You’ve been reading our articles and watching our videos, but outside of DollarsAndSense, each DollarsAndSense team member has their own unique challenges and financial goals – as parents, a newlywed, or young working adults.
With 2019 in full-swing, here are our financial goals for the year. We’ll be striving alongside you, our readers, as we learn to make better financial decisions together.
Timothy: “To Cancel All My Credit Cards And Reapply For New Ones That Fit My Life Stage”
Rather than the usual “I am going to invest more” or “I will strive to save more in 2019”,my New Year’s resolution is a little unorthodox. I am intending to review the credit cards that I currently have and to possibly cancel most, if not all of them, and to apply for new ones that serve my current needs better.
I still like the credit cards that I am using today but the truth is, I applied for most of them when I was in a different stage in life where my spending habits were significantly different from what it is today. My grocery shopping expenditure has increased significantly thanks to milk powder, diapers and baby food and my telecommunication bills are higher as I’m paying for my entire family. My monthly business expenditure (running DollarsAndSense isn’t free) is pretty substantial as well.
It’s starting to make a lot of sense for me to review my existing cards and to swap them with cards that gives me better benefits. Also, my annual income is slightly higher now, so I can qualify for cards which I was previously not able to get.
In general, I think it makes sense for individuals to review the credit cards that they are using once every two years. This allows you to optimise the benefits that you are getting based on the changing spending habits that you have.
Dinesh: “To Save $5,000 For A Vacation In The USA And Invest In Overseas Stocks”
# 1 Save up $5,000 by August for a US trip
While this may seem frivolous, I think it’s important to have a concrete plan to raise such funds without disrupting processes that I’ve already set in place for my savings needs. As I already have a robust plan for my savings, which will go towards major buckets such as 1) beefing up my emergency funds, 2) investing in stocks and 3) long-term big-ticket expenses such as a renovation for my BTO in 3 years, I would not want to upset it.
Instead, here’s how I plan to raise this $5,000:
– Channelling savings that would have gone towards growing my emergency funds to my “holiday” fund. I can do this because my emergency funds is already more than six months’ worth of my expenses, which I think is a comfortable level for myself.
($300 X 7 months = $2,100)
– Squeeze even more savings each month by cutting down on unnecessary expenses, especially on eating out.
($100 X 7 months = $700)
– I also plan to “cheat” by taking some funds out of my emergency funds to go towards my US trip. Again, I can do this because of past diligence and I know I can continue rebuilding it after my holiday.
– I have also consistently invested in REITs and blue-chip stocks on the SGX. I’m going to put dividends I get towards this trip rather than reinvesting it. ($1,500)
# 2 Invest more in stocks outside Singapore
My second financial goal isn’t as structured, and will require continuous adjustments.
Today, majority of my investments are concentrated on stocks listed in Singapore. Although many of these companies may derive their revenue outside Singapore, I plan to further diversify my portfolio as well as get exposed to a wider range of companies, especially those listed in the US. As mentioned above, I already have a structured savings plan, of which allocating funds to investments is a significant component. I can do this in either two ways, 1) put these funds into US-listed stocks or 2) divide it into two components for US-listed stocks and continuing my investments into locally listed stocks.
Kang Heong: “To Track My Spending Habits And Use The Data To Make Lifestyle Changes”
Last year, I’ve managed to stay on top of my insurance coverage and begin investing. I want to build on this foundation this year by optimising my spending and savings.
At DollarsAndSense, our approach to everything we do is extremely data-driven, from planning our editorial calendar, brainstorming our article ideas, and our approach to advertising and affiliate marketing.
Unfortunately, I’m not as data-driven when it comes to my personal finances. I’ve “wasted” some bit of money by not paying bills on time, forgetting to cancel subscriptions after the cheap/free “promotional” period is up, as well as not being as price-conscious when it comes to day-to-day spending.
I want to begin tracking my spending habits as painlessly as possible, and then regularly reviewing the data and use it to make sustainable changes to my lifestyle over the long-run.
Perhaps if I do so, my own bank account can see the same growth that the DollarsAndSense website enjoys.
Deanna: “To Rebuild My Depleted Emergency Fund”
As a young mother of a 22-month old toddler and expecting a second child this year, my expenses doubled last year mainly due to the additional gynae costs and daily essentials for my toddler.
Saving up each month seems harder as I grow older. I used to be able to save 50% of my salary each month in my 20s but lately, I could barely keep my expenses from eating into my emergency fund. It can be quite worrying at times when you notice that slight drop in your savings account.
So, 2019 shall be a year for me to rebuild my emergency fund by saving up 10% of my salary each month. Here are 3 practical ways for me to rebuild my emergency fund:
#1 Consider ‘downgrading’ the diapers and household items
It might be time consuming to figure out if the cheaper brand works as well for my child, but if it can help me save more than 5% of what I am currently paying for, it is definitely worth the effort to compare and test it out.
#2 Resell unwanted items at home
Instead of giving unwanted items away (I recently gave away my Playstation 4 to my cousin), it might be worthwhile to set up a Carousell account or resell them on relevant Facebook groups. This can help me earn some spare cash to buy new toys for my children.
#3 Consider switching my 12-month mobile plan to SIM Only plan
My phone is still in a perfect condition and my plan is about to end soon. The family discounts may seem appealing but looking at how regular my data exceeds the limit each month, it might be timely to do a review and consider getting a SIM Only plan.
Sue Mae: “To Save $15,000 And To Invest $10,000 In 2019”
My big picture financial goals are 1) to save up as much as I can for big ticket items in the next few years and 2) constantly increase my investments.
To do this, in 2019 I aim to:
Save $15,000 this year: Since this is my first year working full time, I want to make it a good habit to save more and spend less. At the end of the year, I want to see my DBS Multiplier account grow by at least $15,000 (a very realistic target). To help me achieve this, I will continue using my expense tracker and make it a point to record how much I save monthly.
Invest $10,000: I currently have $200 going into a monthly investment plan every month ($200 x 12 = $2,400). So that leaves me with $7,600 to invest in other investment products by the end of the year. I’m looking to invest in either stocks outside of Singapore or through investment products that give me exposure to overseas markets.
Utilise my credit cards more wisely: Last year, I never really put thought into what perks I can get from spending with my credit card and how I can maximize my spending. This year, I finally applied for my first airmiles card (AMEX Singapore Airlines Krisflyer in case you were wondering). This is my first step to making my credit card spending count – accumulating more airmiles.