Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: November 2019

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budget update november 2019

Budget Update: November 2019

I spent RM5066 in November 2019 – top 3 expenses were Rent & Utilities, Business and Public Transportation – all functional expenses. Quite happy with my spending decisions for the month. You can see the deeper breakdown below, in the yay and nay sections.

Here I want to take the opportunity to share my thought process for future work decisions. By this point in my career, I have given so many talks that I can give the following presentations from memory:

  • Investment options for Malaysians
  • Budgeting tips and implementation
  • How to charge clients
  • How to publish a book
  • Starting and growing a website
  • Digital marketing for content creators
  • Personal branding
  • And more

Doing presentations and talks still make me go dub dab dub but what they say is true – the more you do it, the better you get at it. And feedback so far has been good and very very encouraging.

I had few discussions with friends and fellow colleagues and it’s been increasingly clear that I should pivot from providing writing services (my main service offering for the last 4 years) to providing trainings, workshops and consultations in areas related to personal finance and digital marketing.

I’ve already been doing the consultations on as-requested basis so it’s not like there’s no demand. As for writing work inquiries, I can always pass those to writers in my networks, who are always looking for jobs. Not an issue.

What do you think? Is there anything that I’m not considering before I make the switch and edit my Hire me page?

Yay of the Month:

  • Decided to translate Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 1 into Malay! Lots of people have advised me to tap into the Malay market, and this is the perfect opportunity for it. Plus, I like the idea of contributing to Malay literature. The Malay language is only spoken here in Malaysia. If we don’t produce Malay-language content, who will?

  • Hired a voice and speech consultant (from Vocapedia) because I want to improve my presentation delivery – an investment into improving my public speaking skillset. It’s not particularly cheap but completely worth it! I find myself being more mindful of my pronunciation, pacing and I even have fun using the speak-from-diaphragm tip to sing along to songs??? (I never sing!!)
  • Got interviewed in MyPF’s PodCat series! Embedding it below, do watch it 🙂 Protip: Watch at 1.5x speed


  • Bought myself flight tickets to attend WordCamp Asia in Bangkok next year! Caught it at a good price, too, I’m happy 🙂 Now to sort out the accommodations… Should I go cheap and hostel it or splurge on a nice hotel room hmmm..
  • Made good investing decisions. I transferred RM3k into my PRS fund for the tax relief.

  • Thank you everyone who started investing in roboadvisory platform Wahed Invest with my referral code. A few hundred is quite the number – thank you for your trust in me and my recommendations.
  • Truthfully I’m nervous – what if this company turns out to be bad and take all our money? You will blame me, and I don’t blame you. Just want to say that I have done due diligence to the best of my ability and I have skin in the game – I have RM11k of my own money in Wahed Invest. So if anything happens, it’s my loss too.


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I opened an account with Wahed Invest, the SYARIAH-COMPLIANT roboadvisory platform just approved by Securities Commission! Here’s a step by step 😊🙌 You need: 🔹 Initial fund (RM100 can already) 🔹ID card/passport 🔹 proof of address doc (MYKad, driving license, utilities bill, etc) 🔹my referral code ‘surbin1′ to get free $10/RM40 😀 🔹 your phone 🔹 1-2 working days for verification and funds transfer to complete Step 1: download Wahed Invest into your phone Step 2: Create an account, complete the 8 questions and let the platform suggest you which portfolio to take. They will also show how they divide up your portfolio which is cool Step 3: after you select which portfolio you want, complete the rest of the registration and verification process. Don’t forget to insert my referral code 👉’surbin1’ for $10/RM40 bonus! Step 4: Fund your account. Can do bank transfer from within the app also. It’ll take a couple of days (if you stopped at step 3, make sure to complete step 4 ie fund your account within a month! If not no bonus already) Thats it really. Done. At 0.79% fund management fee, Wahed Invest is effectively the lowest-fee roboadvisory platform in Malaysia, at least for investments up to RM50k (and its the only halal one so no choice for us Muslims anyway lol) I’m so excited 😆 how long already I wanted to try roboadvisory platform 😆😆 #wahedinvest #halalinvestment #roboadvisory #pelaburan #etfmalaysia #syariahcompliantfinance #investmentmalaysia

A post shared by Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) on

  • Attended kursus pengurusan jenazah wanita organised by the local surau. When I shared this, lots of you mentioned how you didn’t know something like this is even offered, and now that you know of it, you’d also like to attend the same course. Hope you find one near your area.

    • Dropped some peria seeds into mixture of soil+leftover ground coffee mix and holy shit, they actually grew???

  • At RM782.91, my public transportation expenses for November 2019 was MUCH higher than usual. But. It could’ve been WAY higher, if I didn’t use SOCAR. Loved the service so much I wrote a review – read it here: SOCAR Review: 7 Tips to Get Cheap Car Rental in KL, Penang and Johor
  • Read two books: Tengku Noor Zakiah: Malaysia’s Pioneering Stockbroker (co-founder of Kenanga Investment Bank – easy-to-read memoir. Get it in the XMas Giveaway); and Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman (GREAT book. Amazing insight into the human psyche – I highly, highly recommend it. Not the easiest book to go through though. See a snippet of what’s in the book below)

Nay of the Month:

  • Had bad online shopping experience. I bought a bunch of things during the 11.11 sales – needs not wants! – and one of them was cancelled (sorry hoh out of stock) and another arrived broken (it was a face serum so you can imagine the mess!). Thankfully both were refunded without problems, but I had to make alternative plans and reorder. Wasted my time haih.
  • Had to return some money – to the tune of RM2500 – to a client as they decided not to proceed with a sponsored post. It’s not a huge amount in the overall scheme of things but still lost income opportunity. From what little I know, it seems like a startup running out of runway money problem.
  • Really struggled with binge-eating habit – sugar is an even more powerful drug than nicotine!! And promos didn’t help – I ordered more Grabfood than usual *because* of the 50% off code.
  • Bought some games from Steam Black Friday sales. Welp, there goes my productivity for the next month. (I discovered you can use a game controller to play PC games! It excited me so much that I impulse-purchased a Sony Dualshock 4 controller from Lazada. Then buyers remorse set in so I cancelled the order a few hours later).

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Continue working on Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2
  • Running Ringgit Oh Ringgit XMAS GIVEAWAY 2019!!! So exciting, I love me a good win-win-win situation.
  • Going to Bali for a holi-yay!
  • Freaking 2020 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

In December 2019, I want to try my best to hit my personal goal of hitting six-figure income. My current income for 2019 so far is not super-near that figure but hey, last push. Let’s see what happens.

What’s the one goal you want to hit in December 2019, before January 2020 rolls along? Share with me 🙂

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. Much of that was SOCAR rental! I had to make far-away trips, which is not easily accessible via public transport and would cost more in Grab fares!

    1. Writing services is more competitive. Low entry barrier. Speaking & Consulting services in those niches, less so. Is follow basic supply/demand principle..

  1. Hey Suraya love your page. Side note the investment returns you get from unit trusts and PRS are already net of fees (except sales charge), asked FSM and Public Mutual about this personally. So that 2% is already net but still just savings account rate la XD.

    1. per year! per month is… wow. I can’t imagine it. but once upon a time I never thought I’d be here so you never know I guess :/

      Do I give off six-figure monthly income vibes until you had to ask that? Hahahah

  2. Hey Suraya the annual total return of your PRS includes expenses already, asked FSM and Public Mutual about this personally…

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