Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: December 2023 – 2023 Financial Recap

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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 December? Was it good, bad or meh?

For me, as usual by end, I spent some time to reflect on the year so I did my 2023 financial recap. The verdict: 2023 was a great year overall!

Here’s my grateful and could be better list:

Grateful list:

  1. Earned the same amount even after cutting working time in half (I consider this a HUGE WIN)
  2. Maxed out tax relief EPF, PRS & SSPN
  3. Successfully launched 1st digital course, How to Buy Your Own Damn Insurance
  4. Contributed to financially supporting my retired parents – paid bills, bought home items, fund travels and family makans etc
  5. Happy with net worth 🙂
  6. Indulged in some shopping without (much) guilty feeling (cumulatively around RM5k in 2023)
  7. Improved protection

What could’ve been better:

  1. Hit by fines by SSM – thank goodness for the discount, if not RM8k in total gone!
  2. Didn’t get any IPOs
  3. Current systems are messy, need to clean up and optimise
  4. Need to help parents even more – sell property, estate planning etc

I hope 2023 has been good for you too, but if not, no worries, there’s always 2024 🙂 Now let’s get on to the budget part.

Budget Update: December 2023

In December 2023, I spent RM36,188.70. The top 3 top expenses were:

  • Dates & Travel (RM18,121.37) – Paid for umrah package in full, Flight tickets to Turkiye
  • Donations & Gifts (RM8,827.61) – Parents’ electric bill, wheelchair for mom, contribute to parents’ umrah cost
  • Misc Needs (RM3,542.74) – Paid zakat, umrah gear

Cumulatively, the top 3 expenses make up 85% of my total December 2023 expenses.

(My belief is, if you want to save money, trim first from the top 3 expenses rather than cut out a few ringgits from other already-low expenses)

(However, admittedly December 2023 spending was not representative of my usual spending; the travel-related expenses (~RM25k), zakat (~RM3k) and other one-off purchases (mostly for umrah) really bumped up the total.)

My Spending Breakdown in December 2023

Here’s what I spent on in the whole month of December 2023, in their respective categories and from highest to lowest amount:

Yay of the Month:

#1 – Lots of travel planning

December 2023 was undoubtedly an objectively expensive month. I spent over RM36k, of which over half of that was for travel. I am currently making plans for:

  • Umrah in January 2024, and
  • Turkiye (again) in Q3 2024

Yep, if you can’t tell, travel is my ~personality~

Haha but no, I am keen to resume traveling, which has been on pause for the better part of 2023. Now that baby Mika is a slightly older baby, I can’t wait to bring him around and experience different things.

Also I’ve been informed that kids under 2 can fly for free to I intend to take advantage of that as much as I can haha

#2 – Paid zakat and taxes (in advance)

I am expecting a HEFTY tax return in 2024 thanks to the zakat and advance tax payment I made.

#3 – Bought stuff for Mak

Bought Mak a wheelchair and a new fridge 🙂

#4 – Enjoying a good game

I bought My Life in Portia during the last Steam sale and played it on my Mac (hooked up with PS controller). I haven’t gamed in a while and it’s super fun, I really enjoying myself!

#5 – Gifted glasses and vaccine package by husband

My husband is a frugal one (which is good), but I notice that he’s very generous when it comes to medical-related expenses. In December 2023, he paid for a pair of new glasses and the cost to do vaccines (needed for umrah).

This wasn’t the first time. He was also super generous when baby Mika was born and paid the full medical bill at private hospital.

I think its sweet that he has this trait <3.

#6 – Misc

Spoke at:

#1 – Money Management 101: The Step-by-step Guide for Young Professionals for ACCA Malaysia Young Members’ Network

Read 1 book:

  • Amazing Decisions: The Illustrated Guide to Improving Business Deals and Family Meals by Dan Ariely

Bought for house/family:

  • 2 x Jubah for my husband (60% off Calaqisya sale)
  • Playpen for baby Mika (carousell)
  • Bigger baby cot for baby Mika
  • Baby food and clothes
  • Kit pengurusan jenazah

Bought for myself:

  • 2 gold hoops (traded in old gold jewelry so I got the new ones at reduced price)
  • Skincare (my sister found at warehouse sale)
  • Jubah and tudung for umrah (60% off Calaqisya sale)
  • Jeans and kebaya top (from Carousell)
  • 3 x dresses (from Carousell)
  • 2 x phone cables (should have bought this earlier! So convenient to have extras!)
  • 1 x of my fav leggings
  • 5 x books
  • Online classes to improve my Quran recital

Nay of the Month:

#1 – We got Covid-19

Thanks to Covid-19, all 3 of us – Me, my husband, baby Mika – got sick and feverish. We self-quarantined at home and thankfully fully recovered but it was not a fun week!

Ps – Don’t be too worried about the graph above. Since then, the cases have been on downtrend.

#2 – I need help with work

Last month I mentioned how I need to be better with time management. Part of that is due to my work system now, which is kind of messy and all over the place. I’m a fairly organised person so this mess is very annoying for me.

Thankfully I have found a consultant who may be able to help. Look forward to start the conversation.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Going for umrah with family
  • Hustling in 2024. I really like working 🙂

Well, that was my December 2023. 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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