Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: November 2023 – I Bought An Expensive Handbag

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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 how was your November? Was it good, bad or meh?

For me, November 2023 included a few ‘luxury’ purchases that old Suraya would have never made. I bought myself a fancy Aesop shampoo (justified; it works for my scalp), and… a Longchamp bag.

The Longchamp totebag – the most expensive bag I’ve ever bought – took a lot of self-justification. I had so many internal dialogues with myself:

  • It’s expensive! (I can afford it. Plus if I use it enough, the cost-per-wear will be low.)
  • It’s too expensive! (Did I mention I got it on sale? I got it for RM590; boutique price is RM8xx.)
  • It’s still expensive (Please! It’s ‘only’ RM590. Other people buy bags costing thousands!)
  • When have I ever cared about branded stuff! (but I do like it for the utility and design, not just the brand)
  • Will I even use it! (I have an imitation Longchamp and ngl I love using it)
  • Fight this impulse purchase! Delayed gratification, remember? (I waited for months)

For some people, buying a branded bag is just that – buying a bag. But for me, I’m so not used to it that I went through all this internal dialogues.

A part of me feels sorry for myself (beli je la nak guilty pemende pakai duit sendiri kot bukan duit orang lain??). A part of me feels like my identity changed somewhat, from a non-branded to a branded bag user (drama giler???).

Anyway. That’s my thought process of the month. Now let’s get on to the budget part.

Budget Update: November 2023

In November 2023, I spent RM7,978.51. The top 3 top expenses were:

  • Donations & Gifts (RM1,994.55) – Parents’ electric bill, for parents
  • Utilities & Mortgage (RM1,371) – Half mortgage
  • Misc Needs (RM883.30) – Home stuff, esp vacuum

Cumulatively, the top 3 expenses make up 55% of my total November 2023 expenses.

(My belief is, if you want to save money, trim first from the top 3 expenses rather than cut out a few ringgits from other already-low expenses)

My Spending Breakdown in November 2023

Here’s what I spent on in the whole month of November 2023, in their respective categories and from highest to lowest amount:

Yay of the Month:

#1 – Went to Coldplay consert

My sisters and I went to the Coldplay consert together. Another core memory made!

The experience, including tickets, Grab ride to the venue (RM45 due to surge; took 2.5 hours to reach there omg), food totaled ~RM750 all in. My husband offered to take care of baby Mika so I saved on babysitting cost.

#2 – Sold RM500++ worth of stuff

This is a house decluttering win!

(I used the money to treat myself 🙂 subsidised some items I wanted to get for a while)

#3 – Maxed out SSPN tax relief for Baby Mika

Thanks to all clients’ payments all coming in around the same time, I managed to max out SSPN tax relief for YA2023. The RM8,000 deposited will be earmarked for Baby Mika’s education fund, and save me some money in income tax as well yay 🙂

#4 – Repaired instead of bought

I don’t always manage to repair worn-out stuff, so it’s always an occasion when I could. In this case, I saved RM150 by replacing the cat scratching post.

#5 – Had a relatively low-spend month

I’m not sure if I forgotten to log any expenses, but ~RM8k expenses is relatively low for me. But I’ll consider this a success anyway.

#6 – Misc

Spoke at:

#1 – Presented speech titled ‘Future Banking & SDGs: Personal Finance Amidst the Rapid Changes’ at ASLI Banking and Finance Summit 2023


Read 0 books 🙁

Bought for house/family:

  • vacuum cleaner
  • mop
  • baby books

Bought for myself:

  • totebag
  • totebag organiser
  • 1 skirt + 1 dress + 2 x jeans (secondhand from Carousell)
  • Aesop shampoo
  • eyebrow pencil

Nay of the Month:

#1 – Not to be dramatic, but I almost died?

Going to Coldplay consert was fun and all, but the crowd management sucked.

Not only it took a while to get in/out of the stadium, but we were worried about crowdcrush while leaving. We were stuck at the danger zone for some time and tried hard not to panic. Images of the Itaewon crowdcrush flashed in my head more than a few times, it was scary.

Thankfully all was well and nothing major happened, even though I did hear some people fainted.

#2 – I need to do better time management

I feel like I have so many things to do but when I do have time to do it (when Baby Mika is asleep etc), I do chores or simply feel so overwhelmed and end up not doing much :/ Really need to start planning ahead – ok the next time Baby Mika sleeps, I’ll do x, y and z.

Things to Look Forward to:

  • New years! Reviewing my 2023 goals! Writing my 2024 goals!
  • Enjoying seeing Baby Mika grow. He’s growing his first teeth now! And already started solids! Such a precious boy, I’m so in love <3

Well, that was my November 2023. 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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