Can I Survive For A Month On RM1,000?

So due to unavoidable circumstances (pay cut + I enrolled in a course; a decision I agonised over for long time before finally taking the plunge lol), I officially have RM1,000  left to spend in the month of October.  For the benefit of my foreign readers (if I have any), that’s about USD250.

Selena said it right

This is after deducting the usual necessities I spend on each month:

  • RM1,000 – Savings, which I do not touch. Ever. Unless it’s for emergencies or large purchases.
  • RM600 – ‘Rent’ aka allowance to parents.
  • RM120 – Phone/internet bill, for the Mom and I.
  • RM80 – Internet bill (home).
  • RM200 – Unit trust fund investment, deducted monthly.

…. okay, so I guess that was kind of a clickbait-y title. 😛 

I obviously can’t survive on RM1,000 if we factored in all of the above. But one grand should be plenty for transportation and food, right?

Hm.

I spend a huge chunk of my salary on the noms. Yes, I know. It’s a problem. I don’t need a RM30 ramen lunch at Menya Shishido when I can just as well eat RM6 zhap fan – I just want it. But as the end of the year draws close (and I get to find out very soon if I’ll be keeping my job), this is the perfect time to train myself to stop spending so goddamn much on eating lol. It’ll be good for the waistline, and for the pocket. I don’t spend on anything else really – shoes and clothes are all items I buy like, once a year. Last month I splurged on a Vans bag which cost RM180 – and even then I was hemming and hawing as to whether I should buy it (my last bag was literally in tatters) so that’s not an issue. It’s just… food dangnabbit.

Since our office tenancy is expiring soon and we have the green light from higher up for a WFH arrangement, I think I’ll be able to save a little on transportation; ie spend less on fuel and toll. I might go to the office once or twice a week, since my neighbour’s construction is still ongoing and the noise drives me rabid. But yeah. I think it would be a good idea to make weekly posts to keep myself accountable on my spending –  and we’ll see by the end of this ‘challenge’ whether we’ve managed to keep to the budget.

PS: I am fully aware that there are plenty of families out there who have to survive on an income below RM1,000, including Malaysia’s urban poor. This post is not meant to mock or complain – if anything, this is a good personal reminder on the importance and value of money. I know that I am more privileged than most, and me cutting back on a coffee or two / dining out less is nothing compared to a single mother worrying about providing milk powder for her baby (did you know that milk powder is the no.1 most stolen items in local hypermarkets? Source: I used to work at a hypermarket when I was a teen) 

PS2: The weekly updates will be on Patreon. You can subscribe here. I haven’t had the time to give my Patreon some lovin’ – things have been crazy at work, and I’m also trying to squeeze in some time to get into the course I just enrolled in. Follow me on other social media channels on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. Your support would mean the world to me! 🙂

Moving To A Co-Working Space: WORQ TTDI @ Glo Damansara

Hey guys!

My laptop’s keyboard has been acting up for the last couple of weeks, so it has been difficult to write blog posts.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get it sorted out in a few days (but it also means added expenses. huhu).

I’ve been meaning to update on my new office space, which we moved to a couple of weeks ago. It’s a co-working space called WORQ TTDI, which is located within a (dead) mall called Glo Damansara. Distance-wise, it’s a bit further away from where I live, but I think it’s still manageable since we aren’t back to regular hours yet and I can still avoid traffic.

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Just before the Raya holidays, my colleagues and I went to pack up all our stuff at the old office and say goodbye to the place for the last time. It was bittersweet. It felt like it was not too long ago when I first joined the company. I even remember my first day, nervously sitting at the lobby of the building, where they have these wooden planks, long benches, pebbled flooring and a couple of trees, waiting for the office to open at 9.30am. Awkward introductions with colleagues. Then, the late nights we spent doing overtime to meet deadlines. Celebratory KFC lunches. Coordinating my first magazine in the role of deputy editor. Tears (I had a meltdown once in front of my boss, lol). Laughter. So many memories. Some of my (ex) colleagues aren’t even with us anymore due to the economic downturn. I was one of the ‘lucky’ ones. For how long remains to be seen, but I’m just glad to still have work at the moment when so many others don’t.

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Last time I’ll probably see this – view from the 11th floor.

 

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While I was sad to bid adieu to my old office space, I was also quite excited to move into a new one. Moving to a co-working space where you get lots of different people might not seem like the best thing right now, but the decision was done before the whole pandemic thing (tenancy at old office ending + cost reasons), and so far, we’ve had no reason to worry. The space is still pretty empty at the moment as many are still working from home, and I think it’s big enough to implement social distancing measures. (Above) The main area is cosy and has several couches, tall tables and work desks where you can sit freely. It’s also a good place to have a casual chat with clients or visitors, who are allowed in for a maximum of 3 hours, after which they are required to purchase a day pass.

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There are several tiers to choose from; namely the Hot Desk which allows you to sit at any desk in the open area, (RM400/month), Dedicated Desk where you get your own desk and lockable cabinet (RM700/month), and private suite (RM700/month). As suite subscribers, we get to sit at the hot desk seats if we want a change of scenery.

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There’s a games room with lots of cosy pouffes where you can let off some steam… although I think not many people would want to touch stuff inside rn. There’s a dartboard, board games, a Playstation (but they only have football games :(, and even a guitar. It will be a lively place to socialise once the pandemic winds down.

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The pantry is another common area, and comes equipped with two refrigerators, a water dispenser and microwave – although I’m a bit apprehensive about using the appliances since they’re shared among so many people. There is another pantry near the entrance.

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They have snack hour where they hand out snacks to the offices, or you can just help yourself to some goodies.

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Booths where you get a bit more privacy.

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The suites are basically a bunch of cubicles with glass walls, which can be rather distracting if there’s a good looking dude a few offices away from yours. (Above) Our suite before we moved the rest of the stuff in. Now there’s a big ass cupboard in the corner, a couple of monitors and numerous boxes, so it feels a little cramped.

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Customising my space. I also have a big Apple Monitor (not pictured).

The tables are honestly a bit narrow so there’s barely enough space for me to put my things (my desk is always cluttered), but can’t really complain.

Other than these, the space has facilities such as a small gym, printing and scanning machines, reception area and meeting rooms (you can rent them for ‘credit’, which you get a set amount of monthly depending on your tier). There are also regular networking sessions, although these have been put on hold for now as gatherings are not allowed.

I read an article about how co working spaces might see a surge in subscribers in the months to come, as some companies may be looking at downsizing, and co working spaces offer a cheaper option. That, or people will continue their work from home arrangement (although not everyone has a conducive environment for wfh – especially if you have young kids).

 

30-Day Writing Challenge : Day 10 – Traffic

10. Traffic 

Like many major cities in Southeast Asia, traffic in Kuala Lumpur is pretty bad. The distance between my home and the office is about 20 kilometres, and I spend about an hour getting to work, and 1.5 hours to get home. This will stretch to two hours when it rains, or if it’s a Friday evening.

Traffic congestion has been a long standing problem in Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley. We are a nation of drivers – almost every household in urban areas has at least one car. Malaysians reportedly have one of the highest rates of car ownership in the world. It’s not because we like cars (who wants to be tied down with loans and whatnot, especially since our cars aren’t that cheap either) – but it’s a necessity. Getting from place to place is simply too inconvenient if you don’t have one.

The way I see it, the major issue is connectivity.  For example, the area I live in has no buses servicing the route, and the nearest train station is 25 minutes (on foot), with no pavements to walk on (you’ll have to walk on the road where you’re at risk of being run over by a truck or some shit). This is true for many housing estates, so the only way one is able to travel conveniently is to get a car (or a motorbike). Even when using public transportation, it is often unreliable. I used to travel from my home to my college (about 40 kilometres away), which would involve me getting up at 5.30AM (my dad would drop me off at the train station on his way to work), catching the train at 6.30AM, and arriving at school at 8AM. When I had to go home, I’d take the train and switch to a bus (the journey would take up to 3 hours) and I still couldn’t get right to my doorstep because it would be a 30 minute walk on unpaved roads again – I had to wait for my dad to come pick me up.

These days, there is Grab – but the government has been regulating the system and as a result, many people have quit being Grab drivers, and the supply is limited. Longer waiting times aside, there has also been a surge in price. There have been calls from certain parties to promote carpooling by banning single drivers (which is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard), but until the day they can have better urban planning (don’t build housing estates THEN think about transportation; sane people do it the other way around) and better connectivity, I doubt there will be a solution to our transportation woes.

Then again, I just need to take a trip to Manila to remind myself that we have it much better than they do. Visiting N there has been a nightmare the last couple of times; like the time we got stuck in a flood which took us 5 hours to get from the Museum of Natural History back to our hotel near the airport: a distance of 12 kilometres. Also, breathing in diesel fumes from jeepneys, being squished like a sardine in the vehicle, sweating from pores I didn’t even know existed, and such. Yep. Gimme KL traffic any day.

 

 

 

Quick Update

Hey guys!

So I’m back from Aus and I had a great time! Too much food and wine has taken its toll on me though (such a first world problem D:) and I fell sick on the last day – no thanks to Melbourne’s crazy weather that went from a mild 20+C to a freezing 8C. I lasted until my flight home, where I promptly developed a fever onboard (because of the crazy cold air conditioning). Came back, finally went to see a doctor, and she gave me two days emcee because my throat was so bad (quote unquote: What have you been eating!?)

Feeling better today, and there’s a tonne of work waiting for me to finish, so I might not be able to update as often.

Oh, and by the way, Happy Easter!