior defies my expectations. Thankfully, a significant portion of my investment has been automated. The Solidarity Budget basically “double-confirmed” that shit has hit the fan, but the market persists in going up.

I wonder why the big boys have been selling? Raising cash to support their portfolio companies or expecting worse times to come? An unexpected result of the irrationality is that my portfolio P&L has flipped back to the positive region haha! Weird times we live in.

Not going to dwell too much on the market and instead, let me share snippets of the stay-home life due to the recent circuit breaker measures. I’ll say this upfront that my job is considered essential services and therefore, my income isn’t affected. Stalker content is always .. interesting?

Work-From-Home Infra

Regular readers would have picked up on my mentions that I’ve continued playing online games well in my (ahem) late thirties. A positive “side-effect” of my hobby is that I have a fully spec-ed desktop (5-years old, sigh, was supposed to be replacing it this year) placed in my purpose-built gaming/study room.

My beloved ancient machine :

  • Operating System : Windows 7 (haha did someone say EOL)
  • Processor : Intel i5 4690 @ 3.5Ghz
  • Memory : 8 GB
  • Graphics : Nvidia GeForce GTX960
  • Monitor : Samsung SyncMaster SA350 (9-years old, damn it refuses to die)
  • Speakers : GigaWorks T20 Series II
  • Printer : Canon 3-in-1 ImageClass
  • Keyboard : Razer BlackWidow Ultimate (2011)
  • Mouse : Logitech G102 (for “claw-grip” people)
  • Integrated Power Strip : Eubiq

Plus, I have a personal ThinkPad that I bring to/from work. I guess I’m pretty well-equipped compared to the last-minute Ikea-goers huh?

Over the past week, I have been using Zoom and GoToMeeting. More than once I have wondered to myself, is it a test of my possible nomadic life in future? By fast-tracking the way in which I’m starting to get familiar with the usage of these tools?

Conclusion : These tools are pretty easy to use and pretty idiot-proof. I’m all set – haha!

Subscription Services

Even before “all this”, I enjoy staying at home and chilling. This means that plenty of the subscription services that are quality-of-life items, I already have. *gasp*

Music : Spotify. No explaining needed, and I get it for free.

Video : Netflix. Same as above. Free too.

Grab Food Free Delivery x 50 Plan : $9.99 each month. This was already nerfed from my older plan @ $25 which bundled rides with food deliveries but discontinued. I regularly use up to 20+ to 30+ deliveries each month so this is life-saver. (Yes, I have a lot in my Grab wallet .. did someone say miles-chaser hazard?)

Food Panda : I used to get free deliveries with a minimum order of $20 but my LiveUp membership has ended. Unexpectedly, a “crisis” promotion by Crypto.com MCO Card is giving me flat 10% off for Deliveroo, Foodpanda, McDonald’s and Domino’s Pizza. How cool is it!?

Update : New merchants include GrabFood, FairPrice, Sheng Siong and Carrefour!

Houseshold Expenses

Nothing much has changed. I already wrote here that there isn’t much point for me to post monthly expenses because everything has been catered for in my budget. Read it if that’s the sort of thing you’re interested in.

In all likelihood, my monthly expenses might even drop a little due to minimizing of outdoor activities and the unavailability of services.

One extremely important detail was that our regular air-con servicing uncle is back in Malaysia during this crisis. This meant that we would have to DIY some maintenance and hope that our air-con units keep working well. Taking the chance to reduce the use of air conditioning and go back to fan-mode instead.

Hoarding Stuff

With just my wife and I in the household, our consumption of supplies is at a fairly low rate. Coupled with Grab Food, we don’t actually need to use much of .. anything. Besides, coffeeshops and supermarkets are open!

In anticipation of a prolonged lockdown-like situation and the potential disruption to supply lines, I have adopted some measures to pre-empt some possible issues.

Stocked up 3-months worth of contact lens plus extra supply of contact lens solution. Oh, moisturizer too. Don’t ask! I know, these are “atas” problems to have and those are items that we can’t simply buy by going to the nearest supermarket.

Hmm, what else? Old Town instant coffee (for the missus) and oolong tea (for me). At least we aren’t fighting for maggi mee, right? I have also noticed that supermarkets like Giant and Fairprice NTUC are bringing out all their supplies, perhaps in an attempt to show the public that they have plenty and enough to go around.

Creating Alternative Income Sources

In case you haven’t noticed, I have a category of blog posts for Alternative Income because that is an area that I am interested in. Especially during these dire times, this is an aspect that can be explored by everyone.

At the moment, I’ll be trying to keep these money taps up-and-running for added security :

  • Dividend income
  • Ad revenue (absolutely getting crushed hur)
  • Affiliate sales
  • Crypto yield

Crypto yield is one area that I hardly write about. In the past month or two, it has performed pretty well. I have USD stablecoins and crypto earning interest with various centralized and decentralized apps e.g. BlockFi, Crypto.com, Staked.us and these were pretty stable income. Coupled with the appreciating USD, the returns were pretty helpful in supplementing the portfolio. That (sadly, small) ETH purchase @ US$107 on 13-March-2020 when all markets were crashing is looking nice right now.

In the past three months, I have managed to get my alternative income up to 9% (Jan), 18% (Feb) and 12% (Mar) of my take-home salary and will be looking to improve it slowly, step by step. At the moment, it is a decent buffer against a large portion of my household expenses.

I guess that’s it for now. Till next time, take care and stay safe.

     🙂

    😛    (thanks!)