budget update september 2019
Suraya's Monthly Budget Update

Budget Update: September 2019

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Budget Update: September 2019

I spent a little under RM6k in September 2019, with half of that going to Medical and Rent & Utilities categories. I’ll expand a bit more about them in the Yay and Nay sections below.

Now, let’s talk about how dope personal finance is, as a topic. I can’t get enough of it, I’m still obsessed with it. There’s always something that challenges my thinking.

For example, I have been a ‘buy experiences, not things’ practitioner. Been so for years. But the tweet below made me seriously evaluate my approach.

Sometimes I forget how different people value different things. Who am I to decide or judge how you interpret happiness?

I think it’s time to retire ‘buy experiences, not things’ from my personal finance approach. Instead, I will use the phrase ‘intentional spending’ instead, the opposite of ‘mindless spending’. I want to be more mindful of what I spend on, regardless whether they are experiences or things.

(Although, it’s fair to note here that research did say that spending on experiences, not things usually makes people happier. So don’t use this as an excuse to splurge or anything.)

And thus, I find myself buying non-thrifted art for the first time. I’ve never allowed this purchase for myself. I’ve never bought something beautiful for the sake of it being beautiful. Whatever pretty knick-knacks I have, must also be practical: think boxes, containers, pillows, candles.

And you know what? This art piece does make me happy. I don’t regret the purchase.

Any of you hold back against collecting art – however you define it – because of the ‘buy experiences, not things’ approach?

budget update september 2019

Yay of the Month:

  • For years, I mainly earn a living from my writing work – both corporate jobs and blogging-related. Nowadays, I get more speaking engagements, which I thought I’d hate but surprisingly okay with doing. Go further down to the Looking Forward sections to see my speaking engagements in October 2019 🙂
  • Made more requests from the Ringgit Oh Ringgit audience to purchase Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 1 at bookstores, because having a best-seller book would be awesome, and omg it worked??? Melisa sent me this image showing the book is now in the Top 10 list at Borders Bookstore – I am ecstatic!!! Those of you who haven’t bought it, please consider purchasing a copy (or a few). The book is available at Borders, MPH, Popular, Kinokuniya and Times Bookstores. Thank you so much in advance!
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Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 1 is now listed in @borders_my ‘s Top 10 non-fiction list!!! 🤯🤯🤯 . Thank you so much Melisa for snapping and sharing this pic. I’m so blessed and grateful for you and everyone’s support. You folks are so sweet I kenot uuuu 😭 . I have a favour to ask. If you have extra pocket money (only if you do okay), can you buy a copy of the book at bookstores near you? That’s literally the only way to remain (and get a higher spot) on the BESTSELLERS LIST . In exchange, let me know what topics you’d like me to cover more in ringgitohringgit.com. I don’t like asking for something without offering something back in return! . Thanks in advance, Suraya . #malaysianauthors #malaysianwriters #malaysiabloggers #bloggermalaysia #bordersbookstore #kualalumpur #personalfinancemalaysia

A post shared by Suraya Zainudin (@surayaror) on

    • Read two books: China Rich Girlfriend by Kewin Kwan (hella entertaining!) and Everything is Figureoutable by Marie Forleo (!!!! Life-changing !!!)
    • A little bit more about Marie Forleo. She’s my latest motivational obsession. I loved the book and the ‘everything is figureoutable’ quote – essentially the importance of implementing a ‘can do’ attitude. No matter how tough things seem, always look for solutions, always look for learning opportunities, always grow. I especially loved the chapter about reframing fear. Instead of seeing fear as a negative emotion, embrace the feeling, it’s actually telling you what you need to work on for your own personal growth. It’s a friend, not an enemy.
    • Had a wonderful haul at Jalan Jalan Japan, my favourite thrift store!

    • Did some volunteering work: mentored at Startup Weekend: Women edition and held a financial management workshop for a WOMEN:girls programme.
    • Downgraded my shampoo – from RM200 bottle of Kerastase shampoo to Sunsilk, which I only picked up because it was on sale. I have been treating myself to a series of back-to-back lifestyle upgrades and I just need to do something to break that chain.
    • Made my first presentation in Melaka. The Pecha Kucha Petaling Jaya team asked if I’d do it for the second time. As soon as they said, ‘we also want you because we want diversified speakers at the event’, I’m sold, I’m weak against those arguments. My presentation is about you 🙂 I hope to get the video to upload and share with you later 🙂

      • There was a tear in my bag. I contemplated buying a new bag, but decided to sew it up and now its as good as new. This might seem like a minor thing to mention(and it is) and I just want to say the primary reason for that is I refuse to throw the bag away BEFORE its cost-per-use goes down to 10 sen per day or something.
      • Joined someone’s Netflix plan for RM11 per month and omg! Netflix has amazing content!

      Nay of the Month:

        • As you can see from my expense breakdown, 29% of all expenses in September was categorised under Medical. A large chunk of that was the chiropractor payment, the first of 6 that I have to make to fix my spine (months 2-6 will cost RM500 per month).

        • Ate out a LOT. Also indulged in a few food deliveries to take advantage of various Malaysia month promos. They were delicious… but definitely not good for my waistline. Need to make more effort to cook/eat at home. Oh well, at least the silver lining is lower-than-usual groceries bill.
        • I know I spend an absurd amount of time online, so I bought a time-tracking app. It basically told me what I already knew – that I am dependent to my phone. Did the app help me reduce my screen time? Yes, for the first two days. It’s a process, but at least I took the first step to quantify it.

        Things to Look Forward to:

          • Being one of the panelist at the Principal Investing Seminar, happening on 5 October! Get your ticket here!

          • Moderating TWO sessions at Securities Commission’s upcoming SCxSC Fintech event! See the full schedule and buy tickets at https://scxsc.my/

          • Appearing on a video and livestream session – see updates at the Ringgit Oh Ringgit FB page
          • Doing a couple of workshops during Writers Workshop – see updates at the Ringgit Oh Ringgit FB page
          • Continue working on Money Stories from Malaysians: Volume 2
          • Attending a Writer’s Retreat, organised by the Malaysian Writers Society

          October 2019 sounds tough… but everything is figureoutable. Bring it on. FINAL QUARTER OF 2019, LET’S GO.

          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. Sorry to hear about your back! Not sure if you are doing yoga but I reckon you can give it a try to fix your body alignment and posture. 🙂 It will be more effective to couple them with the chiropractor session! Hope this helps as you have been giving me multiple inspirations and help through this blog! Feel better soon!

            1. Thank you Hazel for your well wishes! I’ll look out for yoga sessions to participate in, its been a while 🙂

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