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Freetalk

Light, non-serious things related to living in Malaysia. May or may not be related to personal finance.

[PERSONAL] How I Get Great Clients Who Pay & Treat Me Well

I love my clients. They are freaking awesome. The best. They pay AND treat me well.

I feel like it’s time for me to be forward with my experience working with great clients, because if social media is to be believed, well-paying and respectful clients are supposedly hard to come by.

But let me just say – they’re not. I’ve had the odd bad apples, but in my four years (so far) working in self-employed capacity, the majority of my clients were nothing but absolute joys to work with.

(Note: I have two types of clients. Those who hire me in my capacity as Suraya the communications consultant and corporate writer to write reports and stuff, and those who hire me in my capacity as Suraya the blogger from Ringgit Oh Ringgit to promote their products and services. Both are amazing).

This post is a jumble of self-reflection – how and why do I get these amazing clients? I still don’t know for sure, but here are my theories.

Factor #1 – Luck

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6 Things I Want to Buy If I’m Rich (And How Much They Cost)

“If I’m rich, I would ____”

Take a second to answer that before you continue reading. What’s your answer?

There is usually an answer. I mean, most of us have daydreamed about being rich. I have. You have. Even rich people dream of being even richer.

Because I have no life and spend pretty much all of my time on social media, I’m quite familiar with the types of answers to this question. It’s almost always a variation of:

  • I would travel
  • I would buy [big-ticket item, usually property]
  • I would donate time and/or money to [X] charity or cause
  • I would make my loved ones happy
  • I would buy all the [hobby items]

Recently, I thought of what *I* want if I were rich. What is my desires, and how much they would actually cost me? Here’s my list.

#1 – Experience Burning Man

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What’s Its Like to Work From Home (4 Years Update!)

Wow, it’s been almost four years since I work from home full-time. The last time I wrote about it, I was only one year in!

It’s still a little bit surreal. Like many of you, I grew up thinking that 9-6 working days is the default. It’s even more surreal when I remember that this work from home thing was an accident. The plan was actually to do a bit of freelance writing to make some extra income while I find myself a new, stable job.

Then somehow work turned to more work and I just never stopped and here I am? Sometimes I still catch myself thinking ‘ah how nice would it be to work from home wait Suraya you do work from home you dolt’. 

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Everything I Got Rid Off In My 30-Day Decluttering Challenge

I describe myself as frugal, but once in a while often, I cross the ‘cheap’ line.

And I don’t want to be cheap. Being cheap puts me in a scarcity mindset, as opposed to the abundance mindset. You can’t be someone who is both ‘I believe I can earn as much as I want’ and ‘why buy the better option when the cheap option exists’. They’re contradictory of each other.

In May 2019, I started a 30-day decluttering challenge with the following objectives:

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(At Least) 17 Money Calculations You’ll Make In Your Life

Throughout your personal finance journey, you’ll inevitably do some money calculations.

For some people, this thought stresses them – their immediate reaction is ‘I don’t want to do it! I’m not good with numbers!’

I blame high school maths. I think it made many people think that these money calculations are harder than they actually are.

I’ve compiled here some money calculations. Go through them, and tell me – how many are *actually* hard for you to do?

1. Home Loan Calculator. You do this calculation when you’re starting to shop around for a property, to find out the estimated mortgage / home loan repayments per month that you’ll have to make.

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17 Things to Include in Your Money Journal

Those who know me in person know that I never go anywhere without my notebook, which also acts as my de facto money journal.

My notebook is my primary organisational tool, my productivity hack. It’s how I keep track of my life, including my financial life. I jot down everything* in there. The way I see it, what doesn’t get written, gets forgotten.

(*Except for my passwords. I use a password manager for that. Security first kids)

Here’s a list of financial-related information that you can include in your money journal.

#1 – Your monthly income

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Affordable Housing in Malaysia: 6 Alternatives to Consider

This article is dedicated to everyone who ever uttered the phrase: ‘I can’t afford housing in Malaysia, it’s so expensive!

Which, if I’m honest, is the majority of you, at one point or another. It’s one of your favourite complaints. The default, almost.

(You are right though. It is expensive, especially in Kuala Lumpur and Penang. According to Khazanah Research Institute, property prices in Malaysia is ‘severely unaffordable’ at 4.4 times the median annual household income in 2014. A more acceptable range is 3x.)

(Having said that, Malaysia’s housing market is nowhere near as bad as the Top 10 most unaffordable locations globally. Hong Kong is 20.9 times (!!!) the median annual household income as of 2018)

But still, ok, just because we’re not the worst doesn’t mean the situation is good for us. What can you do if you can’t afford the housing in Malaysia? What are your options when it comes to living situation?

Here are some alternatives.

#1 – Pick one: A Just-OK place in the city OR A Great place far from the city

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Everything I Paid For During My 10-Year Weight Loss Journey

I grew up fat. Or as my family calls it, ‘sihat’. I was the biggest in size in primary and secondary school. At my highest, my weight was almost 100kg. I was 20 years old then.

Now, 10 years later, my weight hovers around 75-78kg. My lowest weight ever was 72kg, right before I stopped keto diet. I think it takes this long because half the time I’m still unlearning bad habits accumulated over the years.

I’ve been taking fitness and weight loss seriously for about 3 years now and lost the bulk of the weight during this time. I have to stress that even before that I was non-stop dieting and trying to lose weight, but admittedly my attitude towards it was just warm-warm-chicken-shit. Now, I’m happy with my progress, but I know my fitness and weight loss journey is far from over. Someday I’ll hit the 60s range, just you wait.

To be honest, the slow progress frustrates me. I just want a nice body and be ‘the hot girl’ already. It takes all my willpower to consciously stop all the negative self-talk and remind myself of the progress over the years. That was also the main inspiration behind the [Personal] I Never Imagined Exercise Would Help My Career and Income, Until It Did article – I reread this piece every time I need a reminder of how far I’ve come.

How to save money on weight loss in Malaysia

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How My Dream Home in Malaysia Would Look Like

I’d like to introduce to you one of my favourite books in the world, New Aging: Live smarter now to live better forever by Matthias Hollwich with Bruce Mau Design. Found it at the Big Bad Wolf Booksale some years back for RM12. One of the best purchases I ever made.

dream home in malaysia

New Aging is a guidebook to optimising how we live, how to design our lifestyle so that we encourage lifelong happiness, productivity and self-development. I used to fear the ageing process (as we all), but this book helped me reframe that thinking, and even develop a positive attitude towards it.

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Where Do People Get the Money to Afford Their Amazing Lifestyles?

Is it just me, or do you also feel like other people have better lives than yours?

Based on their updates on social media, it seems like everyone is sporting new outfits, getting new blings, updating home decor, buying new toys, traveling to new places, enjoying nice food at fancy restaurants…

And your sad self wonders, why am I not doing as well as they are? What else do I need to do to bust my ass in order to afford those nice things in my life?

This article is all about guessing how and where other people get the money to afford their amazing-looking lifestyles. I’ve racked my brains thinking of all the possible ways. Here they are:

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