Category: SG Budget Babe

My #1 Advice for those new to crypto / Bitcoin

My #1 advice for those of you who are new to buying crypto…

Only invest using money you can afford to lose.

The crypto world is a volatile one. Prices swing up and down all the time. Can you stomach the ride?

One moment your screen looks like this…

You’re happy with your crypto profits, wondering if you should cash out, but then you remember that everytime you sold previously it only went up higher. So you decide to hold onto your coins.

Then the next moment this happens:

Are you sure you can sit through this?

Maybe you think you’re not good enough, so you decide to go on the Internet to find if there’s anyone you can learn from. You decide to find out what everyone thinks are good cryptos to invest in. After all, the wisdom of the masses must surely be right, right?

Then this happens:

The other day someone’s post appeared on my feed (yes, in Singapore if I remember correctly). He had taken out his home mortgage to buy Bitcoin at USD 19,000. Now his $100k has dropped to $75k and he’s in deep trouble. He asked for help on whether he should sell.

You can just imagine what people had to say to that.

Lastly, there are also tons of unethical social media “influencers” who are now promoting crypto in ways that I completely do not agree with. Last month, a popular Youtuber made USD 500,000 by promoting a coin which ranks #1 on my list of shitcoins. (Fun fact: Ripple ranks #2 on that same list, heh.)

Did you also know that there’s lots of price manipulation going on, and tons of of pump & dump happening in crypto? (They pump to you –> you buy at high –> they sell and take profit).

Let’s not forget the “gurus” sharing about how they’re a millionaire thanks to Bitcoin and crypto. One promises to teach you for free. Pay 0.1 Bitcoin to join his group and he’ll give you tips.

I’m not gonna risk getting sued here but you can just Google about all these and see for yourself. It is all there on the charts. The history is as clear as day.

So do you have enough guts for crypto?

Having said that, I’ve not lost a single cent on any of my crypto investments thus far, and I intend to keep it that way. My secret? Buying only coins that are NOT shitcoins. There’s tons of shitcoins out there and they’re doing a fantastic job of masquerading otherwise. Unlike stocks, these coins are mostly NOT tagged to any assets (eg. free cash flow, property, bank fixed deposits). But my story for crypto will come another day. Am I a genius or a guru? Neither, as there are also folks who made profits from investing in shitcoins. Ultimately, you just need to know how to balance your own risks. If you don’t share your profits, then don’t cry when you lose.

Should you go into crypto? Yes, I think so. Even if it’s just $100, or $1000, or $10,000. Use what you’re willing to lose. I cannot promise that you’ll be in profits, but I can promise you that this is going to be the most unforgettable ride of your life.

Now HODL! (that’s not a spelling mistake, it stands for Hold On for Dear Life)

Also read:

For those of you on the mailing list, I’m going to send out a private email to you guys to warn you about a platform that is being (irresponsibly) promoted by popular SG lifestyle influencers right now. You can follow their lead if you want to buy and NOT OWN your own Bitcoins. Look out for that in your inboxes soon!

Next post: My Best Crypto Investment for 2018 (no, it isn’t Cardano)

With love,

The Ultimate Guidebook to the Best Cashback Tools in Singapore

If your new year’s resolution for 2018 is to save more money, one fantastic way to start is to get maximum cashback and rewards from your expenses.

My stance towards money is very simple – I believe in always getting the best value for my dollar whenever I spend. To achieve this, I’m always on the lookout for the best deals and tools that can help me on my financial journey.

Imagine if you could get cash back on your income tax payments to IRAS (or other mandatory expenses like utility bills, school fees and rental), and be rewarded for every dollar you spend on food, travel and shopping. As I mentioned in my previous post here on how I managed to double my net worth within a year, one of the important factors was in all the cashback I received on my expenses. Every dollar counts.

The idea to create an Ultimate Cashback Guidebook was born when a number of you guys privately messaged me asking for my “hacks” to getting more cash back on my dollar(s). As such, what you’re about to access is the product of months of research and meetings (with the respective founders of the tools I’ll be introducing in the book), in order to understand the real value they’re bringing to our lives and how we can maximise them.

Of course, you should not neglect to make your savings work harder for you by parking it in a high-yield bank savings account. Most of the better ones have been reviewed on this blog in previous articles (use the search button on the right), but here’s a quick overview:

What else is included in the guidebook:
  • Best credit cards for cashback
    • Bonus: Best debit cashback card
  • Best high-yield bank savings accounts
  • Cashback for insurance, loans, and other non-discretionary expenses
  • This tool gives you 2X the cashback
  • Buy 4D on weekends and keep your ticket price regardless of whether your numbers win or lose (instead of donating it to Singapore Pools)
  • Getting free miles on top of your cashback
  • Getting 50% discounts all the time, any day and every day
  • Cashback apps that are a waste of time
  • Promo codes and reader offers

Note that I’m not paid a single cent to write or give out this guidebook, and none of the content in the guidebook are sponsored by any of the brands mentioned. If you appreciate the work that I’ve done and in keeping this as a free resource, please consider supporting me on my Patreon page here.

Here’s how you can access a copy of
The Ultimate Guidebook to the Best Cashback Tools in Singapore:

  • For readers subscribed to the mailing list, you would have received an email from me with a password. Click here to unlock your copy.
  • A copy has also been provided to the partners who have provided valuable assistance in making this guidebook possible. If you’re a staff / user with the below companies, you can access your copy here with the provided password that has been disseminated to your marketing lead through these respective links:

The full comparison table of all cards reviewed in the guidebook are provided below.

Have a fantastic 2018 ahead, and may this help you to maximise all your cashback this year!

With love,
Budget Babe

2017 Update: How I Doubled My Net Worth In 1 Year

2017 has been an amazing year – I got married to the love of my life, officially moved in with my in-laws, finally visited Venice, went into cryptocurrencies right before its massive bull stream that catapulted it into mainstream consciousness, wrote an entire cashback guidebook (look out for the password to access it tomorrow in your inbox!)…and did a whole bunch of speaking engagements for CPF, DBS, Seedly, and more. It has been such a memorable year and I’ve learnt so much.

We’re now nearing the end of the year so it is time for an annual review of how I fared this year in terms of meeting my financial goals. Here’s a quick recap of previous years: 
My initial focus in 2014 was all about cutting down expenses and maximising my savings, but over the years, I soon came to realise that there’s a limit as to how much you can reduce expenses. If I wanted to save more, the key would be to grow my income – whether through my job or through side hustles such as selling stuff on Carousell and gleaning ad revenue from the blog (Google Adsense in particular).

Therefore in 2017, I decided that “cut expenses” would no longer be a realistic goal. Instead, I focused on “maximising returns from expenses”, which is why there was so much talk about cashback and other reward programs this year (you’ll find them consolidated in the upcoming Ultimate Cashback Guidebook). Most of the other goals remained constant, because when it comes to investing, it truly is a lifelong quest for learning and self-improvement.

So here’s how I fared in 2017:

1. Grow savings – ACHIEVED!

I was initially expecting a drop in savings, as we needed to spend money for our wedding this year, but fortunately all the hard work and late nights that went into planning a budget wedding really paid off. This included being savvy about the right credit cards we used in order to maximise cashback on wedding expenses as well. Being able to see my fairytale wedding dream come alive at a mere $88 per guest (when hotel banquet rates are typically $120+) was no mean feat, but was entirely worth it. As a result, we managed to recoup the majority of our expenses from the ang paos received, which helped to usher in the beginnings of a great marriage.

By opting to go for a budget honeymoon (where we backpacked), we ended up only spending $3000 per person for a 14-day trip around Italy, and even had funds left over to go for a $705 Vietnam holiday later on.

My cash savings this year came in at $45,000 which was aided by a rise in income (and yes, I’ve to pay higher income taxes as a result, but I guess it is a good problem to have). I’m pretty satisfied by how I’ve fared in this aspect.

2. Increase net worth – ACHIEVED!

I had originally targeted to hit the momentous milestone by age 30, and even detailed out a plan on how to reach that goal here. Last November, I managed to reach $100k in net worth (cash + investments + CPF)…this year, my net worth has doubled to $200,000

(How I calculate my net worth : liquid savings + investment portfolio + CPF)

How was this possible? I wondered the same, so upon digging deeper, I realised this was achieved through a combination of factors:
What I learnt from seeing my net worth double within a single year was that it gets easier over time, and the growth is truly exponential as long as you’re patient enough to let your seeds harvest. All the effort spent in the earlier years helped to allow compound interest to snowball, and all I had to do was to let the magic happen.

3. Improve investment performance – Somewhat ACHIEVED

I’ve made some good investment decisions, and some bad ones this year (you can read about them here). So as always, while there has been some stocks that have given me excellent returns this year, there are bound to be some losers dragging down the portfolio as well. This is where portfolio sizing is key, and having the conviction to continue holding until their value is achieved. I remain confident that the stocks I’ve bought will eventually have their true value recognised by the market, and will continue holding, or even adding on, when the price dips. 

Given how bullish markets were this year, it was difficult for me to find stocks trading at a discount, so I mostly added to the ones I already had, and took positions in other stocks which lost favour with the public this year (but I’m still bullish on, in the mid to long term). How did I fare in the stock market? Well, all I can say is that I can definitely still do better.

In the world of cryptocurrencies, I studied it for close to half a year before I was confident enough to put a portion of my money in, and the effort seems to be paying off at the moment, with my portfolio gains surpassing that of what I’ve made in stocks. Am I making money? Yes. Have I made MORE money than what some other people have made in buying (shitcoins, in my opinion) IOTA and Ripple? No.

There’s so many people rushing into cryptocurrencies now because of FOMO, chasing after coins that have already gone up by multiple times. Do you really understand what the coin does? Do you know the security measures required to safeguard your coins? Do you know how to transfer coins? Do you know that you can LOSE ALL YOUR COINS if you transfer to the wrong wallet address and YOU CAN NEVER GET IT BACK? 

Ripple, IOTA, Cardano (ADA). These are coins that are completely NOT worth their valuations right now, but hey why would you trust the opinion of some girl on the Internet right? I bought ADA when it was at a much lower price, believing it was worth at least 2 to 3 times more. I’m now up by 4x on ADA and I’m seeing everyone rushing into ADA now but errrrr no one can seem to justify to me why ADA is worth its market cap right now!?!

I quote Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin (and also the one that gave me supersized returns) on this:


(Please don’t get the mistaken idea that cryptocurrencies are a sure-win investment. They are extremely volatile instruments and for the high returns, you’re taking on high risks as well. You may want to read this post where I talked about a friend who lost $500,000 overnight when the markets crashed on Christmas…are you sure you can stomach the ride? If you’re not prepared to lose it all, then perhaps you might not be able to handle investing in cryptocurrencies especially given the number of shitcoins out there.)

As always, I continue only to invest in only stuff that I understand, which are either undervalued, solve a real-life problem, or are changing the world. Whether in stocks or cryptocurrencies, this underlying philosophy remains the same and has served me well this year, so I don’t foresee it changing anytime soon.

Could I lose all my money? Yeah if Bitcoin crashes or go to zero, there’s no saying what will happen. So my mantra is only to invest in cryptocurrencies using money that I can afford to lose. If I’m wrong about cryptocurrencies (but I don’t think I am, lol) and lose my capital, I’ll just suck thumb and delay my FIRE plans. But if I’m right about this…heh.

4. Maximise returns on expenses – Somewhat ACHIEVED

You’ll find a recurring trend in my expenses – bills take up the biggest portion without fail, every single year.  The bills portion went up significantly this year because I started contributing to my in-laws household expenses since I’m now a permanent member of the family, and also because we clocked quite a bit of expenses for the wedding under my cards and funds.

Bills are non-discretionary expenses which are hard to reduce further. But even trimming discretionary spending has proven difficult in the last few years. There’s only so much a girl can do to skimp and save further, especially when I already live a pretty minimalistic lifestyle. (I prefer hawker meals and homecooked food over cafe brunches, I don’t drink or party, I mostly take public transport unless I’m cabbing for work, I don’t buy branded stuff or shop excessively on clothes / shoes / makeup…)

Therefore, instead of trying to make my life more difficult in trying to cut my expenses even further, I decided that the goal for this year was to maximise my returns on every dollar spent instead. By combining the right credit card strategy with various cashback tools and saving apps, I was able to make every single dollar go further. For instance, I got a few hundred dollars of cashback from routing my online purchases through Shopback, and managed to get rewards even on my tax payments to IRAS by going through CardUp!

2018 will be even better, now that I’ve finally gotten the Ultimate Cashback Guidebook out. This will be available only to subscribed readers and members of the merchants I’m working with, therefore, be sure to look out for the link and password in your inbox over the next few days!

The most important lesson I learnt this year? That it really does get easier. Once you hit your first $100,000, you would have established the key lifestyle habits crucial to growing your wealth. Thereafter, the rolling effect of compound interests really do start to become more prominent. And if you need some ideas on how to reach your first $100k, check out this post. 

What about you, how did you fare this year? Did you meet your financial goals? If not, what’s stopping you?

With love,
Budget Babe

Warning: Do NOT bank in these “cheques” you get from the banks!

Because we all need Public Service Announcements to save us from banking in money that isn’t ours.

There’s a marketing tactic being practised by the various banks in Singapore which I’m going to call out today as being extremely unethical and misleading, but hey that’s just my personal opinion and you’re free to disagree.

If these banks haven’t yet gotten a warning by MAS for their tactics, then my guess is that either MAS is completely unaware, or have chosen to close an eye to this. Whatever it is, I believe this is an issue that needs more awareness, and if none of local influencers who are always being paid by the banks / credit card companies to promote their products / services will do it, then I will.

(Don’t be quick to blame the influencers. Many of them rely on such sponsored postings for a living, and my guess is that many are afraid to talk bad or expose questionable concerns about the brands they work with in case it affects their future chances of being sponsored. That, is exactly what happened to me after I exposed the misleading marketing messages put out by the influencers engaged for the UOB Krisflyer campaign here. But credibility will always be fundamental to SG Budget Babe, and I’ll continue writing, sponsored posts or not.)

So I’ve been receiving some highly questionable “cheques” from Citibank and Standard Chartered because I’m a banking customer with them. It caught me by surprise the first time I saw it, as I thought they had mistakenly sent me a cheque for something which I wasn’t aware of. Upon a closer look, however, I realised it was simply a marketing ploy to get me to take up a loan with them, so into the bin these letters went.

According to others online, it seems like UOB is also practising such a tactic. If you know of more banks doing this, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list.

This tactic involves :

  • Sending out a “cheque” that actually looks pretty legitimate, with a sum of money printed on it which you can actually cash in
  • Accompanying letter states that it’ll be credited into your bank account when cleared successfully
  • It is even signed off by a prominent figure (in this case, the Head of Retail Banking) to lend some credibility 

I’m not sure how many folks would be savvy or alert enough to realise that this money is NOT theirs. Yes, the money does appear in your bank account if you credit it in, but at the same time, you get deducted the sum from your credit card bill. And if you go trigger happy and spend that money, thinking you just got a windfall?

Congrats, you’ll have to now deal with a 2.5% processing fee of the sum you just banked in, on top of late payment charges AND interest payment if you fail to clear off the debt within the month.

Clearly I’m not the only one who’s annoyed by such unethical marketing tactics. It belongs in the same category as the misleading marketing messages promoted by local Instagram influencers which I’ve called out previously here (UOB Krisflyer) and here (UOB Stash).

Is this unethical or completely acceptable? You decide.

If your parents are not completely English-literate, you might want to start reading their letters from the banks and credit card companies for as long as such unethical marketing practices (in my opinion) prevails.

With love,


BITCOIN PLUNGES BY 40% IN A SINGLE DAY.IS IT A PONZI? IS BITCOIN A SCAM?!I opened my screen this morning only to see almost every single coin down by 30% – 40%. EVERYTHING WAS BLEEDING RED.Not even the oil crisis previously did we see such a massive ta…

Practical Ideas for Christmas Gift Exchange (under $50)

Stuck while trying to figure out what to buy for your upcoming Christmas gift exchange? Or for Secret Santa?

I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas gift exchanges for a very simple reason – I don’t always get to use the stuff I’m given, and I find that a huge waste. When I shop for gifts, I always focus on practicality and whether I think the recipient will use it. 

(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. All recommendations are of my own.)

Here are some of my favourite practical gifts for the different types of people in my life:

For bosses

I’m always stuck when it comes to buying a Christmas gift for my bosses, but my friend solved my problem for good when she highlighted that a gift from a social enterprise will probably be the best, because it makes the recipient (i.e. your bosses) look good as well!

Check out these amazing namecard holders designed by autistic students from Pathlight School here. Can you imagine these holders being a key talking point for your bosses when he/she meets future clients? Bingo!

Price: $29.90

The teacher / tutor

Teachers have a love-hate relationship with marking, but they’re an evil necessity in order for our students to improve. As such, help them customize a stamp to make their lives a little easier! You can personalize a stamp using their names as well, such as “Mrs Tan likes this” to make their marking a little more fun!

Price: $13 and up. Get it here at More Than Good.

The Investor

Give your investor friend a gift that will keep on growing – a pre-loaded Ethereum card! Second only to Bitcoin in the cryptocurrency universe, Ethereum has grown from $1 to $735 this year, and will likely continue its long-term uptrend. 

Price: $5 (for the card). Feel free to load any amount of ether as you desire.

The K-drama addict 

Viu Premium all-access pass with priority viewing, so she can watch her favourite K-drama episodes as fast as 8 hours after it airs in Korea! I used this on many of my trips this year, and it was a great hack to saving money on my budget airline flights where entertainment systems aren’t provided, since you can download episodes or even movies in HD and watch it offline!

Price: $29.90

The skincare / vegan / organic junkie

The rise of the green skincare movement is taking the beauty industry by storm, with its focus on plant-derived ingredients and eliminating harsh chemicals made in a lab. Get your friend this organic gel sunblock, made specifically for Singapore’s weather and from a blend of 100% natural and certified organic ingredients.

Price: $18.90

The artist / gamer / young-at-heart

Ever wondered how you’ll look like as a LEGO character? Wonder no more, as Two Three Bricks will turn your photo into a LEGO print and put your curiosity to rest! Get it here.

Price: $16 and up.

The workaholic 

This lovely rose-gold planner at Kikki.K and thought it would make such a elegant gift for the workaholic to get their schedules under control. I’ve already requested for this in my Secret Santa this year!

Price: $29.90

The most practical gift? Vouchers!

I don’t care what people say about vouchers being a lazy gift, because at the end of the day, no one really likes that mug / notebook / chocolates you’ve giving either, so you might as well give them something they’ll actually get to use!

Seriously, I’d be elated if I get vouchers in a gift exchange, because every year I get stuff that I don’t really want or care for. Most of them just go into the wardrobe where they never see the light of day.

Here are some fantastic brands you get get gift cards or vouchers from:

  • Sephora (for the skincare / makeup junkie)
  • Klook (for the wanderlust traveller)
  • Book Depository (for the bookworm)
  • Guavapass (for the #fitspo)
  • Golden Village / Cathay / Shaw vouchers (for the movie addict)
  • Zalora / ASOS (for the fashionista)
  • Starbucks / The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf / Costa Coffee (for the coffee lovers)
  • Mothercare (for the new moms)

Otherwise, if you’re not sure who will be getting your present (if it is a random office exchange where you pick numbers or names out of a hat), I can assure you these vouchers below will be well-received no matter who your recipient is!

  • NTUC / Cold Storage
  • Capitaland / Takashimaya
  • Watsons / Guardian 
  • Grab
  • Qoo10
  • Lazada
  • Zalora 
  • Shopee
  • Deliveroo / honestbee / Food Panda
  • Naiise
And the best thing is, you don’t even need to restrict yourself to any of these brands! My top pick for this season lies in a little-known app called Fuzzie, where you can purchase a gorgeous Christmas gift card to give away. 

Here’s what I got:

I discovered the Fuzzie app thanks to a tip from a reader, and was blown away by the type of merchants they have on the app. Some examples include Grab, Klook, Zalora, Qoo10, Lazada, Shopee, Book Depository, Costa Coffee, Naiise, Deliveroo, honestbee, Food Panda, Guavapass, Amore Fitness and more! 

Look out for the Ultimate Cashback Guidebook which will be released in a few weeks, where I’ll elaborate more on Fuzzie and how you can maximise your cashback on the app (on top of stacking with your miles / cashback credit card!).

Pssst, if you want an additional $5 with your first purchase (minimum $5 spend), sign up with my affiliate promo code SGBUDGETBABE when you download the app.

(Note: This is NOT a sponsored post. I do not get paid by any of the brands if you buy any of my recommendations from this article.)

Merry Christmas guys!

With love,

IPO Analysis: Clearbridge Health Limited

While there has been quite a number of IPOs getting listed on SGX recently, none have managed to successfully capture my attention, but I was admittedly quite intrigued when SGX informed me that there was a new healthcare IPO coming to the Catalist Boa…

A step-by-step guide to buying alt coins

There’s been a lot of sponsored ads popping up on my Facebook recently, each claiming how to teach you to buy your first Bitcoin. 

All of those ads were mainly promoting CFDs (contracts for differences), which basically allows you to speculate on the rise or fall in prices of Bitcoin. For those who are new to CFDs, you are basically buying a contract between yourself and the CFD provider, and NOT the underlying asset. In other words, you’re not buying the actual Bitcoin(s) and neither do you own it.

I won’t name and shame the companies here, but their tactics are similar:

  • – Talk about how some young Singaporean investor became a millionaire by investing in Bitcoin and tell you to “learn how he did it here!”
  • – Highlight how you could have been rich by now if you had invested in Bitcoin earlier this year
  • – Tell you to either go for their paid course / sign up on their platform to start buying before you miss out 

None of them actually tell you how to buy and own your own Bitcoin, but I will. If you’re a beginner, head over here for a legitimate step-by-step guide where the Bitcoins you buy is yours and entirely yours for keeps.

In a recent (private) readers’ meet-up held on 1 Dec, someone asked me if I was buying any alts other than Bitcoins, and I mentioned that I was buying heavily into Litecoin on Coinbase. Here’s how both currencies performed since:

1-Dec 18-Dec % gain
Bitcoin $11,000.00 $19,500.00 77%
Litecoin $99.00 $321.00 224%

(Disclaimer: I invested in Bitcoin and Litecoin much earlier on, prior to the meet-up)

If you’ve already bought the big 3 – Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin – and you’re looking at buying other types of cryptocurrencies (termed as “alts”, short for alternative coins), there are a few cryptocurrency exchanges (similar to stock exchanges) that will allow you to do that.


My top exchange of choice now is Binance, which is also now the #1 cryptocurrency exchange in the world. They’re registered in Hong Kong (a key financial hub in Asia, aside from Singapore) and support many of the alts available for trading.

You can sign up for a secure account on Binance here.

Note: I previously used Bittrex, but I won’t recommend them because my account has been pending verification for months and there’s still no word on when verifications will finally be complete. This is a huge problem, because as an unverified user, you can only deposit funds and buy, but you’re not allowed to withdraw / cash out at all!
If you’re interested on the problems plaguing Bittrex, you can have a look at this article here.


Another exchange I use is HitBTC, although I’m not a complete fan because HitBTC got hacked in early 2015 where coins were stolen. However, they do have a wide variety of trading pairs as well so it is generally easy to find alts that you wish to buy.

I’m lost! How exactly do I buy alts?

As most of the exchanges don’t accept direct cash to alts, you’ll have to first convert your cash into either BTC or ETH, and then send them over to the exchange where you can buy alts. 

Here’s a full step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Buy Bitcoin / Ethereum on Coinbase or Gemini.

I use both, but would recommend Coinbase as it is the most secure and offers instant purchases. Using the SCB Singpost credit card gave us 7% cashback, which offsets Coinbase’s fees, but the card’s T&Cs has changed since. Gemini, on the other hand, requires you to wire transfer USD into their overseas bank, and takes 2 – 5 days to clear your deposits before your funds appear on your account and are available for trading. Thanks to Gemini’s inefficiency, I’ve missed out on many opportunities to buy at a low in the past weeks, so I still prefer Coinbase when I need to purchase BTC / ETH immediately so I can buy my alts.

Step 2: Send your Bitcoin / Ethereum to your exchange wallet

Step 3: Once your coins are received on the exchange, you can now use them to buy alts

For security reasons, do not leave your coins on the exchange(s) where they can get hacked or stolen. As such, I would recommend getting a hardware wallet such as a Trezor or Ledger Nano S to store your coins securely.

I’ll write about how to buy and set up your hardware wallet shortly, but if you’re in a hurry to get one, you can buy them from an authorized distributor here and enter promo code “SGBUDGETBABE” for a freebie 🙂

With love,

Buying a car? Here’s the best deals on car loans in Singapore for you

With public transport in Singapore being a letdown in recent years (who’s tired of hearing SMRT announce a “track fault” by now? I sure am!), I take back my words from 2015 when I wrote about how ditching the car could make you a multi-millionaire (assuming you took your monthly vehicle expenses and invested it instead). 

As we progress in life and start a family, the benefits offered by a car cannot always be measured in monetary terms. Although I would disagree with the need to get a car just to keep up with the Joneses, it is hard to argue against the convenience and reliability it offers (in contrast to the frustration we commuters face from train breakdowns today).

But before you choose your car, it is vital to consider if you have the financial resources to pay for it. Obviously getting a car will be akin to taking up another “financial bomb” (the others being a wedding, a house, a child, etc) and most of us commonfolks will find it difificult to afford a car on simply our savings and salary alone. Hence, we’ll need to get a car loan, and you’d want to find the best deal while you’re at it.

Important things to know about car loans

Since May 2016, MAS regulationsnow allow banks to give 70% financing for cars with an Open Market Value (OMV) of less than or equal to S$20,000, and 60% for vehicles with OMV more than S$20,000. Assuming your car’s OMV is less than S$20,000 and your car costs S$75,000, then a bank will give you a maximum of S$52,500 as loan. The remaining amount – S$22,500 will then have to be paid from your own pocket.

Do also note that the maximum tenure of a car loan is 7 years with any bank. So before you decide to take a loan, make sure that you can afford to make repayments on the loan, without any late payments or defaults.

My husband and I will be getting a car this year, and these were some of the best car loans we looked at:

The best car loan deals

1. DBS Car Loan

DBS is offering a special interest rate of 2.28% (flat rate) and 4.29% (EIR) for online applications of new car loans up to 31 January 2018. For offline applications, the interest rate is pegged at 2.78% p.a. (flat rate). You can buy both new and used cars through DBS fundings, and don’t forget to get your free credit report while you’re at it!

2. OCBC Car Loan

OCBC offers new car loans at a flat interest rate of 2.78% (EIR of 5.09% to 5.27% p.a.). For used car loans, the rate is 2.98% (EIR of 5.46% to 5.64% p.a.).

If you are thinking of refinancing your existing car loan, OCBC will give you 100% loan transfer and a flat interest rate of 2.08% (EIR of 4.03% to 4.52% p.a.). Find out more here.

3. UOB Car Loan

UOB has a unique loan plan called the UOB HP50 Car Loanwith a five-year tenure. This product allows you to pay just half of your monthly instalment amount for a limited period in case you need greater cashflow at the moment. You’ll now be able to enjoy this half-payment for 59 months, and in the 60th month (the end of the tenure), you can either pay the remaining amount and claim your vehicle for your own, or sell your car in the market or to the dealer.

For new cars, the flat interest rate is 2.78% (EIR 5.32% to 6.03% p.a.) whereas for second-hand cars, the rate is 2.98% (EIR 5.68% – 6.46%).

If you’re applying for this loan before 31 January 2018, UOB has an existing promotion where you could stand a chance to win SPC vouchers or even an entire year worth of petrol.

4. Hong Leong Finance Car Loan

HLF also has both new car loans and used car loans. The interest rates are similar to those offered by UOB at flat 2.78% p.a. and 2.98% p.a., respectively. Find out more here.

5. Maybank Car Loan

Maybank also offers both new and used car loans. The interest rate starts from 3.25% p.a.

Car loan

Flat rate


DBS Car Loan (New)

2.28% (limited period only)

4.29% (limited period only)

OCBC Car Loan (New)


5.09% to 5.27%

OCBC Car Loan (Used)


5.46% to 5.64%

UOB Car Loan (HP50)


5.32% to 6.03%

UOB Car Loan (Used)


5.68% to 6.46%

HLF Car Loan (New)



HLF Car Loan (Used)



Maybank Car Loan



*Figures provided by

Should I choose a dealer loan or bank loan?

This question is often posed across forums and in the context of our discussion, it is an important consideration to address. The average car loan interest rate currently offered by banks in Singapore hovers around the 2.78% mark. However, the interest rate will change as per the repayment period.

Car dealers do things differently – some have tie-ups with banks while some offer their own independent financing options to buyers. When choosing a dealer, it all comes down to what car manufacturer you choose. Honda and Toyota, as we know it, are the biggest players in the market, accounting for over 40% of new car registrations. So buying a Honda or a Toyota and choosing a dealer-financed option will most likely give you a lower interest rate compared to other brands like Nissan and Mazda (which are of course popular too, just maybe not as much) which provide dealer-financed loan options.

So how do dealer loans compare with that offered by banks? Well, for one, interest rates offered by dealers tend to be higher than banks. But the benefit with dealerships is that they often offer lower monthly repayment options and longer tenures. So coming back to what choice is economically ideal, choosing a bank will automatically eliminate the middleman in the equation, which of course is the dealer in this situation.

Dealerships entice customers with lower monthly payments. But in reality, you’d be paying more interest on longer tenures with dealers, than what you would if you’d taken your loan with a bank. Most importantly, there are times when banks run attractive loan promotions for car loans and if you’re lucky / resourceful enough, you might be able to snag a deal at an even lower rate.

For those of you who already have cars, did you go for a dealer or bank loan? Do let me know in the comments below! 
Disclaimer: This post was written in collaboration with All opinions are of my own.

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