DollarsAndSense is a digital publisher that aims to help people make better financial decisions, one bite-sized article at a time. Deanna’s work includes building and maintaining commercial relationships with the clients and agencies the site works with. She also collaborates with the founders to identify new markets and commercial opportunities for the company.
What were you like, growing up — and has that influenced your relationship with money?
I grew up in a strict family and learnt at an early age the importance of working hard. My first part-time job was at MOS Burger when I was 14. I spent my school holidays making burgers, clearing tables, clearing rubbish and mopping the floor — basically, learning what hard-earned money really meant. I stopped taking an allowance from my parents after Secondary school and saw myself through polytechnic and university. That said, while I worked very hard in my younger days, I wished I’d started investing earlier so I could have made my money work harder (and smarter) for me.
From whom did you pick up most of your money knowledge?
From my then-boyfriend, now-husband Timothy Ho (who also runs DollarsAndSense). When we started dating in my 20s, he gave me really helpful money advice to manage my first paycheque, how to pay for my university fees on my own, and then [we worked] to save up for our wedding and to buy a home. Financial matters can be stressful for many people but with Tim, it just somehow becomes a little easier.
When I first started working after poly, it took a lot of discipline to set aside more than half of my monthly salary for my university tuition. I was earning less than $2,000 a month. Tim, who was still in NS back then, taught me how to manage my expenses, optimise my credit-card rewards (to redeem free movie tickets, F&B vouchers) and to balance my social life.
As a personal-finance website, how does DollarsAndSense bridge any knowledge gaps women may have regarding their financial wellbeing?
We’ve noticed a surge of interest in our articles within the female community in Singapore over the years. Half of our readers are women! We try to make our articles relevant to women such as, “Ladies, here’s how much your period costs you over your lifetime”. The content we produce, whether an article, an infographic, a video or a podcast, always has a strong female influence because women make up half the team here, too!