The HIFAS Buy vs Rent Calculator

Buy vs Rent Calculator Panel

Figuring out loans is confusing!

I’m not a broker or in finance. Like everyone, I will be paying for a home at some point. I just want to know how much my purchase costs.

Luckily, I know excel.

There are some useful calculators online which I used as cross-references:

A key feature of this calculator is seeing how much your initial loan increases (e.g. 150% of its initial value) if you stretch it out over a longer period of time. For example, if you take a$800,000 loan at a 2% interest rate, paying it over…

  • 10 years: Total sum paid is $872,182 (110%) at $7,361 monthly
  • 20 years: Total sum paid is $956,748 (120%) at $4,047 monthly
  • 25 years: Total sum paid is $1,000,687 (130%) at $3,391 monthly
  • 30 years: Total sum paid is $1,045,684 (130%) at $2,957 monthly
  • 35 years: Total sum paid is $1,091,698 (140%) at $2,650 monthly!

See how the tradeoff works? You sacrifice liquidity every month for a lower total amount. In the long term, it may look like a good idea to pay off your loan quickly, but you really have to be able to give up that amount of monthly cash. This article covers both sides of the dilemma quite well I think!

If you’d like to play with it and add your own figures, you can download the calculator here:

Lemme know if you:

-Think I missed anything out

-Want a clear explanation of something

-Think of any improvements I can make

Would love to hear your feedback to make this a more useful calculator.


The Ultimate Singapore Kopi O Kosong Peng Comparison Table

I dislike bubble tea.

Haters gonna hate.

Coffee tho. I’m a coffee guy. There’s something about the taste of black kopi (o kosong peng) that gets diluted with milk n sugar. That strong, bitter taste is rocket fuel to start the day.

Rocket Fuel

In my last post, I showed you how saving $3.60 on coffee could save you $10,000 at 35. The list of coffee prices was rough, so I thought I would get more specific and list all the prices of Singapore’s popular coffee spots.

I make these things to budget my life better. I hope you find em useful too.

Let’s start with cold coffee!

Note: Coffee bean only has one cold brew size, compared to Starbucks’ three.

ALSO, you can see that the maximum savings you can get is $5.50 a day on cold, black (heartless) coffee. According to my calculator (you can download it here), that’d save me $15,467 at 35.

$15,467 saved!

I thought it would also be interesting to list the prices for hot black coffee, which would eventually show us the price of ice after a quick subtraction.

The most you could save here is a comparable $5.3. Of course, a kopi o kosong is not the same as a Large from Coffee Bean. You might have to drink a little less coffee a day to make those savings. Ask yourself how much caffeine you really need.

Thought it would help to compile em all in a big graph too:

An awesome graph of coffee prices in Singapore.

Aaaand ice price!

Interesting to see the increase in markup on ice for smaller vendors. That extra 20c-$1.30 would amount to an extra $562 – $3,656 at 35.

I hope you found these tables and charts useful. I’ll be adding more coffee prices here as I see them, and the next topic will be on something close to heart – cookies.


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The Lifetime Savings Calculator: Which kopi will save you $10,000 at 35?

I love iced black coffee! (sans the sugar.)

Living a short walk from the local shopping mall and hawker centre, my mornings could involve a kopi o kosong peng or an iced americano. Sometimes I grind & press coffee beans at home, so… aiyoh, daily trilemma. But alas, variety is the spice of life.

Being a me, I had to list the options.

  • Kopi O Kosong Peng: $1.40
  • Kopi O Kosong Peng (Marked up): $3.00
  • Iced Americano: $5.00
  • Cold Brew: $5.80
  • Homemade: $2.00

Note on the Homemade: This will depend on your beans; I use 35g of beans a cup, so a 250g bag at $14 = seven cups at $1.96 each.

Look at the difference between an americano ($5) and kopi o kosong peng – you could be saving $3.60 a day!

What would this mean in a year? Or 5 years?

The answer is complicated – interest rates, inflation and options to invest need consideration.

Luckily for you,

Excel kung fu strong.

So before we get into the sheet [free download at the end of this post] let me unpack these basics:

Interest Rates

For money saved in the bank, interest rates determine how much your saved money grows over time, or the amount that banks pay you to keep your money in their account. They would then use your money to lend borrowers and charge them that interest.

Moneysmart’s already compiled a nice, updated list of Singapore interest rates to refer to, but for the sake of this post I’ll assume a value of 1%. This means my saved money today would grow by 1% per annum over the years.

Inflation Rates

Eroder of savings. Eater of worlds. Inflation is probably the number 1 reason to invest your money, and also why my iced kopi costs $1.40 instead of $0.90 like it used to back in school.

Inflation is the rate of increase of prices of stuff (goods and services la) over time. Inflation has many causes – higher costs of stuff-production, higher wages of stuff-makers (shame on your payraise), higher demand for stuff (e.g. when people in developing citiers can afford higher standards of living) and government policies are the usual suspects.

What’s Singapore’s inflation rate? Most sources use the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which tracks the change in price of commonly purchased goods and services, including housing and transportation.

For this post, however, I’ll be using the MAS Core Inflation, which excludes fluctuations in housing and transport. More info here!


To be a little conservation, let’s go with a fixed inflation rate of 2% per annum.


A popular topic – this could bloat up a post real quick. However, it’ll be good to illustrate just what can happen without investment, so I’m going to assume an investment growth rate of 0%. Keke.

Here we go.

Savings between Iced Americano ($5.00) to Kopi O Kosong peng ($1.40) = $3.60

Saving $3.60 a day means $1,310 a year! That may not look like much, and indeed $1,310 saved in the bank (earning interest) will only have the spending power of $1,221 in 7 years.

Summing up the accumulated years of savings, 7 years of disciplined cheap coffee drinking would result in an extra $10,124 in my bank account.

If I invested those savings, say, in CPF top-ups with a guaranteed rate of 4%…

$1,310 saved this year would no longer be worth less next year, but more. Specifically, the growth percentage would look like this:

Growth of Savings = Interest Rate – Inflation + Investment Growth

= 1% – 2% + 4%

= 2%

Measly. But much better than the -1% you would be “earning” if you let your money lose to inflation in the bank.

I hope you enjoyed this breakdown of savings – let me know if there’s any

-Improvements I can make

-Clear explanations you’d like for certain pointers

-Other stuff you think I missed out

I’d love to hear them! You can post in the comments if you like.

Download of the sheet used above:

Have fun!

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