Personal Finance

My 2020 Annual Review

I’ve done an annual review of my income and expenses every year since I established I’m Funemployed in 2018. 

For 2020, I thought I’d do a slightly different take to my review. In this annual review, I’ll go over:

  1. My annual expenses
  2. My best money decision 
  3. My worst money decision
  4. My best buys for the year
  5. One area of my financial life that I’d like to improve in 2021
  6. What I learnt in 2020

Total Expenses in 2020

In 2020, my total expenses came up to S$50,761.22.

Total expenses in 2020

36.5% of my total expenses in 2020 fell into the miscellaneous category. These expenses include gifts, donations, fees, education costs, insurance payment, taxes, and money that I give to my family. 

My home expenses (rent, maintenance, utilites) took up the next largest chunk of the pie at 21.1%. And the third-largest category, coming in at 20.8%, is my personal expenses, which includes the medical bills I’ve accumulated in the last quarter of the year.

The takeaway: In 2020, I spent most of my money on other people, taking care of my health, and just taking care of general administrative life stuff. 

Best Money Decision of 2020 

In 2020, the best decision I made (both monetarily and otherwise) was investing in my fitness. 

In February, I got a ClassPass membership for about S$20 a month. The membership allows me to just drop-in to any studio or gym nearby wherever I was (office or home) for a workout. I like using ClassPass because: a) it’s convenient, b) there’s a variety of classes and workouts I can try and c) the cancellation fee stops me from backing out from classes at the last minute. 

During the lockdown, I paused my account and instead, went for evening runs, and did yoga and strength training at home. Eventually, I had to buy a new pair of running shoes, some workout gear, and dumbbells. 

The result!

After lockdown, I picked up cycling and eventually bought a road bike. Cycling became a weekly ritual for me. Whenever I felt like shit, I hopped onto the bike and rode down to the beach near where I lived. I’m not exaggerating when I say that cycling was a huge lifesaver for me last year. 

Worst Money Decision of 2020 

Way back in February, I was scammed by a former friend. He came to me with a long explanation about how he needed some cash urgently. I lent him S$1,000. A few weeks later, he disappeared. Turns out, he scammed not just me but a bunch of other people as well before vanishing. I’m not sure what happened to him but I do wonder sometimes, though. That incident made me very wary of lending money to friends and even family members. 

Best Buys of 2020

These are the purchases that brought me a lot of joy in 2020.

Road bicycle – S$480

I bought a secondhand Trek FX 1 road bike from a guy on Carousell. The bike retails for S$900 and he was letting it go for almost half that price. It was still in really good condition too. 

I’ve been using my bike so regularly that I think it has helped me reduce some of my public transport costs. 

iPhone 11 – S$930

If you ask any of my friends, they’ll tell you that I’ve been complaining about my iPhone 7 (the phone I’ve been using since 2017) for about 2 years already. The phone battery has degraded so much to the point that I’m practically tethered to a wall socket all day. 

Sometimes, I tempt fate by leaving the house with my phone at 50% battery. There have been multiple occasions where I’ve had to book a Grab at midnight with only 1% battery life and I’ll be praying to God that my phone doesn’t shut down before I get a driver. What can I say, I like living on the edge. 

Around August, my phone started shutting down even at 100% battery life. So, I finally upgraded to a new phone. I managed to get an iPhone 11 at S$930 (retails for S$1,200) by stacking some discounts.

Tattoo – S$667

Tattoos are a purely indulgent expense. And I never regret them. I got one tattoo last year, all the way back in January. 

One area of my financial life that I want to improve in 2021 

I want to be more disciplined about building passive income streams this year. At the moment, I’m entirely dependent on the income I earn from my day job. 

I always thought that if I lost my job, I can rely on my wits and abilities to find a new job/switch careers/freelance/just do whatever it takes to earn an income. However, I never accounted for the fact that one can lose their job and have their health in jeopardy at the same time. That’s exactly what happened to me. 

Suddenly, I’m confronted with the question: What if I’m unable to work at all because of my health? Sure, that’s why I buy life and critical illness insurance. But what if I’m afflicted with a condition that isn’t covered in those insurance policies? 

Though I have an emergency fund, it isn’t enough to deal with that kind of blow to my ability to generate income. So, I want to think more deeply this year about diversifying my income sources. It’s not going to be easy. But it’s best that I make these efforts now when I’m still young, driven, and capable. 

What I learnt in 2020

The biggest money and life lesson I can take away from 2020 is to celebrate the small wins. 

I didn’t hit my money goal in 2020; my net worth didn’t grow much and I didn’t hit my savings goal. I didn’t win big in 2020, not a lot of us did.

But even though I didn’t achieve the milestones I wanted, I celebrate the fact that I am healthy.

I celebrate the fact that I can put my sister through her Masters for a second year. I celebrate the fact that I developed and stuck to habits that I never had before. I celebrate the fact that I get to connect and spend time with friends, even in a pandemic. I celebrate the fact that I can still put a roof over my head, and food on my table. 

I celebrate the fact that I am alive, and that I get to participate in this great journey that is life, and all the good and bad that comes with it. 

Here’s to our small wins. Cheers.

What’s your best money decision in 2020? What’s your worst? Comment below or drop me a note on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.


If you’re interested, here are my 2019 and 2018 annual reviews for your reading pleasure.

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