august 2017
Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: August 2017

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 Budget Update: August 2017

Spent just little under RM6000. Aimed for under-RM5000, but I’ll take it. More than a quarter (27%) went to business-related expenses anyway.

August was quite relaxed, in a way. It was a nice mix of manageable work stress and leisure. After being self-employed for a while and not knowing how to ‘switch off from work’, so to speak, it’s nice to finally let myself enjoy non-working moments. Not there yet though – still find my mind wandering to work matters during lull moments, but it’s a step in the right direction.

I get a lot of jealousy from others over my work status. As someone who takes Uber/Grab a lot, many times my conversations with the driver went something like this:

Driver: So what do you do? Do you work here? (referring to the commercial area I stay at)

Me: Oh no I stay nearby. I work from home.

Driver: *talks about how nice it is to work from home until we reach the destination*

You see, people like to see the greener grass. They imagine working from home as this amazing thing, and don’t get me wrong, it is. It has a lot of perks. But it can also be infuriating sometimes.

They want the flexibility. But they don’t see the constant pressure from friends/family to drop everything in your schedule and join them for something because the ‘free’ in ‘freelancer’ must mean you’re free all the time right.

They want the no-commute mornings and evenings. But they don’t see how the lack of routine damages your self-discipline. Some freelancers/self-employed individuals can’t take the lack of routine so much, they pay to work at co-working spaces.

They want the no-office politics life. But they don’t see how lack of work banter among colleagues stunts your professional growth and you have to constantly look for it from other places. I mean, who am I supposed to bounce ideas with, the wall?

My point is – if you work the ‘normal’ 9-6 job, it’s not a bad thing. You can plan weekends and holidays well in advance. You can get advice and mentorship from your colleagues and bosses. You can expect your salary coming in at the end of the month, like clockwork.

I like being self-employed, but sometimes, I do miss the stability of salaried life.

Related: 11 things I learned about self-employment in Malaysia

Social was high – that was due to hotel room and flight to Penang to catch a friend’s wedding. Misc Wants includes a bag and a skirt I bought from my sister. The rest is okay, within limits.

Yay of the month:

  • Homaigod, being one of the speakers at MaGIC’s Blockchain Disruptors event was surreal. I want to say I’m grateful for the opportunity, humbled etc etc etc – and yes I’m all of those things but the undeniable primary emotion was pride. The second-biggest emotion was complete terror, but if Jennifer Lawrence fell down (twice) at the Oscars and she’s doing OK then I’ll be OK too. The third is dread, actually. All the networking afterward – as awesome as it for my career – is NOT good for my introvert soul.
  • Oh by the way I can confirm that there are a lot of job and work opportunities in the blockchain space. I’m not even from the tech field and I got a few recruitment offers in August. Join the Access Blockchain Association (Malaysia) Facebook page to put blockchain stuff on your radar. It’s like the internet – applicable to most industries. If you’re a writer/journalist or a digital marketer, get in here as well. The money’s not bad.
  • Certified Bitcoin Professional from the Cryptocurrency Certification Consortium. I has it. I am it. Proof.
  • I got the most perfect dish drainer and ridiculously happy about it. It has a slot for the water from the dishes to drip out directly into the sink! AND it was half-price – slashed from RM100+ to about RM59.20. Ah, the things you get happy about when you get older.
  • Working with clients who produce products/services I like anyway is a complete joy. Not only I get to share it, but they also sometimes pay me for it. Super win-win-win for them, me and Ringgit Oh Ringgit readers. I’ve published one sponsored post by HelloGold (How to Buy Gold in Malaysia, as an Investment) and will publish another sponsored post by Asukabu later this month 🙂
  • Game of Thrones season 7 was awesome. Everyone traveled to their destinations damn fast, so much more satisfying than whole SEASONS of walking around in one location.
  • I got one of those protein powders to maximise after-gym gainz. RM209 for 100 servings, or RM2.09 per serving. Among the cheapest. One of the brands I surveyed costs RM7+ per serving, crazy!
  • Donated to Wikipedia and feeling extremely good about it. Like seriously thanks Wikipedia contributors for all the knowledge. Thanks sangat sangat.
  • Managed to read 4 books in August! Status Anxiety by Alain de Botton taught me the historical events and cultural shifts leading to personal possession and wealth accumulation as coveted status chased by many in the modern world. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson taught me to give less f*cks to things that don’t matter. Digital Gold: The Untold Story of Bitcoin by Nathaniel Popper taught me the people involved during bitcoin’s early days and the series of events or rather roadbumps it experienced. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho taught me… not sure actually. Despite 65 million copies sold I actually found it kinda boring :/

Nay of the month:

  • Kinda ate a lot. Gained weight. Back on keto diet. One of the side effects is a more focused head, so it’s not all bad.
  • A routine round of plugin updates crashed Ringgit Oh Ringgit briefly. Sent an emergency call for help to ClickWP, Wordpress support specialist. David fixed it up real quick, but it was still a sudden and unplanned expense. He was nice enough to include an optimisation report in the price though, so I’m glad I made the best of the situation, as annoying as it was.
  • One of extension cords in my kitchen freaking melted due to too many kitchen devices connected at the same time. Had to pay RM80 for the electrician to come over and replace the switch cover. In the 30 minutes he was here, he spent 10 minutes replacing the thing and 20 minutes lecturing me about not doing the thing again.
  • Tried really hard to not spend too much money. Spent too much time lusting after new things instead. I see people wear watch, I also want a watch. I see people wearing choker. I also want a choker. I see people sleeping on beds (not in person, in pictures lah), I also want a bed for my mattress. Usually when this happens, I try to resist until I (a) forget about it, or (b) find an insanely good deal.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Replacing my laptop. Tahan-ed the screen issues for 2 years already. Lol as of time of writing I bought a new laptop. Will write about it soon. Need to give it some thought, a better angle, meatier content. I don’t want it to be a ‘look at my shiny new toy’ post. I want it to be informational to people wanting to buy new laptops.
  • Planning to switch to another telco provider. Maxis is good but pricey, and I find that I hate this ‘extra data on weekends’ thing. Just distribute evenly throughout the month la! So tak ikhlas.
  • Working on a few jobs. It’ll be a busy month but a profitable one.

Be kind, September. I hope I’ll survive without burning out.

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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  1. Haha…seriously The Alchemist is boring? It is one of my fav fiction and read it few times already. Just bought the Digital Gold book recently, can’t wait to read it.

    I’m wondering how hard it is to get CBP cert and do you think it is recognize by our local organizations?

    1. Yeah, sorry. I really wanted to love The Alchemist, but I don’t 🙁 Maybe not my type of fiction kot.

      CBP cert – intense studying is required. There’s a good course on Udemy that really helped – it has sample questions and stuff. Look up Certified Bitcoin Professional: Pass the Certification Exam. I’d say it’s not formally recognised, but valuable as proof that you’re a subject matter expert. If you need help in the process, let me know! Yay women in crypto!

  2. Salam Su,
    I need a dish drainer ASAP – what’s yours like ? anything below RM 80-100 sounds decent coz everything I see is 200-400 ?? It’s-a-dish-drainer KANN?? Not a molar removal – so why oh why is it beratus-ratus ringgit !? It’s not like it does anything – it’s juz THERE….. draining.

    Working from home –
    I hear you – I’m on flexi hours and everybahhhdee assumes I sit around doing nothing. My hubby assumes I can juz “teman” him to the store nearby sometimes. Some mornings I’m answering emails / calls on my wannabe PC aka iPhone for an hour plus and I haven’t even showered or had breakfast. The day the office mail was directed into my iPhone was the day work became 24/7 !!
    Next year – I’m gonna be Moving to another state which means I will work from home 100% – and i will defo miss my mates, my commute – and breakfast in a real office !! Boohoo ?

    1. Looool your comment is funny. Yes expensive dish drainer really doesn’t make sense does it! I got this one (in black, other colours available), love it to bits:

      The shop is at One Utama, the home shop at LG floor, can’t remember the name. See if they still have it at the clearance section 🙂

      I hear you on being assumed that you’re available all the time! Quite frustrating, but now my friends and family have learned that I have a ‘real’ job lol. Sometimes in the mornings I just thought I’d quickly check my emails before having breakfast. Before you knew it, it was lunchtime! All the best for your move, it’ll be fine, what you lose, you’ll gain in other areas 🙂

  3. I’m planning to switch to another telco provider too. Currently using Celcom but it was a bit okay-okay only. Looking forward to your post, if any, on telco provider or smartphone!

  4. I wonder what did you buy for misc wants..not the dishwasher I assume? :p And the laptop is only 1.5k? Such a great deal!

    Blockchain is something I am seriously confused about it, despite having a brother that do all these things. The way I see it, even DNA can be modified but not digital codes? hm..

    1. Eh no no the laptop is not included in August budget, technically bought it in early September! Dropped more than RM1.5k on it.. Will share in a post okay.

      For misc wants, hmm lemme check. I got The Alchemist book, some face masks, face powder (old one fell and smashed), the bag and skirt from my sister, yup the dish drainer also in there.

      Re: blockchain – it can be rolled back, but it takes intense power to do so that it’s not economically feasible. There are some really good videos on YouTube explaining it – check it out!

  5. I totally understand the work from home issues. Been working 9-6 for 4 years, freelancing for 1.5 years, now back to being an OL again. I must say that the “free time” struggle is so real! Before I even realized it, my week gone with doing errands for sis or accompany mom to somewhere. Instead of turning off from work, I find turning on to work is the harder part.

    Having colleagues might just be the best thing ever. One of my colleagues said she was doing full-time selling stuff online, but she just decided to go back to the work force. We just needed that social life. 🙂

    1. Yeah, working from home is not for everyone. Having social support and interaction is incredibly important, but too much is distracting. Very hard to find the balance. But oh man I do love the perks!

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