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Budget Update: April 2020

Budget Update: April 2020

Another month where only 4 categories showed up in my expense-tracking app:

  • Business (RM4,877.69) – mostly paid the balance of book order, and packaging for deliveries
  • Utilities & Rent (RM1,352.47) – ze living quarters
  • Misc Needs (RM565.22) – restocked cat food and cat litter, bought office chair, new stand fan and kettle (more on that under Nay section below)
  • Everything else

Let’s talk about something. Donations. This has been on my mind, and I just want to let it off my chest.

As you know, a lot of people are having financial hardship. A lot of people are seeking help.

I think… I’ve become increasingly desensitised to the many, many donation calls which appeared in my social media timeline. Nowadays I simply scroll past most of them, opting to take the ‘don’t see, don’t know’ approach.

As time goes on, I know that I will only give my attention and money to the donation calls that are especially gut-wrenching. The ones with emotional pictures and copywriting. They work, you and I know they do, think of the last donation you made. And as NGOs understand how well they work, they’ll use that strategy more and more.

The higher volume means I’ll get desensitised to those soon enough, too.

Feeling guilty for not doing more when I have the means to do so is a constant feature of my life now. I’m aware how much this sounds like virtue-signalling – I’m pissed off at myself too because boohoo kesian Suraya wow she feels horrible, wtf Suraya this ISN’T about you, how DARE you think YOU have it rough when millions, maybe BILLIONS of people will starve. In 2020.

I don’t know, you guys. Does avoidance as a coping mechanism make me a bad person? Is choosing to prioritise my FI/RE journey a bad thing? I hate that I hate wealth inequality, yet choosing to do the exact same wealth preservation strategy the rich are making, by ‘staying invested’.

Bleak thought process? Well it’s a bleak world. I’ll try and focus on the good, but I can’t lalala my way out of this. The journey to understand my own psyche continues. I hope eventually I’ll come to a better way to cope and/or manage resources. This is part of personal finance too.

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What’s On My Bookshelf: What I Read and HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Let’s just skip the whole ‘why reading is important’ part because you already know that and I don’t want to insult your intelligence.

After showing you the contents of my bag, today I want to show you another aspect of my personal life: the books I read. These are the worldviews and ideologies that shape me: I am who I am because of these materials. Everything I write is directly or indirectly influenced by these authors.

My bookcase contains more than personal finance books.  I read a wide variety of topics, mostly non-fiction. If you want personal finance-specific book recommendations, do check out these articles instead:

Without further ado, let’s start. I’m not going to list ALL of my books, just the ones that truly made me think and self-reflect, even years after I read them. Some of them also inspired RoR articles (I’ll link them too).

Have fun checking out what’s on my bookshelf. As if you need a reason to buy more books, lol.

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Budget Update: January 2020

Budget Update: January 2020

I had a good start to the year, if I do say so myself! There were definitely more ups than downs in January 2020, I’m feeling very grateful 🙂

In terms of expenses, I guess not breaking RM6k is a minor win, given all my ongoing projects – both business and personal. I think I struggled a bit with focusing, reducing anxiety and ‘switching off’ (because there were too many things going on!) and while my coping mechanism could be better, it’s not horrible either.

For example, here’s an unnecessary cause of stress: feeling guilty that I enjoy being distracted with work *while* I’m exercising, because it makes the time go faster. It feels like cheating somehow. I actually felt better after giving myself permission to just do it, because at least some exercise is better than no exercise right? Small matter, but there you go.

Here’s another unnecesary cause of stress: my parents – because they love me so much, and also adat – want a more elaborate wedding procedure than what I would have planned for myself (oh surprise I’m getting married this year). It was hard for me to accept, but I guess it is what it is and above all I want to make them happy. So my solution? I gave them a budget to stick to. Let’s see if that works.

All these, I guess, are examples of ‘change what you can, accept what you can’t’ in practice. As much as you want to try and change the situation, sometimes you just can’t, you gotta admit that and be okay with it and move on. Life just don’t hand you everything you want because you ‘want’ it or ‘worked’ for it.

What’s something you don’t particularly like but kind of accepted in life, and try to make the best of? How do you reduce unnecessary stresses? Share with me in the comments section!

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13 Referral Programmes You Can Use to Earn Money (Up to RM200++ Each)

One of my favourite things about being a writer is the creativity I can apply during the content creation and monetisation process. There are so many ways to earn money!

And you know what? Anyone can write. And everyone has a network of friends and family to tap into. It’s just a matter of doing it well, in a ‘everyone likes to buy but no one likes to be sold’ kinda way.

In this article, I would like to share with my fellow content creators – both current, future and even casual ones – the referral programmes that I have experience in using, plus the amount of income they have generated for me so far.

I’m also giving links of posts containing the referral links so you can have a sense of what types of content do well, and which do not. Knowing what *doesn’t* work is part of learning too.

Some disclaimers before we start:

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Budget Update: October 2019

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

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Revealed: My Business Expenses as a Blogger in Malaysia

How much do you think professional bloggers in Malaysia spend to maintain their website and work? Go on, take a guess.

I don’t know about the rest, but for me, the amout is RM1.1k per month on average.

How did I get that figure? Well, I know that I’ve spent RM56,438.67 in Business expenses from June 2015 until the time of writing (September 2019).

expenses blogger in malaysia

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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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Link Roundup #28: 10 Things to Know This Week

Accelerate your personal finance knowledge with this regular feature on Ringgit Oh Ringgit – the Link Roundup! I promise you’ll find these 10 links informational 🙂

1. The Real Reason Why You’re Bad With Money – VICE

…could be that you’re too, well, nice. According to the article,

“Those with ‘a higher degree of the personality trait known as agreeableness, meaning they are more likely to be altruistic, kind, and trustworthy than the rest of us make great friends, but they’re also more likely to be bad with money.”

If a good friend of yours has this personality trait, please look out for them. Their personality literally makes it hard for them to avoid helping others, even if it causes their financial ruin. These are the ones who co-signs a bad loan, lends people money (and never asks or gets it back), and quick to offer to pay for lunches and drinks.

If that describes who you are, don’t change. The world needs kind souls like you. But do learn how to say no, and practice it regularly. If saying ‘no’ is hard, repeat the phrase “Let me think about it” over and over to the requester.

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Pros & Cons List of 5 Popular Investments in Malaysia

In this article, I’m going to give you a condensed but concise pros/cons list of five of the most popular investments in Malaysia: fixed deposits, mutual funds/unit trust, stocks, gold and properties/land. I’m also going to give you the tried-and-tested strategies that work well with each type of investment.

Why these five? Simple – because the overwhelming majority of us will start our investing journey with one of them first.

Let’s get right into it.

#1 – Fixed Deposit

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All the Financial Tools I Use for My Own Money Management (Malaysia-Specific)

The other day I was listing out all the financial tools that I personally use for money management in my notebook, and the list got kinda long.

That got me thinking – all of you must have your own money management system, right? Even if it’s in your head, even if it’s messy. You know, more or less, that the money in account X is for daily use and the money in account Y is earmarked for, say, retirement.

I did that list because (1) it’s good to know exactly what I have and what I use it for and (2) I don’t want to accidentally forgot about an account, which happens more often than you’d think (that’s why there’s over RM5.77 billion in unclaimed money???).

So here you go – an article compiling all the financial tools I use for my own money management. Please don’t @ me if any of them sucks for you – they’re just the best option for my situation right now – I’m not loyal to any of them and happy to switch to better solutions as and when it suits me. Also please don’t take anything here as investment advice.

The financial tools are arranged in this order:

  • Bank account
  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Pre-loaded/Loyalty cards
  • E-wallets
  • International money transfers/payments
  • Investment
  • Retirement
  • Insurance
  • Estate-planning
  • Accounting
  • Budgeting app
  • Other accounts with money inside it
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