Month in Review: October 2018
It’s been a pretty chill month. It’s a bit unsettling that I’m starting to get used to seeing my monthly expenses hit the RM5k range. These days, the bulk of my monthly money drain goes to paying rent. But I’ve reduced a lot of unnecessary expenses last month. Overall, I spent about RM5,211.58.
My total spending last month is down by 15% compared to September. In September, I spent a lot to furnish my home. Nine months after moving into a new place, I finally bought a sofa and a fridge. Don’t judge me. In October, there wasn’t much spending for home upkeep, thank god. There’s a slight increase for my car because I serviced it.
The biggest expense, which is really an investment, is putting away RM1k into a PRS account. Frigging finally. Procrastinated it for so long. It pains me the amount of sales charges I have to pay for the PRS fund but the tax break outweighs that for now.
I started an installment plan for my CFA exam fees. My credit card benefits are becoming increasingly shitty lately so I’m thinking of switching to a different bank. I’m so annoyed because I had to pay a 3% upfront fee for the 12-month installment when two years ago, it was zero percent. What’s up with that?
Everything else is pretty much par for the course. My savings rate for October came up to about 50%. I was pretty lucky last month to catch a bit of windfall from a previous project I worked on.
Going forward in November, however, I don’t expect to be so lucky in terms of income and expenses. There’s gonna be a lot of unusual expenses this month (you’ll find out why in a bit). I also need to pay for my car insurance AND some car maintenance this month. It’s likely that November will see a much bigger jump in car-related expenses.
I’ve been taking it really slow these last two months. I was still trying to figure out what my best move would be career-wise. After much contemplation, I’ve decided to enter the workforce again.
The main reason is that I am having trouble coping with the instability due to my current mental state. I know that feels like an excuse. It’s an excuse I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up over. But I think it’s okay to admit that some things are just beyond your abilities at the moment. At any other time in my life, I welcome the challenge of building and creating something worthwhile for myself but it’s been tough just taking care of myself lately.
With that said, going into job interviews I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted routine and stability. I wanted something that generates enough income to sustain my cost of living and still give me approximately 40-50% savings rate. Which meant I was extremely picky about the jobs I applied for and let’s be real, a job like that in Malaysia is hard to come by.
I was also contemplating making another big change in my life. After my European adventure, a seed of an idea was planted in my brain. Over time, it grew and bloomed into a firm decision that I just could not deny. I wanted to move to another country.
And so, I started applying for jobs in other countries. It was a fat chance I’d get any follow-ups from those applications but two weeks later, I got calls from a few companies. One of them I went through the entire interview process and finally got an offer.
Anddddd, I accepted the job! Lately, I’m starting to let go of the notion of climbing up a corporate ladder and I don’t expect much climbing to take place at this job either. But I liked the job description well enough and it fits my current goals of 1) stability and 2) allows for a high savings rate. There’s still a probationary period while both the company and I assess if we complement each other but I have faith in my ability to do a good job.
So, I’ll be moving to Singapore soon. I hope good things come out of this move. Fingers crossed! There’s gonna be a lot of transition-related expenses in November but needless to say, I’m excited about this next chapter in my life.
Gonna drop some truth, I haven’t done any exercise at all this month. It’s probably part of the reason I’ve been having more pronounced mood swings lately.
My food intake has been improving though. I’ve been cooking more and cutting down on a lot of unhealthy foods since I’ve got a fridge.
Mentally, I’ve been struggling. I’ve indicated as such before. While I’ve been practicing a lot of the techniques to combat this, it’s really so fucking hard sometimes. Especially trying to stick to a routine. And having my income tied very closely to my ability to function productively makes this whole situation much more dangerous.
Again, I’m hoping the next phase of my life will give me some semblance of stability and help improve my mental health overall.
I’m finally getting the hang of playing the guitar, which I picked up at the end of September. I’m still having trouble mastering the dreaded F chord but we’ll get there.
I’ve also signed up for the CFA Level 3 exam….again. Hoping that this time around I’ll put in more effort learning and understanding the material. As much as I hate standardized tests, there’s a level of masochism I enjoy from it.
Speaking of cooking, I’ve been guilty of producing more waste lately in the kitchen. I’ve done a good job being zero-waste for the past seven-ish months until I got a fridge. Everything went to shit after that. I’m still having trouble navigating the whole low-waste thing when it’s more convenient for me to buy groceries at a supermarket as there are no wet markets near my home.
I’ve done a lot of writing in October, yay!
I’ve read zero books in October, boo!
I’ve come across some great content this month. I highly recommend checking out:
- Podcast: Philosophize This! has a great easy-to-follow 3-part discussion on Michel Foucault and post-modernist thinking
- Video: IKEA and other stores design their floor layout to get you to buy impulsively
- Video: I watched this video from WIRED explaining quantum computing
- Video: I watched this musical theory and composition explainer from one of my favorite Youtube channels. (I don’t understand half the stuff he says but I still love watching it)
- Video: This relaxing ASMR-esque video on how to make homemade nut butter
- Article: How Nike’s controversial advert is a lesson in the changing landscape of sports marketing. Some highlights:
“Nike has done its homework and knows its customer demographics, and thus believes a large majority of its core consumers will support its decision to utilize Kaepernick as a spokesperson.”
“Nike is acutely aware of both the broader sports marketing environment that currently exists and the need to cater to millennial and Gen-Z consumers who want to align themselves with authentic and culturally mindful brands that aren’t afraid to take a stand — no matter how unpopular it may be to segments of the population.”
- Article: I LOL’ed real hard at this piece. Great way to prove a point.
- Article: Rich kids are better at delayed gratification. Here’s why.
- Movie: Thelma. Norwegian psychological thriller with exceptional cinematography. As with all great thrillers, it raises some unsettling questions.
More frequent recommendations and sharing on my Twitter and Facebook.
How did your October go? I hope it went well for you as well and if it didn’t, I always say, don’t dwell on it, look forward to a new month and make it meaningful.
Image via Unsplash
Omg congratulations on the new job in Singapore, how exciting! Also, Love your monthly budget update format, and the links to high quality articles. Keep it up!
Thanks Suraya! Ahh I’m also super excited about the job. Hope it works out 😀