Month in Review

Month in Review: November 2019

Well, hey there! I’ve been awfully quiet (again) on the blog and on social media. But with good reason. As some of you may know, I recently started at a new job. And adjusting to a new job (again) takes a lot of focus so I needed to prioritize that for now. I received a lot of encouraging comments on my previous Month in Review that really warmed my heart and I’m going to push harder to give you more content. I’m sorry to keep you guys hanging, I’m in awe of your patience to put up with my now inconsistent posting. Thank you all for that, truly, from the bottom of my heart. Now, without further ado, let’s take a look at what happened in November.

Money

Singapore expenses for November 2019

I feel like I’ve been completely reckless with my money in the last few months. But when I look at my purchases and spending patterns, I also feel like they’re all completely valid buys, so I don’t know. I really struggled to balance “treat yourself” and “saving for your future”, especially in the last few months. How do you guys do it?

Singapore Month-on-Month change

As you can see, my overall spending in November increased by 15% because of more discretionary spending.

Shopping – S$ 364.14

In November, I did the most shopping this year. It’s an expense that comes with the territory of starting a new job. I bought some officewear from Uniqlo. I like Uniqlo’s quality basics and simple designs for an affordable price. Recently, I acquired a taste for good quality clothes thanks to the hours upon hours spent watching YouTube videos about slow fashion and the French wardrobe philosophy. So, even though I don’t like shopping, I browsed online for “silk blouse” or “leather loafers”. So far, I resist buying any of those things because they’re expensive as fuck. But I’m building a wishlist and I’m contemplating setting up a sinking fund to start buying those things. Does anyone have any experience doing this? How did you set up your sinking fund?

Entertainment – S$ 177.50

In November, I had the privilege to attend a play and a concert. First, I attended a lecture-performance, Ayer Hitam: A Black History of Singapore and it was a captivating and revelatory experience. The performance explores the history and influence of African diaspora in Singapore, and by extension Malaya too.

I also caught Mumford & Sons at Neon Lights Festival. It’s been my dream since college to see them perform live, and now I have!

A picture of Mumford & Sons using my shitty phone
A slightly better picture of Marcus Mumford

CFA dues – S$ 305.53

I finally got around to paying my CFA dues. You’re officially looking at a CFA charter holder. You best believe I’ll use those three letters on EVERYTHING. Joking aside, I feel a sense of accomplishment passing the exams. It’s great to be able to see those letters and be reminded again of the effort I put into getting the charter.

Malaysia expenses for November 2019

On the Ringgit side of things, there’s a huge jump in spending in November. Mainly, I loaned some money to a friend who needed it (RM1,900) and I put another RM1,000 into my investments.

Malaysia Month-on-Month change

I spent some time in KL mid-November and as you can see, the expenses added up. I got a haircut and was convinced by my hairdresser via persuasive sales tactics to get my hair dyed. And so I did. I’m happy with how to colour turned out so I won’t complain about the expense.

Career

It’s not a secret at this point that I’ve started at a new job. I mentioned it several times already. The transition has been an exciting and heady experience. Despite the pressure and steep learning curve, I’m thoroughly enjoying my new working environment. Everyone is so capable, the work culture is great and it pushes me to better myself constantly. I’m really hoping I can grow with this company, at least, for the next 5 years.

I get questions about working in Singapore and going after companies or jobs that give you the best foundation for growth. I’ll try to write something about my experiences job hunting, the questions I ask during interviews and what I watch out for when I start at a new company. I’m not saying my methods work but so far, I get into jobs that fulfil the criteria that I am looking for at the time.

Health

I did a bit of gyming in November and then promptly stopped when I started working. My struggle with staying fit is real, guys. I admire people who are able to stay consistent with their fitness. It’s a known fact that I am not internally motivated to stay fit and neither is money a motivator anymore. I try to recruit friends because that’s when I start enjoying the process. Problem is, it’s hard to stay consistent when we’re on different schedules. I hope I can start a routine again soon.

Let’s talk about mental health. I’m not someone who shies away from this topic anymore and I talk as openly as I can about it. Keeping your mind healthy, safe and sane is tough. It’s especially tough now where technology facilitates the prominence of certain mindsets and lifestyles. Optimize your life. Get fit. Work for your passion. Travel. You name it. It’s hard to be fully happy with yourself when you aren’t “doing things” or getting better.

No matter where your interests lie, there comes a point where you’ll feel inadequate when you seeking out content related to those interests. I’ll give you a super random example, if you’re passionate about baking and you populate your Instagram feed with ONLY baking accounts for inspiration, there comes a point where that “inspiration” turns against you. Every pretty cake you see on your feed, you automatically start to compare your cake to it. And you start to doubt your own baking skills.

When you start questioning your skills, your craft, your appearance, yourself, that’s when it’s time to turn off the notifications and delete the apps. And that’s basically what I did. It’s another reason you don’t see me posting regularly on social media lately. Deleting the apps helped me get out of that headspace. So, if you’re feeling inadequate but still find yourself spending hours scrolling through your Instagram feed, I recommend you do as I did.

Personal Growth

I associate my self-worth with my intellect, my ability to do a good job and my productivity. I think it’s natural to strive for success as it’s so ingrained in us, culturally as Asians. Even though I never said it here, I used to benchmark my “success” by how many blog posts I can put out in a month. If you’ve been following this blog for long enough, you’ll know I haven’t been very “successful” as of late.

Over the years, I worked to separate my self-worth from my productivity. Part of growing up is learning to let things go. Despite having set benchmarks this year and not hitting them all of them, I’ve achieved a lot of other things instead. Although it may seem like things aren’t moving fast enough, as each day passes I inch closer to becoming a person who is happy and satisfied with life, regardless if I’ve achieved “success” by whatever yardstick I use to measure it.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I should stop attempting to better myself or stop setting goals. I’ll still do those things but I want to stop being so hard on myself if/when I fail.

Recommended

Here are some of my favourites for November:

What are you looking forward to in December? Tell me in the comments or on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.

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