Cook at home, they say. Then you’ll save money, they say.
Then why is the groceries bill still too damn high?
I personally got myself into this predicament – in April 2019 I found myself spending RM767.95 for groceries?!? For one person?!
Because it *was* abnormally high, I told myself to get my shit together. It kind of worked – in May 2019, the amount went down to RM480.20. Guestimating 100 homemade meals a month, that’s RM4.80 per meal.
And – not to brag or anything – I eat well. My meals tend to be healthy, I try my best not to sacrifice nutrition. I think I’m doing well, because I haven’t been sick in years actually.
Here are some changes I made to lower my high groceries bill. As the numbers show you, they worked!
August 2018 was kind of a chill month. Spending-wise, I did good – RM6.2k was my lowest monthly spending since January 2018. I can’t wait to shave off around RM1k by the end of the year – that’s when both laptop and braces repayments will be fully paid off!
This is random, but just felt like sharing: I currently stay in a commercial area, as opposed to a residential area, and absolutely love this living arrangement. It’s just so convenient, most of the amenities I need are so near. At the place I’m renting now, I can walk to the bank, the groceries, the dentist, convenience stores, the mamak, the cinema, Starbucks, restaurants and more whenever I want (when they’re open la).
There are downsides, like paying more for utilities (I pay commercial rates) and facing the crowds during events, but overall, it’s pretty damn nice. I know for sure now that if and when I do decide to purchase my own home, I will get a place that will give me a similar lifestyle. Maybe a residential unit attached to a mall, to get the best of both worlds?
Those of you renting right now or living with your family. Have you thought of what kind of place you want to get? Or do you decide to just continue renting by choice? Let me know in the comments, I’m curious to hear your opinion about this topic.
This post was inspired by one of my favourite personal finance websites, The Financial Diet. Check out their version of the article here.
‘Don’t buy shit you don’t need’ – how many times have we all heard this six-word money advice? It sounds so simple, right?
The thing is, the definition of ‘shit you don’t need’ will differ greatly from person to person. What I think I don’t need and can cut from my budget is someone else’s necessity item, either required for their life/work or something they decided is worth the expense and thus budgeted in (instead of budgeted out).
Here are 15 things I have personally stopped buying and realised I didn’t miss.
#1 – A Car
Sometimes, the fact that I don’t own a car really surprises people around me. It’s considered a rights-to-passage-to-adulthood expense, something people buy as they start working.
I have a confession – in the last few months, I have been spending more than I earn.
This is weird to admit, but I have let lifestyle inflation creep up on me. I honestly didn’t realise my bare-minimum monthly spending – the amount I need to live comfortably but minimally – is now a whopping RM6k per month. Per month!
I dunno why. I kept thinking the number was closer to RM2.5k. Missed the mark by a mile. My goodness.
Professional life = awesome. Personal life = sucks.
Total expenses = scary, but mostly for the right things. Two-thirds of March 2018 expenses went to donations. Almost a quarter went to essentials like business, taxes and rent. The remaining went to groceries, a flight ticket, insurance, public transportation, mobile bill and some miscellaneous items (like a new chopping board to replace the yucky old one).
Two things that happen on a more regular basis now are invitations to events in my professional capacity and increased interest from advertisers to collaborate. You may be seeing more sponsorship posts in Ringgit Oh Ringgit from companies/organisations that want you to know about their products and services. I will try my best to be objective and fair to all parties, especially the readers.
Speaking of readers, thank you everyone who sent lovely notes and emails. It makes me feel really happy to know that my content helped you in your life. I love you, I mean it. Thanks for making my life purposeful. It’s more than what I hoped for when I first started this blog.
Yay of the Month:
Produced my first (and possibly my last) theatre show. Proud that In A Different Light: An Earth Hour Tribute was a sold-out show. Glad people loved how we did our digital marketing. Happy that we received so much support from the non-theatre world. It will be repaid.
Served as a panellist, moderator and participant in a few events. Fun to meet like-minded people. Marion D’Cruz even agreed to be my mentor!
Paid zakat and taxes. Stings, but they had to be done. Like last year, I paid my zakat to Islamic Relief Malaysia (writeup) – they give out receipt for tax purposes. For taxes, I paid but still have to sort out the filings.
Provided capital for my sister’s business. She was so touched, she sent me the ugliest crying selfies. Lol padan muka siapa suruh hantar. Love you.
Achieved the lowest weight in my adult life. Before you ask, I’m on keto.
Ran out of protein powder and coincidentally there’s a sale. 100 servings for RM175, or just RM1.75 per serving. The last time I got it, it was RM209. Score!
Read two books. Big Magic: Creative Living Without Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert and A Short Story of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. The former encouraged me to pursue my creative impulses for the sake of doing, while the latter covered a bit of everything from quantum theory, geology, chemistry, botany, evolution, astronomy and a whole load of other stuff. Unexpectedly, both taught me that life will simply move on, regardless how big (I perceive) my personal problems are. On a personal level, it’s okay to grief. On a cosmic level, it’s way too small to matter.
Inspired to continually tweak and optimise this website. Notably, fixed a caption issue that bugged me for ages!
Website traffic improved, but only marginally. Small progress is still progress though.
Nay of the Month:
The company that was supposed to do my trust for me (As Salihin) decided that they can’t do the trust after all without a wasiat/will, despite the earlier assurance. Wasted a lot of time with them.
In the span of 2 days, I bought 8 games from Steam. Just RM23.74 in total, so it wasn’t a huge amount to waste. But still, my productivity level dropped.
Did not quit smoking after all.
Overwhelmingly confused by the tax documents CP500. So LHDN will now calculate income tax based on our last recorded earnings and want us to pay in six instalments?
For the last 5 or so months, I’ve consistently earned more than USD100 per month via Google Adsense. In March 2018 it went below that amount. Have to step up quality, share-worthy posts.
Things to Look Forward to:
Going on a solo trip to Hong Kong. Got a cheap-ish flight in April. Should be fun. At least, a distraction. And something to write about. Now in the process of booking accommodations. Looking for a ‘living in the city’ experience – want to walk around, check out museums, go grocery shopping, meet people. Where should I stay there? Any recommendations and tips for Hong Kong travel appreciated.
Filing my taxes and claiming back overpaid payments.
I’m hoping for a quiet, reflective, yet busy April. Making an effort to chase happiness. Praying for yours, too.
To read about my past monthly budget update, click here. Graphs are taken from my expense-tracking app Money Lover (review).
The first time I did keto, I lost about 12kg. It’s the only diet that worked for me so far. Who knew that a high fat low carb diet can be this efficient?
I have since regained some of that weight so I’m doing keto again. This time around, I notice there are more people doing keto in Malaysia. And many of them complain about the same thing: all those good fat you have to eat to get into ketosis are so expensive!
So here are some budget tips that personally worked for me.