The Moneymaker: SONIA CHEW, 24, who became a radio DJ in 2012 after winning the 987FM Radio Star competition. The vivacious presenter will take on Mike Kasem in a cooking challenge in an upcoming ep of Ch 5 info-ed show Common Cents. “We were given $20 to shop for ingredients. I busted my budget and had to omit some ingredients [from my fruit salad]. I did a fruit carving of Mike’s face [on a watermelon] (laughs).”
HER HOME IS: A five-room flat in Pasir Ris, where she lives with her parents.
HER RIDE IS: Taxis. “I probably spend close to $1,000 every month cabbing around!”
WHAT’S IN HER WALLET: “In [this Prada wallet], I have a credit card, ATM card, name cards, lots of receipts, and membership cards for eateries ’cos I love eating. I hate carrying coins ’cos they’re so heavy!”
8 DAYS: You travel frequently for work. What’s one money-saving tip you’ve picked up from jet-setting?
SONIA CHEW: I don’t activate my credit card when I’m overseas. I once holidayed in London and overspent by swiping $800 at Topshop. The bank contacted me to check if my card was stolen, ’cos I was spending so much more than usual (laughs). From then on, I only take cash with me when I’m on holiday.
You and 933 DJ Chen Ning wore the same Topshop dress at the MediaCorp Radio Awards 2013. Has that made you want to spend more on expanding your wardrobe?
I picked that dress ’cos I thought no one else would wear such a flashy dress. But it turned out the whole world liked it too (guffaws). It’s less likely that someone will have the same thing as you [if you shop overseas] though. When I visited Japan recently, I decided to go thrift shopping.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve bought in Japan?
I spend on weird headgear. I got some that are shaped like a crab, squid and onigiri for about $15 each. They’re just random conversation starters that I enjoy having! The onigiri hat is my favourite and it has its own hashtag, #sonigiri (laughs)! I interviewed Rebel Wilson and Anna Kendrick in LA wearing my onigiri. They were like, “Oh my God, it’s a walking sushi!” The hat is a great icebreaker ’cos the interviews were easy after that.
You sell your stuff at flea markets too. How lucrative is that?
The most I’ve earned from a flea market was $750. I either save the money or use it to buy more clothes (laughs). I have brand new clothes that I bought for $150 and offered them at a flea market for $30 each. Some people ask, “Can I have it for $10?” If it’s nearing the end of the day and I just want to get rid of my stuff, I’d let them take it for $10. But sometimes I’d say, “Hey, it’s worth this much and I’ve only worn it once!”
Your parents run a video production company. Are you taking over the family business since you’re the only child?
I don’t think I’ll be running it physically, but I don’t mind managing it. It’d be a waste to chuck it aside. I don’t know if I can see myself as a boss! Some people have told me I look intimidating. I see myself still being a radio DJ at the peak of my career, but I do have a shelf life in this industry. My dream is to have a talk show like Ellen DeGeneres and give back to society with cool prizes and experiences. But if I find another [income] avenue, why not take it?
Are you a spender or a saver?
[Saving up for a big purchase like a house or car] isn’t that hard. My mum makes me save some of my salary. I try to put aside at least half of my paycheck on good months. I do have some insurance and savings schemes going on, but I don’t think I’m ready to dabble in stocks yet!
Catch Sonia on Common Cents on Sept 10, Ch 5, 9.30pm. Sonia also hosts The Bright Side on weekdays on 987FM, 6am–10am.