Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: October 2019

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Budget Update October 2019 1

Budget Update: October 2019

Oh my, my expenses in October 2019 was in the RM6k, almost RM7k range again. Urk. Business, Utilities & Rent and Insurance & Medical expenses took the bulk of it though. Even after all this time, even knowing how I shouldn’t skimp on these expenses, I still wishfully dream for under-RM3k monthly expenses.

Is that kind of monthly expense realistic, though? To thrive (not merely survive), at least RM4k+ per month is needed no? I know that many companies advertise jobs with starting pay of RM2.2, RM2.5k. And they expect people to be able to ration that out all thoughout the month?

And I guess other people got sick of that unrealistic expectations too, because boy did this tweet go viral:

Yes, YES, we *could* live on that amount. If we *only* spend on what we need to spend on to just live, we could.

BUT that would mean a living a life devoid of any entertainment, any leisure, any trips home to see the family, any activities with friends, any personal fulfilment, any meaning. How DARE they judge every single bubble tea, every nice meal we have, when that could be the only thing that makes life tolerable for us.

I’m going to share this article again: 3 Ways to Get A High Salary in Malaysia

Budget Update October 2019 1

Yay of the Month:

  • Spoke, panel-ed, emceed, moderated some big events, including Principal Retail Investment Seminar organised by Principal Asset Management; SCxSC Fintech Conference 2019 organised by Securities Commission; 2 workshops for MYWritersFest; and How Much Should I Charge My Client event at MYWritersFest Finale.
  • The SCxSC Fintech Conference event deserves a shoutout:


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Thank you to Securities Commission for having me as moderator and speaker during #SCxSC19! It was my absolute honour to moderate the digital investment session and speak in the digital marketing session . The topics this year are the most progressive one yet. I’m so grateful to the people behind Securities Commission Malaysia who curate sessions related to Islamic finance, digital assets (crypto!), serving the undeserved and ethical finance, cybersecurity, new fintech platforms (roboadvisory, p2p lending, equity crowdfunding) in a way that is transparent, inclusive and diverse (they took steps to have more women speakers!) Never been more hopeful of the future of finance in Malaysia tbh . As Tarah Wheeley, AI and cybersecurity expert said during her session – at the end of the day, humans are the ones who build these fintech tools. Let’s support those who serve, rather than harm, humanity . #fintechmalaysia #securitiescommissionmalaysia #securitiescommission

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  • Big payment from client came in, decided to treat myself to two things: One – booked myself sessions with a voice/speech coach. Generally, I’m an okay speaker but I can always be better. Better be overprepared than under correct not? This expense went under Business category, as it should.
  • Two – bought myself a new toy, a vacuum cleaner! Finally allowed myself this purchase after my previous RM79 vacuum cleaner fell apart. At RM750, it’s a BIG upgrade but omg did I mention it’s CORDLESS?? This expense, after much internal debate, went under Misc Needs category


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You know you’re an adult when buying a new vacuum cleaner made you ridiculously happy 😂Cordless, baby! . Bought on lazada for RM750ish. Ordered on Sunday, arrived Monday morning (!!) Amazing . #xiaomi #vacuumcleaner #adulting #cordlessvacuum #lazada #dreamev9 . Edit: Update: Tried it. I’ve been living in a dusty shithole apparently . For those who want a review, here it goes: I love it! . Fav parts: – sucks a lot, which is a good thing to say about a vacuum cleaner – very quiet! – nice white colour (not gaudy purple/red combo like dyson – what’s up w that?) – 3 diff additional attachments including for sofa/bed Cons: -can never go back to the cord life – you can’t charge and use the vacuum at the same time – charging to full capacity takes a few hours but you can only vacuum for less than 60 mins

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  • Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2 is slowly yet surely coming together. Even though I completed vol 1 earlier this year, I’ve completely forgotten how long and mafan the process is it seems. But anyway! You’ll find a short story from me in Vol 2 too!
  • Sometimes I feel like wow Suraya syok sendiri much senang senang include your own story in the book everyone else had to go through the writing competition BUT I got my short story draft reviewed from fellow writers and THEY REALLY LIKE IT okay. So there.

  • Redeemed my Maybank TreatPoints! Last year I got Lazada cash vouchers but this year opted for the AEON cash vouchers because the card center offered a better conversion rate for it :p

  • Bought a lot of books. It’s fine in itself – I’ve accepted how I value selecting, reading and adding physical books into my collection – but have to make sure to not go overboard and find time to read them all. Kenanga Investment Group gave me a book as well, the newly-released Tengku Noor Zakiah: Malaysia’s Pioneering Stockbroker. Quite excited to read that one. You can find it at bookstores – try MPH.
  • Read two books: The Happiness Project: or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin (she wasn’t unhappy, but set herself the goal of improving where she could, and I like that mindset); and Tweetonomics: Everything You Need to Know about Economics in 140 Characters or Less by Nic Compton, Adam Fishwick and Katie Huston (see below)

  • Happy 11th birthday, Bitcoin white paper 🙂 Sometimes I feel like, wow bitcoin/crypto has really desensitised me to big price movements. Rationally, I know that bitcoin’s 42% gain in one day at end of Oct was a HUGE EVENT but I still went about my day as normal. (The price corrected itself after that huge gain).
  • My groceries bill is low again. Second month in a row, which is unusual, yet I didn’t starve myself or anything (in fact, may have overindulged *cries in fat*). Is this because I’ve been consciously trying to eat less meat in general? I saw that Netflix documentary about vegetarianism/veganism The Game Changers, and while I still like meat, I’ve reduced my intake. That reflected in the bill :/

Nay of the Month:

  • My application for Acumen Fellowship – that’s the leadership development programme towards tackling poverty – was rejected 🙁 I was so happy after getting through the first round, but oh well. One door close, others will open. God is the best planner.
  • Since taking off my braces in January 2019, I’ve been diligent about wearing my teeth retainers to keep those teeth in place. Diligent, but not careful, it seems. I broke it, and had to spend RM400 to get a new one 🙁
  • I’m not happy with my chiropractor. But I’ve already paid him a bit and he owes me maybe 5 or so treatments. Hmmm what should I do should I absorb this loss? I know the concept of sunk-cost fallacy, I know it’s better to cut my losses and go, but… he still owe me :/
  • I thought public transportation expenses were a little bit high but I guess that’s reflective of all the events I had to go to in October 2019

Things to Look Forward to:

  • Continue working on Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2
  • Attending WordCamp KL (which will be over by the time this post is published lol)
  • Speaking at Peatix’s Backstage Pass event: The Price is Right on the 13th Nov (get your tickets here!)
  • Waiting for my video collab with MyPersonal Finances to come out 😀

In November 2019, I’m just going to concentrate on juggling the many things I have on my plate. I have so many projects I want to do, and kind of feel overwhelmed. Maybe I should cut them down? Hmm let’s see. This is an opportunity to push my limits. There is no growth in the comfort zone.

How about you, how’s your Nov going to look like? I know many are probably rushing to get things done so you get to be lazy in December 😛 All the best!

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. Hey Suraya, thanks for sharing these monthly expense updates, it’s always an inspiration at the beginning of every month for me to track my spending for another month forward.
    One question though, how do you spend RM375.50 for food in a single month?
    That could last me at max 2 weeks if I meticulously plan my every meal.

    1. Hey James,

      RM375 is only for groceries – I also eat out. Those I track under Dates/Travel, Social or Food expenses, depending on the situation

      But I’d say the majority of my meals, I eat at home. Home cooking really helps to bring the costs down!

  2. I was surprise by how much you spend on food and groceries too lol. How is that possible? lol.

    I cook at home too and only eat out on weekends. Like James, that RM375 would last me around 2 weeks or probably 3 if I try harder.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing Suraya.

    1. To be fair, I already have some existing groceries that I’m finishing up. Some months my groceries cost way higher, ie when I stock up on big things (like coffee and oil, etc)

  3. Hi Suraya,

    I was wondering was it really necessary to spend much on Insurance and medical part?

    I’m a person who lives life dangerously haha. I need your opinion on insurance.

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