Yet another year has come to an end, and for what it’s worth, it’s been fairly eventful in terms of my personal finances.
I wanted to take some time to review my personal finances for 2023 and also share what you can expect from my blog in the year ahead.
Savings & Expenses
As I shared in one of my posts last year, I started saving aggressively to prepare for a resale house purchase in the near future.
I’d say I was fairly successful at this, saving more than 50% of my income after accounting for CPF contributions and filial piety allowances to my parents.
To make my savings work for me, I also took advantage of various high interest products.
For the most part, my savings were in OCBC 360, earning interest at a rate of 3.25%.
My expenses for 2023 were actually on the higher side – a result of several vacations, some big-ticket expenses that were necessary, and inflation.
However, the impact of these on my savings was cushioned by an increase in my salary.
I was also able to maintain my spending habits for the most part and avoid lifestyle inflation.
2023 was a pretty mundane year for me in terms of investments, mostly because I stopped setting aside money from my salary to invest in favour of saving more.
This means that my investment portfolio hasn’t seen much change aside from market movements.
However, nothing has changed for me in terms of my investing strategy and belief.
It’s been quite a good year for me in the aspect of credit cards.
For one, the UOB Lady’s card was made available to males, and UOB backed this up with a 6 miles per dollar (mpd) promotion that is ongoing until 29 Feb 2024.
Signing up for this was a no-brainer for me as it earns UNI$ (UOB’s points currency), which pools with the UNI$ earned from the UOB Preferred Platinum Visa (PPV) card I’ve been using since 2021.
I also took advantage of signup bonuses from OCBC, Standard Chartered, and the UOB KrisFlyer card to get myself a Samsonite luggage, $500 cash, and 5k miles.
In terms of my credit card strategy, there’s also been no change – I still aim to maximise my miles earning rate on my expenses by using the appropriate specialised miles cards.
If you’re interested in reading more about my credit card strategy, I wrote about it in greater detail here.
Most notably, the biggest discovery I made was how I could earn a bonus of 1% cashback on all my credit card spending with the HSBC EGA.
I only learned about this halfway through the year, and I’ve already earned over $100 in cashback from this hack.
My Plans For 2024
Moving forward in 2024, the plan for my personal finances will remain mostly the same.
Even though I’ve amassed a good chunk of savings in the past year, given the prices in the resale flat market, I’d like to have a larger cash buffer.
Not to mention all the other costs that are involved – renovation, furnishing, and moving on to the next phase of life (ie wedding).
So, I will continue saving aggressively in the short term, and hopefully, the high interest savings products stick around as well.
Given that I will still be saving most of my money, it means that I won’t be investing much in 2024 either.
However, if it’s starting to look like I have sufficient cash set aside already, I might start setting aside money to invest again.
And don’t worry – even though I don’t plan to be investing much in 2024, I’ll continue writing posts about investing.
In the credit cards scene, there won’t be a change to my general strategy of maximising miles with specialised miles cards.
I don’t foresee myself picking up more credit cards unless it’s for a signup bonus, but there aren’t many banks left where I’m considered new-to-bank for the year ahead.
However, I might start to look more into the miles redemption process.
For the past few years, my focus has been on accumulating miles.
But miles eventually expire, and securing a good redemption rate like a Business Saver award often requires bookings to be made way in advance – as much as 1 year.
What To Expect In 2024
In terms of what you can expect from my blog in 2024, I plan to continue posting somewhat regularly.
I’ve been posting weekly quite regularly in 2023, but there were a couple of weeks where I missed a post.
Sometimes it’s because I’m away on vacation, and sometimes I simply can’t think of what I want to write about.
I decided not to stress too much over it if that’s the case, and it’s made things more manageable for me.
So, I plan to adopt the same approach in 2024.
I’ll try to get posts out weekly, or at least on a biweekly basis, on Fridays.
As for the content of my posts, I’ll continue writing about various aspects of personal finance – savings, investments, credit cards, and miscellaneous promotions.
More specifically, here are some topics that I plan to write about:
- comparisons/analyses on savings accounts & alternatives
- investing tips/analyses: Ireland-domiciled ETFs, index investing, IBKR tips
- credit card reviews/comparisons: revamp of Best Credit Card series, signup rewards churning
If there are other topics you’d like to see me write about, feel free to let me know in the comments as well!
And if you’ve made it to the end of this post, then you must really enjoy reading my posts, and for that, I’m truly grateful.
Your support means a lot and it’s why I continue writing this blog after years – thank you!