august 2018
Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: August 2018

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 august 2018

Budget Update: August 2018

August 2018 was kind of a chill month. Spending-wise, I did good – RM6.2k was my lowest monthly spending since January 2018. I can’t wait to shave off around RM1k by the end of the year – that’s when both laptop and braces repayments will be fully paid off!

This is random, but just felt like sharing: I currently stay in a commercial area, as opposed to a residential area, and absolutely love this living arrangement. It’s just so convenient, most of the amenities I need are so near. At the place I’m renting now, I can walk to the bank, the groceries, the dentist, convenience stores, the mamak, the cinema, Starbucks, restaurants and more whenever I want (when they’re open la).

There are downsides, like paying more for utilities (I pay commercial rates) and facing the crowds during events, but overall, it’s pretty damn nice. I know for sure now that if and when I do decide to purchase my own home, I will get a place that will give me a similar lifestyle. Maybe a residential unit attached to a mall, to get the best of both worlds?

Those of you renting right now or living with your family. Have you thought of what kind of place you want to get? Or do you decide to just continue renting by choice? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious to hear your opinion about this topic.

 august 2018

Yay of the Month:

  • Somehow, I accidentally entered a campaign by CIMB (this one) and won myself a Philips Coffee Maker?? All I did was use my CIMB credit card as usual, and one day I simply got a call from the delivery person to collect a parcel. Amazing timing too – just did an article compiling how Malaysians save money on coffee and felt serious envy. I’ve upgraded from instant coffee to ground coffee now, woo! My mornings are a little bit nicer now 🙂
  • I’m going to Japan in September. Going to stay in Tokyo for a few days before heading to Nagoya, where I’ll stay with my host family. Managed to get the last room in a top-rated hostel (RM100~ per night), so I’m stoked about that! Also, coincidentally there was a RM20-off discount code for an-already affordable portable wifi rental service provider. Usually the rental goes for about RM15-20 per day, but Roaming Man offers it for just RM12 per day. Get the discount code AND cashback via Shopback (note: referral link).
  • Found my favourite gym pants – Nike Dri Fit 3/4 Cropped leggings – at reduced price. It was just RM135.10 instead of the usual over-RM200 price tag. I’ve tried many different brands’ gym leggings and found the Nike ones to have the best fit and quality. The other one that I own is still going strong after using it regularly for more than three years, too.
  • Bought 5 books I’ve wanted to read for the longest time from Bookurve. They have better prices than bookstores, plus they have this reward system where you get RM8 off your next purchase if you buy three or more books. If you want RM5 off your first purchase, leave a comment with your email address (I’ll get RM5 off voucher, too). Valid for new accounts only.
  • Went on a family trip to Cameron Highlands over a weekend. The weather was great, and my parents enjoyed the family bonding time.
  • Had so much amazing food during Hari Raya Haji. My dad brought me to meet some relatives. Younger Suraya would have sat that one out, but as I get older I get the importance of family and friends. It’s getting harder and harder to meet people you care about often.
  • Ordered groceries from HappyFresh six (!!) times. Was hard to resist stocking up – kept getting 15-20% discount codes. Plus I love that they have a ‘Deals’ section just to highlight what products are on sale at the time from the supermarket. It makes it easier for me to stock up on things on sale, and subsequently plan my meals based on what’s on sale to keep my cost per meal low. Use code ‘suraya63’ to get RM25 off your first HappyFresh order (I get RM20 off, too). Sign up from this link.
  • Collaborated with PropertyGuru for ‘Own Your Home’ campaign (article about it – spot me in the pic!). I did six articles for them, so if you like my writing, be sure to check them out on the PropertyGuru website when they comes out!
  • Got back into fitness! Doing weight training regularly again.
  • Read two books. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (young adult book picked up on sale for RM9.90 at BookXcess; fun read) and Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World by Noreena Hertz (understand a bit better about how to make my own damn opinions).

Nay of the Month:

  • Bought the wrong size of training gloves 🙁 Can’t use it, so that’s RM25 down the drain.
  • My external hard disk gave up on me, which was disappointing. I even bought new cables just to rule it out. You would have thought the Western Digital MyPassport would be more reliable than this, especially since I juuust bought it in January 2018 (for RM219!). Didn’t lose much important data, thank goodness, but I did lose my movie collection 🙁
  • Missed a couple of bill payments from last month. Could have sworn I paid them, but guess not. Had to pay a little bit extra as late penalty.
  • 1-day ticket to Ultra Music Japan (the EDM festival) was more expensive than I thought. 15,000 yen. RM580. This really bumped up my travel expense category, but it will be an experience to remember (I hope). It would have cost a bit more if I used a credit card, but I used my BigPay card and saved some money. I can recommend using BigPay if you want to buy stuff that is not priced in RM – the exchange rates there are awesome, like rates awesome. Get extra RM10 credit if you use my referral code INLALP7ZLE (I get RM10 too!). To download the app, find BigPay in PlayStore (Android) or Appstore (iOS).
  • Chasing clients for pending payments is never fun 🙁 Ah, the downsides of self-employment, I tell you.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Taking advantage of Yoodo’s 20GB for RM20 promotion. Yoodo is that select-what-you-use telco plan under Celcom, and you can change your data/minutes/sms plan for the next billing cycle anytime. Taking advantage of this promotion, I’ve reduced my data plan to just 15GB for September (I usually use about 30GB per month). I’m only saving about RM10, but every little bit counts! If you want to try Yoodo out too, get FREE RM 20 when you sign up using my referral link (I get RM20 too).
  • Ringgit Oh Ringgit’s writing competition officially ended, and I had fun going through all the entries and selecting which short stories to include in my upcoming ebook. Now I’m in the process of editing it. Aiming to get the personal finance-themed ebook out by end of October, so look out for that announcement!
  • The Japan trip 😀 Recommend me places to visit and things to do, preferably something a bit kooky and different!

How was your August? Which areas were good and what can be improved, money-wise? Share in the comments section 🙂

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. I’m staying with my parents after co-buying the said house with my dad a couple of months back. previously stayed in an was very small and too many things caused anxiety to me. after shifting to the current one, I feel much more relaxed. Its situated in a neighborhood, walking distance to my office. I don’t own a car yet, so its easy for my dad to send me to work first or I can walk to work.

    1. Hi Shamini,

      How nice to be able to just walk to work kan 🙂 Nice morning/evening exercise too. I hope the motorists in your area are the nice sort!

    1. Hi BR! Tried sending but it says your email already exists, meaning you have an account with Bookurve already la. Forgot to say only for new users, will edit!

  2. My husband and I initially wanted to rent, for life. Like seriously, LOL. That’s coz I’m from East Malaysia (EM) and husband is from West Malaysia (WM) and at that time, we were working together in a company southern of WM (now situation has changed where I’m working in Shah Alam) and we had not decided where to settle down forever i.e. whether in EM or WM. BUT, all of that changed because we found a property campaign from one of the main property developer in Malaysia where we would get so much rebates (aside from the 15% bumi rebate) e.g. IKEA gift card worth RM20k (depending on the value of the property, more expensive, more value IKEA gift card you’ll get) and cashbacks as well plus also free one year of maintenance fee if we buy any of the property from them. So we decided to take up an apartment with all of the freebies above (and also because the monthly payment for the apartment loan is all we can afford lol). Basically, everything in our apartment now e.g. kitchen cabinets, appliances, lighting are free because we use all of the perks that we got. And best part is, not only is our apartment is on a residential land (hence lower utilities tariff!), the location of our apartment is so close to IKEA, AEON & Tesco. So, I think, we should keep our options open and always be on the look out. And I think, my husband and I were lucky to find out the campaign by chance!

    1. Hi Nys,

      What amazing freebies! Especially the IKEA gift card worth RM20k – that’s such a sweet deal! Thanks for sharing, didn’t know there are options like these and will be keeping an eye out for them!

  3. Hi Suraya, thanks for the insightful glimpse of your monthly budget! Just curious, do you set aside a certain amount or % as savings and spend within what’s left after deducting that amount, or is it included as part of your spending (I assume ASB loan serves as savings)?

    1. Hi Jo,

      My investments are not included under expenses 🙂 They get tracked in a separate file. I stash away savings for investment as an when I rebalance my investment portfolio 🙂

  4. I would like the Bookurve voucher. And do a post on what you read. Do check out Audible too, great for reading in the gym 🙂

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