Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: September 2016

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September Budget Update Summary

I earned RM8743.22. Less than my target of RM10k, but it’s been a good month. Minus expenses for the month (RM3525.17), that’s still RM5k nett income. All of the income came from my writing services.

After earning between RM3-4k for the majority of my adult life so far, this amount boggles my head. Once I hit RM10k/month, what next? RM15k? RM25k? I don’t know, but I’ll cross that bridge when it comes. It’s not a bad problem to have.

Some people asked me how I did it. I think I’ll write this in a comprehensive post. It involves a lot of planning and actual doing. I know that sounds vague, but this month I crossed off a lot of ‘I should work on that’ (finally), and the results showed. So I guess it’s as simple as ‘do that thing you’ve put off’.

Shifting between being a hardcore ‘saver’ to ‘Eh I’ll just pay this amount, it saves my time’ is a new feeling. I’m not used to it yet.



Yay of the Month:

  • Worked during Pangkor DialogueThis was, hands down, the highlight of my month. Sustainable development is an amazing topic that I wish I’m more clever about. I didn’t manage to catch all sessions, but I was overjoyed to sit in during the speeches of keynote speakers Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus and creativity expert Fredrik Haren. I was also goddamn happy about Perak pledging to be a Social Business city.
  • Attended MaGIC Academy Symposium. Here’s my writeup on it. You can also check #MA2016 on twitter for a gist of what happened. All in all, it was a good trip. I wish I networked more, but I did make a few friends (and a potential client, fingers crossed!). MaGIC to me is like the cool kids’ table. I feel intimidated by the brilliant minds there. I want to be them.  I want to be so convinced of my  business model that my passion shows whenever I talk about it. The drive that many people showed during MA2016… was super attractive to me. I felt small. It was humbling.
  • Went to Inapdesa Bonda Saebah. Ok, this is not a widely-known place. My dad’s friend since college has a small kampung-stay place in Ganchong, Pahang. It can only sleep like max 8 people or so. The appeal is (1) kampung life (2) fruit orchard next to the chalet (I picked rambutans right from the trees!) (3) homemade Malay-style lunch buffet with kampung chicken, river fishes, and local vegetables (4) visit to fish farm. I found out that kerai fish is damn expensive (RM100/kilo, minimum). It was a lot of fun and my dad’s friends were friendly and chill to talk to. If your parents like this kind of experience, take them there!
  • I got some sorely-needed clothes. I took advantage of #MyCyberSale and got 3 new jeans. The last time I bought jeans, it lasted me 2-3 years. I hope this will last at least 5.
  • Ordered business cards 😀 Via Photobook. 200 cards for RM34.45 inclusive delivery.
  • Rented a car to travel to kampung for Raya. I could have saved more by taking a bus, but I wanted to save time. It turned out to be a good choice – smooth traffic all the way and good ride from a well-maintained car. If you’re looking for car rentals in Ipoh, I can recommend this one. The service was good.
  • There’s a subtle – be definite – change in my cat’s behaviour since he was spayed. He’s much more… agreeable now. Less aggressive. He knows how to tug my heartstrings and on occasions, demands to be lifted like a baby. I’m a happy mama.

Nay of the Month:

  • I spent crazy a lot on groceries this month. RM520. Wtf did I buy.
  • Is this why my friend said I gained weight? Dammit! Sadface sadface sadface.
  • I spent some time being unnecessarily annoyed at some things beyond my control. Like how some people decide to spend money even though they admit to being ‘broke’. It’s certainly not my problem, and jeez, I don’t know the full extend of their life and whatever, I’m just a stranger. Do lah what you want with your money. BUT it still annoyed me.
  • Spent a lot of time in monotony. I wake up, make coffee, have breakfast, work. Eat lunch, work. Eat dinner, work. I finish work by 9pm usually. Then I dick around online or on Reddit and I sleep. Some days I go to the gym. This routine makes me productive, but boring.
  • Hmm, that’s not it. I’m ok with being boring. I just want to be more diverse and have more life experiences. What would you suggest? What activities do you do to avoid monotony?

Things to Look Forward to:

  • To finish watching Mr Robot season 2.
  • Balance work and life a bit more. That’s why I’m getting a virtual assistant 🙂 You’ll probably see him/her online soon to help me manage RoR and make it better!
  • Being there for my family. It’s a tough time now, for reasons I won’t get into.

Be kind, October.

To read about my past monthly budget update, click here.

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  1. Hi Suraya! Yay to another new heights in your career!

    I don’t think you spend a lot on groceries, % wise it’s still a small figure. I think we are what we eat and if we could afford buying more or better food, we should. I don’t see it as lifestyle inflation, but maybe I am bias towards the tummy. [It’s health ok] :p

    1. Thank you, Lynn! Yeah, I do eat better food now, so it’s good 🙂 It’s just something I have to get used to!

  2. Hi Suraya. Checked off savings from unspent salary + returns from investments but looking to supplement what I earn by providing services. How did you land your first gig? Lots of door-knocking or simply the right place, moment and connections?

    1. Hey Julian!
      My first few gigs were via freelancing sites. I wrote about it in my freelance writing article –
      Over time, if you build up connections and if you’re good, you should have lots of repeat clients. Then its a matter of choosing which projects you want to work on.
      Some freelancers I follow (see Jorden Roper from advocates cold-emailing, and it works really well for her!

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