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New money habits led to saving $100K in 18 months.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

In quite a few emails I have received, I found that some married couples have been inspired by my blog to improve their financial health.

I find this very heartening because it is not always the case that both parties are on the same page when it comes to money matters.

One person might want to make changes while there could be resistance from the other person and I have heard many such stories before. It could even lead to arguments and disharmony at home.

However, here is a positive example which I find even more heartening because the couple's money habits were very different before reading my blog.

Hi AK,

This blog (
7 pertinent questions to help build our wealth) has really come in as a timely reminder to me. Especially now it's towards the end of the year when im doing a wrap up of my finances for 2015.
 
Although i dont leave comments on your blog often, i check your blog every day. I started reading your blog since JUL 2014 and since then i have never regretted spending my time on it.
 
Trust me, your posts are really informative and its also the time where me and my hubby bond our time together reading new updates, sitting down together discussing how can we improve our finances. =)
 
Like your most recent blog on food, we have also started doing our own salads and bringing it to work now. We started packing home cook lunch to work in 2014. When we first started this, all my colleagues were saying that this routine wont last because it is too much of a hassle. Haha, but i had proved them wrong.
 
Me and my hubby seldom eat out now unless its a weekend. Even if we eat out, its at hawker centre. Dining at a restaurant is almost NIL in a month except if we are going out with friends for gathering. Even then, it was always ME who choose the location so that i can control the cost indirectly. Haha
 
Also in 2015, both of us started contributing to our SRS account and topping up our CPF. The only regret is we started this late (I am 32 this year and my husband is 35). If we had started to transfer all our OA account to SA before the purchase of our HDB flat, i think we could have reached the MS sum quite pretty soon.
 
We live in a nice cozy 4 room HDB flat and are left with about $50K loan for the house. We do have some funds now to fully pay up this 50K but we were thinking if we should do so. If we do so, it will definitely dip into our emergency funds.
 
We have about 100K of emergency funds and we were thinking of paying the remaining loan via cash instead of CPF now because i feel that CPF earns more interest than the cash sitting in the ocbc bank.
 
My husband and I save about 4K per month into our emergency funds (thanks to your blog post that we started this). Prior to 2014, our savings were almost negligible. Now that we are towards the end of 2015, looking back, sometimes I find it amazing how far we have come.
 
Although there are still a lot of areas for improvement, I am happy that we took our first step on our journey and I wish that you will continue to inspire us through your posts. Thank you AK!

Regards,
Happy Doggy


AK's reply:

Hi HD,

Emails like yours really cheer me up. It makes me feel that talking to myself in cyberspace is the best thing I have ever done in my life. ;)

I would like to talk to myself about whether I would dip into my emergency fund to pay the remaining $50K in my HDB home loan.

First point, an emergency fund is for emergencies. Is paying the rest of my home loan an emergency? ;)

Second point, savings in OCBC 360 could pay me 2.2% per annum (if I do not invest or insure with them). This is slightly lower than the 2.6% per annum in interest which a HDB home loan charges.

Of course, OCBC 360's higher interest applies only to the first $60K. If I had $100K in emergency fund, I would split the money into two OCBC 360 accounts, one under my name and one under my spouse's name to possibly maximise the benefits.

I could also consider setting up a UOB ONE account as the second account. The UOB ONE VISA credit card has a 3.3% rebate for a minimum spending of $500 a month too. If I had $50K parked in UOB ONE account, I could get paid 2.43% per annum in interest for my emergency fund.

Holding cash could be costly but it is important to have liquidity. As long as we can lower the cost of holding cash, it is good enough for me.

You are doing a good job and I am sure your story will inspire many other married couples. :)

Best wishes,
AK



It is never easy to change our habits. It takes a lot of determination. To change habits as a couple could be even more challenging for some.

The journey towards financial security and, ultimately, financial freedom is made much easier if both parties are on the same page, definitely.

Remind ourselves that others have done it, so can we.

It can be done.

Related posts:
1. UOB ONE VS OCBC 360 accounts.
2. How big should be the emergency fund?
3. Do CPF OA to SA transfer before buying flat?

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