Budget Update: December 2019
Note: My expense-tracking app, Money Lover got a new visualisation update. I like it fine, except it removed the ‘biggest single expense of the month’ segment in the above graphic. I miss it 🙁
So I spent RM5,444.39 in December 2019. Top 5 expenses were: Dates/Travel, Rent & Utilities, Business, Groceries and Social. More about the breakdown below.
As I write this, New Years Day have came and went. It’s 2020 y’all! It’s still surreal, but I’m sure we’ll all get used to it soon enough.
Lately, I’ve been thinking of the ways that the environment shape our money behaviours. One concept is Nudges, a term popularised by Nobel Prize in Economics winner Richard Thaler. Nudges are measures implemented to gently guide society members to pick one decision over another.
The simplest example is the items positioned at eye level in grocery stores – you still have the freedom to buy whatever you want in the aisle… but you’re more likely to buy the ones positioned at eye level (that’s why companies pay for that space btw).
One powerful nudge is social pressure. For example, studies show that people in a neighbourhood are more likely to recycle if they know that all their other neighbours recycle, too. You don’t want to be the odd one out.
If your new year’s resolution is to save more money or make more money, then use this information to your advantage. Increase your exposure to nudges that work to your advantage.
For example, increasing your exposure to personal finance content creators in various social media (websites | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube). If your feed is telling you that it seems that everyone is trying to get better with money, you will too.
Likewise, try and recognise when for-profit companies are trying to take your money by nudging you a certain way.
That’s the end of that thought process for now. Let’s continue to be better. All the best in 2020, fam.
Yay of the Month:
- Travel made up the biggest expense category in December 2019 but that’s okay because I went to Bali for a holiday and had a great time! Related: Under-RM2000 Travel: 6D5N Budget Bali Trip
- Treated people I love and care about to meals (under Social). Investment in relationships is good investment 🙂
- Concluded the Ringgit Oh Ringgit XMas Giveaway 2019 – congratulations to all winners!
- The realisation that I have pretty good relationships with my fellow personal finance content creators 🙂 It’s nice to be liked by your peers!
- Got interviewed on BFM89.9’s Ringgit & Sense show for the second time! You can listen to the podcast here (registration required)
View this post on Instagram
Catch @aarontang84 and I at Ringgit & Sense show @bfmradio 89.9 at 9.30am 2 Jan 2020, moderated by @roshankanesan. Topic: Financial goals! . Edit: episode is over! Later will post the link to podcast 🙂 . #bfm899 #newyearsresolution #financialgoals #ringgitandsense #personalfinancemalaysia #malaysiablogger #bloggermalaysia #radiomalaysia
- Made the grown-up decision to self-contribute RM4k to my EPF account even though I don’t really wanna. But you know, getting the tax relief is good for my tax submission in 2020 so it had to be done. Last minute decision, too – transferred on 31 December 2019.
- No longer going to chiro sessions for the time being. My chiropractor returned back RM500 without much fuss, so that’s good.
- Finally got my Tabung Haji sorted out. I’m going to hajj in 2139 y’all
View this post on Instagram
Done: hajj registration under Tabung Haji. The process used to be automated under Bank Islam, but now upon RM1300 deposit you still have to manually visit TH counter for separate registration . Mixed feelings because yes hajj is compulsory for the able-bodied Muslims but also I hate the idea of giving money to Saudi Arabia, a huge violator of human rights . Edit: since we’re on this topic. Saudi govt is funding war in Yemen, killing as many as 100000 people so far. There is a famine and medical crisis going on, affecting millions. People are literally dying of continuous air strikes, starvation and preventative diseases. Muslims doing that to other Muslims, sigh . #tabunghaji #daftarhaji #muslims #hajj #haji #humanrights #yemen
A post shared by Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) on
- Read one book: The Hollywood MBA: A Crash Course in Management from a Life in the Film Industry by Tom Reilly. It was better than I expected – the business/management side of filmmaking makes really interesting case studies! I didn’t just learn management tips, I also learned to appreciate the huge amount of work that goes behind making a feature film. Will never watch movies the same way again!
- Booked accommodation in Bangkok for Wordcamp Asia event in February!
- The Sony Controller that I bought and cancelled the previous month still arrived, but I ain’t mad. Had fun playing Harvest Moon!
View this post on Instagram
Delayed gratification period: 7 years. I haven’t played Harvest Moon, my fav game series since childhood, in at least 7 years. I miss it so much. Been watching game walkthroughs on YouTube but it’s not the same is it . The latest release, Harvest Moon: Light of Hope was on sale on Steam but the controller was a bit of a splurge. Felt a bit guilty but also so excited! Gameplay is so much smoother than what it used to be. I’m so happy 😭 . #delayedgratification #harvestmoon #harvestmoonlightofhope #steamgames #farminggame
Nay of the Month:
- I have RM950 stuck in BigPay due to dispute case. Basically what happened was I tried to withdraw money from ATM in Bali but the transaction failed, yet it recorded as valid. It’ll take up to 60 days for the money to be returned back to me. So annoying.
- Not just that – did a mistake with Touch N Go card and was charged the maximum amount allowed for PLUS highway toll – RM53.90. I’ve submitted my claim form online, hopefully the money will be returned soon too
Yesterday, I let my Grab driver use my Touch n Go card to exit a highway toll, not knowing that it would charge me the maximum toll amount. He said that the toll was payable per entry, not per entry/exit. He lied
What should I do? RM53.90 is a lot pic.twitter.com/ahl7YOD5MD
— Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) December 20, 2019
- Well, nothing new but I indulged in so. much. food. Not the happiest about the weight gain but at the same time, my body is healthy and strong despite the viruses going around, I really have nothing to complain about.
- This still hurt tho
Indonesian kakaks don’t play around. I went to my regular gym and we made small talk and I jokingly said I overindulged while on holiday and she looked me right dead in the eyes and said “ya gemuk sudah”
— Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) December 25, 2019
Things to Look Forward to:
- Continue working on Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2
- Continue working on Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 1 (Malay edition)
- Working on the Ringgit Oh Ringgit Podcast with ClickWP! Season 1’s theme will be: SOLOPRENEURS. Watch out for updates!
- Working on my financial goals. I’m so pumped!
Another thing to look forward to – writing my annual income and expenses report for the 4th year. Complete transparency – I’ll share where my incomes come from, and the top expenses sorted by amount. Look out for that post soon 🙂