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Suraya’s Monthly Budget Update

Suraya’s Monthly Budget Update: See how I budget my money while living as a young adult in Malaysia.

Budget Update: September 2019

budget update september 2019 1

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?

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Budget Update: August 2019

budget update august 2019

Budget Update: August 2019

Have you ever used learning as an excuse to NOT do something? Like, in a “oh I can’t possibly do that yet, I’m still learning about it” way.

Yeah. Hi. Can I join the club?

Creating video content is that thing that I’m forever ‘learning’. So far, in the last couple of years, I’ve:

  • Asked many people for advice
  • Bought some equipment
  • Bought a video-editing software
  • Bought and went through courses (including one in August designed to conquer the fear of being on camera, a course called ‘Confidence on Camera’)
  • Made a looooong list of possible video content angles

And yet – and yet! – at time of writing, I still can’t bring myself to actually do it. The only reason why I have a Ringgit Oh Ringgit Youtube channel set up (if you want to be an early subscriber…) is because I need a place to house a collaboration video done with HelloGold.

On one hand, ok fine baby steps. On another hand, this baby needs to grow the hell up.

Someone smack some sense into me please. Or suggest video content you want to watch, maybe that might help. I don’t know.

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Budget Update: July 2019

july 2019

Budget Update: July 2019

I spent over RM7k in July 2019. It’s an okay amount, considering I’m super blessed with work at the moment.

Let’s talk about work. Aside from business writing work – my main source of income outside of Ringgit Oh Ringgit – I’ve seen a noticeable increase in sponsored post inquiries from potential clients. Is this a side effect from higher focus by the government to improve the nation’s financial literacy?

If yes, and I do think so, then woah it’s in your benefit to jump into the personal finance blogging space. Go check out my 6 Personal Finance Blog Ideas, Absolutely Free for You to Take article.

 

july 2019

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Budget Update: June 2019

budget update june 2019

Budget Update: June 2019

What a memorable month. More about that under ‘Yay of the month’ section below.

For the past few months, I’ve battled my ‘solopreneur’ identity quite a bit. I feel like I should take advantage of this momentum I’m having and expand, get a team under the Ringgit Oh Ringgit brand. I thought of hiring a team of writers and video editors, create more content.

But slowly, through personal reflection, I figured out that (a) I’m really happy being a one-person team, (2) I have no desire to be the boss of anybody, and (c) having a team would require an office, and I worked so hard so I didn’t have to *go* to an office every day.

Maybe I’ll change my mind in the future. Maybe that’ll still happen, out of necessity or change of heart. But for now, I’m loving the way I work. I can still outsource if the workload gets too much. I can still collaborate with other people to create content that I can’t personally create.

Any of you consider yourself solopreneurs? Do you plan on staying that way or planning to expand? Let me know in the comments section.

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Budget Update: May 2019

budget update may 2019 1

Budget Update: May 2019

An okay month, budget-wise. Things slow down due to fasting season, less events and meetups than usual. That gave me more time to spend on online courses.

The one I’m enlisted in now, Dream Job course by Ramit Sethi, has a component forcing me to identify and list down my mental barriers, or negative beliefs that stop me from achieving whatever it is that I want to achieve.

After taking some time to think about it, I came up with 6 mental barriers that I personally have:

  1. Fear in managing a team. This has kept me as a solopreneur all this while, a one-person team. I realise that while I can grow fast, I can’t grow far without hiring people.
  2. Hard to get out of scarcity mindset. It’s not as bad as before, but my default is still to save money rather than earn money.
  3. Need to improve my presentation & speech skills. It can be better. It can always be better.
  4. Stingy with higher-cost self-development tools and courses. Self-explanatory.
  5. Don’t like working with VIPs or bigshots. So I prefer not having them as clients, despite the big paychecks. I’m okay with this barrier actually.
  6. Uncomfortable with outbound sales. I guess the solution for this is to be really, really good with inbound sales.

‘Fixing’ myself will be a process, hopefully a fun and fulfilling one. I just want to be the best version of myself, you know? After talking to some friends, a few suggested going to Toastmasters meetups to improve on #3.

If anyone has more suggestions on how I can improve my presentation skills, I’m all ears 🙂 Been getting more speaking and presenting gigs nowadays. I just want to do a good job and be worth people’s time.

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Budget Update: April 2019

budget update april 2019

Budget Update: April 2019

In April 2019, I spent just under RM6k, inclusive of Zakat payment. That’s alright, I guess.

Okay let’s talk about something else. I like brainstorming for different ways to make money – regular readers know that. Recently, I thought of two more ways in addition to what I’m already doing now.

  1. Coaching services – Not for financial planning, but for financial organisation. I’m good at tracking my expenses, putting them neatly in categories, and reviewing them regularly to look for patterns. It’s a service I can sell on an individual or group basis.
  2. Personal finance retreat – Think of it like yoga retreat but for financial mindset. I figure this is a good way to get a fully-paid retreat for myself while helping others at the same time.

Which one would you join?

Again, both are in the consideration stage, nothing’s concrete yet, they just sound fun and financially worthwhile to do. I’d probably give early access and get beta testers from email subscribers, so join the mailing list if you’re interested.

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Budget Update: March 2019

march 2019

Budget Update: March 2019

My expenses in March 2019 scared me. The number was so high!

The top 5 expenses in March 2019 were Business, Dates/Travel, Utilities & Rent, Misc Needs and Groceries. Together, those made up 82% of last month’s expenses.

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Budget Update: January 2019

budget update january 2019

Budget Update: January 2019

Wake up. Brush teeth. Make coffee, have breakfast. Check my daily to-do list. Anxiety. Take out phone, scroll online for hours for distraction. Tell myself to get back to work. Anxiety. Find food to eat. Repeat until midnight. Repeat for days on end.

January 2019 should have represented a new start and a new beginning, but it didn’t, at least not for me. For much of the month, I was stuck in a destructive procrastination mode. I’d spend hours mindlessly scrolling the web and eating comfort food, knowing that those behaviours are my unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Guys. I want to do so many things. I want to achieve so many things. But they’re overwhelming and I fear failure and instead of rising up to the challenge, I… get anxious instead. When I feel that way I just want to distract myself (phone) or feel comforted (food).

Does this happen to you? What do you do to break yourself out of that spell?

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Budget Update: December 2018

Budget Update: December 2018

Happy new year! Welcome, 2019! Thank goodness I didn’t go out on New Year’s Eve, or I would’ve spent more than RM6000 in December 2018 for sure!

December 2018 was… alright. A mix of extreme happiness and extreme apathy; a strange, emotionally confusing month. I pushed the limits of my mental strength, and found it. In the same month, I tried to: go to the gym regularly, maintain a strict diet and quit smoking, all on top of my regular schedule and work. It exhausted me. I felt like I was not really ‘there’ most of the time.

I’m glad I found my limit though. Now I know what I can and cannot do, and be more careful when implementing multiple challenges at once (even though they’re all technically good for me). As of time of writing, I’ve decided to stop the strict diet (keto btw) because it’s beginning to be quite damaging to my mental health. At one point, my cravings got so bad I spent an afternoon making a list of food items I that I ‘cannot’ have but really want. It came up to 37 items.

Any of you tested your capability to follow through a strict self-development routine? How’d it work for you?

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