20 best purchases in 2020
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My 20 Best Purchases in 2020

Some people find it hard to save money; they’re natural spenders.

I’m the opposite. I’m a natural saver. It actually took me a while to be okay with spending money – especially for things I don’t technically need – without feeling guilty. I wrote about this complicated feeling in my [PERSONAL] Upgrading vs Making Do: My Dilemma with Lifestyle Inflation article.

But if 2020 have taught me anything, it’s this: it’s completely to use some of my savings (not money I don’t have!!) for joy. And in that spirit, I’d like to share 20 of my best purchases in 2020, in categories:

  • Things that save money & time
  • Personal growth
  • Thrifted
  • Food
  • Books
  • Beauty, and
  • Pure Joy

Here they are:

Things that save money & time

#1 – Automatic pet feeder – RM85

The automatic pet feeder is one of those purchases I don’t know how I ever managed without. It might be the single best purchase I made in 2020!

Aside from saving me time from feeding my cats 2-3x per day, this item has (1) stopped Lemon (pictured below) from scarfing down his food and subsequently vomit all over my carpet, and (2) stopped my cats from yelling bloody murder at me at 6am in the morning so I would wake up and feed them.

10/10 would recommend!

#2 – Menstrual cup – RM68

Lost my old cup (still don’t know how that happened, but it’s due for replacement anyway so no biggie) so I replaced it with The Hivette menstrual cup from The Hive. This purchase is a no-brainer – it will pay for itself within one year, and will last me for up to 10 years!

#3 – Fabric Masks – ~RM70

My flex is I’ve used only around 5 disposable face masks in total in 2020 – used reusable masks all the way on other occasions.

At the moment, I have 7 or so reusable face masks in rotation. I love the Airism masks from Uniqlo, and the upcycled fabric face masks from @cheapskate.fashionista from IG.

Personal Growth

#1 – Pursue CFP (Certified Financial Planning) – will cost ~RM10k in total

As some of you know, I’ve made decision to pursue CFP. If all goes well, I hope to be certified by the end of 2021 (fingers crossed!)

Quite happy to score this financial calculator for cheaper, too!

#2 – Everything related to Ringgit Oh Ringgit website and maintenance

Doing RinggitOhRinggit.com has been so fulfilling, and opened so many opportunities for me. In 2020, I collaborated with various financial institutions, launched 2 books, interviewed on ~10 occasions, and most importantly grew the personal finance community (thank you for the sweet messages you sent me!!). All the website costs – including hosting/domain/ support service membership – were more than worth it!

I’m not done with y’all. I have big plans in 2021, including a new look for the website. Stay tuned!

(Pictured: how RoR looked in 2015 vs 2020)

#3 – The Happiness Project Experience 2021 – RM815

I bought a year-long course designed by one of my favourite authors Gretchen Rubin <3 My My 21 for 2021 List: Money, Work, Learning, Health, Relationship and Misc Projects Goals article was inspired by her as well.

Bonus: Financial Behaviour Assessment

An assessment to discover your financial behaviour and biases, so you’re aware of your blindspots and be better at money management and investing!!!!

This was a GREAT assessment and I’ll dedicate an article to do it justice, but worth mentioning in passing here. I got the Couple test and completed it with my partner – we found out areas where we are similar in money, and where we are different. Really eye-opening for us.

The Financial Behaviour Assessment is available for individuals and couples. You can buy for yourself here (disclosure: I’ll get a commission on sales, but I was the one who loved it so much and reached out to offer to sell it).

Thrifted

#1 – Shaggy carpet – RM15

My living room was carpet-less for at least 4 years until I found this secondhand carpet from Jalan Jalan Japan.

(I’m not really big on home decorating and mostly only add on non-essential furniture and home decor when I find extremely good deals)

#2 – Clothes

I thrifted a few cute tops and dresses, ranging from RM5-RM40, from thrift stores and Carousell. Received a lot of compliments on the dress, I’m happy!

Food

#1 – Snacks from Signature Market

I can’t stop raving about Signature Market, especially their gourmet popcorn, it is THAT good. My favourite is Chocolate, please go buy it and try, its amazing.

Read my review on Signature Market here.

#2 – All my groceries – ~RM600 per month

I love grocery shopping. It satisfies my shopping mood, allows me to be creative (I like trying new ingredients and figuring out how to use up odd ingredients!), and I get to enjoy delicious food at a cheaper price (see pictures!)

If you love grocery-shopping as much as I do, you’ll love the following articles:

#3 – Daging Dendeng + Rendang Pucuk Ubi from Dapur Omak

However, on days when I don’t feel like cooking, I’m glad I have my daging dendeng and rendang pucuk ubi stock from @dapur_omak from IG. Meals cannot be easier even on the busiest of days.

#4 – Ground coffee from Sols Coffee Roastery

Its hard to have a bad day if you start it with freshly-brewed coffee 🙂 It’s part of my morning ritual and I love how it starts my day right.

Books

I bought and read a lot of books in 2020, can’t possibly share all here, so I picked some lesser-known ones for this space.

#1 – 2020: An Anthology from Fixi Novo

#2 – Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping by Judith Levine

By the end of the book, I understood that doing no-spend challenges is not about not spending money, but about being mindful about it.

It’s also quite eye-opening how her self-imposed spending ban impacted her relationships – she wrote about how she felt guilty that her friends were gifting/treating food and items, as she couldn’t buy them herself.

Beauty

#1 – Wax Strips – RM15

I guess I can take out eyebrow threading cost from my budget, because 2020 was the year I finally learned how to shape my own eyebrows!

#2 – Hair cut + Hair Perm at A Cut Above Academy – RM150

I’m lazy efficient, so I perm my hair ~once a year so it takes me less time to get ready throughout the year. The deal from A Cut Above Academy was unbeatable!

#3 – YOKO Deep Intensive Treatment Hair Mask (Avocado) – RM30

Thanks Twitter folks for this product recommendation! My hair loves this product!

Pure Joy

Last but not least, here are some purchases which brought me a lot of joy in 2020. They are all budgeted-for ‘wants’.

#1 – I-Blason Laptop Case – RM78

I waited to find a sturdy but more importantly PRETTY laptop case I liked for under RM100!

#2 – Rirana Perfume sample set -RM100

If you like your fragrances, I can’t recommend this set enough. Amazing quality and super value for money!!

#3 – Gold jewellery

My hypo-allergenic hoops from Lovisa finally rusted, and since I had some money to play around with (I used my dulang hantaran money), I decided to upgrade my jewellery game and got some gold pieces.

They look so good on me that I don’t even care that gold price fell since I bought them!

What are some of your best purchases in 2020?

I’ve shared my 20 best purchases in 2020. Your turn – what are some of your best purchases in 2020, and why? Share with us in the comments section!

Last but not least – because this is a personal finance blog, I trust that all of you have budgeted for those purchases, and only buying things that you can afford and not on credit card/personal loans!

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4 Comments

  1. I’m a natual saver and same as u – it took me a while to be okay with spending money without feeling guilty (except for food lah haha).

    My best purchase in 2020 is the Carote non stick pan that u recommended lol.
    My 3yrs old Tefal is due for change during MCO, and this new pan definitely helped a lot over the past few months, somemore is cheaper than Tefal. Surprised to find out later that my sister in Singapore bought the same pan during lockdown lol.

    Others:

    – washing machine. Used to go to the laundry after the previous washing machine at home broke down few years ago. Was staying at hostel so didn’t find the need for a new machine. Super grateful to made this purchase in Jan, especially during covid times.

    – a two seater sofa from IKEA. Didn’t find the need to have sofa, but decide to buy before CNY. Served as extra seats whenever I have guests around for dinner, the size is just nice for my dining table. Also lie down a lot whenever I take a break while working from home.

    – mini portable stove for camping / home steamboat. Previously had a very cheap one which was dangerous to use, the whole thing on fire after few use lol. New one from Golden Fuji RM66, light and easy to use.

    – customised cut mdf board to add more layers to my existing bookshelf that I converted as shoe shelf. I can finally stack more shoes neatly yayyy! (cost: RM35 for 6 boards + nuts for the shelf)

    – Under Amour running shoe from sports direct RM200. Had been running with my trail run / hiking shoe for few years, which is heavier and probably bad for my ankle. This new shoe allow me to jog comfortably for longer.

    – A pair of yoga blocks. Gave up learning yoga for few years, and bought this after tried using it while practicing yoga with friends. Definitely feel more comfortable to practice yoga (as a beginner).

    – A new pair of flats from hush puppies (existing one also from hush puppies served me >4yrs.) Kept delay this purcahse as we’re still in covid and stays home most of the time. In the end bought it because I like the style and it was on sale.

    – A new handbag online RM150 (existing one from Charles & Keither served me >3yrs and started to peel off). Hope the quality is ok, still waiting it to arrive.

    Wow

    1. Thanks for sharing pc, I really enjoyed reading your list! The part about mini portable stove made me laugh then made me feel guilty for laughing lolol sorry that sentence was an emotional journey

      Take care and all the best for 2021! Come again to comment on other articles – I love hearing from other natural savers!

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