november 2018
Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: November 2018

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november 2018

Budget Update: November 2018

Spent under RM6k in November 2018. Top 3 categories were Business (no issues there), Utilities & Rent (ditto) and Dates/Travel (… I think I need to talk to the partner).

Anyway, hey, I want to talk about something else in this section. Martech. Do you know this word? It’s short for marketing technology, and companies love it because it helps them rake in more sales. In fact, companies love martech so much that Chief Marketing Officers are now spending more on martech tools rather than human marketers.

In November 2018, I attended a digital marketing bootcamp where I learned about the many types of martech tools. For example, chatbots which reply to people who type ‘pm’ in Facebook posts. Platforms connecting companies with influencers. Automated video creation tools. And more – I’m barely scratching the surface here.

Martech is fascinating to me for a few reasons:

  • It’s quite fun to go to a company’s website/platform and see what kind of martech tools they are implementing. Last time, they used to prioritise collecting emails. Now, I’ve received promotional updates via Facebook Messenger too! (I hate this btw, so invasive, any company that does this will not get my money)
  • Which martech tools can *I* use for my own websites? I’m constantly trying out new ones, hoping to find the perfect free+good combinations. Many martech services use subscription-based models, and they can get pretty pricey.

Learn about martech. If you’re a business, it’ll help you make/save money. If you’re a consumer, you’ll be more aware and therefore less susceptible to strategies companies use to part you with your money.

Yay of the Month:

  • Overall pretty happy with our new government’s Budget 2019 plan, announced in early November. To read my thoughts on it, and to check how Budget 2019 will personally affect you, see #1 in this article.
  • Spoke at WordCamp KL and got good feedback – that always makes me happy 🙂
  • Gave away an Apple Watch Series 3 to one winner, as part of VISA x AKPK’s Treat Your Money Right Campaign. See the winning entry here.
  • Got extremely lucky with hotel bookings in November 2018. On one occasion, I discovered I have enough Expedia points to cover a night’s stay at a hotel – saved me RM70+ and at least 4 hours of travel time for that weekend. In another occasion, a homestay provider cancelled on me but honoured my booking anyway and replaced it with 4 nights’ stay at a 4-star hotel without additional charges. The cost of ONE night stay at the hotel was more expensive than 4 nights at the homestay!
  • Signed up for 3 months’ gym membership for RM240. Did the calculations – if the walk-in rate is RM15 per entry, I’ll break even if I go to the gym at least 16 times during the whole period, or 5+ times per month. Doable. Aiming for 2-3 times per week.
  • Used Yoodo referral money to pay for November 2018’s mobile expenses, making it essentially free! Yoodo is that select-what-you-use telco plan under Celcom, and I like it because you can choose your data/minutes/sms plan and change it anytime depending on your needs. If you want to try Yoodo out, get FREE RM 20 when you sign up using my referral link (I get RM20 too).
  • Read 3 books: The Accidental Renovator by Barbara Briggs (a funny account of a woman who bought an apartment in Paris on a whim, and the soul-crushing renovation process that follows after), Do Less, Get More: Guilt-free ways to make time for the things (and people) that matter by Shaa Wasmund (this book motivated me to continue on with my book-publishing journey!) and On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser (it all boils down to – write simply and clearly).
  • Coincidentally there was this warehouse sale thing near the place I live at. Snagged 2 x 500ml bottles of Tresemme shampoo for just RM18. Downgrading from my usual brand, Kerastase, which is good but hella expensive


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According to my records, this 1-liter Kerastase shampoo lasted me 16 months. At RM212 per bottle and an average of one wash every two days, that’s around RM0.88 per hair wash. . I really like this shampoo, but it is kinda pricey for my taste so I’m switching to a cheaper brand. Recently bought Tresemme shampoo after reading good reviews. Let’s see if my hair likes the switch. If not, I’ll probably go back to Kerastase. . Yep, would totally pay extra for nice hair haha. What’s your shampoo? Do you know more or less how much it costs per hair wash? . #kerastase #kerastaseshampoo #haircare #shampoo #malaysianblogger #expensivebutgood #hairroutine #selfcarematters #lookgoodfeelgreat #malaysianhair #valueformoney

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  • Featured in Lifetime Asia’s Woman of the Day series <3 I’m super happy and flattered about this!


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Thank you @lifetimeasia for featuring me as one of the Woman of the Day ❤️ I think you’re too generous with the compliments, but I’ll take it ☺️ . @Regran_ed from @lifetimeasia – Inspiring young women in Malaysia to manage their personal finances have always been @surayaror mission when she started her blog Ringgit Oh Ringgit. Since 2015, she has been chronicling her journey on managing her own finances when she couldn’t find Malaysia-centric information and advice on the topic. Going by the mantra of “save aggressively, live minimally”, she finds that success is when one always strive to improve him/herself instead of staying stagnant. Young people in Malaysia have since started sharing their debt-clearing journeys online, all thanks to Suraya’s efforts. Her advice for young women is to “free up time for yourselves and use it for self development and money-making activities”. So go attend that networking opportunity, enlist in that enrichment course, travel or open your own side business. #WOTD #LifetimeAsia #Inspiring #Finance #Growth #Success – #regrann

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Nay of the Month:

  • Not a great month for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies – the price went down like crazy. I feel like the sports fan whose team is suffering a losing streak :/
  • Ringgit Oh Ringgit suffered a technical issue and was down for a few hours. Lost some income, and had to pay for technical help.
  • Could not resist a Lovisa sale and bought 2 chokers, 6 hoop earrings and 2 drop earrings for RM60. Technically I saved over RM100 on the original price, so…
  • My weight increased 🙁 I need to improve my relationship with food and practice mindful eating. I tend to scarf down food without really noticing. Do you have any tips for me?
  • Missed two Poslaju deliveries and wasted money. Item 1 is a phone screen. Item 2 is a face wash. I gave up on Item 1, and asked for Item 2 to be shipped to me. The re-delivery cost would be much cheaper than Grab-ing to the collection centre myself! (estimate RM40ish)
  • Did not manage to quit smoking 🙁

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Finishing my book project, a compilation of personal finance stories 10 authors, including myself. My story is a fictional story about how Malaysia looks like if we implement universal basic income. More information coming soon!
  • Launching a new website project: a deal-hunting platform!

Re: the deal-hunting platform. I am so obsessed with this project right now. It makes me so happy to finally work on the idea that’s been in my head for years. If you like deals, you will love this platform. I’m going to make it easy for you to know which deals are good and which aren’t.

Who here genuinely enjoys looking for deals? Do you want to help me test it out? If yes, comment below – I’ll send you the link 🙂

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. I’m excited to for your deal hunting site and the book! Can’t wait to see both of these projects come to life 🙂

    I’m going to get my hands on the books you’ve read, sounds like some really good reads! (Ps; the writing book might be useful for me, I definitely need help writing simply and clearly lol).

    Thanks for sharing!


    1. Hi Nicole,

      I can’t wait too! Thanks for your support 🙂

      And the book, woah good stuff. Highly recommend it!

  2. Checkout Mindspace app for mindful everything, including eating. It’s the only app I’m willing to pay membership for so far, but they have free sessions too to give you a taste.

    Would like to try out your deal-hunting platform if ure still looking for testers. They didn’t call me the Groupon queen for nothing! =)

    Also, could you perhaps write an article on retirement please? So I can start next year happily spend what money i have left after I ensure im saving enough for my rainy days/ retirement funds. I’m very skeptical about the articles I find online so far which are mainly by insurance/investment-link product providers, as I feel they might want to scare us a bit more than actual reality. Would love to read an unbiased advice. No obligations of course.

    Thanks for the articles – I enjoy them as always!

    1. Hi Natasha,

      Do you mean Headspace? If yes, I’ve tried them before – loved the experience and was looking to buy it, but keep missing the promo subscription offers!

      Re: retirement – oh I love this idea! I’ll think of something to write about retirement planning. Now I only have this article, not sure if this is what you’re looking for:

      Re: deal-hunting platform. Thanks for volunteering! I’ll email you 🙂

    1. Unfortunately, it’s nowhere near as good as Kerastase 🙁 I’ll probably switch back, after finish the shampoo (will. not. waste. money!)

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