There’s something exciting about having turned 21, and being able to decide your own expenses. Especially when you’re earning your own keep. 🙂

Citibank Rewards Card

After hours and hours of surfing on Moneysmart and ValuePenguin and plenty of help from my colleagues, I finally decided on Citibank Citi Rewards Card in the hopes that I will earn an airmile-sponsored trip to Korea.. soon?

The whole thing started with one Forum session, where my Forum mates got me to share my expense tabulation. Having broken it down, I realized that if I was carding most of my stuff, then I might as well be reaping points or cashback, right?

So I started searching for a credit card that would pander to very specific expenditures. My rough expense tabulation looks like this:

If you’re wondering why my expense looks so high – January’s tabulation included the Bali trip, and February’s includes the start of my education fees. If you deduct all my travel savings and education, I average about S$1,400 per month. Pretty decent I’d say.

Here’s what’s in each category:
Digital – Purchase of apps and iTunes music, Upwork, subscriptions to Dropbox, iCloud, Bear Pro, Viu Premium, Cozi etc.
Transport – I Uber a fair bit to save time since I can do work and readings on the car, and there are days when I direly need the sleep. Also, monthly Ez-link top-ups.
Food – Only about S$50-S$100 of this is online expenditure for UberEats or McDelivery.
Education – Paying off Harvard classes (S$3,200 every half-year, so not monthly recurring cost, but I divided it into monthly spend here) and books on Kindle
Hobbies – Could be tickets on Sistic, or paints. Usually online purchases.
Shopping – Zalora, lechic, Fairebelle, etc.
Travel – Overseas trips (S$250 is a monthly set-aside)
Wellness – Medical, personal grooming and cosmetics go here.
Phone – Telco bills, don’t ask me why it’s so high, it’s a long story.

Most of my cost is here. What I’m missing? Tech spend, stuff like wires or a new iPod or Macbook if I were to get one. I can’t actively budget for these now (already stretched budget) but I imagine the money for this would come from savings on hobbies, wellness, food or shopping.

My next step was to look at what I wanted to get out of my card. For the most part, I wanted to rack up air miles, but for the expenses that I couldn’t, I wanted cashback. I also didn’t want extravagant annual fees and wanted some form of annual fee waiver, so I looked for the more basic cards (these usually come at minimum yearly income S$30,000).

If you look at my expenditure, there are certain chunks of spending that I could break it down into – food, transport, education, shopping, travel. Of these, you need to break it down into online and offline expenditure to optimize your rewards. The result led me to choosing the two cards I did for very specific purposes, and I plan to relook this in 6 months to see if this really works out the way I plan for it to.

The choice for the Citibank Rewards card was obvious – the colours are so pret – nah, just kidding, I wanted to rack up air miles, and this was the card that would allow me to do so without either being an Amex card (very limited usage) or having extravagant annual fees. For pretty cards, please go and look up the UOB YOLO – the way it feels in hand is just so luxurious I almost got it despite it being a completely useless card to me. But back to topic – my aim isn’t really to get every trip free, it’s just to rack up air miles for expenses that I can’t avoid anyway. Here’s how the conversion works:

1 Citi Mile = 1 KrisFlyer Mile
(or 5 Points = 2 KrisFlyer Miles)

The Citi Rewards card offers 4 miles (10 points) for every S$1 spent on shopping, and the most recent promotion for Amazon (including Kindle books where I spend a sizeable amount of money) involves offering 8 miles (20 points) for every S$1 spent. That is a great deal IMO, and I can imagine why online shoppers would love this card.

If anyone has any corrections to this post, or would like to share your tokkong credit card plans, I’d be more than happy to explore, so drop a comment!

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