Whatttttt is upppp y’alllll? July has been a heck of a month. A concoction of stress, falling ill, breakdowns, big news and happy moments made for an emotional rollercoaster ride.
Ready for the shocker?
Yes, your eyes do not deceive you. I spend over SGD8k this month. I don’t even want to convert that amount back to Ringgit. I guess I have some explaining to do, don’t I? Very well, here’s a breakdown of the significant expenses in descending order.
Family – SGD 4,594.49
In my last monthly review (technically mid-year review), I went through my New Year list to cross off goals that seemed super unrealistic. One of them being this:
Giving back money was counterintuitive to the act of trying to accumulate wealth. Indeed I am a selfish person most of the time, so I don’t dole out cash the way more kind-hearted souls would. And so I thought I’d volunteer my time instead. But alas, time is a finite resource that I seem to be lacking these days. As a natural conclusion, the goal felt unachievable and was removed from the list.
In July, I get a piece of great news. My sister was accepted into a university overseas! And when she asked me for help to fund her education, I didn’t hesitate (okay, I lied, I hesitated a bit but I got over it in like 3 seconds).
See, my family has always struggled when it came to money. I still carry a lot of guilt for burdening my parents with my own education fees. I wanted to afford my sister the chance to study without having that type of guilt hanging over her.
Doesn’t mean I can’t have fun with it though.
All joking aside, I’m happy for her.
And I achieved my Give Back Time & Money goal.
Vacation – SGD 1,394.12
It was a Sunday. To be more precise, the Sunday of the Wimbledon Men’s finals where Roger Federer was about to meet Novak Djokovic in an epic tennis battle. Halfway through the match, I cannot tahan myself, next thing I know, I’m on my laptop booking tickets for the US Open tennis this year.
I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my teenagehood obsession with tennis on this blog. Over the years this obsession never really died out. Sure, when life got very hectic I don’t keep up with the sport as much but I always come back to it eventually.
If anyone were to ask me what’s on my bucket list, it wouldn’t be sky diving or seeing the Eiffel Tower. Nope. My bucket list consists of four things:
- Australian Open
- US Open
- Roland Garros
And in that exact order.
I crossed off the Australian Open back in 2017 but I was skeptical about achieving the rest any time soon. When the opportunity to go to the US Open presented itself, I spent the last few months going back and forth on it. A trip to the US is a big expense. It’s no wonder I hesitated a lot despite my budget projections telling me I’d still achieve my savings goal by year-end.
Call it a rash decision but I delayed this gratification for well over six months. I did the whole “Oh just apply for visa lah. Doesn’t mean I’ll travel this year” dance of denial before I finally caved.
Least to say, I’m fucking excited.
Gym – SGD 388.70
Exercise and I do not mix well. I have terrible discipline and willpower when it comes to staying fit. However, in July, I made some efforts to stay healthy. And what better motivation than to start playing a sport you love, right?
I got myself some tennis gear. Yeah, I wasn’t kidding about that teenage obsession.
It is still slow going though. I started doing short exercises daily, played golf for the first time and walked more every day. I just have to remind myself that taking baby steps is better than giving up and doing nothing at all.
Bet – SGD 100
In the same effort to motivate myself to stay healthy, I joined an office betting pool for a weight loss challenge. Needless to say, I lost the bet.
Thank God things are normal on the Malaysian front. I played fairly fast and loose with my money in July and surprisingly, it didn’t give me the same level of anxiety as it used to. I’ve been too busy moving about, taking action, getting tired and stressed to actually reflect on why that is. This kind of spending should worry me but for some reason, it doesn’t.
I touched on this a bit already in the last section. Besides the betting and taking up sports, I fell seriously ill at the start of July. So ill to the point that I lost my voice for a week! A truly frightening experience with a silver lining. It gave me time to get things in order such as planning content and looking at new opportunities.
Despite facing endless stress at work, mentally I am possibly in the best place I’ve ever been so far. I try not to read too much into it and just go with the flow for now. As it happens, there is only so much a person can handle and so, I wasn’t even caught off-guard when I finally had a breakdown after weeks of stress. On a whim, I booked a bus ticket back to KL (SGD 62) and spent the weekend holed up at my grandparents’ home.
When you’re in a good place mentally, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a breaking point. It just means that recovering from that fall becomes much easier. Something that would have taken me weeks to recover from at the start of this year, only took me a weekend this time around.
Apparently, a good home-cooked meal and a trip to the dog park does the trick.
It feels so tempting to go back to the freelancing life right about now. The working environment in Singapore is extremely competitive. If you’re a little behind on hitting targets, it is made out to look much worse than it actually is. This type of competitiveness doesn’t breed healthy motivation, it does the exact opposite. People clambering over each other to stand out, some even going so far as to do unethical things to get ahead.
I’m not trying to make excuses for myself. In fact, I think I can be very hard on myself when I don’t achieve my goals. But I find myself constantly second-guessing my abilities all the time at my job. I am always asking the question, “What am I doing wrong?”
Last month, I had many conversations about how demotivating work has become. I get passed up for opportunities that are within my capabilities, having no control over what I do with my time at work, having to answer for things beyond my control
like falling sick and (this one hurts me the most) having my intellect and work ethic called into question time and again.
I don’t know, man. Maybe I really do suck at my job.
Apologies for the venting. Moving on.
I am gradually starting to piece together a life outside of work that is enjoyable. Maybe that’s why I don’t feel much remorse for my excessive spending this month.
I’ve started tinkering with the guitar again. On top of that, working on this website have been the highlights of my weeks.
I’m especially proud of the last two articles I wrote:
- Asset Allocation for Malaysians: What is The Best Portfolio Mix for You?
- How to Calculate Your Economic Net Worth
Although they’re not exactly SEO-friendly viral content for the masses, I wanted to push the envelope for myself. Both articles were writing exercises. Of course, I’m still critical of them (I could have done them better) but I’m happy I managed to publish despite my brain barely functioning after work.
- Article: 19 Financial Education Initiatives in Malaysia You Should Know Suraya shared an amazing resource a few days ago that includes all the financial education initiatives we have. Most of these are absolutely zero cost to you so TAKE ADVANTAGE of it! My favorite are the various workshops that the Securities Commission carries out under InvestSmart. Check out her entire list.
- Infographic: Malaysia vs Singapore: Which Country Is Cheaper To Live In? This is a fascinating analysis comparing cost in the two cities, KL and Singapore. Personally, I’ve mentioned several times that living in Singapore has been easier on my pocket than in KL because the cost of general necessities is cheaper due to the higher purchasing power in Singapore.
- Article: 5 Money Mistakes That Recent Grads Make According to this article you should know what your net worth is as soon as you start working after college. Do you agree?
- Video: Know Your Value A helpful reminder not to sell yourself short. To be honest, I needed to hear this.
- Video: ASSET CLASSES Suyin Ong breaks down some of the assets you can invest in Malaysia.
- Podcast: ALEX Just listen to it if you have the time. It’s brilliant.