budget update march 2020
Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: March 2020

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budget update march 2020

Budget Update: March 2020

For the first time ever, my Expense chart only showed 4 categories:

  • Business (49%, representing RM5,535.74 – mostly RM4200 as 50% deposit for book printing),
  • Donations & Gifts (RM3,850.95 – mostly Zakat and Covid-19 donations),
  • Groceries (RM716 – stocked the hell up), and
  • everything else (combining the other 8 expense categories).

A lot? Yes. Some, I planned. Others, nope. It’s a lot of expenses, but all most of it were mindful, non-frivolous expenses. I gave what I could, even though I always feel like I could do more.

In terms of mood, I would divide March 2020 into:

  • First two weeks: oh I’m sure this problem is nothing we can’t manage, the government/other parties will sort it out soon enough

What a decade, this first three months of 2020.

Yay of the Month:

  • Amid the Covid-19 crisis, I’m happy to see lots of acts of kindness, people being compasionate beings. I am grateful that I have the emotional capacity to process overwhelming grief over sudden life changes and lost opportunities, and the mental resilience to still be able to look at the bright side. You helped: Malaysians Share 7 Silver Linings from the Coronavirus Pandemic
  • My landlady agreed to waive my rent for one month. Bless her. Now I’m more motivated than ever to care for the property, make minor repairs, pay future rent and future bills on time.
  • Enrolled myself in SOCSO Self-Employment Scheme. My one year of coverage costs RM442.80. Read: How to Apply for SOCSO / PERKESO Self-Employment Social Security Scheme
  • Ringgit Oh Ringgit FB page hit 10k likes! It took 4.5 years. A long time, a lot of effort. Thank you.

  • Appeared on Bernama Radio. Was supposed to go to the station, but we did it via phone call without (much) problem 🙂


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Live on @bernamaradioofficial now! Listen on radio or on their fb page . Edit: done interview! Listen at https://t.co/tBe18DLIFW

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  • Website ad money came in via Payoneer. The sucky exchange rate worked in my favour, I got more RM for the USD. Note: This is 5 months-ish worth of website revenue, only for ads. I use Ezoic instead of Adsense (for websites with 10k and above monthly traffic only)
  • Paid my zakat. TIL I’ve been doing the zakat-as-tax-rebate thing wrong for YEARS. That’s the thing about personal finance, isn’t it? There’s always areas where you think you’re doing it right, but it’s not. Have to always unlearn and relearn.

  • BigPay FINALLY refunded my money. I got back my RM950, stuck in a dispute since Dec last year.
  • I scored a nice carpet for RM15 from my local thrift shop (bought before MCO). Finally my living room setup is complete, after living at this apartment for close to 5 years haha. My cats love it 🙂
  • Sempat day-trip-ed with my family to Melaka before the MCO. We visited the Melaka Zoo and Jonker Street, and ate way too much <3
  • Sempat attended one last workshop before the MCO, I Am Remarkable Workshop facilitated by the brilliant award-winning photographer Shamma of Paloma Pictures (browse her pictures – so good!)

  • Read one book: Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine. My personal takeaway is, you can’t truly opt out of consumerism. Even if you do a no-spend challenge for yourself, your decision impacts others. For example, your friends and family might – out of their own free and goodwill – spend more so they can enjoy your company. If you take the offer, you’ll feel guilty over taking advantage of them. If you don’t, you might lose quality time, and eventually the relationship. Also, you’ll waste a lot of time if you only look for free things.


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Irony is breaking one’s self-imposed shopping ban for this book #boughtit

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Nay of the Month:

  • Effing everything’s changed. And yes, things may be worse for others, and yes, I am grateful for everything, but also yes, I AM ALLOWED TO GRIEF.
  • I was excited to launch Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2 and Cerita Duit Orang Malaysia: Jilid 1, but now that’s postponed. I could open orders now, but after thinking about it, I am not willing to take money from you until the printing company can confirm with me when they can start printing again.
  • I was only starting to get excited over my wedding plans – which was going to be a big (yet frugal) one, hosting 1500 people from both bride/groom side – but looks like that’s not happening
  • Anxiety levels went through the roof. Cried more than a few times out of frustration and helplessness.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Please MCO be over soon 🙁
  • Being creative with what I can make with the groceries I have left (this is becoming a source of joy for me now)

Oh well. As they say, life goes on, pandemic or no pandemic, the new normal or no. I think I will just embrace the uncertainty, because that’s the only sure thing right now. Easier for the head to cope.

How are you taking everything in? In the acceptance stage already, or still processing?

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. Hi there! I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog. Especially on how to save money here and there :p Hope you’re well now during this period of MCO.

    Anyway, a curious question – which thrift shop did you go to (for your carpet purchase)?

    1. I’m doing alright, thanks Jia Qi 🙂

      This one I got from Jalan Jalan Japan, my fav thrift shop in Klang Valley. I can’t wait to go back there after MCO is over!

  2. On the wedding part, I’m somewhat happy that no gatherings are allowed for the next 6 months. Planned for a June wedding – settling for a small akad ceremony now 🙂

    1. Shhh don’t tell them that, must pretend you’re sad by it also, jaga hati the parents hahahah

      (yeah I’m totally okay with small ceremony too! originally wanted that before parents decided otherwise LOL)

      All the best for your ceremony Aine! Congrats!

  3. I’m glad you are being positive with the MCO thing! Covid19 sure hit us in all direction. I’m proud to see you donating some of your money to people in need. Getting tired seeing the T20 mad for B40 receiving all the gov helps. Stay safe suraya. ♥️♥️

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