While I’m a big believer in having hobbies for nothing more than the sheer joy and fulfilment it can bring to your life, attempting to monetise your hobby is not a bad way to start dipping your toes in entrepreneurship culture. The transition from ‘hey this is fun’ to ‘omg people want to pay me for this??’ is nothing short of amazing. I sincerely hope everyone will get to feel that.
(Note: Not everyone can or should be an entrepreneur, but everyone should have entrepreneurial mindset, ie problem-solving skills and all that, wouldn’t you agree?)
RoR started as a hobby, too
Personally, I started writing personal finance blog articles as a hobby. I offered it as a service while I was looking for a new job, but it eventually expanded into this whole Ringgit Oh Ringgit shebang and its current 8 sources of income, so I never looked back. But of course, I also failed figured out a few ways that didn’t work along the process.
Obviously, I wasn’t the only Malaysian who have attempted to monetise my hobbies. And when I asked RoR readers about it, I was blown away by the variety of answers – your hobbies are hella cool, some of them I never even heard of!
With their permission, I compiled some of the answers – thanks so much to everyone who agreed to be featured in this article 🙂 Definitely opened my eyes on the many possibilities of side incomes, and I hope it’ll do the same for other readers too.
As a result of that constant experimentation, I’ve kind of figured out over the years:
things I’m not willing to skimp on,
things that are not worth my time, and
things I don’t enjoy doing just for the sake of saving a few cents or ringgit
That last part is somewhat important. Unless you’re still, you know, saving up your first RM1000 or something, or urgently trying to pay off your high-interest credit card or personal loan debt, then I don’t think it’s worth being… I dunno… miserable in being too obsessed in saving money. You were not born just to pay bills and die.
Common sense said it did. Almost everyone has been affected by the pandemic, in one way or another (notably, following MCO rules to the best of our ability, correct not). Most people are spending more on groceries and online shopping, and less on everything else and offline purchases.
This is my guess based on what the media reported, but how true is that statement in my personal life?
So I thought, hey why not make a direct comparison of my spending pattern, before and after Covid-19 hit? In what way did my personal spending change, in each expense category? I can do this. I track my expenses. I have the data.
During Covid-19: Data collected since MCO started on 18 March 2020 until time of writing, (almost exactly 3 months worth of data)
Expenses Comparison: Before & After Covid-19
Before Covid-19 (from 2019 Expenses Data)
During Covid-19 (from 3 Months' Data)
Utilities & Rent
Average reduced as landlady (bless her) waived one month's rent
Coincided with #MYMoneyStories book printing & distribution
Dates & Travel
Donations & Gifts
Biggest increase. Happy to do it
Surprisingly more or less the same
Insurance & Medical
Maintained medical card and PA insurance. Reduced as no longer seeing chiropractor
Significantly reduced travel. Also used up SOCAR credit
This seems to be my average, MCO or no
Didn't buy much non-necessaries
Friends, I miss you!
Increased non-groceries food expenses. Ok la, was puasa also
Lucky enough to be able to generate enough referrals to offset mobile cost
Total average expenses per month
Roughly RM500 increase, but mostly due to Donations & Gifts category
As you can see:
Biggest increases are in categories: Donations & Gifts and Business
Biggest decreases are in categories: Dates & Travel, Insurance & Medical, Public Transportation, Misc Wants & Social
No or minimal changes in categories: Groceries, Misc Needs, Food (Non-Groceries) & Mobile
Overall, my expenses actually increased by almost RM500, if compared before and after Covid-19. Mostly due to Donations
Old me would be worried about appearing to be humblebragging, but new me embraces and – dare I say it – is proud of my own actions. I didn’t just encourage people to donate, I also put my money where my mouth is. Almost RM3k per month in donations is really stretching my budget but if there’s a worthy YOLO occasion, this is it.
How has Covid-19 affected your monthly expenses? Which expense categories significantly increased and decreased for you? Let me know in the comments section 🙂
Been broke, angry and ashamed before? Have a read. You’ll relate with many of the points. The article is an interview with Amanda Clayman, a financial therapist who partnered with the wildly popular Death, Sex and Money Podcast, to create a series of Financial Therapy series.
But beyond that, let’s talk about anxiety caused by financial situation. In case you didn’t know, that type of anxiety is really, really common. We feel bad when we are not making enough. We feel bad when we make too much.
(How? – you might ask. Think of people who feel bad over their work taking time away from family time).
Like many of you, I, too, enjoy a nice round of YouTube binge-watching. I mean, who doesn’t go off to YouTube when procrastinating work, amirite? AMIRITE.
The purpose of this article is two-fold:
(1) to expand your idea of what fits under the category of ‘personal finance’. Too often, ‘personal finance videos’ mean videos about saving money and investing (how-tos, advice and motivation), but I think it’s broader than that. Many of the videos I’ve listed below are not ‘classic’ personal finance videos – usually they’re lumped under the catch-all ‘lifestyle’ and/or ‘parenting’ niche – but they’re useful as personal finance references.
Ringgit Oh Ringgit is pleased to be one of the official media partners for Cakna Kewangan Summit 2020, the Malay-language personal finance event which will run for 3 days, from 13-15 June 2020.
Some sponsors/partners you might be familiar with include PTPTN, Bursa Malaysia, UOB KayHan, INSKEN (Institut Keusahawanan Negara), MFPC (Malaysia Financial Planning Association) and (for some reason) Kelantan state government.
Let me give you two good reasons to attend Cakna Kewangan Summit 2020.
In May 2020, I spent a total of RM4799.69, with two-thirds of that across only 2 categories: Donations & Gifts and Rent & Utilities.
Most donations went to Raya food orders (saved my family the trouble to cook on Raya Day 2) and duit raya giveaway. At first I was like hmm I should donate to other causes too (and I did), but then I remembered, charity starts at home.
May 2020 was a very strange month. I think I was out of focus for a good chunk of the month, due to (1) fasting, and (2) still processing the pandemic. Some days I feel like I’m handling it well, some days I just kinda zombie out and just do the bare minimum, professionally speaking.
What would you suggest I do? Advice wanted. I want to ‘snap out of it’ so bad. I want my pre-pandemic mental clarity back.