How I Saved $20,000 in A Year

With 2014 coming to a close I decided to do an analysis of my finances across the past 12 months, and realized quite amazingly that I managed to accumulate $20,000 in this year alone!

(Disclaimer: I only graduated recently and have been working for just slightly over a year. My starting pay was $2,500 - so I started pretty much on the same foot as everyone else. I stopped taking money from my parents since I was 18 and in fact give my parents $200 each every month.)






How did I do it? 

1. Open up separate bank accounts
All the way until university, I always had one main bank account (POSB) which I save and spend from. When I graduated, however, I decided to open up another separate account and set it as my Savings account.

All my income went straight into this Savings account, and I would transfer about $1,000 every few months into my spending account for my own usage. By saving before I spend, I managed to save at least 1/2 of my monthly income each time.


2. Track all my expenses



I use a free app called "Expense Manager". It may sound troublesome, but it actually takes no longer than 5 seconds each time to key in your expenditure / less than 5 minutes at the end of every day to recap and input every spending at one shot.

What I love about it is that the app also allows users to customize and create their own categories, so you can track where your money is going into. Based on my past 12 months, these are the following categories I found myself spending the most on:

Bills / Liabilities --> Dance --> Travel (Holidays) --> Food --> Transport 

Tracking your expenses also helps you to know where you can or should be cutting down the following month if you wish to save more.


3. Eat cheap / Avoid cafes


Ever since the cafe-hopping trend started a few years ago, Singaporeans have been frequently choosing cafes as their choice for hangout places and meals. Since you get to show off Instagram-worthy moments at the same time, why not right?

But I started feeling the pinch after a few trips there with friends. On average, a cafe meal sets you back by $18 - $30, and if you visit cafes once a week like most of my friends do, that can add up to quite a bit. The same amount could probably feed you for 2 weeks on hawker food. 

So I decided to start packing my own office lunches / eat at hawkers or food courts whenever I got the chance. My cafe expenses dropped from $150 in March to $20 the following month.


4. Skip the morning coffee


99% of people cannot survive at work without their morning coffee. Okay, I exaggerate, but I'm one of those who can't live without my morning cuppa.

However, if you spend $5 - $7 on Starbucks every day, that adds up to a ridiculous $100+ on coffee alone every month! And it's just brown flavoured water!

I have SO MANY friends who are Starbucks gold card members and are always posting photos of their Starbucks coffees on Instagram. Sorry, but for the life of me I can never understand or justify spending this much on just coffee. My solution? Just buy powdered coffee and make your own every morning in the pantry. Or even better, if your workplace has a free coffee machine, use it! 



5. Take advantage of credit card promotions 


Many people are scared to use their credit cards. I don't blame them, especially after reading about so many people fall into insane credit card debts of at least $10,000. But if you are disciplined, spending on your credit card can actually give you much more than using cash. 

Of course, please make sure you have the money to pay off your bills and try to track your credit expenses so you won't end up over-spending! Always pay off your bills in time too if not the overdue interest fees can add up to quite a bit. 

Here are some credit card offers that I frequently take advantage of:

  • Citibank SMRT Visa: To chalk up SMRT$ each time I travel.
  • Travel Insing: LTA is currently running a reward campaign with SMRT for people who travel during off-peak hours. Register at https://www.travelsmartrewards.sg/ and start claiming your money now! Last month I just claimed $9 for my trips :)
  • OCBC 365 Credit Card: I shop online a lot, and this card gives me the highest returns for my spending so far. (Update: Apparently Frank gives 6% cashback, more than the 365 card's 3%)
  • DBS Movie Discounts: $1 off each time + popcorn offers
  • Citibank / OCBC Travel Insurance: Free each time you book air tickets using your credit card! I no longer buy tickets together with my friends but rather pay for mine separately so I can claim my free insurance and save between $30 - $100 each trip.


6. Cut down on drinks / nightlife


Ever since I started work, Wednesday's Ladies Nights have become almost impossible for me to go for. Clubbing on Friday / Saturdays becomes the more realistic alternative, but even though I usually get in for free, the cab rides home can add up to quite a bit! Plus, you tend to lose control of your wallet strings when you're intoxicated and can easily end up spending a bomb on drinks on the spur of the moment. 

From 2011 to 2013 I was clubbing / drinking a lot. This year though, I've cut down to once or twice every few months and I've seen an incredible reduction in my expenses, giving me more to save!


As a result of all these little tips and tricks, I managed to chalk up $20,000 within this year itself which is a huge feat in retrospect considering my monthly pay. Although eventually I spent a fair bit on travelling for holidays (to make up for my lack of a graduation trip), I managed to stretch my dollar by making $10,000 count for 6 countries (Asia + Europe) for a total of 35+ days! 

For 2015 I've decided to try my shot at investing, after numerous financial consultations with my seniors and professionals. Will write another post on this once I've consolidated all my information and have better insight :)

Let me know if you found this useful! I'll love to hear from you.

Update: Read my latest post on how YOU can easily save $20,000 in 2015.
You can also check out my response to some people on this article at this link.

With love,
Budget Babe

110 comments:

  1. Hi,

    Good post. Your life is very similiar to mine in many ways. We even use the same expense tracker. :)

    Anyway, a friend shared your blog with me. That's how I got here. I'm also a blogger and I blog on personal finance and investment stuff :)

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  2. Hi may I know which bank did u open your savings account with? :)

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  4. Very interesting article. I've personally saw more savings in my account with cutting down on drinks and clubbing, and if i do go clubbing, to save on alcohol by 'pre-drinking' at home with friends before heading out. I've currently considering opening a brokerage account to try my hands on stocks and to utilize useful free tools such as those by www.meetinvest.com, www.thefinance.sg, or www.fool.sg. Hopefully this time next year we could share on our results of diving into investments! Cheers

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  5. Awesome post. I would definitely use the app to track my expenditure.
    Thank you.

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  6. Hi there! Thanks for popping by my blog.

    SGYI - I'll love to learn from you on investments. Let's get in touch.

    Parachute- sounds good! I will check out those sites you recommended as well. My dad burnt his fingers playing stocks when I was younger though so I'm gonna be more careful before I dive in.

    Jacelyn - I use Citibank. It forces you to maintain at least 5k inside as well or they charge you a monthly servicing fee. Plus their ATMs are less commonly found which makes me spend less since I don't get to withdraw all the time

    Sukor - there are many apps but I personally find this the best. Do try and use the one which works for you!

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    1. Budget Barbie, you can email me at sgyounginvestment@gmail.com. I didn't manage to get your contact through your blog :)

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  8. Hi, I would like your clarifications on the following:

    1. If your starting pay is $2500, after CPF deduction your take home pay would be $2000.

    2. If you set aside about $1000 for your expenditure, the other $1000 goes into your savings account.

    3. Your expenditure would be I'm estimating: $1000-$400-$100(transport?)-$100(occasional meals&drinks)-$100(phone bills/credit card) = $300

    4. Total expenditure = $300 x 12 = $3,600

    5. Your actual accumulated savings in a year: $1000 x 12 = $12,000.

    6. If you save your expenditure into your savings account : $3600 + $12000 = 15600

    My scenario is the same as yours where I set aside $1000 to spend: I give my parents $200 each and since I don't take the public transport I'll use your figure of $300 + $100 = $400.

    I pack my lunch to work from home and I walk to work. Saving a lot on transport and lunch meals.

    As such, i would be left with $400 + my savings of $1000 = $1400 x 12 = $16,800
    (Although I wouldn't be transferring the remaining $400 into my separate savings account)

    Or more accurately: $1000 x 12 = $12,000 which is already in my separate savings account.

    Please advise how did you manage to save up to $20,000? As I'm aiming to save this amount in 2015!

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    1. I can see that she is pulling stunt larh. After CPF deduction and $200 for her parent, she will only have $1,800 left per month. This would mean $21,600 per annual. For her to save $20,000, her spending will have to be restrict to $1,600 per year and accordingly $134 for per month.

      For me, I spent a amount of $100 for transport even with the discount, the most it will bring her down to $70. Plus, she mentioned $20-$30 last her for 2 weeks if she ate in hawker. For illustration purpose, let's take the average $25. $50 for food per month. She would have had already spent $120 for that month and will be left with $14. How about handphone bill and she also mentioned she still shop but cut down and movies and other leisure?

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    2. Hi Sze Tong, how about you consider part-time work and other sources of income before you jump to conclusions? It's funny how all of you seem so rigid with your budgeting, making saving money seem like so difficult (look at your calculations!). Pulling a stunt? I have no need to do that, and do verify your facts before jumping to assumptions like every other keyboard warrior out there :)

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    3. Hi , pls do specify that you have part time jobs on top of your $2.5K a mth. Otherwise we will be asking questions on how did you save that amount and at the same time spend on your necesscities
      Not everyone can be so lucky to many part time jobs or even work part time outside their jobs
      And do you have insurance premium that you need to pay every month?

      Delete
    4. Hi , i have other questions too but my system was having problems to post all in one
      Is $200 a month enough to pay for SCC,SP,internet and phone bills?
      What about eating at home? For your parents and you at least need a minimum of $270 per mth for dinner (assuming 3pax@$3 for 30 days)
      So can i assume that you have part time jobs which you need to specify so that we readers can have more clarity,and most of your part time jobs earned income goea towards your needs and fixed expenses
      For your consideration please

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    5. Hi Sen Chai, sorry for the confusion. Do note that I specifically wrote "My starting pay was $2,500" - as I'm under non-disclosure agreements by my company to not reveal my pay. I'm very sure if you work a corporate full-time job you will have this clause too so most readers who work should know this. If it is readers who are still students, I am happy to answer them individually and clarify, but to publicly announce my salary + part time job? That's
      (a) not right
      (b) my part-time income varies from month to month, depending on the assignments I get / how many students postpone their tuition sessions, so how can I give a fixed figure?
      (c) who goes around publicly announcing their salaries anyway? That's not very smart, and you can potentially get sued by your employer. I have some background in law, so I know what I can and what I cannot write.

      This blog was never meant to draw attention to my numbers. I set it up to share my saving tips as I advise / mentor my friends and juniors on money, savings and life in general...as a friend and out of goodwill. I never expected this article to go viral, although I'm very thankful for the blessings. But ultimately, its main aim is to teach on saving and share my own tips with people around. Some of my readers have found these tips helpful in reducing their expenses, and I hope you guys will find it helpful as well. That is really all there is to it.

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    6. Anyway, to answer your questions:
      - Yes, I pay a fixed amount to my ILP currently
      - Sorry, what are SCC, SP bills? I have siblings, so our household utilities and broadband is paid by my parents as it is a shared resource. However, everything personal, such as my own hp bill, is paid by myself. The home phone bills though, is covered by my dad.
      - I'm very independent from my family. For eating at home, we buy our own groceries and cook our own individual meals, rather than most families where they share the cost (actually the latter is much cheaper in the long-run, and has more variety! but every family is different...). I tend to repeat my meals twice in order not to let the ingredients go to waste, and I avoid buying perishables in bulk because I cannot finish them myself. Sometimes at work, I used to share with my colleague, so she would cook for me one day, and I would cook for her on alternate days, etc. That way can utilize a bit of bulk discounts for perishables :)

      On average, for clarity, I try to save $1,500 of my disposable salary. The remaining $500 + part-time income goes towards my bills and spendings, so on certain months where my part-time income is very very low, I try to cut down even more. Unlike some people, I do not have a fixed spending budget I stick to - rather, I use a strict SAVING budget instead. To each their own :)

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  9. @RAAYCHE haveyou considered bonuses?

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    1. Hi Bernard, yes. Unfortunately my bonus + savings doesn't add up to $20,000.

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    2. Bernard - some friends I know get up to 3 - 6 months of bonuses! What a good life right! :(

      Delete
  10. Hi raayche, I'll be writing a post soon with detailed breakdown of numbers for saving at different income levels in Singapore. I would love to help you calculate how to increase your savings for next year based on your lifestyle, would you leave me your email address so I can get in touch? :)

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    1. Hi Budget Barbie, yes please. I'll be dropping you an email soon :)

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    1. I did NOT remove this comment. I presume Blogger means "the author" as in the person who wrote the comment. For those of you who doubt this, feel free to email me and I will send you the exact screenshot of the email Blogger's notifications sent me when this person wrote + removed their comments right after :)

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  12. I can see parallels to your experience of not taking any pocket money at the age of 18. i think its something commendable consider i did the same thing but i was in the army. I really would like to see a followup post on the thought process to do that.

    You have to differentiate between expense tracking and a budget moving forward. A expense tracking helps you make sense of the past trends, but what determines more is the future planning of the budget. think "wiping the past as a clean slate, and moving forward"

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    1. Hi Kyith, you're right. I'm actually going to be writing about budgets in a subsequent post (am preparing the materials for that now) so do visit back soon. What I realized though is many people also find it hard to stick to budgets, so the next best is of course to track expenses which makes a person realize how much he/she has been spending instead.

      Good job on going independent since 18 too :) what would you like to see on the "thought process to do that"? I'm not quite sure I understand.

      Thanks!

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    2. Hi BB,

      Even planning real life projects we have difficulties coming up with budgets for large scale projects! When i talk about thought process, its more like when i was 18, my family have some crisis, so i decided not to take money just to make life of the overall family a tad easier.

      Its either your parents doesn't want to give , or u made a decision not to take, in the latter case why did you take that stance. nothing really big about it.

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    3. Hey Kyith, sorry I missed out your reply! My parents actually kind of "forced" me to go independent at a young age - they just told me they weren't going to keep giving me money anymore. My dad also told me that if I wanted to go to university, I would have to find the money myself cos they wanted me to go and work after my A Levels instead :'( I was very upset and angry with them back then, but on hindsight, it made me stronger into the person I am today :) and if not for that incident, I might not have landed my scholarship! Haha. So all is still good, and I still care about my parents very much :)

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    4. P.S. My sister still gets allowance from my mom every month though. And she's already 4 years older right now than I was back then when my allowance was cut off.

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    5. hi BB, i think its the same situation with me. my bro still gets pocket money but i stopped that. its a personal choice. but i think you had it hard that there seem to be some form of unfairness, but at least u got the preseverance and hardwork to get a scholarship.

      its a bit crazy this day and age to get you to work with A levels, but hey teaching tuition might net you 5-9k per month so its definitely possible

      do follow my blog Investmentmoats.com sometimes for some daily tidbits on ways u can tweak ur wealth.

      Delete
  13. i have a friend that has a question regarding this:

    "So I decided to start packing my own office lunches / eat at hawkers or food courts whenever I got the chance. My expenses dropped from $150 in March to $20 the following month."

    he cannot imagine how even by packing you can reduce expenses from 150 to 20 bucks. perhaps you can elaborate on that. 150 is already very very little. in most cases, there are alot of unfactored in meal expenses that you have not account for in my experience (eating at home, you are not paying directly for it e.g.)

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    1. Hi Kyith, I wrote about cafe expenses in point 3. In tracking my expenses, I categorize food into meals, restaurants/cafes, snacks and groceries. As my friends tend to like hanging out at cafes (no surprise), I found myself frequenting them 1 - 3x a week. The $150 reduction to $20 refers to higher-end food expenses, not across all food in general.

      Also, even if I eat at home, I pay for all my own groceries as my family does not cook. Every cent is accounted for.

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    2. hi BB,

      thanks for the clarification. i will relay the message. i'm not saying u will make the same mistake, but generally a lot of my friends say they only spend 130 bucks without realizing they are not counting some of the food they consume that they should be paying.

      Delete
  14. Hi there,

    I would like to recommend you a trading book by van tharp, its call super traders. Many traders started from a wrong market perspective and in e end, lost a lot of money. The author is a trading coach who has helped many professional traders in e States. I personally learned alot from his book. Hope you will find him helpful too.

    Best of luck! :)
    Fannie

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    1. Thanks Fannie! I appreciate it, will definitely check it out! I'll love to exchange tips with you too on investing if you like. Do email me if you'll like to keep in touch :)

      Delete
    2. Hi there,

      I don't invest. I trade stocks for a living. I can't advise you what you should/should not invest. But if you are looking into trading shares, then my advise is to read trading books first before participating. There are many trading books in the market though. Some are rubbish to me, especially those that promote quick bucks. It doesn't work this way, so be careful :) Trading is a business to me, and I follow the steps highlighted in the book 'Super traders' to formulate my trading plan. You will probably understand what I am trying to say after you read the book. It can be found in our national library too! :)

      Best wishes!
      Fannie
      (p/s: I can't find your email address though)

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    3. Hi Fannie,

      My email address is sgbudgetbarbie@gmail.com :)

      Delete
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  16. Hi Budget Barbie, great tips indeed. I can't wait to see your post on investment ideas/insights. Wish you all the very best.

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    1. Hi Meens, thanks! I'm not an expert on that yet though, but my profile is low-risk. Still learning and will share as I learn more :)

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  18. Hi Budget Barbie,

    I'm impressed how you could save more than 50% of your income. Keep up the good work to inspire the young ones =D

    I am also reaching out to undergrads and poly students who wants to learn more about personal finance and investing.
    Some times we have too look at those who are less well-to-do and give them a helping hand.

    All the best!
    Matthew

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    1. Hi De Sheng, thanks for letting me know. I've added this to the post :)

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  20. Interesting post!! Keep it up! GO Girl!

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  21. wow nicely done! im sure you could be the inspiration for many out there!
    and bravo for your self discipline and surely you are different from most of the people in this instant gratification generation! haha

    Top 10 Food Post 2014!!

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  22. Replies
    1. Hi Natalie, I've already graduated. Currently I'm paying back my overseas studies loan to my aunt (do look at my most recent blog post for that).

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  23. $150 for food per month? I would be eeally interested to know what u eat for breakfast, lunch n dinner?

    Assuming u eat chicken rice + teh every single day for lunch for 365 days. Let me do the math.

    $3.50 + $1 = $4.50
    (5 days x 52 weeks - 15 days PH) = 245 days
    (245 days x $4.50) / 12 mths = $91
    $150 - $91 = $59

    What about breakfast and dinner?

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    1. Hi Ivan, my $150 is for cafe expenses. Please reread :)

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    2. I see.. my apologies, I have misinterpreted it.

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  24. If you may, my advice to really be able to save monry is on the transport (only for those who take taxi to and fro from work everyday).

    For me, from home to work (CBD district) the actual cab fare is $12. When I take during peak hours, it can reach as high as $22++. Now I have completely stop taking cab to and back home.

    Morning cab fare = $22
    Evening cab fare (after 8pm) = $15
    Total = $37
    ($37 x 5 days x 52 wks) /12 mths = $800.

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    1. Totally agreed! Spending on taxis is one of the biggest waste of money and the easiest to cut down on if you can plan your time properly :)

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  25. Impressive record. You saved two-thirds of your salary, which is a goal I am trying to accomplish this year. Keep up the good work.

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  26. Hi Budget babe,

    I'm not going to comment much on the expenses bit..I think you're frugal enough!

    I think in order to move forward, you should look at ways to increase your earnings. Spend the necessary money to network and socialise with important people, raise your work profile and get yourself noticed at work. Off work, think of ways to boost your income...set up a blog shop, tuition, web design etc etc....at this stage, you should think about monetising your free time, which is quite cheap. When you're at a later stage where your time gets more expensive, you should look at ways to make your money work for you.

    Don't crack your brains squeezing your expenses further...spend your effort and energy increasing your earnings. The busier you are, the less time you have to spend money anyway, so you're doing offense and defense at the same time. With your already well tuned (frugal) spending habits, go for the offense now!

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  27. Hmmm.. What about income taxes and other fees? Such a good life, no contribution to parents, society and economy.

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    1. Hi HOTB4COOL, contrary to your beliefs, I do contribute to my parents (as clearly stated in the beginning of my post). Perhaps you missed that out. And surely you know that fresh graduates are not required to file their income taxes until they have worked for 1 year.

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  28. Hello there! Wow im impressed by the amount u save yearly! Im getting about the same cash as u. Other than giro-ing $300 to my mom every month, i also smoke. I guess i could cut down on that. We are using the same expenses tracking app as well. I started using this year only. Hopefully i can really save that amount for me to invest every year. I would be richer soon to come.

    Keep it up the good work!
    Jfree

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    1. Hi Jfree, yes the app is awesome isn't it! I tried 2 other apps on the Play store before I found this and stuck with it ever since :) indeed, smoking would eat up so much of your money! Wouldn't that be about $50-80 a month, or even more? It'll be hard to save 20k if you're on 2.5k alone and don't receive yearly bonuses - for myself I do part-time work on weekends to earn more in order to not have to compromise on life too much while trying to save :) good luck!

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  29. I used to save my money in cimb star saver account (0.8%) but ever since the ocbc 360 come, i credited to monthly salary to it + do 3 x bill transactions to get at least a 2% each month of my total savings which i think is quite alot interest.

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  30. Hi I am curious as to what kind of lifestyle you lead? Do you say no to friends who want to cafe hop, no to colleagues get together events/after dinner events? Do you even lead a life with entertainment? Do you happen to have a boyfriend? Do you all always meet and go hawker center to eat everytime? what about branded goods? You have no wish to own any of them? I am a 20 something and about to enter workforce very soon but I aim to set aside 1 to maybe 2 thirds of my income to savings. 50% is rather big a measure for me I feel. Sorry, I hope my questions are not too personal..

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    1. Hi there. Contrary to what you think, I do lead a very fulfilling and active lifestyle. I'm not sure where you saw my blog from, but if it's from the recent Facebook sharings, that girl in the photo is NOT me (I've no clue how that photo popped up, as it is nowhere in my blog! Would love to find out though haha); she looks far too young.

      You're also contradicting yourself. How is "2 thirds of your income to savings" a "rather big measure" compared to 50%?

      To answer your questions,
      - I usually just tell my friends I'm on a budget if they ask me to go cafe hopping. There are other cheaper things you can do with friends. And no, I've not lost any friends because of this. But I do go to cafes occasionally. Like, once every 1-2 months.
      - I rarely go drinking with my colleagues, unless someone is giving a treat. Work-wise, I am still growing well and got a promotion last year.
      - Yes I do lead a life with entertainment. I watch movies, dance concerts, go travelling, etc. My definition of entertainment might be very different from yours. I'm not sure if you read my post carefully but you should see that I spent half of my 20k saved last year on travelling to 6 countries including Europe, making the budget stretch even more for me.
      - Yes I am happily attached with a loving boyfriend who understands my saving goals. We try to save as much as we can while dating as we are trying to save up for marriage as well.
      - I do not own much branded goods, nor do I have the desire to. Perhaps in the future when I earn more I will buy them, but at the moment I cannot justify spending 4 digits (or more than half) of my monthly salary on a branded bag.
      - Define "spending on yourself"? If it is on shopping, I spend anywhere from $20 - $500 a month. Most months I spend less than $100 though. Last month due to Christmas season, birthdays and me buying my CNY clothes in advance, I spent $500.

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    2. Hi, thanks for replying, you are really a very frugal person, which is not that easy to find these days. Thanks for answering my questions. I am a student currently, yet I can easily spend $100 on myself. Spending on myself= the items that I spent on is for purely for my enjoyment only. It's just amazing how much discipline you have in pursuing your saving goals. Esp the cafe sessions, I am surprised to read that you only go once every 1-2 months. You have very understanding and accommodating friends. Most girl friends like to meet up at restaurants,cafes etc for gatherings. I feel that once they start working and I am unable to follow up with their eating lifestyle. Your story is an inspiring one for young people! Keep up the good work!

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  31. oh, and how much do you shop on yourself (not the necessities) per month? I didn't really read about it in your post..Thanks!

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  32. tips are fine and good... but not possible to save up $20k in a year with income of 2.5k
    2.5k gross will only allow take home of 2k
    assuming you give your parents $200 a month, you will be left with $1800
    to save up 20k in a year, you will need an average of $1.67k a month
    means that you only spend $150 on transport,food,bills and insurance?
    it will only be possible if you eat breakfast and dinner at home, take food from home for lunch, walk to work?!?! and errr well your parents still pays your bill... technically speaking, the $200 is not for your parents lol

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    1. Hi Joel,

      Nothing is impossible, it is only how much you want it. I am amused that you went to the trouble of calculating the breakdown in order to verify the truth of my figures. And you are right, it is impossible to spend so little a month on this amount. Do note that I wrote "starting pay" - I have since been promoted. If you read my other post (http://worklivesingapore.blogspot.sg/2015/01/how-to-save-20000-in-2015.html) you'll also see that I recommended part-time income to supplement, which I do by teaching GP tuition and working as a freelance PR consultant on weekends.

      Also, my parents do NOT pay any of my personal bills, unless you count common utilities like internet, water and electricity.

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  33. Impressive I would say If what you written is True. Keep up the good job...

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  34. I would love to have more details too!

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    1. Hi Mabel, you may want to read my other post (http://worklivesingapore.blogspot.sg/2015/01/how-to-save-20000-in-2015.html) which has a bit more insight into the breakdown. However, if you're looking at arriving at a detailed breakdown yourself, please feel free to email me at sgbudgetbarbie@gmail.com :)

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  35. Nice, now you can start investing as a next step

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  36. Hello, I must say I'm pretty impressed with your self-discipline throughout the year.

    I was going through the math, and I am wondering this:

    Since you saved $20k, and assuming that is 50% of your total income for the year..
    You should make $40k in 2014.
    And since your full-time job is 2k (after CPF),
    Your sideline income will be $40k - (12mths x 2k) = $16k
    That is equivalent to $1333 from GP Tuition every month.

    You must have earned alot just from a sideline job!

    I am in, more-or-less, in the same shoe as you. Just graduated and about a year into my job, part-time tuitions, study loans, parents' contribution etc but I realized I fall short way below $20k last year.
    Was wondering if your tuition income makes a significant contribution to that $20k savings.

    Anyways, I recently told myself i wanted to save $20k this year, And i stumbled upon ur blog at the right time. Thus, it definitely hits home.

    Enjoyed reading it so far, keep it up! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the support! You might want to read my latest post (http://worklivesingapore.blogspot.sg/2015/01/how-to-save-20000-in-2015.html) for a summarized breakdown actually, cos your numbers are incorrect. Also, I saved more than 50% of my income. I do wish my part-time work gave me $1333, but there's no such good deal out there! If there is let me know, I would also love to take it!

      Delete
    2. Also, it is hard to save 20k if you still have your tuition loan to pay off. I went to uni on a scholarship, so I don't have that crazy 22k loan owed unlike most of my peers! I was very blessed though to have gotten that.

      Delete
    3. Ah that explains. Sadly, study loans takes a huge chunk of my monthly expenses. Great that you got a scholarship, that definitely goes a long way!

      On good months, 1.2k from tuition is possible on a sideline basis, but it would definitely tire me out. It's not impossible tho! And with the savings you have now, you can consider diversifying and growing the money. But take it slow, understand the nuances behind different investments before committing.

      I would highly recommend The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Think and 4-Hour-Work-Week by Tim Ferriss for a start.

      Delete
    4. Wow how do you manage 1.2k from tuition, I don't have so much time / students to be able to chalk that up! I can only take on 2 -3 kids at any given time now that I have a full-time job.

      Thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely look into these books! Trying to learn on investments now too :)

      Delete
    5. I teach at a local tuition centre, in a small classroom setting, during my off-working hours, not much of a home-based tuition. The rate is pretty good so if I put in the hours, definitely 1.2k is achievable.

      I look forward to your progress as you foray into investments. I burnt my hands from foreign exchange and now I'm taking a breather. Hope you will do better!

      Delete
  37. Hi, how do you claim for free travel insurance using Citibank or OCBC card?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, some of their cards have the free travel insurance promo, you have to check if you quality. Just charge your airfare to your card and call customer service 1-2 days before your departure to activate the free insurance :)

      Delete
  38. Hi,

    Before I read your sign off "budge babe" I already knew you were a female due to the way you describe your spending habits. Just so you know, men always have to spend more on dates and on the ladies. Therefore it's easier for you to save. I can't say the same for men. I have been working for 2 years, and my salary is much higher than yours. But I have 0 savings. And u will be shocked my lifestyle is not much different from yours. In fact I live a more frugal lifestyle than what u described. When it comes to dating however, I'm always the one spending on the ladies. I think women should start being more proactive and stop expecting the man to pay for every thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Oliver, sorry if you keep meeting the wrong kind of girls. I have many guy friends as well who spend a lot of money on dating / their girlfriends....only to break up a few years later. So not worth it. It's good that you have a higher salary and live frugally, that means you can actually save more than me! Also, for the record, I do not make my boyfriend pay for me most of the time. We either go dutch, or he pays for some of the meals we have together, or sometimes it is me paying for him :) guess you just need to find the right (wise) girl who isn't spoilt and acts like a princess! Good luck!

      Delete
  39. Pretty impressive for saving >50% of your income! Not many can do that.

    I think everyone know about 'live within the mean', yet this simple statement may have different interpretations. The "spenders" will probably think that if they are able to pay the monthly installment, they're good. The "savers" may ONLY focus on cutting expenses, some to the point where they can't have a proper social or liveable life. I think you're doing good, esp. you know how to 'increase the mean' (extra income) while making sure that you're living with the 'real mean'!

    Like many, one thing that you do that I probably can't - keep track of every single expenses! Don't get me wrong, I think it is definitely a GOOD thing and RIGHT thing to do. Knowing your current status (networth and spending) should be the first step for personal financial planning. Many of my friends are doing that. Just that I find it too troublesome. I guess I am too lazy! ;-) I just have a very rough idea of my spending every month (usually just checking the bank balances and the transactions in the statements/online). Good enough for me. But recently I was introduced of this new tool that cater for people like me. It is still rather new, but so far seem to work for me. You may want to check it out - www.moneysentral.com.

    One thing that I think you should be doing is to invest (if you haven't). You shouldn't let the money just sit in the bank and earn little interest, esp. that you're still so young. Investment is a learning journey. Most people will lose some money to learn the experience and find the investment instrument that is suitable for them. The earlier you start, the better for you for the long run. And of course, you should know the power of compound interest!


    Keep up the good work and do share more in the future!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kenny, thanks for the support! Yes, I try my best to balance between saving and living a social life :) although most people who only read this blog at surface level seem to doubt that (my friends know otherwise!) and you're one of the few who knows that both can actually be balanced well! :)

      I'm actually looking at learning to invest now so hopefully will be able to make my money work more for me too!

      Delete
  40. hi,
    for those credit cards, do you have to pay annual fee?
    or simply ask them to waive for you?
    guaranteed able to waive it off?
    thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jeff that depends on a lot of factors, including your credit score, how much you spend on your cards, etc. I can't guarantee anything as (a) I am not a bank (b) I do not work in a bank (c) I do not represent banks. Of course if you use your card only minimally then there's no reason for the bank to waive it off for you, right? You have to ask the credit card companies yourself whether you qualify for waiver of annual fees - they're the ones making the decision. Good luck!

      Delete
  41. Why are you using my photo without my permission?? Who are you? IT'S EVERYWHERE!!! CAN DELETE IT??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natalie, sorry, I do not know as well. For those who are my friends, they know it's not me / I clarify on their blog posts directly that the photo is not me. The original post sharing was the correct photo showing my backview. I have no idea how it became your photo recently and was only brought to my attention when my friend spotted it yesterday and showed me. Do you have any idea how we can correct this?

      Delete
    2. Hi Natalie, I've asked a few friends and we really have no clue how your photo ended up on the Facebook sharings / how to resolve the problem. My apologies. We can't figure out either how come it was your photo, out of so many images on this article alone, that got used. Anyway, I have modified my blog layout to reflect my real photo on the sidebar. I hope this will help clarify for future visitors to the blog. If you know how to resolve the issue otherwise, please let me know!

      Delete
  42. What about insurance? Edu loan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Xueli, I'm still evaluating my insurance right now as I bought a ILP last year but am thinking of terminating it. Education wise - I was lucky enough to have gotten a scholarship, so it was possible to save this much. If I had to pay my tuition fee loan like most of my peers, I don't think I'll be able to save much at all.

      Delete
  43. You earn $2500 in one month. I'm earning only slightly less than $1600. And bulk of my income goes to my education every month. On some days, I have to forgo meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) just to save some cash. I am unable to save a lot from there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, oh dear that does sound hard :( sorry to hear that. You probably won't be able to save much until you've stopped studying / paid off your study fees. By then, you'll have more time to either take on more part-time income, or find a better job hopefully with higher pay. Good luck!

      Delete
  44. Hi Budget Babe,

    Your writings is true and it is possible to achieve !

    I am a Singaporean PR and for the first couple of years I had the frugal lifestyle just like what you said. I always pack my lunchbox, seldom go out to cafes, workout in activegym and jog by the roadside. It's cheap and healthy. I was also sharing a rental room with a friend, just to keep my accomodation as low as possible. It was tough ! But it is possible.

    Now from the saving, I managed to start a family and buy a small HDB and further my education with an MBA.

    Thank you for such inspiring writing ! It is possible !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow! Your story is truly inspiring! I'm hoping to get my MBA sponsored in the future so I don't have to pay, and am still far off in terms of money from owning a HDB / starting a family, but hopefully I'll get there like you someday :)

      Delete
    2. Hi Babe,
      Remember : A dollar saved - is a dollar earned

      With you savvy lifestyle, I am sure you can achieve great things in life.

      If you can save 20K a year and your boyfriend can also save the same amount. You both get about 40K a year. An average HDB cost about 400K and the downpayment is 10%. Do you see it ? :)

      There are government help like WDA and SkillConnect to add value to education, and MBA nowadays are competitive price with installment payment.

      Perhaps you can write about ways to get good and cheap education in Singapore.
      I look forward to it !

      Keep writing !

      Delete
  45. The saving plan you state is good. But most people could not follow. Because the more you earn the more we spend.
    If everyone start saving money like you did. Our country will be gone case. The cash flow in singapore will be gone.
    Lets put that a side. If your starting pay is 2.5k and only spend around 1k per month. If yoi maintain your spending at 1k for your whole working life, you will be rich.
    For me, i will let my saving money grow.
    How? I will do trading. Since trading is high return, fast and stable. If you know the risk and how to deal with them.
    In short, you should make your money work harder for you. Money grow money. ^.^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha JJ I still spend, but the trick is in controlling and buying only what you need (while limiting the "wants" that you spend on!).

      I would love to explore trading but I'm afraid I don't know enough yet! And there are risks...It would be worse to lose the money we have so painstakingly saved up. If you have tips on this please share with me at my email, sgbudgetbarbie@gmail.com thanks!

      Delete
    2. hi babe,
      i usually invest in blue chips and just collect dividend.
      One year i able to collect close to 15k dividend:)

      cheers
      yeh

      Delete
  46. Would like to check that free travel insurance when purchase ticket using Citibank.
    Any specific airline? Which Citibank? Apply to all type Citibank? I quite offend travel and buy air ticket but I didn't know have such promo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, when I last used this last year, it didn't limit me to any airline. I think it depends on the Citibank credit card used, although I'm not sure if it extends to all of their cards or only a select few? You can call their customer service hotline to enquire though as they will probably be able to advise more than me :)

      Delete
  47. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please kindly do not use my blog post for shameless advertising of your own services.

      Also, a note to my readers, I personally recommend you NEVER to loan if you can help it. The interest rates are no joke, and think about it - if you need to take a loan, it means you're in need of money which you don't have. What makes you think you can pay back that money with interest a few months down the road?

      I wrote about clearing your debts, so avoid chalking more debts if you possibly can. And if you ever REALLY need a loan - seek your family members for help. That's what I did. I had to knock on many doors before I got a loan for my university. And it is interest-free with no time limit to pay off :) (of course be reasonable laaaa)

      Delete
  48. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I love saving as much as you. I try to save as much as I can and I'm lucky cos I have a pretty good job. Unfortunately for the year of 2014 I only saved about 5,000, although I pack food from home etc. I guess once in a while I shop quite a bit plus I spent over 8,000 on dental work last year sigh.

    Anyway I found your blog and the first tip is awesome! I usually just put aside 2,500 n try not to touch it but now I realise I should put away ALL and then only ration out what I want to use (eg 1,000)

    Thank you for the tip :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steph! Thank you! I've just set up a Facebook page for readers to follow for updates, do support if you find my tips helpful :)

      Delete
  50. hi babe,
    you are still young:) if you can continue this saving habit, i can assure that you will have a lot money in the future:)

    me and my hubby started our saving and investment journey 8 years ago. Over these 10 years of saving, working hard and investing. we able to have a portfolio of sgd400k and some cash mid 6 figure amount and also a 5rm hdb flat( still owing 300k debt, and we have set aside a amount to settle the loan).

    if there is a will, there is a way:) jia you.

    cheer
    yeh

    http://yehinvestmentandmusic.blogspot.sg/

    ReplyDelete
  51. Ah this is the post that the GF was telling me about! I know many people who earn more but can't even save that much.

    Good job BB!

    ReplyDelete
  52. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  53. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Superb article! I also used to spend loads of money on coffee and eating outside. My uncle Dr. Aloke Ghosh suggested using "Expense Manager" app for tracking all the expenses and I controlled extra expenses. This app helped me a lot. Now I save this much money every year!

    ReplyDelete
  55. I think 20k savings per year for a fresh graduate is very possible but really not easy at all.
    One really needs a lot of discipline and not be easily influenced by others... at many times people will make nasty remarks on how stingy you are, you have to ignore those hurtful words and carry on
    The toughest part is to continue doing it year after year, its like running a business... to constantly grow revenues yet trying to keep expenses low.. the pressure will be on

    I know all this only too well, because I'm speaking from experience. After a decade of being frugal and being looked down, I have finally attained financial freedom and have no regrets.

    The path ahead will be tough, so I wish u all the best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Felix,

      You're spot on. I don't get nasty remarks from my friends, but the ones who do criticize me? I simply ignore them. True friends accept, not judge. It is a personal decision if they wish to spend and I choose to save. At the end of the day, we all bear the consequences / reap the results of our own decisions.

      Congrats on attaining financial freedom within one decade! Please share with me more! As I'm pretty sure I'm not going to attain that in my 30s - still have some big ticket items coming up during this timeframe like wedding, house and all...

      Delete

 

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