Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: March 2021 – (New Side Income) Vending Machine Business

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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, Q1 of 2021 came and went. I hope you’re still on track with whatever goal you’re pursuing.

As for me… a lot of my 2021 plans are going along well. But because I’m human, *of course* I’m going to obsess about the one that I’m not doing so good in – my lack of exercise and lack of discipline with portion control, which resulted in weight gain.

And here’s the thing: I know why. I eat for comfort, and as an avoidance activity. What am I avoiding? Working on Money Stories from Malaysia: Vol 3, my personal finance short story compilation. It’s something I’m forcing myself to do because I want to be the type of person who does these kinds of projects, but gosh the thought of facing the mountain of work I have to do to produce and publish the book is so overwhelming for me.

So I eat to comfort myself.

This is not an excuse. I *will* get the book done. I’m just sharing the mental load that happens while working, even if the project is supposed to be a passion project. Fact is, no matter how ‘fun’ a project seems, work is work. And there’s nothing you can do about it except putting in the effort.

Done confession. On to the budget breakdown section.

Budget Update: March 2021

In March 2021, I spent RM24,881.95. The top 3 top expenses were:

  • Business (RM18,272.48) – Vending machine upfront capital – balance, SEO content audit for RoR, CFP Module 2 payment
  • Donations & Gifts (RM1,935.75) – Husband’s birthday present and dinner date, Compound That Sh*t t-shirt from Suyin Invest and DividendMagic, paid parents’ house electric bill
  • Utilities & Rent (RM1,276.75) – Gotta keep a roof over our heads

(So if you minus the biz expenses, I spent RM6.6k, which includes ~RM2k in donations)

My Spending Breakdown in March 2021

Here’s what I spent on in the whole month of March 2021, in their respective categories and from highest to lowest amount:

Yay of the Month:

#1 – Testing a new side income with vending machine business

When I shared this info online, it’s obvious that people were interested about how earning money via vending machine business works.

I hear you. I am planning a full article to write about my experience, so wait for that for full detail. Until then, enjoy this twitter thread (click to read more):

#2 – Passed my CFP Module 1 exams

My journey to be a Certified Financial Planner is going well – I passed the first module! Currently taking Module 2 lessons 🙂

1 down, 3 more to go!

#3 – Bought medical coverage

My medical card plan is super old; it only gives me RM200k annual limit. I’d like to upgrade my plan, but don’t have the mental capacity for it.

So I’m doing the next best thing. Bought a term medical insurance with high annual limit. Just in case.

#4 – Celebrated husband’s birthday

His first birthday as a married man 🙂 I thought I did well on the celebrating part: I took him out on a nice date and gifted him a professional financial planning session. He was so happy :))

#5 – Subscribed to Fahmi Reza

Is it just me, or the government becomes more and more authoritarian by the day?

I wish I’m braver, but I’m not, I’m a coward who fears repercussions. The least I can do is support people who are brave.

#6 – Investing into my business

I hired a professional to do a comprehensive SEO content audit for Ringgit Oh Ringgit. Depending on the month, I’ve hovered around the 50-75k in traffic per month for the longest time. Time to try new things to hit my goal of reaching 100k per month.

#6 – Misc

  • Read one book: The Vogue Factors: The Inside Story of Fashion’s Most Illustrious Magazine by Kirstie Clements. Such fascinating insight on the magazine slash publishing industry. As I was reading, I actively had to resist the pervasive thoughts of lifestyle/fashion as trivial; I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss them. There’s a reason why they are billion-dollar industries.
  • Low groceries. Working on finishing the food we have before we buy more
  • Extended Netflix subscription for another 6 months (RM11 per month x 6 = RM66)
  • Bought a pretty phone case and 2 dresses 🙂 I needed more modest fashion options in my wardrobe, and these dresses are so pretty, I got them in two colours 🙂 It’s hard to find long dresses (I’m 168cm) so when I find them I tend to stock up!

Nay of the Month:

#1 – Feeling really sad about the country

I feel discouraged by the current situation. It’s hard not to. The wealth gap continues to widen – so much that the PM said B40 may have expanded to B50. Most fresh graduates are earning minimum wage. At the same time, CEOs (and upper management?) see their incomes increase.

What, I wonder, will happen once i-Sinar money runs out? What will happen to the small businesses that depend on the B50 purchasing power then?

It’s like watching a slow-moving car driving towards a disastrous end but not able to do anything meaningful about it.

Whatever future we’re heading to, I don’t think we’ll like it. I hope I’m wrong.

#2 – My kailan plants died

All of them wilted, then died 🙁 I really don’t know what I did wrong.. I’m discouraged, but I don’t want to give up, so back to restarting the balcony garden project I guess..

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Paying my Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2 co-writers. If you look at the T&C of the writing competition, writers can opt to get upfront RM100 OR a % of profits made on book sales. Most of them chose the latter option. Happy to day sales went well – I think they’ll be happy with the amount!
  • The start of Hungry Muslim month (props if you understood that reference). I plan to kick start my one meal a day, too.

Well, that was my March 2021! 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. You are right about about the country. In addition, we are paying 14% increase in cost for ECRL and cancelling HSR & required to pay compensation to SG Government. Our country’s leaders are very short-sighted and only go for short-term gain. Good luck in attracting FDI because they aint coming. IBM has also closed down one of their huge offices recently. Other ASEAN countries are thriving and we are not.

  2. I have been a silent reader all this while, but I have to agree with you. The future of this country is worrying. 🙁

    1. 🙁 Just save yourself, and your loved ones, and whoever else you can. The rest… good luck to them. Will continue to do advocacy but gosh I don’t know if its enough

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