First Personal Finance blog post: 开源节流 (Broadening income sources and reducing expenditure)

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Hi all,

Its the first time I’m posting on my personal finance blog. I grew up with a strong insurance background and got myself certified as with Capital Markets and Financial Advisory Services (CMFAS) Module 5 (Rules and Regulations for Financial Advisory Service) and Module 9 (Life Insurance and Investment-linked Policies), as well as a Certificate in Health Insurance. However, I have not worked as an insurance agent before.

I’ve feel that i’m quite late in terms personal finance, especially in  terms of investing. I’ve read a lot of blogs on investments and I think I should try to pen down some of my personal finance thoughts into a blog. Its also a way for me to improve my writing skills as well. 🙂

Topic for my first post for this blog will be about 开源节流 (broaden sources of income and reduce expenditure)

开源节流 (Broadening income sources and reducing expenditure)

The Chinese idiom 开源节流 translated into English means broadening income sources and reducing expenditure. I am a salaried worker, pretty much like many other fellow Singaporeans. To grow our wealth, our day job already takes up a lot of our time and energy, it restricts us in terms of broadening our income sources, other than investment income. The easiest way for us to grow our wealth is to restrict or reduce expenditure.

I am not so experienced in terms of investment, so this post will focus on reducing expenditure.

Lifestyle expenditure

As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned. However, our expenditure depends a lot on our lifestyle that we are used to. For me, I’m a coffee addict and I always need my caffeine fix in the morning and in the afternoon. I do spend quite some money on coffee at Ya Kun, Toastbox and such coffee joints. I’m trying to reduce my expenditure on this by (1) looking for cheaper alternatives from Ya Kun & Toast box ; (2) bringing instant coffee bags to office and ; (3) asking my overseas friends to help me buy Nespresso capsules back when they return to Singapore for holiday.

Cash rebates using credit cards

I also have recurring expenditure for my telco bills, town council bills and periodical subscription which are charged monthly. For such recurring expenditures, I charge them to my credit cards. The reason is because there are several cards out there which offers cash back if you incur a minimum spending amount each month. There is a very good website which consolidates all the best credit cards for cash rebates: SGTips. This is a very good website and even give you tips on how to achieve the minimum monthly spending to enjoy the credit card cash rebates. The credit cards I use for cash rebates are mainly:

– UOB One and Standard Chartered Bonus$Saver cards for recurring bills (telco, town council, periodical subscription)

– Citibank Mobil Privilege paired with Citibank Dividend card for petrol at Esso stations

– Standard Chartered Manhattan card for one-off big purchases

– Maybank Family & Friends card for groceries

– CIMB Preferred Platinum for other purchases and overseas expenditure. Also use this for my annual motor insurance renewal to get an additional 3.3% rebate

I did a check on my 2013’s expenses and I got back almost S$1k worth of cash rebates! I was quite amazed by the amount of savings I obtained by leveraging on these credit card cash rebates!

I hope the above will give you some ideas on how to reduce expenditure 节流 🙂


  1. 加油!

    That’s an interesting idiom, and totally appropriate in this situation.

    Now, I’ve never been to Singapore, but I did live in China for a few years. I was just wondering if there are any stores where you can buy coffee in bulk, also online places like taobao, or aliexpress.

    My friends, that are tea snobs, bought me some delicious loose leaf tea from an expensive store for Christmas. I’ve been milking it out because it’s so delicious I don’t think I’ll be able to go back to drinking bagged tea every day.

    1. Thank you. Am glad that you’ve lived in China and Japan before to know that Singapore is not part of China and a few thousand miles apart!

      I’m not too sure where you can buy tea leaves nor coffee beans in bulk. But when it comes to food, I’m wary of those that comea from China.

      1. True. My first year in China was during the milk scare. Didn’t drink or eat dairy products the entire time I was over there.

  2. Woah.. saw the number of cards you have here. No wonder you know so much about credit cards. Anyway, think you have already got new OCBC card? I used to have similar cards as you but recently need to consolidate spending in order to get the OCBC 360 cash rebate.

    Just dropping by to say hi and inform you i have added you into my links.. have a good week ahead!

    1. Hi Jes,

      Thank you for popping by!! I do not have the new OCBC365 credit card. I prefer to have a few “specialist” cards rather than just a “jack of all trades”

      Actually, I learnt through other links which have already done all the research!! Leverage on others!
      These two are pretty useful: and Since you like to travel, you might want to consider cards which gives you miles.
      I personally prefer rebates. 🙂

      Have a good week ahead too!!!

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