‘No Buy Challenge 2021’ April Update

Goodbye April and hello May! April went by pretty fast and again it was a hectic month.

This April update got posted quite late because there were many significant events happened quite recently, one of it was the passing of my grandmother, my mom’s mom. It was a shocking news to us because she never got herself warded, she just has some ‘old people sickness’, that was all. She passed away peacefully in her sleep, I wasn’t able to see her on the 1st and 2nd day of her passing because Carmen and I got warded due to an accident on Carmen. Carmen accidently splashed Eucalyptus oil to her eyes and she even consumed some. Because of that, she has a large wound on the outer layer of her eyes. So for that, it was important for her to be warded so that doctor can monitor her eyes every morning and evening.

Okay let’s move the focus back to the title of this post. Which is the update on my ‘No Buy Challenge 2021’ – April edition. Come & let’s dive into it!

April Update – OTHERS purchases made

April was a month of lot’s of ‘others’ purchases than the usual necessities. The 2 purchases were actually purchases that I really need.

  1. Desk Lamp – I bought a desk lamp because I really need it. I do not have a baby monitor and I don’t feel like getting one. So when Carmen goes to bed, I of course has to be there with her in the room to keep an eye on her. With having the desk lamp, I now have source of light so that I can fold clothes, do some organizing & gratitude journaling in the dark without worrying too much about my eyes.
  2. Cable Charger – I don’t know how & I don’t know why that all of the sudden my Apple cable charger died on me. So I had to get a new one! Can Apple just improve the materials used for the cable?

A good thing about the April was that I didn’t not overspent on all the expenses categories that I have set. All are within the budget that I’ve set, that’s a good thing for me because it means I finally know the exact amount of allocation of budget that I need monthly. TRACKING EXPENSES since last year has finally paid off! I now get the hang of my expenses without dreading about being overspending.

April Savings Update

In April, I saved up a total 40% of my salary, which I’m stoked about. I am almost reach my 7 months worth of emergency funds. And I even locked my 4th student enrollment so I cannot wait for the total payout. I haven’t planned on what to do when I finally receive my total payout but I might treat myself a little. I’m still doing my monthly investments, still going strong.

May Spending Expectation

My youngest sister will be celebrating her 20th birthday this year so I planned to celebrate her birthday, but a quarantined one again like last year. So I planned to get her a birthday gift, a cake and will be preparing her a small feast! I just love when there is a celebration.

Honestly, updating my monthly money journey has taken its toll on me. I feel like I keep repeating over & over again most of the things that has got to do with my monthly update. I’m thinking ways to freshen how I want to write for next month’s update. Oh creative juices, come flow into me!

No Buy Challenge 2021 – March Update

Is that time of the month again whereby I’ll be sharing my ‘No Buy Challenge 2021’ update. This update was posted later than usual as I was busy with final semester assessment marking & faculty meetings.

March was super hectic and I can honestly say that my mental state wasn’t at its A-game! I was constantly down, feeling demotivated from work most of the time. Therefore, I finally gave in to my temptation in buying in the “WANTs” department. I know retail therapy isn’t the most proper way to make oneself feel better but I just feel like I deserve to reward myself.

Let’s dive into my small self rewards!

1. Crystal worth RM20

My kryptonite, crystal or should I say not my kryptonite anymore? Previously, I couldn’t control myself buying crystals but after not buying any for almost 3 months, I don’t go crazy anymore. I bought it during Instagram live and it’s the one that I’ve been meaning to get my hands on. The crystal is Pyrite, it’s one of the famous abundance related crystals. I’m very happy with my purchase as I only bought 1 piece. I can say that I’m proud with myself as I get to a hold of my temptation to buy more crystals.

2. Dessert & Coffee date – RM51

I went to hang out with my younger cousins mid March and thankfully that time, my husband was home so he took care of Carmen. My cousins & I went to visit this new Japanese themed dessert place in Putatan called MyKori and Tree Monk cafe in Kepayan area after that. It was fun that I get to enjoy good food, COFFEE & not forgetting good companies. I even vlogged about it and posted the video on my Youtube channel.

Okay, now move on to my spendings in March.

March Expenses Spending

1. Groceries

I didn’t overbudget in this category even though I did cook up a storm during Easter Sunday, I even baked a burnt cheesecake.

2. Things for Carmen

Hahaha I really can’t help but buying new things for Carmen. Husband & I bought a few toys for Carmen so that she could train her hand movements. We bought her this small drum with the drumstick so that she can train her hands to beat the drum & eventually to use the drumstick to hit the drum in the near future. Since Carmen is teething, we also bought a few more of teething toys. I set RM50 for this category and I spent over RM80!

3. Food Delivery

After setting RM100 for this category, it was definitely the correct amount of money to set. I finally didn’t overbudget! As a matter of fact, I only spent RM89.85 including a birthday for my parents.

March in nutshell

I really did follow my heart & I was truly mindful on my spending. Although I was on the ‘down’ side in terms of emotion, I still get to control my impulses when purchasing things that I thought I can’t resist. I gave in, I bought crystal, yeah but I was so mindful of it. It’s not that I was resisting the urge to buy more, no that’s not the case. I actually don’t have the urge to even buy more. I told myself that I only wanted Pyrite & that was what I get. With the other beautiful crystals that were shown to me, I know what I want & I only get what I want. You see, our minds are really strong when we want them to be. And with practice, I guess I’ve achieved that state of mindfully purchase / mindfully frugal.

In the savings part, yes I still get to save more than 30% of my half-cut pay + i-Lestari. And since we won’t be receiving i-Lestari anymore, I expected that things are going to be hard. I just pray that March is the last month that we’ll have to experience this half-cut of our salary. If you’re reading this, please pray for me. I really need it.

Thank you for reading until the end of this blog post.

Until then,

Jess

No Buy Challenge 2021 : February Update

Hello March, so nice to meet you again! February went by so instantly & it’s that time again for another monthly update of ‘No Buy Challenge 2021’.

If I can simplify into 1 emoji on how my finances were in February, it would be 💸. I overspent on groceries, Carmen’s stuff, food delivery. I also went a little overboard on my husband’s & my parents’ birthday presents but I’m not stingy when it comes to gifting my loved ones.

So let’s dive into my series of overspending, shall we? UGH!

Finalized stats on my total spending in February

1. Overspent on Food Deliveries

It’s so hard to stay within the RM50 budget that I’ve set for this category! But I realized that being a ‘working from home mom’, food delivery is actually a godsend. There were so many times that I got really tired from balancing house chores & my job in the morning, I just can’t manage to prepare lunch. If I got tired from having ‘telur goreng & nasi with kicap’ cos this dish is the simplest & yummy, I would order food. I just don’t want to overthink about this category as I know food delivery would make me stay sane. Therefore, I will be increasing the budget for this category to RM100 in March. This amount would be manageable as the total amount spent for February is RM75.75 😊

2. GROCERIESSSSS

I have expected that I would overspent for this category, like I mentioned in the January update. And it did happened as expected! My total spending on groceries were RM409.60, a little extra from my RM300 budget. I got excited as it was Carmen’s first CNY celebration so I cooked up a feast! Fresh produce were sold at a slightly higher price nearing CNY, especially Chinese Yam.

3. Carmen

Carmen started her BLW at 8 months plus, we started this journey nearing to the end of February. I bought a few utensils for her like suction silicone plate with silicone fork & spoon, noodles, more bibs & a splash mat. Even though I overspent a little bit, I know in the next couple of months I won’t be spending so much in this category.

4. Gifts

This is the category that I’ve spent a huge chunk of money on. I bought a few items as presents & a cake for my husband’s 40th birthday. Can’t let a guy who just entered the ‘4 Series’ without gifts! Glad that he loved all the items that I gave him, especially the gift of ‘Fatherhood’ 🤪 And then I also bought my parents their birthday presents. Bought the presents early because my dad’s birthday is on the 5th of March & my mom’s is on the 26th. I didn’t put a budget for this category because I’m just the type that gives freely for my family. Can’t be stingy with family members!

Yay of the Month

Not much to be yayying about for my February spending except for still getting to save money & adding a new investment portfolio. Total amount saved up in February is RM512.80 💃🏻 There were days that I feel the amount set by Tantini were a little high but I still save according to my own amount. That’s why there’s the 80cents. We always think that the cents in money doesn’t count. Cents may seem small in worth but they are still money.

As for my new investment portfolio, still very early to talk about it. I have been HODL with it when the price flew off so high, I was itching to sell off & cash in the dividend I got. Thankfully I didn’t. HODL!

February in Overall

I remembered reading figuringgitout’s February update about her having a money mind shift and I can say that I experienced the same too. Honestly, I can say that I’ve never felt so passionate about finance in my life. But in February, most of my free time were spent on educating myself on money, finance, investing. All of these new knowledge & information that I gained has led me to realize the type of lifestyle that I aspire to have. And that is to live simply, living a frugal life but mindfully. By mindful frugal I mean to be calculative of things that I buy ; not just on the monetary value but also the quality & how I truly feel about them.

Most people would associate frugal with being very negative & very unapologetically stingy with spending money. But actually it’s quite the opposite. A frugal life means understanding my current economy situations & start living within my means. I’ve chosen to live this lifestyle & I’m content with it.

That’s all for the February update on my ‘No Buy Challenge 2021’ & I would like to end this post with a very fitting quote from Dave Ramsey, a personal finance guru. This quote resonates to me so much & it has become the quote that I live by.

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else..


Dave Ramsey

Love, Jess

No Buy 2021 Challenge: January Update

Hi all! I am back with an update on my ‘No Buy 2021 Challenge. I know I’ve just posted a blog post about this recently (click here to read) but actually I’ve been on-boarding this challenge since the beginning of January.

If I have 1 word to describe how I felt about this ‘No Buy Challenge’ in January, that word would be EASY. I chose that word because thankfully I didn’t have to curb any urge of impulse-buying. I think this is because I was spending like a crazy person in December 2020 due to buying Christmas presents for family & close friends. It was Carmen’s first ever Christmas too! That’s why I went a little overboard with our Christmas celebration last year. But I didn’t regret any of the purchases made because buying gifts and gifting them to my loved ones give me joy.

So here’s the breakdown of my spending for January 2021!

Finalized stats for my total spending in January
  • All of my total spending in January are essentials i.e bills, grocerries, not buying any from the ‘WANTS’ side of my brain. I’ve set that my monthly spending would be RM1,000 monthly and I’ve spent below budget. So that’s a WIN!
  • However, I went overbudget for food delivery ie. Food Panda & Grab Food. Allocation set for this is RM50 but I overspent and it is RM70.80. Maybe my budget for food delivery is too low? I’m not sure but I’m still going to give this budget of RM50 a try for February. Trial and error is KEY in building my sustainable budget.
  • As for my groceries budget, I spent lower than the set budget of RM300. Since I’m still living with my parents, my parents and I will stock up food for our pantry. So I don’t really have to fork out much for this category.
  • I am responsible to buy for Carmen’s clothing & some other things that only need to be bought occasionally. So for January, I did not buy anything for Carmen as my husband will be the one who stock up Carmen’s essentials like diapers, her ointments.
  • When it comes to Netflix subscription, I used to subscribe only when I need to watch shows from my bedroom. After a month, I would normally unsubscribe again because we actually have LongTV (android TV box) at home and it has all the shows from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV. Basically, LongTV has it all. But my sister asked me if I want to be included in her subscription & we would share the subscription fees. I decided to be included so that my sister won’t have to cover the subscription of 4 screen package on her own. So now, I can watch Netflix if I’m Beaufort or in my bedroom. It is cheaper too, compared to ‘1 screen package’ that I normally pay for. So I put this expenses under the entertainment category.

Yay of the Month

Besides spending less than my monthly budget, I’ve also saved a lot too! All thanks to this instagrammer I’ve followed who is a senior of my colleague, Tantini which she initiated this #LOABossMoneyChallenge. It’s an easy way to save money whereby she will post on her Instagram story daily on the amount that needs to be saved. So all of us who are on board of this money saving challenge will save the amount mentioned DAILY.

January in Overall

I never thought that I would succeed in the 1st month of this ‘No Buy Challenge’. I was expecting I will fall into temptation and buy things but am proud to say, this girl is a strong headed! I even uninstalled all the shopping app like Zalora, Lazada, Hermo. However I still keep my Shopee and Cashback app for window shopping or when to buy things that I need. I’ve also added another investment portfolio. Previously I only invested in Gold and now I have invested with a new robo – advisor. I am so terribly new in investment but I have started to learn a thing or 2 about it. I’m hoping that I am consistent in my investment to let my money grow passively. Maybe I would do a blog post about it mid-year on my progress.

I have a feeling that February is going to be a tough one as it is CNY and I might spend extra on groceries. Regardless we are facing the MCO 2.0, CNY feast is still ON!

That’s all for this January update and I hope you enjoy reading them.

Bye Buy!

No Buy Challenge 2021

2020 was a year of financial uncertainty for me. Even though I achieved my savings goal of 10k saved from 2017 – 2020, but I had to go through a salary cut! When I was informed with this information, I was heartbroken! The employer had to do the 50% pay cut because COVID-19 hit us really hard this time. 50% pay cut is no fun, I had to cut down expenses and I really have to be strict with my purchases.

The WHYs

‘No Buy Year 2021’ needs to happen! I need to stop one of my very bad habits, which is impulse buying. I buy so many stuffs that I ended up not using or clothes that I end up not wearing. Most importantly, I need to slow down on the purchase of my ultimate ‘kryptonite’, that is CRYSTALS!

I’ve read quite a few blog posts on doing the ‘No Buy’ movement and I really like this Malaysian blogger ‘figuring(g)itout’ who’s successfully achieved her ‘No Buy 2020’. Even though she did face some tiny hiccups along her ‘no buy’ journey but she achieved her saving goals during the pandemic. Her sharing on her journey were so impactful to me. Hence, for my ‘No Buy 2021’ I decided to follow her method.

The HOWs

This is how I’m going to make my 2021 better, I would really have to fight with all my might when it comes to buying impulsely and I need to justify on each of my purchase. This justification will be done monthly with each month will have its own update in a blog post form. I might want to vlog about it too but I’ll see if I can manage.

For figuringgit’s out methods, she listed down on the categories of things that she can and can’t buy. This list of categories is an important guideline to help me to stay on course in terms of what I can add to cart. I will follow her list 100% but I had to delete some and add 1 category, which is Carmen’s stuff. It’s because there might be some things that I must buy or had to spend money for Carmen.

Things I can’t buy

  1. Apparel and clothing
    Absolute no unless every piece in the same category tear apart and the category is necessary for my life. Simple example, undergarments.
  2. Books
    Absolute no for physical books.
  3. Electronic devices and accessories
    Absolute no unless necessary items go kaput. Example, earphone.
  4. Supplements
    Absolute no unless advised by doctor (background: I self-prescribed myself few supplements (93% probability that I don’t even need them) which end up going past their expiration dates as I fail to take them as recommended). Except for Vit-C and Folic Acid
  5. Stationery and notebooks
    Absolute no.
  6. Home decor
    Absolute no.
  7. Knickknacks
    Absolute no.
  8. Crystals (ultimate KRYPTONITE) – NO!

Another thing to make this ‘no buy’ even more interesting, the blogger mentioned that she will add features to this from time to time. And whenever she had the urge to buy things from the categories above, she will transfer the money as per the price to another savings account to track how much money that could’ve gone to waste. So much fun, isn’t it? I will definitely do the same thing.

Things I can buy / spend on / paying for

  1. Health – I’ll not compromise my health for money. I’ll see the doctors when I need to but let’s pray for a healthy year.
  2. Carmen’s Stuff – All things that are essential for Carmen like clothes, bottles, teats, gears but will be under a budget.
  3. Monthly bills – I’ll pay only for the fixed bills that I currently have, will neither upgrade nor add anything new.
  4. Groceries and food– I’ll keep this under strict budget.
  5. Skincare and makeup – I’ve pretty much have my skincare and makeup routine figured out so I’ll maintain that and the products that I use. I will only buy when they run out. No new item or if I had to change, I will choose products that have pretty much the same value.
  6. Family / gifts / donations– Being stingy is not the aim of this year.
  7. Travel / social / dates / activities – I still want to be happy, will not compromise this but will keep it under strict budget.

Things I may (but preferably not) buy

There are also these other things that are not necessary and I want to avoid buying them, but most probably I would have to get them. I’ll just put them under my May-or-May-Not-Buy List:-

  1. Birthday gift for myself – I usually will buy something high price item for myself on my birthday but will put this thought on hold.
  2. E-books or Audiobooks – I currently like reading books about self-help, finance and productivity. So I might buy them but only after I finished reading then I will purchase a new one.
  3. Wardrobe organization for mine and Carmen’s – I’m still figuring out on how to organize my clothes and Carmen’s the best way possible with a very low budget. Still looking for inspiration on Pinterest and Shopee.

If you really want to join in the journey of ‘no buy’, you have to read figuringgitout’s blogposts to have an idea what she had to go through in completing the challenge!

So there goes my ‘no buy’ plan for 2021. I hope I will succeed and I get to erase my bad habit of impulse buying. Wish me luck!!

BUY – BYE!

Love, Jess x

A Mother of One & Some Baby Updates

It has been so long since my last post. I was still pregnant when I posted the last one & I am now a mom to a recently turned 5 months old bébé girl! Her name is Carmen, she was born a little earlier than expected, at 36 weeks 3 days. She has full set of hair when she came out. No wonder she wanted out so fast!

Being a mother has changed my life completely! No longer I can do things as how I’d like them or anytime that I wanted too. Everything I do now must be based on Carmen, which I am still getting used to. But thankfully now that she is 5 months old, things are slowly getting better.

So, updates on her developments – she sleeps on a longer stretch now, from 9pm & only wakes up at 5am for a feed. I finally get the good night sleep that I’ve been longing for or maybe not really, hah! I still have to wake up every now and then to check on Carmen because she now sleeps on her tummy. But I must say that compared to the amount of sleep I get when Carmen was a lot younger, I now get a pretty good amount of it!

Besides a yay in the sleep routine, she is also a master in rolling over. It’s her favourite thing to do now! Whenever she is put on the mattress or any flat surface, she would instantly roll over then showing her wide smile! And because of that, it’s harder for me to put clothes on her. She is too good that she even rolls over in her sleep swing, eeks!

I actually cannot wait to feed her solid when she turns 6 months because even when she joins us on the dining table, she keeps looking at our spoon. That will be an update in the next post!

I am just so thankful for this gift, this gift of motherhood and being chosen by God to be Carmen’s mommy! Just by looking at my daughter, I know everything is worth it, even the tough times. It’s true what they said, that you will never know true love until you’ve held your child in your arms. This little version of me is so lovable, easily to love & so heart-meltingly cute. That smile when she sees me the 1st thing when she wakes up is PRICELESS! Absolute PRICELESS!

That’s all for this post, thanks for reading and until the next one!

Love, Jess.

Pregnancy – How I Knew

It was not that long after Clarence and I got married, this ‘blessing’ came along. We definitely talked about wanting to start a family immediately after getting married, given the fact of our age and we also know close friends who are struggling in conceiving. Thus, these strengthen our decision in wanting to start trying for a baby right away.

We got married in July 2019 and after 4 months of trying, finally it happened. Bébé C was conceived not during our honeymoon or when Clarence and I were on any vacation. I planned our honeymoon to be in the week of my ovulation window so that we could have an enjoyable ‘bébé making’ time. But little did I know that I was already pregnant with bébé C during the honeymoon. Nothing tipped me off that I was pregnant the whole honeymoon trip, I even walked most of the time. I was feeling totally fine until the day we were flying home. Never have I ever experienced heartburn before in my life and when I had it quite a few times in-flight, I knew something was not right. In fact, I had to sleep throughout the entire journey from KL to KK because there was nothing I can do to make the uneasiness go away.

I don’t know how and why but my instinct strongly told me that I should do it, take ‘the test’. After arriving, we stopped by at Watson Putatan to buy a few pregnancy tests before heading home. Clarence insisted me to take the test, so I did! Peed on a few pregnancy tests but all I can only see were faint double lines on all the tests. I even asked Clarence to help me check and he saw faint double lines too. We googled about it and we found out that faint double line means that it might be too soon for us to do the test or the pregnancy test is faulty. Clarence told me that we may be testing it too soon and we should test again during that weekend when he’s around. When I did the test, it was actually on a Monday.

I had to patiently wait for 5 days to pee on a test again and honestly, the wait was excruciating. I had the urge to test EVERYDAY during the 5 days wait but Clarence kept saying to be patient and wait for him. I even bought an expensive digital Clearblue test to scratch the itch of wanting to know whether am I or am I not pregnant. LOL!

So Saturday came and Clarence arrived from Beaufort. I remembered drinking lots of water so that I have enough pee for the test. So I peed in a cup, Clarence was the one who dipped the Clearblue stick into my pee and we waited. The wait wasn’t that long and the result came out ‘pregnant 2-3’! We were so happy! I cried a little in his arms while saying praises to God silently. The following week, we went to a clinic for a confirmation check-up. That was the first time we saw our precious and it looked like a tiny chia seed. The doctor confirmed that I am 4-weeks pregnant! It was all happy days until morning sickness kicked in. Although I must say that my morning sickness wasn’t that awful compared to how other moms experienced their morning sickness.

I think I’ll end it here because it’s almost 2.30am now and I have to be up early for my review at 9am.

1st ultrasound – bébé at 4 weeks

Till next post,

Jess x

A start of something new..

Well, not really actually.

I’ve been blogging for quite awhile before this, started blogging when I got into university. And this blog is going to be the third blog that I owned. I love all the blogs that I previously owned but like the saying goes, ‘all good things must come to an end’. Gone with the old, comes with the new. And here I am with a new blog. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain myself why the last 2 blogs didn’t last. But if I have to, the simple reason for that is..

I’ve moved on. I really do.

A lot has changed ever since I abandoned my previous ‘self-domain’ blog. Seriously, A LOT! Not only I got married, I am now EXPECTING! Hence, this blog is aimed for me to write about this amazingly new chapter of my life. There will definitely be postings about married life, pregnancy & hopefully about the baby when the baby is out. Just anything that I feel like writing, really.

No longer that I will post contents for likes nor followers, I will stay true to myself this time. Writings from the heart; from the mind of Jess!

I think that’s all I got to ramble today. Momma needs her sleep.

Jess x