Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: January 2020

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Budget Update: January 2020

I had a good start to the year, if I do say so myself! There were definitely more ups than downs in January 2020, I’m feeling very grateful 🙂

In terms of expenses, I guess not breaking RM6k is a minor win, given all my ongoing projects – both business and personal. I think I struggled a bit with focusing, reducing anxiety and ‘switching off’ (because there were too many things going on!) and while my coping mechanism could be better, it’s not horrible either.

For example, here’s an unnecessary cause of stress: feeling guilty that I enjoy being distracted with work *while* I’m exercising, because it makes the time go faster. It feels like cheating somehow. I actually felt better after giving myself permission to just do it, because at least some exercise is better than no exercise right? Small matter, but there you go.

Here’s another unnecesary cause of stress: my parents – because they love me so much, and also adat – want a more elaborate wedding procedure than what I would have planned for myself (oh surprise I’m getting married this year). It was hard for me to accept, but I guess it is what it is and above all I want to make them happy. So my solution? I gave them a budget to stick to. Let’s see if that works.

All these, I guess, are examples of ‘change what you can, accept what you can’t’ in practice. As much as you want to try and change the situation, sometimes you just can’t, you gotta admit that and be okay with it and move on. Life just don’t hand you everything you want because you ‘want’ it or ‘worked’ for it.

What’s something you don’t particularly like but kind of accepted in life, and try to make the best of? How do you reduce unnecessary stresses? Share with me in the comments section!

Yay of the Month:

  • By the time this article is published, have successfully conducted 4 x sessions of money management workshop. Twitter validated the idea on morning of 14 Jan and by evening, I had the event page set up. Taking action on a business idea feels invigorating, I am hooked, I want to do it again!

  • broke 60k/month traffic again, finally!!! Among the things I did to do it includes: learning/buying/testing A LOT of marketing tools, writing 2 articles per week without fail, manage Twitter/FB posting and engagement and lots more! I’m so happyyyy

  • Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2 and Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 1 (Malay edition) is slowly but surely progressing
  • Went back on the keto diet and lost 3kg in one month. Hell yea.
  • Bitcoin mooned. Hell yea.
  • Bought an air purifier. Wanted to buy it since last haze season, kept procastinating, finally bit the bullet.
  • Wanted to try the lashlift trend for a while and finally did it!


View this post on Instagram


Beauty splurge of the month: lashlift. Kinda feeling it! . And hiring an independent lash technician from Instagram is so affordable?? Saloons charge RM200++ (on sale!). My technician came to MY house and charged RM88 all-in. The price difference is crazy . So yeah. That’s my beauty hack of the day. Go browse #lashliftkl #lashliftsubang or anywhere you prefer. Find the ones with testimonials . You can also make this your side hustle. Take a course (2 days or something), then do your marketing. If you’re good, you’ll have steady customer base who will keep calling you for lash re-lifting every 6 weeks-2 months. They’ll give you word of mouth referral too . #beautyaddictmalaysia #lashliftmalaysia #sideincomeMalaysia #duitpoket #janaincome

A post shared by Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) on

  • Read one book: Nudge: Improving Decisons about Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. How do we encourage people to make good decisions, without *telling* them to do it? Behaviourial science is fascinating.
  • Paid in advance 6 months of Netflix (through someone else’s main account)

Nay of the Month:

  • I think I miscalculated my annual income (as per written in All The Annual Expenses I Have to Make Every Year). This is the downside of having various streams of income I guess – tracking them is complicated. I’ve contacted my tax accountant, she’s going to give me a 1-on-1 coaching session so I can learn how to itemise my incomes and business expenses. The good thing is I have to sort this out – tax payment for 2019 income is only due in mid-2020
  • Getting back on the keto diet was a good decision but holy crap RM866.19 for groceries in one month?! A lot of that was bulk food purchase though – I bought 1kg x raw almonds, 1kg x almond flour, 2 x bottles MCT Oil, 3 x 250g cream cheese, 3 packs x Lakanto, 1kg x salmon and more, it added up. They should last a while and reduce next month’s groceries bill. I hope.
  • Kettle died. Bought a replacement.
  • Lost my lipbalm. Bought a replacement.
  • I feel that my house is cluttered again. Need to dedicate a day to do a deep cleaning session. Have listed out things I can sell, just need to advertise them on Carousell
  • RM950 still stuck in BigPay. They did say the dispute can take up to 2 months to solve but was hoping for shorter timeframe than that.
  • Touch n Go card refused my refund request. I *could* try again, but I’m lazy and tired, so goodbye RM53.90.

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!
  • Going to Wordcamp Asia!
  • Attending a goal-setting workshop which includes a vision board-making component, something I’ve always wanted to try!

How about you? What are you looking forward to in February, 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. Planning to book a property this coming weekend.
    I 100% know that I am going to suffer with the monthly installment with my current salary.

    But the location & amenities of this property ticks all the boxes for me…

      1. Clear off current debt asap. (mostly zero interest, but prefer to view cash in hand)

        Cook more often.

        Travel to work together with my spouse.

        Rent room out to cover the installments a bit.

    1. Hi Khai,

      I’ve only worked with one person so I don’t know how its like. Suggest you to ask recommendations from your biz contacts, so that you get an accountant who’s familiar with your line of biz. Mine is communications, your might be something else

  2. Congratulations Suraya! 😀 Am very happy for you, and ya, nothing like parental pressure to drive up both blood pressure AND wedding costs. Still, well done! 😀

    1. Hahahah! Thanks Patricia for the wellwishes, but it’s really no big deal, I dealt with it before it even became a problem!

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