Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: July 2020

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Budget Update: July 2020

Being an adult is accepting, and preparing for at least one major expense per month.

You can’t escape it. If it’s not paying taxes (my biggest expense in July 2020), it’ll be something else – home maintenance, car repair, replacing broken appliances, buying ‘smart’ upgrades (like a nice mattress so you’ll get a good night sleep, or noise-cancelling headphones to work better), medical treatment, whatever.

Once in a blue moon, you’ll get through a month without incurring a major expense, but later you’ll find that some months will incur multiple major expenses, so it averages out.

I’ve read somewhere that the only way to break this cycle is when:

  • you’ve successfully upgraded all your essentials to high-quality versions, so they break less and therefore need replacing less often
  • you put the payment on an instalment plan. You’re still paying, just not in one BIG chunk. Obviously this is cheating because you still end up paying the same amount
  • you can afford to pay for longer terms instead of shorter (ie paying for 5 years of driving licence instead of renewing annually). But yeah this is still delaying, not eliminating

I wonder if there are other ways to stop the major ‘Misc Needs’ or ’emergency’ expenses. How can one even FI/RE if we have to deal with this wildcard, forever? If ‘just budget it in’ the best answer?

Thoughts on this topic?

My Spending Breakdown in July 2020

In this section, I’m sharing what I spent on in the whole month, in their respective categories. From highest to lowest, my expenses were:

Yay of the Month:

  • Bitcoin and Gold both increased significantly in value, which means my Breakdown of My (SUPER HIGH RISK) Investment Portfolio article is already outdated lol
  • [Category: Groceries] Stocked up on coffee and soy milk powder.
  • On the latter, I’m happy to report that a minor try-it-out money-saving initiative I’ve been trying out for a few months now, switch from buying fresh milk to soy milk powder, worked out well and will be continued. Added bonus: I suspect the reduced dairy intake improved my skin, too.
  • [Category: Dates] Missed the beach, so we went on a short day trip to Port Dickson.
  • [Category: Wedding] Paid the deposit for the wedding venue, attended a satisfactory food-tasting event, and tried on my nikah dress (it’s perfect <3)
  • [Category: Donations] Helped out a friend. Also took mom to a plant nursery, aka her happy place, then paid for all her new plant babies (much to her delight) 🙂

  • [Catrgory: Misc Wants] While browsing in the bookstore, I managed to find and buy a book that I wanted to purchase, for RM20 less on Carousell. Woohoo!
  • [Category: Social] Met up with Helmi from BalkoniHijau, had a nice chat about personal finance content creation and life.
  • [Category: Public Transportation] Received a random referral worth RM50 from SOCAR, which is a nice surprise!
  • Completed a 30-day yoga challenge in roughly 20 days

  • Read THREE books (wow way to go Suraya! What a comeback after unable for focus for months!): Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert (ngl, this book really helped with the wedding jitters), City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (wonderful storytelling, set in 1940s New York) and The Hustle Economy: Transforming Your Creativity into a Career (Advice from 25 Creative Entrepreneurs) by Jason Oberholzer (editor) and Jessica Hagy (Illustrator) (figured out the type of hustler I am – I am the aimless hustler, the person who wants ‘more’ but don’t exactly know what ‘more’ is, but curious and open to the adventures and opportunities).

Nay of the Month:

  • [Category: Misc Needs] Paid my taxes well before the due date (31 August 2020), but found out that I neglected to claim tax exemptions that I am eligible for! Tu lah, stingy some more to pay for bookkeeping and tax submission service…
  • [Category: Misc Needs] Threw away a couple of old, unrepairable shoes and bought 2 pairs of new shoes at Sketchers’ ‘Buy 1, get another pair for RM1’ promotion. Why is this mentioned here instead of in the ‘Yay of the Month’ section? I don’t know. They’re nice shoes. I needed them. They should be of good quality and should last a while, knowing the Sketchers brand. But still… I do think that RM260 for two pairs is a ridiculous price.
  • [Category: Pets] My cats are getting fussier with their food… Totally regret buying them the Ciao cat treats, now they refuse to eat dry kibbles. I had to buy and mix the dry food with wet food, otherwise they won’t eat ughhhh
  • [Category: Food] My cravings for the best of me and I ordered 3 packs of durian via Grabfood. Shouldn’t have, felt horrible afterwards. It was delicious though.
  • I was approved to receive the special SME grant, Geran Khas Prihatin worth RM3,000 back in June, but it hasn’t been deposited yet. Wonder what’s going on, and will we ever receive it. Am fortunate enough that my own small business is not reliant on the money, but others may be desperate for it as we speak.
  • Struggling with mindful eating challenge. It’s okay. Keep trying.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Working with more clients
  • Completing another 30-day fitness challenge!
  • Working on mindful eating
  • Really thinking of what kind of wife I want to be, because if I don’t decide, then I might follow social cues and expectations, and dammit I don’t want to end up doing the double burden thing my whole life. Solution: to continue focusing on career, I need the help of domestic workers. We will allocate budget for that.

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 (how expense tracking works)

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  1. One of the ways I manage my own “major expenses” is to set up a sinking fund for it, like “car maintenance”, then immediately input into it when salary comes about. Of course, I know roughly how much goes into my car maintenance per year because I estimate it from my historical records. Of course, if an accident occurs, if insurance doesn’t cover it then I might go overbudget on this, but that’s where I dip into my emergency fund 🙂

    1. I really have to explore sinking fund more because that sounds like the perfect solution. I’ve been putting all these expenses in Misc Needs category

  2. hi Suraya! my Yay!
    – I started to eat mindfully last month and exercise lightly. Ditch the diet mindset and hardcore exercise. Glad it help me feel more happy and enjoy the process!
    – found your blogpost and this month i started to track my expenses!
    – started to invest in hellogold. use your code and earn the rebate! woohoo!
    My Nay?
    – i take too much time to think what is my nay, i think this is bad. hahahah because i cant remember what is my nay last month. so yup. this is my nay. hahaha.

  3. I also have the same “misc expense” problem. I’ve never budgeted for it even though I know these expenses will surely pop up. I tell myself as long as I still manage to put X amount into savings & investing every month, then it’s okay if these misc expenses happen. Not the best method out there, but works for me.

    Good luck on your next 30-day fitness challenge!
    & can’t wait to see pics of your nikah dress 🙂

    1. Hi Nicole!

      Yeah, I’m sure someday I’ll find a better system, but for now it works, so as long as overall is okay, not going to stress too hard over it haha

      My fitness challenge is a challenge but Im not giving up!!!

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