may 2018
Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: May 2018

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Budget Update: May 2018

I have a confession – in the last few months, I have been spending more than I earn.

This is weird to admit, but I have let lifestyle inflation creep up on me. I honestly didn’t realise my bare-minimum monthly spending – the amount I need to live comfortably but minimally – is now a whopping RM6k per month. Per month!

I dunno why. I kept thinking the number was closer to RM2.5k. Missed the mark by a mile. My goodness.

Breakdown of that RM6k:

  • Monthly must-pay (fixed) – Rent, Mobile, Insurance, Braces, Laptop payments, Investment repayments, VA – RM3.5k
  • Monthly must-pay (variables) – Business, Groceries, Misc needs, Transportation – RM1.3k
  • Monthly nice-to-haves (variables) – Social, Misc wants, Donations – RM1.2k

A few thoughts, since I guess I’m woke now.

One. I have seven major recurring monthly payments (!!) The good thing is my laptop and braces payments will end in September 2018 and December 2018 respectively. Can’t wait until I finish paying off these two and free up RM880 monthly. After that, all I have to do is not to get itchy backside and add on other monthly payments.

Two. I’ve been spending a lot for donations lately, and for the most part they’re for my family. I don’t wish to be stingy with them, I really don’t, but it’s getting a bit unsustainable. How do I go about this? Do I just say no? But I don’t want to say no? Do I cap the amount? How do I say that in a nice way? Do you have advice?

Three. Yes I’m freaking aware RM6k per month is a ridiculous amount. I thought I’m spending well and getting my money’s worth, but it’s time to reassess what I actually need versus what I want. Ok then. No new pretty things, no more outsourcing if I can do it myself. I’ll prepare more vegetarian meals. Whatever it takes to lower my bare-minimum monthly spending.

Four. Seriously, how the hell did I allow my bare-minimum monthly spending to reach RM6k??? I don’t even have car payments or mortgage?!?!

Have you calculated your bare-minimum monthly spending? What’s the number and breakdown?

may 2018

Yay of the Month:

  • Pakatan Harapan won GE14 😀 Remember the elation during the time? Something to commit to memory, forever!
  • Read 4 books. The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks (meh); Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (freaking good read, insightful peek into the mind of a hardworking genius); Bargain Fever: How to Shop in a Discounted World by Mark Ellwood (the chapter covering historical evolution of retail strategies was the best); and Committed; A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert (takeaway; women lose more in a bad marriage. It’s absolutely essential for us to get married to the right person. There is no ‘making do’ when it comes to life partners, or we’ll suffer the consequences soon enough.)
  • Organised Ringgit Oh Ringgit’s first-ever personal finance meetup! I randomly brought up the idea in RoR FB group, and was surprised by the positive demand. Some even want me to do it in Penang! So yeah, a bunch of us personal finance nerds met up on a Saturday afternoon, chatted about money strategies, and agreed to channel RM200 of our money towards an NGO listed at It was a fun day 🙂
  • Attended a few fun community events, including a copywriting talk, a Wordpress anniversary party, and a Pecha Kucha event.
  • Turned 30. Mood changes between ‘IDGAF’ to ‘my God I’m old’, all the time.
  • Had fun exploring all the ewallets and getting cashback, discounts and bonuses from them. I think I earned about RM300 in total? Check out Reviews of All The Ewallets in Malaysia I’ve Tried article for deets.
  • Passive income from this website increased significantly after I implemented Ezoic. If you have a website with >10k traffic per month, you’re eligible. Contact me if you want an honest review.

Nay of the Month:

  • Went off keto, weight immediately ballooned. Now practising mindful eating, which is like 10x harder than keto for me tbh. I need to have a better relationship with food. Something to work on.
  • Splurged on a few beauty products to make myself feel better. The damage was around RM120 and includes: hair oil, eyeliner, lip balm, mascara and skincare samples bought from Carousell sellers
  • Until someone pointed it out on Twitter, I didn’t realise stopped people from submitting comments! I have no idea how many reader comments I’ve lost, so kinda sad about that 🙁 Oh well, at least it was fast to fix. The comments section should work properly now. Open invite to everyone reading this to send me website improvement-related suggestions – I want to improve it further but sometimes don’t know how.
  • Bought a couple of games from Steam (RM30+) and some gems for that Harry Potter game (RM5~). Rakuen was great, but I can’t see myself finishing the other games.
  •  Did not regularly exercise. Only went to the gym twice all month. I miss my muscles.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Raya End of fasting month.
  • Enlisted myself in a Writers’ Retreat in June, something I’ve always wanted to try!
  • Bought tickets and accommodation to Good Vibes Festival in July 😀 RM600 gone, but heck it, I want to experience a youth-centric music festival, for once in my life.

Can we end this budget update article with a question about motivation? What’s your motivation in life? What keeps you going? How do you maintain it? What do you do when your motivation is low for extended period of time? Asking for, uh, a friend.

To read about my past monthly budget update, click here. Graphs are taken from my expense-tracking app Money Lover (review).

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  1. You do not separate your biz expenses / overheads from personal? In that case, kalau biz grow and require increased expenses, would it not cause your expenses as it stands now to balloon?

    1. Hey Harlequinn74,
      That’s a really good point, and good observation. I do separate them – all biz expenses is in the ‘Business category’

      I don’t really mind if my business category balloon up provided the expenses are justified. But I do mind if my business get bloated with unnecessary expenses. Lean is the way to go 💪

  2. Woah, 6k expenses per month is kinda high. I understand the dilemma of wanting to contribute more to family but not the feeling of being a cash cow. Even though more money contribution can lead to a more comfortable lifestyle for the family, sometimes it’s also about taking care of yourself finally. I used to put my mom as a priority, giving more home allowance than I am supposed to. At the end of the month, I have no money left, it’s like I worked so hard for nothing. I was kinda depressed for a while. Then I told my mom I couldn’t cope with it anymore, I asked to reduce the allowance. And turned out, I got more money to save, even invest it, then treat her to nice meals or trips once in a while. We are both happier this way.

    1. Hey Cheryl,

      Wow, thanks for your comment. I’m not alone on this after all!

      It’s hard right when you and your parents want to out-love one another. Children feel like giving more is better. Parents then improve living standards, which benefits their family.

      But at the end of the day, what a nice problem to have. Counting my blessings.

    1. Just various skincare product samples that people get for free when they buy from beauty shops. I see it as a cheap way to try out different products without buying the full size version

  3. What do you mean by “women lose more in a marriage”? I think that’s a very negative way of looking at the union of two souls. It should be a net gain for both parties.

    1. Edited to ‘women lose more in a bad marriage’

      You’re right about marriage generally give net gain for both parties, but the gains are not equal. Men benefit much more, and women work harder for a smaller share of the benefit that sometimes its not even worth it.

      Pointing out a section of this article:
      ‘Research has shown that the “marriage benefits”—the increases in health, wealth, and happiness that are often associated with the status—go disproportionately to men. Married men are better off than single men. Married women, on the other hand, are not better off than unmarried women.’

      As much as I like the idea of being swept off my feet and living happily ever after, I have to be realistic about things. Can’t afford not to :/

    1. Writing workshops and networking. So pretty much an opportunity to be immersed with writing without distraction for a whole weekend. So excited

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