Thursday, 4th April, 2019

How to get the best shave

(1) Take your shower first. Shampoo, soap, shower gel, scrub, bath salt, charcoal mask, what have you.

(2) DO NOT DRY YOUR FACE.

(3) Shave.

(4) Razor slides off your face like butter on a baby’s bottom.

Thursday, 7th March, 2019

Life lession 2

Don’t buy bedsheets from shopping malls or big brand names. Most of them are overpriced, terrible pieces of designer cloth unsuitable for comfortable sleeping.

After spending thousands of rupees I have come to the conclusion that their advertisement of 100% cotton is usually false, they are almost always a mix of cotton & some other polyester like material which feels like silk or satin, and annoyingly slides your head off the pillow & your body off the bed while sleeping. The xxx% thread count claim is utter lies, just false details to get you to buy their products.

Always & only buy bedsheets from local handicraft fairs. They are handmade by someone with the hope of earning a livelihood, 100% pure cotton, cheap, perfect texture that you can ‘feel’ over your skin, very comfortable after a wash or two for a good night’s sleep. And you will be supporting local workers directly instead of a corporation. Never buying branded bedsheets / pillow covers again.

Monday, 25th February, 2019

How to increase your HDFC bank credit card limit

If you already have a credit card from HDFC bank then this is for you. Depending upon your spending & repayment history the bank allocates higher limits on your card from time to time.

But to actually avail of that limit upgrade you have to take action from your side. You can either call the customer care to inquire, or you can check in netbanking if you’re eligible for credit limit increment.

Login to netbanking, go to Cards > Credit Cards > Request > Credit Limit Enhancement. Upon selecting your card number you will be presented with either a credit limit that is higher than your current limit if you’re eligible, or a message that you’re currently not eligible.

In case you do have an upgrade available then you just have to request for it & your card’s limit will be enhanced immediately, which you will be able to check in the netbanking credit card section.

In case you’re not eligible for an upgrade right now then there will be a button to get a message when an enhancement is available. Click that & the bank will notify you when it is available.

Either ways, it’s easy to upgrade your credit card’s limit & you should always ask for it even if you don’t spend much. It’s always good to have the highest credit card limit that you can.

Saturday, 23rd February, 2019

Who will cry when you die?

Who Will Cry When You DieAfter more than a decade I have been able to finish reading a book from cover to cover. I think the last proper book I read was Steve Wozniak’s autobiography iWoz back in 2007-08.

I am so glad I chose this particular book because it is small, and it was an easy & fun read.

Hopefully the dry spell is finally over & I’ll be able to read more in the coming days.

Thursday, 7th February, 2019

What exactly is “focus”?

All the inspirational blogs, articles, videos, self help books advise us to focus. But what exactly is that focus?

I think focus is not something that comes naturally or automatically, and does not stay with you forever. You have to get it or bring it manually yourself, on a daily basis, and quite often several times in a day.

For me focus is the act of reminding oneself regularly to work on what is important & ignore the rest. One must do this mental exercise of “bringing focus” everyday, until it becomes a solid habit set in stone.

Tuesday, 22nd January, 2019

How to go to Okada, Manila from SM Mall of Asia

Free bus to Okada from Mall of AsiaThere are free shuttle buses running every 30 minutes that pick you up from SM Mall of Asia [MOA] to Okada casino & resort and drop back at MOA. The drive is approximately 10 minutes.

The bus stop is right in front of Pet Express in Mall of Asia. Look for the purple signboard which also has the timings of the bus both ways.

Even if you don’t want go into the casino, the visit to Okada is still worth it for the amazing, free 5 minute water + light + sound show that starts at 6PM every day & runs every hour until 10PM in the weekdays & until 11PM in the weekends.

Timing of free bus service from SM Mall of Asia to Okada, Manila

Click to enlarge

Monday, 21st January, 2019

Life lesson 1

Drawstring bags are terrible. The strings go out of balance often & it is frustrating to adjust them. Never buying one again.

Sunday, 13th January, 2019

Metro Manila

Visiting Manila, Philippines for 2 weeks.

Thursday, 27th December, 2018

HDFC Bank debit card international ATM withdrawal charges

So exactly how much charges you will have to bear if you withdraw cash in a foreign country ATM using your HDFC bank debit card? I will give you the straight forward answer with exact calculation.

Let’s assume you drew some foreign currency from the ATM which was worth 1000 in Indian rupees as per that day’s currency conversion rate.

There will be following 2 fees:

Fee 1:

ATM use fee by HDFC bank: You will pay a fixed charge of Rs 110 to HDFC every time you use an ATM outside India to draw foreign currency.

18% tax on the above by Indian govt: There will be 18% GST on the above Rs 110 which HDFC bank will deduct & give to the Indian government. So 18% of Rs 110 is Rs 19.8

Combined: Rs 110 + Rs 19.8 = Rs 129.8 . This amount will appear as a single line item in your bank statement.

Fee 2:

Cross currency mark-up fee by HDFC bank: Your bank account has money in Indian rupees but you are withdrawing money in a foreign currency, so you will pay HDFC bank a fee to convert the currency, which is 3.5% of the amount you drew in Indian rupees.

So for 1000 rupees this fee is 35 rupees.

18% tax on the above by Indian govt: There will be 18% GST on the above currency conversion fee of Rs 35 which HDFC bank will deduct & give to the Indian government. So 18% of Rs 35 is Rs 6.3

Combined: Rs 35 + Rs 6.3 = Rs 41.3 .This amount will appear as a single line item in your bank statement.

Total:

So for Rs 1000 worth of foreign currency you withdraw abroad, the total charge is Rs 129.8 + Rs 41.3 = Rs 171.1

Examples:

Withdraw Singapore Dollar 1500 = 76813.21 Indian Rupees

Fee 1: 129.8 fixed fee
Fee 2: 3.5% of 76813.21 = 2688.46
       18% of 2688.46 = 483.92
       2688.46 + 483.92 = 3172.38
Total: 129.8 + 3172.38 = Rs 3302.18

Withdraw Malaysia Ringgit 1000 = 16843.50 Indian Rupees

Fee 1: 129.8 fixed fee
Fee 2: 3.5% of 16843.50 = 589.52
       18% of 589.52 = 106.11
       589.52 + 106.11 = 695.63
Total: 129.8 + 695.63 = Rs 825.43

The above 2 charges will apply every time you use a foreign ATM to withdraw cash in their currency. From my experience I believe this will be same for all countries.

I only have HDFC bank debit cards so I can speak only for HDFC. Debit cards from other Indian banks might have different charges.

Important note: In addition to these above 2 charges by HDFC + tax by Indian govt, some foreign bank ATMs in some countries might charge you an extra fee for using their ATM because your bank is outside their country/banking network. Depending upon how transparent that bank is, their ATM screen might or might not show a notice about this charge before you proceed to do the withdrawal & give you an option to proceed/cancel the withdrawal. It could be a fixed amount or a percentage fee. This will be added to your total withdrawal amount in Indian rupees & will not show as a separate item in the bank statement.

For example I have never paid any such additional fees by any ATM in Malaysia, but I have paid 60000 VND [Vietnamese Dong] for one transaction at a Citi bank ATM in Ho Chi Minh City airport, Vietnam, and 250 Peso for one transaction at a PSBank ATM in Manila airport, Philippines.

And if you’re wondering about charges incurred while swiping your debit card at international stores/merchants/POS machines then read this post.