Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: August 2022 – I’m writing a book!

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Welcome to another edition of my monthly budget updates, where I break down my expenses by category and share the highlights and lowlights of the month.

So how was your August? Was it good, bad or meh?

For me, August 2022 was stressful. And it was completely my fault.

Basically, I was given 4 months to write and submit the first draft of a book. I wrote half of it in 6 weeks, procrastinated for the next 6 weeks then panic-finished the final half of the book in August, the final month.

All throughout August, I was so on edge and anxious all the time. Some days I felt crippling self-doubt and wondered if I am cut out to be a writer at all.

Most of all, I felt disappointed in myself for slacking off for one and a half months. It’s not that I didn’t know about the dateline!

On the plus side, I got a lot of advice on dealing with self-disappointment. Click on the tweet below – there were a lot of helpful replies. Thank you everyone for helping to slap some sense back into me, it was appreciated :’)

Something else I learned in the process – at my lowest, my partner is an amazing cheerleader 🙂 He would hug and reassure me and remind me to get some rest.

Anyway, all that’s left to say now is I have a book coming out soon, so watch this space 🙂 Let’s get on to the budget part.

Budget Update: August 2022

In August 2022, I spent RM8,781.49. The top 3 top expenses were:

  • Misc Needs (RM1,775.74) – Mostly LHDN tax payment
  • Home Reno + Deco (RM1,662.63) – Monthly EPP for renovation
  • Utilities & Mortgage (RM1,250) – Half mortgage

Cumulatively, the top 3 expenses make up 55% of my total August 2022 expenses. (My belief is, if you want to save money, always trim from the top 3 expenses rather than cut out a few ringgits from other already-low expenses)

My Spending Breakdown in August 2022

Here’s what I spent on in the whole month of August 2022, in their respective categories and from highest to lowest amount:

Spending notes:

  • RM8.8k is alright, considering that is inclusive of EPP (RM1.6k), mortgage (RM1.25k) and taxes (RM1.6k). And I shopped, too (approx RM1k).
  • And the RM900 I paid for gold earrings also technically can be considered a long-term investment (trying to soothe myself there)
  • Relatively high Social cost – need to suggest more affordable places instead of boujie places. But had a blast with Mom and sisters, so it was absolutely worth it.

Yay of the Month:

#1 – Finished first draft manuscript of my new book!

It’s not done yet, lots more to go but progress is progress!

#2 – Family trip to Cameron Highlands

In our family, the ideal family vacation is Airbnb/Villa everyone in a house with a full kitchen, bring/buy ingredients and food to cook and eat together and go visit mom-approved, kids-friendly attractions. We had so much fun 🙂

Also, self-timers > ask someone to help take pictures. Love this pic so much!!

(Btw I got so many inquires about the brown jacket I was wearing! I got it from here, around RM30 only 🙂

#3 – Found loose (crypto)coins

It’s like finding money you’ve forgotten in an old bag but BETTER.

#4 – Family holiday

I’m a big fan of grocery shopping and Japan ingredients so I had so much fun grocery shopping at the newly-opened Gyomu Super!

#5 – Appeared on..

#1 – BFM Ringgit & Sense podcast

Thanks BFM for having me again! Listen to the podcast at

#2 – Roadmap to Budgeting with HER community, Clinical School JB

HER is a student-led women-focused community comprised of students from Clinical School in JB. I couldn’t say no when they asked if I could speak on personal finance. Amazing initiative by amazing students.

#6 – Misc


  • Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom is Wrong and What You Really Need to Know by Emily Oster (award-winning economist)
  • How to Achieve & Maintain a Slim Figure for Malaysians by Jayden Chen
  • Cerita Orang Bank by Mastura Abd Salim


  • Selling the OC (Its so petty I love it)

Bought for myself:

  • A pair of gold earrings
  • 5 books
  • A pair of jeans

Nay of the Month:

#1 – Got a call from LHDN

Thanks to scammer calls, I was super sceptical but it ended up being a legit call from LHDN. They asked why I didn’t pay CP500 tax estimate instalment. Only started to believe it was really LHDN when the lady instructed me to check website and to sort paperwork myself lol.

Anyway, long story short I messed up my tax payment and had to pay RM1.6k in tax estimate for the year.

#2 – Still made impulse purchases

August was supposed to be my no-spend month but I still impulse-bought a few items. Like the gold earrings. And some fitness classes.

I mean both are completely fine purchases and I don’t regret them but it could have waited, you know? That’s the point of doing a no-spend month.

#3 – Stress-ate so much

The scale doesn’t lie…

This is also reflected in the high cost under Food category.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Melaka trip (friend’s wedding)

Well, that was my August 2022. How was yours? What’s your yay of the month, nay of the month, and something you’re looking forward to? Tell me in the comments section 🙂

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

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