Oh my, my expenses in October 2019 was in the RM6k, almost RM7k range again. Urk. Business, Utilities & Rent and Insurance & Medical expenses took the bulk of it though. Even after all this time, even knowing how I shouldn’t skimp on these expenses, I still wishfully dream for under-RM3k monthly expenses.
Is that kind of monthly expense realistic, though? To thrive (not merely survive), at least RM4k+ per month is needed no? I know that many companies advertise jobs with starting pay of RM2.2, RM2.5k. And they expect people to be able to ration that out all thoughout the month?
And I guess other people got sick of that unrealistic expectations too, because boy did this tweet go viral:
So sick and tired of all the personal finance advice that accuses Malaysians of not saving enough money when the biggest reason is actually freaking low wages
Yes, YES, we *could* live on that amount. If we *only* spend on what we need to spend on to just live, we could.
BUT that would mean a living a life devoid of any entertainment, any leisure, any trips home to see the family, any activities with friends, any personal fulfilment, any meaning. How DARE they judge every single bubble tea, every nice meal we have, when that could be the only thing that makes life tolerable for us.
Ah, credit cards. The enabler of reckless spending, yet such a useful financial tool when utilised right.
How useful is useful? And how enabling? I had to ask. Naturally, I turn to the RoR audience – I wanted to know the biggest swipe they have ever made on their credit cards. Not just that – I also asked if they themselves thought it was a good decision.
Here are their answers. Thanks to everyone who contributed!
Confession: It’s really… weird… that personal finance, as a topic, is getting more attention than ever. I mean, it’s good and all, it’s just strange to be right smack of it all, as a personal finance blogger.
And shit REALLY got real ever since the Malaysian government launched the National Strategy for Financial Literacy (2019-2023) on July 2019. I’ve personally gotten more outreach requests for interviews, speaking engagements and collaborations since then.
So, there’s no questioning that personal finance is a HOT topic. For today’s article, I’ve decided to brainstorm and compile how YOU – a personal finance enthusiast – can take advantage of this situation. Here are some ways to make money from this hot trend.
The data came from US demographics, but mental health is universal and this discussion is applicable to us Malaysians as well.
I don’t have solutions, but I agree with this gentleman’s sentiment:
I’ll say it again: If you hate your job stop blowing the money that they’re paying you. Stack that money so you can put it into things so you eventually won’t need that job anymore. Spending recklessly while working a job you hate is STUPID. Stop bullshitting.
But of course I admit that’s a priviledged way of looking at it. Some people truly can’t afford to quit their jobs because non-negotiable commitments are too high.
So here I want to say… employers, take care of your employees. I can give many reasons why you should – happier employees are more productive, etc – but at the end of the day… the reason you should take their wellbeing into consideration is because they’re fellow human beings.
When I was in college – and by college I mean the combined time I spent studying for diploma, degree and masters – I supplemented my parental and PTPTN allowance with a bunch of part time jobs.
Had to lah. For one, I felt guilty for using FAMA scholarship when getting my diploma and degree, especially after I found out my parents were actually facing financial difficulties during the time. Parents, I tell you, they never tell you anything :'(
For another, looking and finding part time jobs for college students turned out to be a productive way to waste time. It’s procrastination but in a good way. Don’t lie to me – some of you college students reading this, you’re looking for part-time jobs despite haven’t finished your assignments yet correct not?
Isn’t it amazing that you can use your money to buy more time?
Using money to buy time, as a concept, did not come naturally to me. When I was younger, I spent a lot of hours looking for the best deals.
This money approach went on until I ran out of things to cut from my expenses. Looking back, I could’ve used all that time to make extra money, or learn high-income skills
(but hey it’s not good to dwell on the past)
The realisation that money can be used to buy time also forever changed my attitude towards money. Despite being obsessed with personal finance, I no longer glorify money in itself. What’s the point of having money if I have to work all the time? What’s the point of having money if I can’t spend time with loved ones, or make them happy?
I’m not alone in this view. Recently, I asked the RoR audience about the expenses they’re happy to pay for because it saves them time. Here are some of their answers, republished with permission.
Sometimes I forget how different people value different things. Who am I to decide or judge how you interpret happiness?
I think it’s time to retire ‘buy experiences, not things’ from my personal finance approach. Instead, I will use the phrase ‘intentional spending’ instead, the opposite of ‘mindless spending’. I want to be more mindful of what I spend on, regardless whether they are experiences or things.
And thus, I find myself buying non-thrifted art for the first time. I’ve never allowed this purchase for myself. I’ve never bought something beautiful for the sake of it being beautiful. Whatever pretty knick-knacks I have, must also be practical: think boxes, containers, pillows, candles.