The story behind Budget Babe
When I was younger, I hated math with a vengeance. I was so bad at it that got a "B" for PSLE and "O" levels, and a horrible "U" for my GCE "A" level prelims.
But, as life would have it, I was thrown into a world where I soon learnt I needed to take charge of my own money, or be left to fend for myself. My mother was retrenched during the Asian Financial Crisis and was unable to find work for many months, where she had to bite her teeth and borrow from relatives and friends in order to tide us through.
At 17, my parents dropped a bombshell on me - they had no money to pay for my university fees. If I wanted to get a degree, I needed to find my own way (or money). I had to even borrow money from my dad to get tuition in one of my weaker subjects, after promising to pay him back. At the age of 18, my weekly allowance was cut off and I was on my own.
Luckily, when life gives us lemons, we always have an option to make lemonade.
A miracle granted me with straight 'A's for my GCE 'A' Levels, which landed me a scholarship to pursue a degree. That took care of my financial burden, even giving me a small monthly allowance to live on. As my parents couldn't afford to send me on overseas exchange, I started working 9 side-jobs to save up enough so that I could send myself to the United States.
You could say I learnt, as a result of my family circumstances, to manage my own cashflow.
My inner Budget Babe then materialized into an online persona for me in December 2014. She was born mostly as an avenue for me to indulge my love for writing, but later evolved into a familiar guide to help Singaporeans looking to take control of their finances as well.
I write on Singaporean issues including rising living costs, personal finance, investing, career development, school, as well as beauty and lifestyle trends with a finance slant.
I'm a strong believer of living a fulfilling life without having to spend excessively. You'll be able to find occasional recommendations on cost-effective and value-for-money solutions as and when I chance upon them. Through my writings and rants, I hope to empower more young Singaporeans to become savvy in their own finances too.
On weekends, you may find me freelancing as a public relations consultant or a tutor out teaching students General Paper and English.
I'm still an employee in my mid-20s, serving as a manager in a 9-to-6 job.
It also showed me that I simply couldn't afford to rely on my job, and needed to build up other sources of income lest anything happens.
Other than saving and budgeting, I also believe in being smart about insurance and using credit cards to our benefit.
I give my parents $400 a month, and am still paying off my study loan. These are the main fixed expenses I have each month on top of my bills, and I try to keep within my annual budget below:
My investing journey has been extremely rewarding so far and I'm learning a lot, growing as the stock market fights the bears and bulls. By some stroke of luck, I've also been able to correctly predict the results of IPO performances based on my analysis, although I cannot guarantee that my predictions will always be correct even from here! I also share my insights and key lessons on investing here, and you can search "Stock Analysis" to see what I think of certain stocks.
If you're a seasoned investor with any great advice to share, I'll love to hear from you as well!
See you on the other side.