Author: Singapore's Budget Babe

2016: Did I Meet My Financial Goals for This Year?

With 2016 coming to a close, I decided to take a look at how I fared this year and whether I had met the financial goals I’d set for myself. When I first started this blog as a financial notebook to keep an account of all my learnings on this personal finance journey, my initial focus in 2014 was all about cutting down expenses and maximising my savings. In 2015, I achieved my goals of growing my savings and cleaning up my insurance policies, but did really badly on the investment portion due to timing. I’d made the mistake of...

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Asia Honeymoon Itinerary – Japan / Korea / Taiwan

TAIWAN HONEYMOON ITINERARY If you’re looking for a cheap but romantic destination in Asia, Taiwan is one of my favouritie countries to visit. I highly recommend visiting, and it is a place that I always find myself coming back to! Go during January – March if you’re a fan of the cold, so you can snuggle up with your other half while being bundled in pretty coats. It isn’t too chilly either as the temperatures feel more like air-con levels, and there’ll be sakura blooms at Yangmingshan as well if you’re keen on that! Here’s a recommended 10-day itinerary...

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Be Careful of Sneaky Bank Charges

If we’re not careful about banking fees, we’ll be losing a lot more than we gain from the bank. I learnt this first-hand when I didn’t monitor a savings account I had opened during my university days. I always thought just keeping it aside would be safe, but boy, was I wrong. By the time I realised it, the bank had deducted hundreds of dollars from my account to pay for the “account servicing fee” (in other words, just keeping my money for me), as my deposit amount had dropped to below the required minimum balance. This was completely...

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Giving Your Parents Monthly Allowance? Get "Filial Piety" Tax Rebates By Using This Method Instead!

Like most Asian children, I’ve been giving my parents $200 each every month. This is usually done through monthly bank transfers, but recently I made a change by giving my parents their allowance through CPF cash top-ups instead. But money in the CPF is untouchable! It took me a while to convince my parents about the merits of this move. But there are multiple benefits that eventually got me off my lazy butt to make this change. Why contribute to their CPF? While some reasons are already listed in the graphic above, the main reasons that drove me to make...

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Choosing the right BTO flat

“Honey, let’s invest and buy the BIGGEST BTO flat in the MOST CENTRAL location so that we can sell it off for a huge profit next time!” Does this sound familiar? Indeed, this is the mindset of many Singaporean couples, who believe that buying and selling property is a sure way to make them rich. While BTOs are indeed one of the cheapest housing options around, biting off more than you can chew is potentially financial suicide. Since I’m getting married next year, N and I have started looking at housing options. This post is about what we learnt...

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Hitting $100,000 In Savings by Age 26

I got a pleasant surprise when I checked my CPF statement recently. After 3 years of work, my CPF has accumulated to a good $51,000 sum, which therefore brings my current net worth to above $100,000 from just savings alone. The breakdown is as follows:  CPF (forced savings)  $51,000  Savings in 2014  $20,000  Savings in 2015  $30,000 I decided to revisit my old blog posts to see which tips I had mentioned then helped me to to achieve this milestone. You may read about my journey in savings $20k and $30k a year in the table links above. In...

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Which Credit Cards to Use for Wedding Expenses

Singaporean couples can expect to spend at least $40,000+ if they’re getting married in Singapore and holding a wedding banquet. Many couples spend up to $60,000 as a bare minimum, especially if they opt for an overseas pre-wedding shoot in Korea which is all the rage these days (no thanks to the K-drama wave). Here’s a list of wedding items most couples typically need to spend on (based on what I was quoted): Bridal Package $3,000 Pre-wedding Photoshoot $2,000 (local) $5,000 (overseas, inclusive of airfare) Wedding Rings $4,000 Betrothal Package (Guo Da Li) $1,888 (excludes dowry cash) Wedding Banquet $20,000 (restaurant...

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Review: BigFatPurse Value Investing Mastery Course

When I first embarked on my investing journey last year, I started out by reading various books on the topic and trying to pick up some skills through the self-taught method. Needless to say, I made quite a number of amateur mistakes along the way, but that’s a story for another day. After making some of these mistakes, I thought that perhaps attending investing courses would help me – after all, I get to learn from the experts, and pick their brains on how I can become a better investor. Unfortunately, I realised what I wanted out of the...

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What Are the 5 Best Credit Cards in Singapore Now?

For an average working adult who doesn’t spend too lavishly, which credit cards currently offer the best value for your buck? In our world today, it seems like there are simply too many credit cards to choose from. With all the different promotions running at different times, it is no wonder that most consumers really have little idea on credit card(s) are the best fit for them. Often, most of us just end up sticking with the one card we’ve been using for years and have gotten accustomed to. But switching your credit cards can actually bring you a...

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Credit Card Review: DBS Visa Debit Card

I’ve been seeing ads for the DBS Visa Debit Card at Somerset MRT station for quite some time now, and their promise of 5% cashback sounded too attractive to ignore. Considering how my cashback on my current credit card has only been in the $20+ range for the past few months, getting twice of that amount for my spending was a huge lure. But as usual, the main question in my head was: What’s the catch? I’m usually skeptical as most cashback promotions operate in a similar fashion – they offer you a high cashback at the beginning to...

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Trump victory: Be prepared for a bloodbath in the stock markets tomorrow!

Be prepared for a bloodbath in the stock markets tomorrow. I was actually discussing with a friend as to whether we should buy some counters in the stock market prior to the election results – because a Clinton win would probably lead to a (slight) increase, whereas a Trump victory would send global stock markets plummeting. Well, at this point (Trump:Clinton is 264:215 at time of publishing), it is safe to say that we’ll most likely be seeing a Trump presidency. As it is, here’s what markets have already done: S&P 500 Index futures slide as much as 5...

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Why I Cancelled My ILP (Investment-Linked Policy)

How should I read the numbers on my Investment-Linked Policy (ILP)? I lost more than 2 months worth of salary to learn this important lesson: when insurance and investments are bundled together into a single product, the consumer is often left worse off. A few years ago, when I was a naive fresh graduate in my first job, I met a friend of mine to understand more about financial planning and insurance. My knowledge then was limited – I knew I needed to invest and buy insurance, but I didn’t know what was essential to get. Furthermore, at that...

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How Much Debt Do Singaporeans Have?

What’s your credit score? Did you know that the secret to getting approved for a mortgage / personal loan / new credit card really lies in how good your credit score is? I didn’t know about this when I first started working and was happily applying for new credit cards. But after learning about the Credit Bureau of Singapore (CBS) and what they do, I realised that many life opportunities are enabled only when you have a good credit score, because this gives the banks the reassurance that you will not default on your loan if they lend the money...

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Here’s how you can get $1000 cashback this year

I love getting cashback or bonus interest whenever I spend on my credit cards. For instance, I was paid $20 over the last 2 months for spending on my credit card. These were expenses I needed to make anyway – my insurance premiums, groceries, movies, etc. After all, why say no to free money? If you’re like me, and are always looking out for ways to get extra money for transactions you’re already making, POSB’s latest cashback offer might just be your answer. As you might already know from my previous posts, my POSB account has been my designated...

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Meet Singapore’s newest digital insurer (car owners can now keep their 50% NCD for life!)

Singapore’s new digital insurer. I’ve never seen an insurance website like this before.   A new insurer has landed in town, and there are a few benefits they’re providing which I think are a real game-changer. Beyond the new digital buying experience, you might also want to take note that FWD Insurance is now offering car owners in Singapore protection of your 50% No Claims Discount (NCD) for life. Car insurance is mandatory in Singapore for those who own a car, so it is an expense we can’t really avoid. To encourage safe driving, you get 10% NCD every...

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