Budget Update: December 2017

 December 2017

Budget Update: December 2017

Happy New Year! Welcome, 2018!

For me, December 2017 was treat-yo-self month, apparently. I’m embarrassed by the damage, but for accountability’s sake, here it is. Spent RM16.6k. Almost RM10k more than what I spent in November 2017. Eeeep.

I want to say, ‘it’s fine, I can afford it’ but honestly, I have no excuse. I gave myself almost-free reign to spend my money and boy did I. I did have a lot of fun though. At least now I know this level of fun is unsustainable for my budget.

All December, I was hungry for new experiences. Most of what I spent on is for that, not for shiny new things or whatever. I don’t regret the spending, but I do want to tone it down a bit. I want to be equally happy with low-cost activities instead of expensive ones.

What low-cost activities do you enjoy? Need some ideas here. Some I’ll continue (or plan to re-continue) include:

  • Reading books
  • Reading articles from the web
  • Making use of my apartment’s free gym
  • Making more home-made meals instead of eating out
  • Going to free/low-cost events and shows
  • Blogging

How does your list look like?

December 2017 1

Yay of the month:

  • Went to Maldives. Here’s what I got out of the RM3.3k trip.
  • Gave away all presents for Ringgit Oh Ringgit’s Xmas Giveaway. Congrats, winners! Everyone else, try again next time okay? 🙂
  • Read 9 books, probably the highest record of books read in a month in my adult life. They are: The Intimate Adventures of a London Call Girl by Belle Du Jour (insightful peek on how sex workers make money while staying safe – I have a lot of respect for them); New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever by Matthias Hollwich with Bruce Mau Design (beautiful illustrations on making happy living efficient); Books 1 & 2 of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy by Douglas Adams (funneh; lost interest by the third book though – became too draggy); Bold: How to Grow Big, Create Wealth and Impact the World by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler (highly recommended if you feel stuck and want to aim higher. Lots of actionable steps); Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chealsea by Chealsea Handler (a trashy read; funny writing though); The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida (insightful, helped me understand autism a bit more); No Bed of Roses: The Rose Chan Story by Cecil Rajendran (life of the infamous striptease artist back during the Malayan days. I respect Rose Chan for the influence she had over high-ranking men of those days) and Rejection Proof: How I Beat My Fear and Became Invincible through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang (legit made me cry. Another highly recommended book.)
  • Bought 15 books and 7 notebooks during the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair. The buying notebooks thing is new for me. For the longest time I’ve made do with free notebooks received from conferences and stuff. Now I’ve decided to start keeping my old notebooks instead of throwing it away, and I want them to be at least uniform in size so they’re easy to stack. However, I still refuse to buy the overpriced ones – RM20 is the max I’ll pay for a hardcover notebook.
  • Attended BarCamp 2017, an ad-hoc ‘unconference’. Anyone can attend and propose a topic to share. I challenged myself to explain CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women), and was happy to hear great feedback on my presentation 🙂 At one point, I went over the 30-minutes time limit but the audience urged me to continue for another half an hour. One of my best highlights of the month 🙂 🙂
  • Stockpiled sunscreens during a Watson’s sale, got a great price on them. Got about a year’s stock. Sunscreen is a must-have item for me, I wear it (almost) every day.
  • Saw The VSC Project‘s Love & Intestine Ft Ismaera show. Love them, highly recommend anything they organise. I like order and organisation; most of the time, this is good, but I do get too rigid in my planning sometimes. Their improv-focused shows force me to appreciate moments as they happen.
  • December 2017 recorded the highest monthly traffic for Ringgit Oh Ringgit! 82k! In December 2016, it was 22k. In December 2015, it was 2k. Thanks so much for your support, you guys <3
  • Due to the traffic, I also received the highest monthly Google Adsense payout so far – RM661.77!
  • Christmas and New Years Eve celebration with friends <3

Nay of the month:

  • Spent way too much money.
  • My grandmother, my last living grandparent, is not well. Please send prayers and good vibes to my family.
  • Cheated out of RM127.20 from a gym. They charged me one extra month. I gave up trying to recover it back, it’s not easy.
  • Got a vanity cosmetic fix… Injected dermafillers to correct my under-eye situation. RM3.6k gone and only slightly happy about it. Might do a post on the experience.
  • Spent a lot of time thinking about which projects I want to dedicate my time on, aside from my usual writing-related work. Still have no clear answer and feeling a bit aimless.  I want to do something that both scares and excites me. I want another hill to conquer. It’s not that there’s no hills around, there are a few, and I’m deciding which one(s) to climb right now. It’s a problem, but thankfully a good one.
  • 22% of my spending in December 2017 was for Donations and Gifts – too much? I bought presents for people, might have gone overboard with the gifting :/
  • Been wanting to try Steam for a while, and I finally did – couldn’t resist the winter sales. Bought Dream Daddy, the dating dad simulation game. It’s amusing rofl. I’m annoyed that I couldn’t stop myself from buying this game but to be fair the entertainment value I got from this RM20.77 game is well worth it.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Being frugal while keep building wealth in 2018. I haven’t been good on the frugal part lately.
  • Growing this website’s traffic and its passive income even more. Dare I aim for 200k monthly traffic by the end of 2018? I dare!
  • Buying some courses from Udemy. They’re having 90% sales now guys! If not mistaken from 01-10 January 2018 only. Any courses to recommend?
  • Paying my zakat and taxes. I enjoy the whole process (although the payment part stings a bit).
  • Liquidifying some of my crypto investment and channelling it towards safe investments. My high-risk/low-risk ratio is making me nervous. I’m considering properties, but might just go with the safest option for me, ASB.
  • Re-Konmari my possessions. Need to sell/donate stuff I no longer use.

Overall, 2017 was very kind to me. It’s my highest-earning year so far, and career-wise I’m at my peak. I hope to keep the momentum and of course, record the journey here in this blog. Please keep supporting me 🙂

To read about my past monthly budget update, click here. Graphs are taken from my expense-tracking app Money Lover (review).

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10 comments

  1. Prayers goes to your grandma, hope she gets better soon!

    Enjoyable post as always. I can relate about gifting as December is a month for gifts! But to spend only RM3k for Maldives is quite impressive 🙂

    Please do share the experience on derma filler. I also have a problem with my eyebags & puffy eyes. Currently trying out RoC retinol correxion eye cream, it helps with the puffyness but I still have a dark under eye.

    Well done on your achievements! Happy to hear more people are reading your blog !

    1. Thanks for your well wishes Arvilla 🙂

      Hehe I’ll write about the derma fillers soon then. Keep an eye out for it!

  2. Hope your grandma get well!

    “Cheated out of RM127.20 from a gym. They charged me one extra month. I gave up trying to recover it back, it’s not easy.”
    The same happened to me as well, but it was in 2016. Shitty stuff.

  3. Hi Suraya,

    Happy New Year, i hope it wasn’t too late. I am wondering what is your 2018 New Year Resolutions in terms of financial. 2018 is a new beginning for me, starting to pay mortgage and I hope I can pay it off before 35 years old, I will be 29 years old later in April anyway. I did lots of research on how to pay off mortgage early and found two tips;

    1. chuck mortgage installment bi-weekly
    2. pay extra on Principal account

    Do you mind to guide me what else I had missed other than these, it weren’t easy to ask for tips online from the financial guru as most of them need to purchase their online course.

    1. Happy new year, Amalina!
      Paying mortgage off early is not something I commonly hear among Malaysians, so props to you! Those two strategies are good in theory, but I haven’t heard of anyone actively doing it.

      I did a tiny bit of research and found out that not all types of home loans allow additional payments in Malaysia. Not sure if you did this or not, but definitely double check with your bank if you’re allowed to chuck extra money at the principal amount without penalties.

      If you can’t, I wouldn’t worry too much. Simply put the extra money towards other investments that can generate higher interest that your home loan interest. That is a good wealth accumulation strategy as well.

      All the best!

  4. Hi Suraya,

    I’m trying to be more diligent with my payments this year, some of which include annual insurance premium payments. I basically maintain two accounts – ASB for long-term savings and my Maybank savings account for my salary/daily expenses. In order to not “accidentally” spend the monies earmarked for future payments, I usually keep them aside in a specially marked angpow packet and now I’ve got a few at home amounting to a few thousand ringgit, which I feel is:
    1. Not a safe idea;
    2. If I have a few thousand ringgit in reserve, how can I grow them, even just a little bit between now and until the payment due date comes up?

    Would it make sense to keep my reserve cash in FD and then withdraw later for when I need to pay for things?

    1. Hey Masami,

      You’re doing good. On keeping money at home, yeah can be dangerous.

      There’s a few options available for you if you want to keep liquid (ie easy to withdraw and use). FD is one, yes. But why not just keep in ASB? You get higher rates than FD and its easy to take out (post office also can withdraw).

      Otherwise, you might also want to consider P2P lending (platforms listed in https://ringgitohringgit.com/invest-with-rm1000/). Pick short term ones like 30 or 90 days.

      All the best!

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