Why Setting a Budget is Silly – Here’s a Better Way to Save Money

If you were to ask anyone what’s the best way to save money, it is quite inevitable that the conversation will somehow lead to the word “budget”.

What does budgeting really mean anyway? In my definition, it is to place certain boundaries around different portions of your paycheck to know where the money is all going to. And if you cross those boundaries, it means that you haven’t been disciplined enough to have done what should be best for you.

Imagine yourself going on a diet. Continue reading “Why Setting a Budget is Silly – Here’s a Better Way to Save Money”

Financial Literacy Starts From Home

My parents aren’t exactly the brightest bunch when it comes to their finances. I certainly was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and they did the best that they could to bring me and my brother up with whatever that they could afford while surviving from paycheck to paycheck. This includes being able to provide for my education up till my degree. I can’t express how much gratitude I have to them for allowing me to graduate debt-free.

With just a few more years left until the end of their housing loan of 30 years, both of them are far from retirement. Continue reading “Financial Literacy Starts From Home”

The Power of The No Spend Day

After a long hiatus of 7 years, I have decided to devote myself to tracking my expenses again for September with the newly updated application, Expense Manager. It is now made more robust with added features. It even included visually appealing graphs to show the allocation of my expenses to different categories and their percentages!

There is also this feature on Expenses Manager which I love the most – setting a monthly budget. You could even go one step further to set different budgets for different categories. It would also tell you how much money you are left with for the rest of the month so that you can do some planning for your future expenditures. Yummy! Continue reading “The Power of The No Spend Day”

The problem with reading investment books – 401(k) plan

 I have a big problem when it comes to reading investment books. More often than not, the books are written by authors from the USA and many of them include the option of using the 401(k) as a tool to improve their finances, as like what a typical Singaporean would do with her CPF system. It is such a pain because I don’t know what are the actual benefits of the 401(k) and the limitations of it. I also can’t relate to the tips that the books are trying to convey no matter how many times I read it, and because of this, the usefulness of the books isn’t 100% brought out.

Thus, the birth of this post. I’m done with this. And since Miss Niao has quite a few readers from the US, I hope that this post would benefit them as well. Continue reading “The problem with reading investment books – 401(k) plan”

Cheap and Good – 5 Money saving tips for Malaysia/Thailand trips

In continuation to my previous post on my travels from Singapore to Thailand by land, I’ve decided to also blog about some money saving tips that I found out by accident during my vacation while they are still fresh in my memory. This feeling is a bitter sweet one because it made me realize how much money I have “lost” during my previous travels to Malaysia and Bangkok.

Oh well, I guess it’s never too late, only later. >_<

Anyway, since this trip isn’t a conventional one as I traveled by land and it was also my first time visiting Ipoh, it offered me different alternatives on how to get what I need as compared to arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Counting the number of actual hours of traveling, it amounted to almost 30 hours! Phew! Continue reading “Cheap and Good – 5 Money saving tips for Malaysia/Thailand trips”

Cheap and Good – How I spend $111 on Make-Up Every Year

This is the first blog entry for “Cheap and Good“. Yay!!!!! I have decided to share with my female readers (and male ones if you happen to be interested :p) about the different make-up that I use. Other than being a financial blogger, I am also secretly a make-up geek that probably watches too many make-up tutorials for her own good. :p

I don’t use make-up everyday but I do have a basic routine that I follow religiously if I want to look better on a particular day. The brands that I use are pretty generic and most of them are actually drugstore brands that are easily found locally.

Continue reading “Cheap and Good – How I spend $111 on Make-Up Every Year”

The Ultimate Shopping Contract – How to stop yourself from spending unnecessarily


Date: ____________

The Ultimate Shopping Contract

I, ____(insert name here)____, promise that I will not buy anything without thinking twice. I will ask myself if the product I’m holding in my hand is something that is a “want” or a need”. If it is a “want”, then I will promptly put the product back on its shelf. If it is a “need”, I will ask if there are alternatives. Then, I will choose the one that brings the most value in terms of price and quality. Continue reading “The Ultimate Shopping Contract – How to stop yourself from spending unnecessarily”

It’s hard to save money as a girl

Guys are so lucky.

Guys don’t get periods. They don’t get creeping insecurities within their guts to want to look better. They age like wine. Parts of their body sag but it somehow becomes attractive to certain younger women.

Sigh. 😦

When I say it’s hard to save money as a girl, I don’t see a reason for you to doubt me. The constant need of having to compare yourself to your peers, and to look your best at all times. It’s emotionally and mentally draining. When you see the advertisements of models with killer hot bodies, you always aspire to be like them and think to yourself if you’ll ever get there one day.

So you go get more make up to cover up your flaws. And maybe even thought about spending a few thousand dollars on that slimming package that would help you to look awesome and gain that kind of confidence that you once had before.

Well, I’m no exception. Trust me, I’ve been there before.

But I found a way to cope with it. I found ways to look good with minimal cost. It took me a few years to get to where I am, but I’ve managed to do it. The best part? It doesn’t cost me a bomb. In fact, I spend less than $500 a year on make up and clothes every year. All you really need are just a few simple tips.

I have opened up a new category called “Cheap and Good“. If you want to gain more insight on how I save money, look good and pick out bargains, check out my blog for future posts!

Thanks for reading!

Miss Niao xoxo

How BF and I save more than $3000 per month – Top 5 saving tips for couples

Many of my male friends have made comments about them spending more money after getting a girlfriend. It seems like love and money has an inverse relationship. It is not uncommon to see more and more people choosing to be single, and it may not necessarily be a bad thing, if your main focus is to accumulate as much wealth as you can. Being a couple means having to go out dating, dining at nicer restaurants, buying gifts for one another on monthsaries and anniversaries. It may impede you in reaching your financial goals earlier if your partner does not want the same eventually.

Well, I’m here to tell you that not all relationships are like that. Not for BF and I, at least.

Continue reading “How BF and I save more than $3000 per month – Top 5 saving tips for couples”

My monthly cash flow statement – How I save more than 50% of my take home pay

I have been having a few conversations with my friends lately on how much they save on general every month. It seems like it’s difficult for many of them to save as much as they want to on a monthly basis and they don’t keep track of their expenses. I even have a friend who has an unique ability to spend her entire pay in 3 days after it is credited! On an overall average, they save around 10% to 30% of their take home pay. Very financially savvy ones would be able to save up to 80%, but that also depends because they might be earning a higher income as compared to me.

When I tell some of them that I save more than 50% of my take home pay, I see their facial expressions turn into shock or surprise. Then, the next question would be

“How do you do it?!” Continue reading “My monthly cash flow statement – How I save more than 50% of my take home pay”