Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: February 2020

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Budget Update: February 2020

Did anyone get any work done at all during the two-week political crisis??? Holy smokes on a stick, all that really did happen didn’t it??

Whatever happens, I just hope that (1) we don’t normalise corruption again, and (2) good economic policies benefitting Malaysians – not just rich Malaysians! – will be made.

Now back to my expense breakdown. Business, Rent & Utilities and Groceries expenses made up two-thirds of all my February 2020 spending. Travel and Public Transportation categories are lower than usual, due to lack of events to attend and cancelled events.

I wonder how long this will continue. I’ve read how COVID-19 is accelerating the number of companies offering remote-working option. If this goes on, maybe this will even be the new norm :/ What a situation we’re living through right now.

Does COVID-19 affect your expenses at all? In what way?

Yay of the Month:

  • March 2020 will be a busy month for me because both Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2 and Cerita Duit Orang Malaysia: Jilid 1 book projects are nearing completion!
  • Picked up my first cheque from MPH Distributors 🙂 Note: before you ask why bookstores take a big cut, know that product creation is NOTHING without marketing and distribution. How do you think they pay overhead costs like rent and employee salaries? I’m happy to pay them. Plus the bragging rights I get for having a book stocked in bookstores nationwide… priceless.

  • Appeared in BFM Radio’s Ringgit & Sense show again 🙂

  • Meeting these ladies <3

  • Being part of HelloGold’s Emaszing Women campaign!


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Thank you @myhellogold for including me in your #EmaszingWomen campaign 🙌 Do watch our individual videos in HelloGold’s YouTube page 😁🙈 . My ode to gold: I will forever have a soft spot for gold as an investment. I first bought it in my early 20s and have learned so much through the experience. It was the first investment I made with fluctuating value – the price changes every day . Getting used to the price increases and especially sudden price drops helped me become a better investor, no joke . That part is important. Im not saying you *will* make money from gold investment (although historically, the odds should be in your favour, but it’s no guarantee), but what you will learn from it is key . For example: I found out how I behave under stress, and how I *should* behave (ie chill and wait it out). And due to this experience, I’m less likely to panic sell all my other investments at a loss . In short, owning gold helped me shift my short-term, trader mindset (risky!) to long-term, investor mindset (slow and steady wins the race)

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  • Breaking a personal record! Thank you for your likes, comments, shares and not to mention you telling your friends about Ringgit Oh Ringgit, it keeps me hella motivated 🙂

  • My sisters have been telling me to cut my hair for MONTHS. Because I’m a cheap-ass, I tried to wait it out, until I could no longer delay the inevitable. Thankfully, I found the gem that is A Cut Above Academy. RM150 for hair cut + perm for my hair length is CHEAP.


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Pic: price list at A Cut Above Academy, where I did my annual hair cut and perming session. Here, hairdressing students get the chance to practice their skills on paying customers, under the guidance of their teachers . Can’t speak for the rest, but I’m a satisfied customer! The ambiance isn’t much but the service is good, super worth it for its price. Have done annual hair perm for years now to cut down on getting-ready time, and this is my fav result so far. I feel pretty 🧚‍♀️ . Protip: check Fave if they have deals – last I checked, they offer hair cut, wash and blow for even less than the price list, at RM10 (whaaaat) . #acutaboveacademy #frugalbeauty #sunway #hairmalaysia #malaysiahair

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  • Read two books: Hidden Persuasion: 33 Psychological Influence Technique in Advertising by Andrews, Van Leeuwen & Van Baaren (sure, no one can *force* you to buy something…but they sure can use psychology to make you more likely to buy) and How Women Decide: Everyone’s Watching You Call the Shots. Here’s How to Make the Best Choices by Therese Huston (see below)


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‘Women who went out of their way to adopt all of the best career-advancement practices still didn’t move up as quickly or earn as much as men who used those same strategies.’ . ‘Most women need to show that making smart and strategic choice is repeatable, and that it wasn’t just luck or timing or connections that led them down the right path. Women face… what they call the “prove it again” bias.’ . These are excerpts from How Women Decide: Everyone’s Watching You Call The Shots: Here’s how to Make the Best Choices by Therese Hudson, PhD . Highly recommend for the insights. Exposes a lot of obvious and hidden biases to women, from men AND women alike. Use the information to navigate your career better . I picked up my copy at Book Xcess at Tamarind Square, Cyberjaya. Hope you’ll find your copy too . #bookloversmalaysia #currentlyreading #howwomendecide #womeninbusiness #jombaca #malaysiamembaca #bookxcess #tamarindsquare

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Nay of the Month:

  • Wordcamp Asia got cancelled due to COVID-19 fears 🙁 I’m disappointed but I understand. Thankfully everything but my AirAsia flight got refunded, so no major financial loss there.
  • GrabFood’s 50% off deals REALLY got to me. 4 orders in a month, that’s once a week on average. Really jacked up my Food expense category, which tend to correlate with weight gains.
  • Still waiting for Bigpay to refund the RM950 that got stuck in dispute since December 2019. First they said it can take up to 2 months to solve, but because the merchant didn’t respond to the dispute, I have to wait until 25 March 2020 to get my own money back. This is so annoying. Never depend on one account for all transactions, you’ll be at their mercy like this. I’m so upset.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Set up preorders for Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2 and Cerita Duit Orang Malaysia: Jilid 1 books! How shall I bundle them this time around heheheh
  • Recording some YouTube videos for the long-awaited Ringgit Oh Ringgit YouTube channel! Speaking of which…

How about you? What are you looking forward to in March, and the rest of the year? Share with me, I wanna know 🙂

To read about my past monthly budget update, click here. Graphs are taken from my expense-tracking app Money Lover (how expense tracking works)

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  1. it’s been a crazy start to the year. work from home until now, business trips got delayed, rescheduled and some already overlapping with raya. on the good side, gaji masuk so far …

    1. It’s been pretty crazy all around, I agree. Have to count small blessings now, given everything that’s happening. Glad no problems with gaji…

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