Budget Update: April 2020

Budget Update: April 2020

Another month where only 4 categories showed up in my expense-tracking app:

  • Business (RM4,877.69) – mostly paid the balance of book order, and packaging for deliveries
  • Utilities & Rent (RM1,352.47) – ze living quarters
  • Misc Needs (RM565.22) – restocked cat food and cat litter, bought office chair, new stand fan and kettle (more on that under Nay section below)
  • Everything else

Let’s talk about something. Donations. This has been on my mind, and I just want to let it off my chest.

As you know, a lot of people are having financial hardship. A lot of people are seeking help.

I think… I’ve become increasingly desensitised to the many, many donation calls which appeared in my social media timeline. Nowadays I simply scroll past most of them, opting to take the ‘don’t see, don’t know’ approach.

As time goes on, I know that I will only give my attention and money to the donation calls that are especially gut-wrenching. The ones with emotional pictures and copywriting. They work, you and I know they do, think of the last donation you made. And as NGOs understand how well they work, they’ll use that strategy more and more.

The higher volume means I’ll get desensitised to those soon enough, too.

Feeling guilty for not doing more when I have the means to do so is a constant feature of my life now. I’m aware how much this sounds like virtue-signalling – I’m pissed off at myself too because boohoo kesian Suraya wow she feels horrible, wtf Suraya this ISN’T about you, how DARE you think YOU have it rough when millions, maybe BILLIONS of people will starve. In 2020.

I don’t know, you guys. Does avoidance as a coping mechanism make me a bad person? Is choosing to prioritise my FI/RE journey a bad thing? I hate that I hate wealth inequality, yet choosing to do the exact same wealth preservation strategy the rich are making, by ‘staying invested’.

Bleak thought process? Well it’s a bleak world. I’ll try and focus on the good, but I can’t lalala my way out of this. The journey to understand my own psyche continues. I hope eventually I’ll come to a better way to cope and/or manage resources. This is part of personal finance too.

My Spending Breakdown in April 2020

Yay of the Month:

  • And created what I thought is a win-win strategy: affiliate system for the #MyMoneyStories. I like the idea of creating income opportunities, and this seemed like the perfect solution for marketing as well. Read here for more details: [INCOME OPPORTUNITY] Sell Money Stories Book Series and Earn RM1.78-RM17 per order
  • Low groceries expenses. Just RM363.58. And that includes a ‘support’ purchase to Jobbie’s peanut butter (RM65 for 3 jars inc delivery). The low amount makes sense, still finishing up last month’s bulk purchases. Also less frequency in grocery shopping reduced a lot of impulse purchases.
  • Averaged 1 food delivery order per week. That’s an okay frequency, considering how much food is on my mind (it’s puasa after all)
  • Complied with stay-at-home order – ZERO transportation cost for April 2020.
  • Held 4 collaborative webinars in April 2020: three with AKPK and one with Institut Wanita Berdaya Selangor. Their feedback on my sessions is one of the happiest moments in my career so far!!

  • Recorded, edited and published 2 YouTube videos!!! This is a big one, I’ve feared the process for years. Check them out: [VIDEO] Signature Market Review & Unboxing and [VIDEO] My 8 Sources of Income As a Malaysian Blogger. The quote that drove me the most was: ‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start to be great’. I repeated that in my head again and again and again as I cringe-watch my own work.
  • Many of my investments recovered. Gold and bitcoin I can understand, but the stock market and mutual funds/unit trust/ETFs? Them rising amid looming recession doesn’t make sense. Who is buying, aside from dollar-cost-averaging folks? Where’s the money coming from? Don’t get me wrong, as an investor I’m happy. But I’m struggling to understand market sentiment.
  • Ringgitohringgit.com website has surpassed 2 million pageviews mark! Thank you everyone for your continued support <3

  • Finally invested in email marketing. This will be a painful recurring expense of $30 per month under business expenses, I hope it’ll be worth it.

  • Bought a Pinterest marketing course from a blogger that I’ve followed for years! I’m happy because (1) I got it on sale, (2) I got to support her, after benefitting from her content for years, (3) I wanted to learn how to do Pinterest marketing right, and (4) it solved my ‘what should I learn’ analysis paralysis problem!
  • Attended a wonderful webinar, which introduced me to a free (now expired) Strengths Profile test. This is my result:

 

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I attended possibly the best webinar during MCO (so far) – Actionising Your Strengths for Resilience by Hanaa Wong Abdullah from Rema Synergy @remasynergy . You know that I like personal finance, especially the personal part. Money works for me, instead of the other way around, and to optimise my money management better I have to make the effort to know myself deeply, intimately. I have to know my strengths and weaknesses . Based on Ms Hanaa’s suggestion, I took the Introductiory Strengths Profile quiz (free until end of April only!) at https://strengthsprofile.com/. Completing it takes ~20 or so minutes . These are my results. I know of some, and surprised by others. What I want to do now is focus on my unrealised strengths so I can be better at what I do . Today is a good first day of Ramadan. Learned something amazing. Special thanks to @cerventus for organising the webinar 🙂

A post shared by Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) on

Nay of the Month:

  • Didn’t read any books. Couldn’t focus. Watched a lot of videos though, including Michael Moore’s latest one, Planet of the Humans, which argued that green technology does more harm to the environment than good. That effed me up for a few days.
  • The stand fan AND the kettle broke down ON THE SAME DAY. The replacements took around 10 days to arrive, which meant I lugged the fan from upstairs to downstairs daily AND boiled water from the wok. My drinking water was funky tasting for the first few boils, blegh
  • Paid off some pending utility bills that, um, ‘escaped’ my attention, amounting to~RM160. Was charged a slight interest on them. Close one eye and paid, was my fault for not staying on top of my responsibilities.
  • Regret purchase: Bought an office chair which is (1) not as comfortable as I thought, and (2) ended up being a glorified cat bed. But at least my cats are happy.
  • Seeing all the wedding deals that I can’t take advantage of, for practical reasons

Things to Look Forward to:

  • My birthday..? Eh, it’ll just be another day. Cannot meet and celebrate with anyone I love. Plus puasa some more. I hereby postpone my birthday until all this is over, thank you.
  • Raya? Also meh about it. But at least after that can eat during daytime again.
  • Continuing my wedding planning? Will this partial MCO lifting also means kursus kahwin will be available again? Let’s see.
  • Surviving another month of staying home. MCO may be partially lifted, but I know the responsible thing to do is still to reduce exposure. Just have to take it one day at a time.
  • Waiting for my ‘diamond painting’ DIY kit to arrive. I just want to try something new, and under RM30 for 3 kits isn’t a bad price, even if the shipping from China will take ages to arrive. I’ll consider this my own birthday present 🙂

Well, that was the summary of my month. Full of ups and downs, I didn’t hold back my thoughts. Please tell me how you’re feeling, and don’t hold back either.

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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10 comments

  1. Hi suraya, have the same thought bout the donation. I keep telling myself, the more i give, the more i get. Sometimes i dont see it in numbers(money, gift etc) but inshaAllah I’ll get it in different form of rezeki like health, calmness , ,,contentment. Those will help me in seizing the day, less worries. Aaminn.

  2. I got confused as well when my Wahed Investment was going back up again. As an investor, I didn’t mind my money going up, but like you said, why and how?? I’ve adopted the “Put money in, forget about it” and just let the market do its things for now lol.

    And defo on the being desensitized to donation calls. There’s only so much we can do as individuals and there’s a LOT of them out there. So focus on a few that you can and want to support and that’s OK.

    1. Kan? I don’t mind the money going up AT ALL, but still I wonder why. I have a bad feeling about it actually… hope I’m wrong though

      And thanks for the advice Syaza 🙂 Love the approach

  3. Re donation. I’m a bit stone-hearted person. To me, as long as I’m still working to pay my debt and 6 month emergency, I have no intention on donating my money to strangers. Exception of donation/additional splurge is only to my parents. I can donate, however, to any in terms of points-turn-cash like those in Grab reward page. I keep reminding myself, “I am fully responsible for myself, my own wellbeing”. Other people should’ve been responsible for their lives too. Like Dave Ramsey said, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”, that’s why there’s a baby Step #7: Build wealth and give. To me, if one is still struggling with the lower level baby steps like Baby Step #1 – #3, it just doesn’t make any sense to me go to Step#7.

    1. Perfect comic, thanks for sharing. Had a laugh at that

      What do we even do kan. Accept? Complain? Be conflicted about it all our lives? Well fair enough, life should be hard in some way, it wouldn’t be fair to have it easy

      You seem cool. Would be nice to have a conversation with you

  4. Love your writting . It is as though you are right in front of me and chatting. Topic are very personal but the way you share it help us see our own situation. Tq. Keep up the good work.

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