Budget Update: February 2019

february 2019

Budget Update: February 2019

Your girl got her mojo back. 

For the last few months, I’ve been in, for lack of a better word, a slump.

You know how like, no matter how perfect the job is, there will always be parts of it that you don’t like to do, but you have to do it anyway because it’s your job?

Easy example – even if you consider professional sleeper/bed tester is the perfect job, you might still complain over the fact that you have to do a report after you wake up.

On my end, I consider blogging slash freelance writer a damn near perfect job. But there are still aspects of the job that absolutely freaks the hell out of me.

One of those parts is… sales. Selling my services. Selling my brand. Selling my book.

When I planned on selling the book, I knew that doing the sales part would uncomfortable for me. But I also knew I had to push beyond it, because I want to grow. I can’t grow if I’m not uncomfortable.

Knowing what’s good for me and actually doing it is two different things. Following through with all the sales plans I have in my head was so, so tough. So freaking tough. I would make plans then ditch them. I would go through mountains of study materials, but never act on them.

Because the fact is… I’m embarrassed to even ask people for their money. I worry that what I offer is not good enough.

Despite that, I still did the best I could.

And – sorry sebak sikit – you guys’ punya support has been overwhelming. I know I said thank you a lot in my FB, Twitter and Instagram, but seriously, thank you.

february 2019 2

Yay of the Month:

  • Published my book, Money Stories From Malaysians: Volume 1! It’s now available for pre-order until 8 March only – click this link to see what you’ll get out of it.
  • Preorder sales have been much better than expected. As of writing time, I’ve made over RM5k in sales within 3 days! I thought I would be lucky if I could get RM5k in sales during the 10-day preorder period. And some of you even asked when Volume 2 is coming out?? Omg u guys :’)
  • Travelled to Luang Prabang, Laos and subsequently wrote a Luang Prabang budget breakdown post.
  • Started skipping breakfast intermittent fasting. Partly to save money, partly to try something new, partly to gain a bit of extra time, mostly an attempt to lose weight.
  • Attended WordPress KL’s meetup and learned more about doing my accounting and taxes as a blogger/freelancer.
  • Did a video shoot with Finspark‘s help. Ringgit Oh Ringgit Youtube channel is coming soon!
  • Finally finally finally listed some stuff I have lying around for sale on Carousell. Been on my to-do list forever kot. It’s been a while since I sold pre-loved stuff, I forgot how annoying it can be to deal with potential buyers. I made RM65 so far though.
  • Read three booksStraight to Hell:  True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals by John LeFevre (pretty much confirmed that the people in international finance industry are scum); Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (so… we can expect a large population of useless people in the future because automation will perform the only types of jobs they could do?); and Money Tips: How to Invest Profitably, Save More Money and Retire Early in Malaysia, Even If You’re In Heavy Debt Now by KC Lau (see full commentary in the FB posting below).

Nay of the Month:

  • Impulse-bought 3 pairs of shoes in one day. Total damage was about RM200. I’m not proud of this.
  • Spent RM187 on solo eating out wtf. Gila la your stress-eating Suraya. That’s much, much higher than my average of RM50~ per month on solo eating out. Those are food I bought just for myself, not counting dates, groceries, travel and social activities.
  • Have not paid my zakat yet. Have to get that done in March, or at least before June 2019.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Hustling to sell more copies of Money Stories From Malaysians: Volume 1. Looking for bulk buyers. Finding places to list the book for sale, whether its at book fairs, ecommerce stores, bookstores and more. Placing ads on social media and testing different combinations/audience.
  • Learning more about selling items online. I buy stuff online all the time, but this is the first time that I am the seller (aside from selling preloved stuff), and my goodness there are so many costs of doing business that I didn’t know before?? For example, did you know that Paypal takes RM2.35 out of the RM7.90 you paid for the ebook? RM5.55 sale is still better than RM0, so I’m not angry, but dang Paypal. This will be a post on RoR for sure.
  • Taking on a big writing project. I’m excited.

Those of you who do online sales, what tips would you give this first-time online seller? Which platforms would you suggest, and which would you avoid? What are some unexpected costs to look out for? Share your tips (and a link to your online store) in the comments section 🙂

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

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3 comments

  1. Dear Suraya,

    Been checking out your blog for new updates whenever I am free, and just had some extra free time to post a comment here.

    Well, I am not an expert of online business or anything, but I have been doing it as a side hustle since 2014 (few hundred ringgit of extra “freedom” money helps). Perhaps I could provide some pointers.

    I agree when you mentioned that Paypal is a money-sucker for small businesses like us (mainly due to the RM2 flat fee on top of the transaction fee charged by PP). Therefore the next best alternative for small business like us would be MOLPay.

    MOLPay is advantageous for sellers as it charges only 3.0% per transaction for payments via credit card, online banking or MEPS, as opposed to the 3.5% charged by iPay88.

    Customers will also have the flexibility of paying from any 7-Eleven stores nationwide and are able to collect loyalty rewards points (B Infinite).

    Having said that, this system comes with a price though. There is a one-time processing fee of RM954 which you have to fork out (which will again put another dent in your monthly budget). Other than that, you would not need to pay for any setup or annual fee if you opt for the Lite plan (which is more budget friendly for small businesses like us).

    Over the long term, the lower transaction fee imposed by MOLPay as compared to PP will pay for the one-time processing fee though. You just have to make enough sale (which I am confident that you will).

    If you would like to avoid all the hassle of applying and setting up your own payment gateway, then I would recommend you to the world of Shopee! I believe there is no need for an introduction on Shopee because you are already an online shopping trooper. It is also where the bulk of my sales are coming from right now. Best of all, they charge a very low commission rate of 1% for the time being, lower than any of the other payment providers.

    Again, I would like to end my reply with a disclaimer that I am not an expert in online selling. Heck, you may even have known of all the facts I posted here! But I would still like to wish you the best of luck in your book sale.

    1. Hi Alan,

      Thanks so much for your useful ecommerce tip! I didn’t know half the facts you posted. I’m definitely going to check out Shopee (and Lazada) as a possible place to list the book! 1% is very attractive though. Might go with that.

      I was thinking of MOLpay tbh, but wanted to keep upfront costs low so didn’t proceed with that option. Presently around 75% of my sales are through bank transfer, which means Paypal fees so far amount to just RM100+ish, which is an okay amount to absorb

      Thanks again for sharing Alan! Good stuff you have there at https://shopee.com.my/ajgroup 🙂

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