Month in Review

Month in Review: December 2018

Happy New Year, it’s 2019! Time really does fly, doesn’t it? I hope everyone had a good and fruitful year.

Have I gone that long that WordPress now has a completely different blogging layout?

Anyways, before diving into the new year, here’s a look back at last month’s spending.


You’d think since moving to a new city, my Malaysian expenses would reduce, like, really drastically, right? Guess I was wrong.

To be fair, most of my expenses were one-off transactions that have perfectly valid explanations. I gave some money to my siblings during Christmas because I didn’t have time to shop for presents and let’s be real, they prefer getting cash anyway.

I also renewed my hosting plan with SiteGround for the next year. I’ve had this domain name since January 2018 and hadn’t done anything with the website until September.

Imagine, I could have actually honed my writing and content creation skills much earlier to offset that initial investment. Goes to show, procrastination costs you money.

On the other hand, starting something late is better than never starting at all.

Hypothetically, if I hadn’t gotten that first push from people to keep writing, I might not even be renewing the hosting plan at all this year.

I spent RM58 on a haircut, which is steep considering I visit the hairdresser once every 2 to 3 months. Having short hair requires more trips to the salon but I just don’t see myself growing out my hair right now.

As expected, huge drops on all the usual living expenses in KL… because I don’t live there anymore. An increase in travel expenses now because I’m taking buses frequently back to KL on the weekends.

One of my favourite pass times is comparing the cost of living between cities.

We get those indexes and reports every year about which cities are the most expensive to live in (well, lookie here, Singapore came in at the top) but the reality on the ground paints a much different picture.

Every week, I add $50 into my wallet. That amount lasts me through the week. I don’t know what that says about the cost of living in Singapore but it sure as hell beats watching my RM50 dissipate within 2 to 3 days.

Because I’m sharing a house instead of living alone, my rent is lower dollar-for-dollar but $800 is still a hefty amount for a room. I get a spacious room though and my place is close to where I work. So close, in fact, that I now have taken to biking to work.

This brings me to the transport costs. Okay so, I’m kind of kicking myself looking at how much money I spent on taking a Grab in Singapore. I spoiled myself silly last month having people drive me around. It was very much an indulgence that I am now going to try to cut down on.

I didn’t spend much on gifts this year compared to previous Christmases. It’s mostly down to the fact that I didn’t really have time or energy to go shopping this year.

Since I don’t have a car here, I’m quite pleased that I can keep my expenses below $2000. I’m going to aim for below $1,500 monthly expenses as I move forward into the new year.

Sidenote: I wish my stocks can grow 500% to 700% like my expenses did here. Wishful thinking.


December saw some intense sessions at work. I think I have an addiction to stress or something. As someone who’s a constant overachiever, I like these high-pressure environments. But too long exposure can just burn you out really quickly.

Thankfully, I’m more aware and attuned to the ebbs and flows of my mental and physical state these days. So, I set more barriers between work and life. For instance, I mute the office group chats after working hours and only responding to emails when I get to work the next day.

Working freelance and independently the last year changed a lot of my work habits. I got so used to working alone and not depending on other people. It comes at the cost of socializing at work. While I get along well with my colleagues, these work-life barriers hinder much of the after office hours camaraderie. Like sure, I want to hang out with them but also… I don’t. Because I value my alone time and home time a lot more now.


I am doing okay on this front. Walking and biking to work helps but I need to start doing more things like.. I dunno, pull-ups. I’m not very consistent when it comes to working out but getting to do a pull-up would be a nice thing to achieve.

Personal Growth

It was pointed out to me that there were moments where I acted like an asshole last month. It was a good call out too.

As I sat down and reflected on my assholery, I realised that when I am in a good place mentally, I tend to become a bit overconfident when dealing with other people. I don’t know if I’m overcompensating for all the other times where I didn’t speak up for myself but whatever it is, I’m working on trying to be a better person both in words and in action.


Some content I came across this month:

  • Article: SYSTEMS VS PEOPLE: ARE THE POOR DOOMED TO BE FOREVER POOR? Aaron from mr-stingy wrote this amazing piece that I could not recommend enough. I don’t know how many times I’ve sat in a group and when the topic eventually turned to wealth and inequality, someone will always take the stance that poor people are poor because they choose to be. That just grates on my nerves. All. The. Damn. Time. I like Aaron’s take on this, it’s nuanced and addresses that inequality is a complex issue.
  • Article: The Trinity Study Updated for 2018. This article can give you a bit of comfort during these volatile markets. Over the long term, how much does your portfolio suffer, really?
  • Article: Selfish Writing. Comforting to read this as a writer. As someone who always feels like they’re not good enough, it’s nice to know that other writers face the same issues as I do.
  • Article: How to Decide Whether to Relocate for a Job. I think the decision to relocate for work becomes infinitely more difficult once a partner and kids are involved. This article provides some helpful tips on things you should ask when considering a move.

Okay, that’s it from me for now. What are you looking forward to in 2019?

As always, I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Hit me up there.

Image via Unsplash.

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