Ridiculous Thoughts a Millennial Had about Personal Finance


I don’t budget. Oklah, I lied there. I do plan my finance monthly, but it’s not the same month-to-month. What I don’t budget for is food. I don’t wanna starve lol.

Hey guys! Your favourite millennial is here! I’m about to annoy you some more so sit back and relax. Get your face and your palm ready for some bonding! O.m.g!!

(eew)

In all seriousness, I have been busy! Good kind of busy. I’m taking up a few projects here and there to expand my skills and expertise a little bit. This girl has plans to work more from home in the future so stay tuned for that, folks!

Now, on to my real stuff here.

You see, in my previous life as a full-time freelancer, I was earning good money. Guaranteed RM3,000 a month least. Once, I calculated and I received almost RM10,000 within a month and a half. The point here isn’t to brag. Instead, I’m about to drop some truth bombs.

I sucked a budgeting. No, I’m terrible at saving and I’m even worse at spending. Oklah, I sucked at budgeting. /sigh

I’m not an expert now, but I do meet my unavoidable expenses month-to-month. I am also not starving myself (even when I’m earning less than RM3k) so that’s great! #adultingdoneright

In fact, I’m planning to buy a new car next year! Yay? Or no? Tell me in the comments!

All right, let me tell you a story about a young, carefree and careless Melinya. She was still living with her parents. Problem number one. (Her parents aren’t the problem, I promise.)

I was earning great income between 2014-2015 as a freelance sound engineer. The events and concerts you go to, I make them sounds happen yo. It’s not a super glamorous life as it can be labour-intensive. But, I just need to do at least 10 of those a month and I can get by pretty comfortably. I’ve no rent, house utilities or car insurance to pay for. Most of my expenses go towards my phone bill, food, and daily commute.

Perks of living with the parents!

I could afford brunch every day, you know. Like those eggs on toasts with beans and salad plus JUICE and COFFEE kind of brunch. Why not, kan? Spend all them greens ‘cause I’m going to earn more laterz anywayz.

I want to slap my younger self sometimes.

What I would have done differently: put more money into savings and bring more packed food instead of eating out a lot. These two things are the biggest change I would say that I’m doing right now compared to when I was earning a lot more.

Which leads me to problem number two: I was always afraid that I won’t have enough money to spend if I had to put away money. (Insert: long internal groan of disappointment.) AKA SAVINGS.

I remember arguing myself that if I had to put away x% of my income right now (back then), I told myself I won’t be having enough to spend on. This was without running the actual numbers! Can you believe how absurd that train of thought is?? That’s the total opposite of how savings could have benefited me!!!

//screams in frustration for an eternity//

What I would have done differently: Understand my spending habits better. Also, teach myself to save and how having a second savings account could also benefit me. Because having only one is absurd yo. #DaveRamseyftw!!

Third problem – I worked until I was beyond exhausted because I wanted to make more money and fast. And I was constantly working with the wrong clients.

“Working with less than ideal clients” is one topic I’d love to talk about one day. I so want to start a freelancer video series but that will have to wait a bit!

(feel free to send me money at paypal.me/melinyasarah so I can buy a vlogging camera because I’m shameless like that!)

Back to getting exhausted from working… This was happening a lot in those days because I was getting quite comfortable from the money I was earning. I was not ready to give it all up! Honestly, work was taking up my time so much, I was not living the life that I wanted. I was spending less time with my family and hanging out with friends that didn’t even vibe well with me. I was not unhappy, but it was not fulfilling for sure.

What I would have done differently: Understanding my capacity before accepting new jobs. Even if that means I would be earning less.

Back to being a terrible millennial… Or not so anymore….

What is different with me right now is how I perceive money. More accurately, income. A question I always ask myself – am I going to waste all the money I’ve earned from working x hours? Probably not.

I also have three separate savings accounts for different things.

The first one is an untouchable emergency fund.

The second one is a touchable emergency fund, mostly for car repairs.

The third and final one is for things that I want to buy. Like, getting a decent vlogging camera and upgrading my 2011 MacBook Pro. (I want to get a more ram and an SSD so I can do more jobs!)

Check out my hire me page if you need some work done or send me money if you’re feeling generous!

The biggest takeaway here…

Young adults these days are burdened with difficult choices. To either take up jobs that pay more than passion or working many jobs while working on said passion. (Thank you, skyrocketing living costs!) Truth be told, I’m the later. I’ve tried my hands on working in 3 different companies full-time and they all didn’t work out much for me. #TypicalMillennial lol. But here’s what I’ll say to my fellow millennials and generation Z folks:

Start leveraging your talents and/or skills. Find out what your niche is and then make a list of services that you can offer to your friends and family. Think: what are some of the needs that you can fulfill, and then leverage on that. Also don’t be a dick about it lah, ok? Be nice and be honest. Do things for the long run, don’t half-ass, and always be responsible!

Don’t be like past Mel, carefree and careless. #facepalm

But you have countless of resources at the tip of your fingers. Don’t let time pass you by while you get burned out. Start small and work from there. Get all the help you need. Opportunities are abundant, you just need to look for them!

Alright, serious topic over! Do you guys like my new blog? I’ve revamped it to look prettier and more presentable. Ayeeee professionalism, am I right??

BEFORE | Simple, minimalistic look

I kid. Anything in USD for me is too expensive so this is the best that I can come up with with a shoestring budget. Hope you guys dig and I hope to be back next week!

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash | Created on canva.com

 

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My Weakness: I can’t do meal plans


It’s hard! Too much work. The food I make doesn’t taste very good. Ugh!

But you know what, I’m saving money and I have to stick to it. I have to learn how to do this if I want to have a little bit more to save every month and not see the fresh produce that I buy go bad. It’s not the most convenient thing to do but if I have to do it to be able to spend less on things that I can have with a cheaper price tag, so be it. I have to be disciplined and stick. to. it!!

So I did. At least for last week, I planned my meals and stuck to most of it. Did I mention it was hard?

But you know what, I learned some hard truths, both good and bad. Mostly, I learned a lot about myself than I ever did ever since I started adulting. Yes, there is a time in my life when I was an adult but never really got serious in adulting, so here’s one hard truth – I was HORRIBLE at saving!!

I remember at one point in my life when my tithes reached RM1000++. You know what that means? I had earned RM10k and I didn’t even realize it!! Boy, do I feel so terrible right now. I had opportunities to save more money and I did. not. save. much. If not any. Well, the best time to turn things around is NOW.

I have decided to make this video a week in advance (than I had originally planned) while I still had some extra ingredients leftover, like cheese, butter, cooking oil, and dishwashing liquid. Yes, dishwashing liquid. You can’t really do much if you have none of those to do your dishes, you know. Sure enough, this week’s groceries was an extra RM60. But that extra RM60 meant being able to stretch cheese and butter for an additional week, and oil and dishwashing liquid a lot longer, hopefully about a month or so, so I didn’t mind. Oh yeah, I also bought a bag of kibble for my cat.

Anyways.

Last week I managed to spend only about RM105. I say that because I realized much later that the cashier had missed scanning a few items. I pre-calculated that I was going to spend about RM125. So I had a pretty bad feeling about my math (I mean, it’s not great but I made sure even the taxes are calculated in so it shouldn’t be THAT bad). When I checked the receipt, she had missed out about 3-5 things. So I guess I was lucky in that sense.

I won’t be so lucky next time, I know.

So anyway, here are some of my ideas when I was planning my meals. I didn’t really stick to it but I made sure I cooked every day. Hard truth number two – not the best idea to go about this. I should have prepared more on my day off like pre-cut the veggies and group them in the same container for meals that have those ingredients. That could have saved me a tonne of time.

  1. Breakfast cups, 2 for each day
  2. Lettuce wraps (turned into chilli lime chicken salad because wraps was too much work to do at work)
  3. Tuna salad
  4. Veggie curry
  5. Chicken and broccoli stir-fry
  6. Stuffed chicken (instead, just plain ol roasted chicken with sauteed veggies)
  7. Eggplant Rollatini (didn’t happen. made some quiche-inspired thing, see below)

Hard truth number 3 – when listing out the grocery list, I realized I didn’t have to get as many items as I thought I needed. Well, thank God because my fridge is too small and now I don’t have to worry so much about the temperature in my fridge increasing. For example, I find myself needing only 1 cucumber as opposed buying to 2-3 like I used to. I used to always get at least 2 pieces (for lack of better word) of every kind of veggies that I was buying, and then I never really want to eat them. By getting only what I really need, I had no choice but to cook and eat it.

Hard truth number 4 – Eggs have easily become my quickest source of protein. Also cheaper. So in times of dire need (of more cash for other things), my knowledge of many different ways to cook and style an egg will increase. Maybe instead of Meatless Monday, it will become meatless week instead. Because sustaining a week with chicken can be a little too expensive. Had the cashier not missed some items, my grocery bill would’ve been a little too high for my monthly expenses. So, get cracking! (get it?)

Hard truth number 5 – seasoning is important. When trying to cooking 2 meals every day, it’s always easy to miss out on making sure my food taste good. Especially on the last day when I didn’t have time to make eggplant rollatini. I had all the ingredients but not enough cook time because I had to be at work pretty early that day so I just chop, cut, and dump everything in my glass containers, make an egg mixture that had no seasoning, pour it over the layers of veggies that also didn’t have any seasoning, then baked it. It was so horrifyingly bland that I almost felt nauseous trying to finish the second container. It was not yummy and satisfying.

Hard truth number 6 – portion-control is important. Ever since on the keto diet, I still have a hard time trying to get used to smaller portions because I still miss rice, noodles, and pasta a lot. The way to go about this is to eat more to replace the missing carbs. I mean, fat is more expensive so I’m still doing my best to keep up with my diet. But other than that, the smallest portion of food this week was my roasted chicken and sauteed veggies. Boy, was I hungry again 2 hours later.

Hard truth number 7 – stop snacking so much. 2 palms full is enough for the rest of the day. I have to continue reminding myself this otherwise I’m going to depend on it and have my insulin levels spike up unnecessarily.

So I made a little video documenting my eventful time in the kitchen for the last one week. While I had fun learning and coming up with new recipes, I’m just glad that I am able to feed myself and not fall into the temptations of conveniences. That said, I will get better at meal planning and hopefully, the next post about meal planning will be much better.

Otherwise, care to join me laughing at my own downfalls. See you next post!

I’m Doing A New Video Series!


All right guys, it’s time for me to properly grow up. Meal planning, grocery budgeting, bill filing… Sounds dreadful, isn’t it??? But it’s something that most of us have to deal with once we’ve reached a certain age. It’s even a bigger responsibility when you live on your own like I do. So, what’s so special about this video series?

Well. My monthly salary right now is RM2,200. Living in Kuala Lumpur is expensive. The ketogenic diet is expensive. Having homeowner fees are giving me a headache… What better way to deal with all of this than to make videos about them?! Ha.

Last year was a huge grown-up sesh for me. I learned that it is still possible to save money even with a salary of RM1725 after tax. Sure, that’s when I’m not investing into clothing and tools for work every other month, but when I’m forcing myself to spend only on necessities like food and petrol, I was able to put aside RM350 every month without fail.

That’s RM100 for any emergencies and the services for my car, RM250 for an untouchable account.

Pretty neat right?

So I thought, it wouldn’t be harder with a little bit of increment with my current full-time job. I say a little bit because there is a fair bit of payment on one particular category that I will talk about in the next video. Ha, shameless plug – stay tuned for that one!

Anyways, this is just a little intro blog post. There will be a video coming soon on what I have spent in January and my budgeting plans for February. Until then, check out my Instagram this week where I am posting about my lunch/dinner meals for 6 days this week. It’s a little behind the scene on what I meal plan.

Follow me on Instagram @melinya.