Every month, I track my spending and share them openly here. In my Month in Reviews, I go over notable (and often discretionary expenses) for the month and reflect on some key areas of life tied to money, either directly or indirectly: career, health, relationships and personal growth.
Writing these updates gives me helpful insights into my own life, and I hope they help you as well. By sharing my experiences with money, I also hope to encourage you to feel comfortable approaching your own finances and keep the conversation around money alive.
In January, I mentioned that I’m trying to budget more carefully this year. Unfortunately, things didn’t pan out as I hoped in February. As a whole, I had an outflow of approximately S$6,410.25 (Malaysia and Singapore expenses, excluding investment). That’s…. a lot of money that went out of my account. Needless to say, I’m not happy with that. But rather than mope about it, I’m taking it in stride and learning from it.
Here are some of the big items that caused my expenses to balloon in February:
Insurance – S$2,332.30
After deliberation, I purchased critical illness insurance in Singapore. This is on top of my medical insurance, which I paid for last month. In total, I paid S$2,986.30 (or $248.85 per month) for insurance. Even though this was an expected (and necessary) expense, I still felt the pinch.
Donation – S$1,000
Let me preface this by saying that as a personal finance blogger, I’ve committed to being transparent when discussing money. Occasionally, I’m confronted with situations where I need to decide if I should discuss unpleasant aspects of money that could potentially have a real-world effect on myself, or the people around me. It’s a grey area that should be navigated with care because money can be a touchy subject for some people. But I believe that in this case, everyone can learn a lesson here about being careful with their money.
Early in February, a friend (not exactly a close friend) came to me asking for help; he needed to borrow some money. He had a long explanation, which I won’t go into, about why he needed money urgently.
Generally, I’m not the kind of person who lends money without a healthy dose of scepticism. But I believed his explanation because it seemed plausible. Keep in mind, I also know that most people have difficulty raising enough cash for emergencies because they don’t have an emergency fund. On top of that, he seemed genuine and I trusted him given what I knew of him and his character, so I lent him some money. S$1,000 to be exact.
A few weeks later, I find out that this person scammed me, among other people. Some have reported this person to the authorities but for all intents and purposes, we’re never going to see that money again.
While it sucks to lose this much money, what sucks, even more, is the fact that a deceitful person took advantage and preyed upon me. It’s the first time this has happened to me and it serves as an important lesson about trust and finances; be discerning when it comes to lending people money.
Travel – RM619.13
In February, I made 2 trips back to KL. But I’ll likely cut back on travel in the next few months so I can put more time towards working on side-projects on the weekend.
Previously, I wrote about how I’m setting my goals for 2020 and here I’ll share my progress with you.
I’ve still got quite a lot of room for improvement, especially on my exercise goals. To try to hit this goal, I’ve signed up for a gym pass with much reluctance. Hopefully, it will motivate me to get moving more often.
On another note, I’m not as consistent as I’d like to be with my meditation practice, so that’s something else to work on in March. That said, something is always better than nothing, so I’m taking these numbers with heart.
People often ask me for tips on how to manage their money or how to invest and so on. It comes with the territory of being a personal finance blogger. And I’m always happy to share my experiences and knowledge with you. But I often see people feel discouraged and overwhelmed when they feel like they’re falling behind. Sometimes, I fall into the trap of comparing my progress with someone else’s too.
“Why can’t I also invest RM100,000 in 2 years like that person?”
“Why can’t I also save 50% of my income like this person?”
“Why can’t I make X amount of money like him?”
It’s a human thing to look at our peers and want to measure our progress against theirs. But the only benchmark you should compare your growth against is yourself. Are you trying to be better today than you were yesterday? Everyone knows this, but it’s good to keep reminding ourselves of it.
I’ve been at this personal finance game for many years; I started tracking my expenses when I was 17 years old and started investing at 19. I’ve improved so much over the years: I’m spending money more intentionally, I’ve save and invested money, and I’m aware of my weaknesses around money. But I still have a long way to go, I’m still stumbling and still learning. And that’s essentially what I hope you take away from these posts. It may seem like someone else has it all together, financially or otherwise, but that’s not necessarily the case. We have bumps in our journey, we all make mistakes and that’s perfectly fine. What matters is that we keep trying and keep improving.
Read other Month in Reviews for more insights.