Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: July 2023 – Easing back into normal life

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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 July? Was it good, bad or meh?

For me, July 2023 was all about easing back into normal life, except now we have a 2-month old baby to plan around. Some changes include:

  • Packing diaper bag (and making sure to bring thermos with warm water and some formula so we can quickly feed him)
  • Checking if the location has a baby room
  • Choosing a mall based on visitor density
  • Timing the time we leave the house right after feeding Baby Mika
  • Me scheduling all my meetings on days my partner works from home, so he can look after the baby while I work
  • And more

I have to say, it’s not particularly hard but there’s definitely a lot of planning and research involved. But so far so good.

Let’s get on to the budget part.

Budget Update: July 2023

In July 2023, I spent RM9,803.12 The top 3 top expenses were:

  • Donations & Gifts (RM2,525.55) – Parents’ electric bill, gave gift money to brother as wedding present
  • Misc Needs (RM1,721.32) – Paid LHDN tax payment in advance
  • Utilities & Mortgage (RM1,371) – Half mortgage and bills

Cumulatively, the top 3 expenses make up 58% of my total July 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)

My Spending Breakdown in July 2023

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

Yay of the Month:

#1 – My baby brother got married

My baby brother got married in July 2023 🙂 Calling him baby is weird considering he’s freaking 34 this year but I don’t care, he’s still baby to me. As a wedding gift, a big chunk of the amount under Donations went to him.

#2 – Surprisingly, I’m earning alright

I was worried my pregnancy and maternity leave will significantly impact my earning, and yes I had to turn down quite a few jobs, but despite all that my income up until July 2023 was… alright? I’m not mad at the amount, not at all.

Hope this keeps up. So far, I have managed to work from home while caring for baby Mika, but am also considering using babysitting services if necessary.

In any case, I have bought a package of 6 babysitting sessions (for RM600) just in case I need to use it.

#3 – Allowing myself to buy clothes

I’m not sure about you but for our family events, it’s normal to wear colour-coordinated outfits. For my brother’s event, the designated colour was dusty pink – I wore an outfit donated by my sweet mother-in-law.

We will have more family events in August and September, which means I need new outfits. For those events, I have to look for outfits in sage green, champagne and grey colours.

I don’t have many occasions to shop guilt-free, so I’m enjoying the process haha. Also, I’m somewhat funding this by selling preloved items from Carousell.

#4 – Opened Baby Mika’s SSPN account

Baby Mika now have education fund via 2 SSPN-i accounts – one from me and one from his dad 🙂

I fully intend to max out the RM8k in tax relief by the end of 2023. I did a quick calculation via and I may be able to get my taxes reduced by RM1300 or so??? Sounds good to me!

(This is one of the reason why I consider SSPN as one of the 3 Best Investments in Malaysia!)

The only thing that will make this sweeter is if SSPN is doing a campaign or something. Last time people won cash prizes, cars… a girl can dream right?

#5 – Work plans

Work-wise, in addition to doing collaborations, speaking sessions and affiliate marketing, I finally decided 2 things I want to do: relaunching How to Buy Your Own Damn Insurance course, and selling the Money Stories from Malaysians book series.

There’s A LOT of components involved from strategy to execution, but I’m not one to back down from a challenge. Let’s do this go Suraya go.

#6 – Appeared on:

1) Astro Awani’s The Future is Female show with Melisa Idris

Melisa Idris interviewed me on being a personal finance content creator 🙂 Watch it on Youtube:

2) BFM’s Biz Bytes: Personal Finance Tips and Advice for Freelancers, Business Owners, and the Informal Sector with Stev Yong of

#7 – Misc

Read 0 books

Bought for myself:

  • A few tops and skirts from Carousell
  • One pair of baju kurung for family event
  • A buy 5 free 1 package from Kiddocare
  • A new phone case
  • Refloxology sandal
  • Face mask
  • A Facebook ads course

Nay of the Month:

#1 – Groceries was RM1254??

My usual groceries expenses averaged around RM750 per month, so imagine my surprise at RM1254 for July 2023!

However, in the bigger picture, the amount is alright, I guess? I calculated my household’s monthly groceries expenses and on average, the amount only increased by RM100 or so since 2022. Considering inflation etc, it’s not bad.

P/s – Groceries cost was much higher in 2021 as I was doing keto then – lots of cheese, meats, speciality keto food items.

#2 – Family down with flu

The flu season was particularly aggressive this year and a few family members were down with the flu.

One of my sisters were also hospitalised 🙁 It was worrying but thank goodness all is well.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Continue watching Baby Mika grow. As I’m writing this, Baby Mika is already 2 and half months old! He’s SO CUTE and except for the usual frustrations (why angry cry when sleepy? Go la sleep I’m not stopping you also??!), I’m having a good time 🙂
  • Doing more social activities, both for work and fun. There’s a bunch of family events I’m keen to attend as well – love seeing family reactions when meeting Baby Mika 🙂

Well, that was my July 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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  1. Hello Suraya, are the monthly expenses amount for the both of you and baby Mika?


    Kind regards

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