Money Diaries: Pre-Christmas Nov 2020
How have you been? Hard as it may be, we’ve made it to nearly the end of this year. All the rakyat deserve some confetti 🎉 to be surviving; except for MY politician or family members of the politicians, you are not welcomed here (well, I am pretty sure none of them is reading this).
My new monthly budget is RM3,500 (except for Dec and Chinese New Year), and thankfully I went below the budget by RM290 in November. It’s bizarre how my expenses don’t seem to reflect my identity as a single office lady. I should be wearing Gabrielle by Chanel with tea rose lipstick (or Inappropriate red to stir some risque) and sip chai latte in the evening. Instead, my spending diary looks like a desperate housewife. It looks as if I stayed home, cooking, eating, and continuously giving just to survive the month. Did I?
I know lots of cheap eat hacks but it doesn’t help that I am a foodie that takes a specific variety of free-range eggs known as “the pearl” with Fleur de Sel and 6 grams of butter to make the perfect scramble for breakfast. After platters of sashimi, poke bowl, french crab, artisan burgers, and rose tea lattes, boom, please pay RM1015. Oh, there must be food left in the fridge for the month of December. I hope.
I also cave-in to self-heating spicy steamboat with braised beef. They taste awesome, not that healthy. It’s a perfect thing to eat on winter days (or tropical evening rain) and you did not eat table salt for months. At least, I did place an order for organic vegetables to add to the health list ( Hold on, I am giving up on organic because they’re more expensive than, Russia’s secret caviar?).
On the bright side, there’s minimal food waste now (housemate occasionally snack out my stash, I am cool with that). I learned my lesson early on the cooking journey. Now I only bulk buy the simple three – what I can keep dry, keep frozen, or tasty to eat.
Giving is higher this month as I also bought gifts for Christmas (December will be brutal too). I already got 7 gifts for the 34 people on my list (these are just close friends and family), and I can’t exactly put an Out for Holiday’s signpost on the door this year. My list used to be small and I can surprise them with elaborated gifts. This year, the lockdown makes me feel like I want to extend the reach a little and give everyone a simple, joy-lifting gift. Scented shower gel, board games, or a meal voucher?
Of course, if I see any one of them wearing the latest Apple air pods on zoom (they pop-up like mushrooms), I’ll secretly slash their name from the gift list. They certainly don’t need a gift to deal with life stresses when they can hit the noise cancellation.
One thing I don’t do for Christmas is a gift wish list. I tried it once with a community center and once with a group of friends. It’s a gifting nightmare. How to buy a motorcycle for a family (which they really need) or decide which perfume suits a person when I would only spray-on the free tester bottle at the counter (There’s a myth that tester bottles are of better quality)? It’s best to stick the wish list to best friends, absolute best friends, or maybe the parents.
Perhaps, giving should only be one that makes an impact. A friend shared a video of a relief mission he made last year, and I am compelled to sponsor a child through WorldVision. Would this be a start to a second family? Should I ditch the 34 friends all together and collect more kids living in a harsh community?
Little wins for November:
Mini dividends from RDS and KHC at $6.00 and IGBREIT for RM57. It’s a happy month for free things again. This time I get a waterproof backpack, hands-free earbud, digital rice cooker, and face-cream.
My heart sing a little when I found out that the RM2.5 tea-alive bubble tea ice-cream taste like my favorite RM12 “homemade” earl gray ice cream in Owl Cafe. Also, bought the Espresso 57 100% coffee at RM19 and will be making 50 cups of coffee in Dec.
I find it hard and lazy to work with a manager that all he does is ask for things you have done, and every day I am dragging myself up to work at home. But hey, work pays the bills. And what can I say if the company wants to burn money like it’s free on the excessive positions.
Waste my time streaming Netflix. I know that time is precious, just that I have very little to look forward to in life now. Sitting in front of the moving pictures makes me think that I am alive.
Look for a house with cheaper rent in 2021. I will need to sign a new contract and put some home improvements in the empty unit but overall it should lower my expenses.
Join an accountability group to work on a business AI startup seriously. Yeah, me, trying to stay focus and do deep work before this year ends. We found a China full-stack developer, and he turned down our offer because our market is too small. And I am constantly reminded in the news that I have no edge because I am not a Malay. I always wonder why a journalist needs to identify the perpetrator or victim with race. Like if you’re born black, you’re more likely to steal when it’s 99.9% about the family upbringing, life opportunity, environment, and education one gets.
Finally, review my financial portfolio, minimize tax, maximize EPF withdrawal. I am broken and sort of mess up when it comes to investment. Perhaps I need to write about investments to be better at investments. Since I tend to make better decisions on things I write down.
How has November been to you and what are your expenses plan for this month?