Project RM360: Surviving on RM360 in 1 Month

I am poor.

To be exact, I am feeling poor, which is different to being actually poor poor.

Poor poor: struggling to cover your basic necessities like food, shelter, electricity, etc.

Feeling poor: you have a certain amount of money but it's not to spend i.e. emergency funds for medical bills, home/ car mortgage, joblessness, and etc.

In recent months, I have been forking out more and more money for needs-related bills. In the process, it practically took over the percentage I was paying myself for travel funds.

In the end, I realised that I could either live somewhat decently day-to-day (have a social life and all that), OR I could go harder in terms of saving up to travel.

I picked travel.

Duh.


Would starve for Japan.

The Shopaholic book series taught me a long time ago that when you're in this situation, you either Cut Back (CB) or Make More Money (MMM).

Making More Money wasn't going to happen immediately, so I worked on Cutting Back.

At the beginning of June 2018, I had the fantastic terrible idea of trying to survive on RM360 throughout the month... which would round out to RM12 a day.

Of course, I didn't really survive on ONLY RM360 this month.

If I did,

a) my phone/ internet/ *insert utilities here* would be barred,
b) I would have to walk to work (I would LOVE this, if I lived anywhere near work), and
c) concerned companies would be calling me non-stop.

"I MUST SAVE MORE MONEY (SO THAT I CAN TRAVEL MORE)." 

With this constant chant in my head, I decided that any expenses in June that fell under the categories of:

a) food (mostly lunch at work),
b) shopping,
c) entertainment, and
d) miscellaneous non-bills/ transport stuff,

had to be covered by the RM360.

*

Summary:

I wouldn't recommend doing this unless YOU HAVE A PURPOSE AS TO WHY YOU ARE DOING THIS (mine, obviously, was to save more to be able to travel more).

It wasn't saving the money that was hard.

It was the constant sense of "I can't believe that I need to do this" that made me feel grumpy all month long. I would think things like, "oh, I want to have waffles and ice-cream today", then remember waffles and ice-cream cost about 1.5 days of my self-imposed budget.

In my list of priorities, I decided that spending money on daily food and entertainment wasn't as important as spending money for a more comfortable holiday, whether it was the flight ticket, the hotel, or the places to eat at.

All month, I kept bringing lunch to work, did not have a social life (even more than I usually don't), and sought out "free" activities to do.

I also made the choice between buying an expensive mug and buying food.

The mug won.

It's a super pretty mug, though!

Ahem.

Just as I do not understand the people who go to Japan only to insist on eating convenience store food for every meal, I have had people questioning why I was doing this to myself.

🤷‍♀️


I guess you can say that the mind works in mysterious ways.

*

As for Project RM360... did I actually succeed?

Well, have a look below.

Day 1: 

I am already over budget, as I had lunch at McDonald's to the tune of RM12.75. Still, THERE IS NO MORE GST CHARGED AS OF TODAY!

 Day 2 & 3:

It's the weekend! I spent both days at home, alternating between reading, writing, and exercising. I also raid the fridge for my food, rather than to eat outside. No money spent! *claps*

Day 4: 

I brought lunch to work - pork porridge with salted egg.


I falter later in the evening by spending RM2 on a Cornetto ice-cream, and a further RM2 on keropok lekor from the Ramadan bazaar. My weaknesses are everywhere...



Day 5: 

I bought 3 pieces of bread from the bakery for RM7.70, and ate them every two hours to stave off the hunger until night time.

Day 6: 

It's a colleague's last day, and therefore, eating a meal outside. I have maggi mee goreng ayam, and...


IT COSTS RM8.

WHAT.

This isn't even an air-conditioned room, or a super clean food place, to be honest, and yet...

MAGGI MEE GORENG AYAM (Maggi noodles with fried chicken pieces) NOW COST RM8?!?!

Day 7: 

I go out to meet an ex-colleague for lunch at Nando's, and I say goodbye to RM22. This amount burns a Peri-Peri hole in my wallet.

Then there is forking out RM6.50 for my share in a birthday cake at work.

Oh, and RM3 spent on Tealive for good measure, because of a Buy 1 Free 1 deal.

This RM360 project isn't going well, is it?

Total spent so far in the first week of June: RM63.95 (RM296.05 left) 

Day 8:

I try out something new for lunch, and am once again surprised that THIS COSTS RM12.

THIS.



THIS.

THIS AMOUNT OF FOOD COSTS RM12!!! (This amount equates to maybe 1/3 out of the Maggi mee ayam goreng I had).

I am also upset about something, so I go off to buy a pack of potato chips to munch on aggressively (RM3.20).

I WILL NOT BRING MORE THAN RM10 TO WORK FOR THE REST OF THE MONTH.

Day 9:

It's a Saturday, so I once again spend all my time at home and NOT SPEND MONEY.

Day 10: 

I crave pizza, so...

Domino's Pizza = RM55.55.


This amount is appropriate. In Chinese, it describes my tears (呜呜呜呜) as I pay this amount of money.

Also, my colleague who is in Korea asks me if I still want to buy the Starbucks mug I was gushing over. She helpfully sends over a picture, too.

The mug costs 27,000 won.

Converted, it's around RM100 - RM105, depending on the currency exchange.

I literally think about it for 7.5 hours.

"Do I want to buy food, or do I want the mug?"

 "Do I want to buy food, or do I want the mug?"

"Do I want to buy food, or do I want the mug?"

The mug wins.

I resign myself to just bringing food to work for the rest of the month, and also to leave my wallet behind at home.

Day 11 - Day 13: 

I HAVE A HUGE BATCH OF PASTA TO BRING TO WORK FOR LUNCH EVERY DAY THIS WEEK.

AND SO I DO.

WITHOUT SPENDING MONEY!!!

Day 14:

It's day 4 of having my tuna pasta concoction.



I am sick of pasta.

I am sick of not being able to buy decent food below RM10 near where I work.

I am sick of people who have huge office pantries and free lunches (sorry).

I cave.

I buy 20 pieces of McNuggets, ala carte, from McDonald's (to be separated into two meals, I didn't eat TWENTY nuggets in one go).

Bye, RM19.80.

I really should not bring money to work.

Total spent so far in the first two weeks of June: RM154.50 (RM205.50 left) 

Day 15:

It's okay. It's a public holiday.

I CAN STAY AT HOME AND NOT SPEND MONEY.

"Mich, can you go and buy roast pork rice for lunch?"

...

This request comes from the only person who can request for me to spend money, so...



Bye, RM14.00.

At least it's not pasta.

Day 16 & 17:

I WILL STAY AT HOME AND NOT SPEND MONEY AND NO ONE WILL DRAG ME OUT TO SPEND ANY MONEY.

*ROARS*

Day 18: 

In addition to the lunch I brought to work, I also went out to get kaya bun toast and a bowl of cendol because MALAYSIA IS FREAKING HOT.



The price to pay for my inability to withstand heat and my sweet tooth is RM8.50.

Day 19: 

I get my mug, and also pay my colleague in the process.

I will protect this precious mug WITH MY LIFE (slight exaggeration), because it costs RM102.65.


NO REALLY. LOOK HOW CUTE IT IS.

I now have RM88.85 to spend for the rest of the month.

That's 8.88 per day.

Haha.

Ha.

This Project RM360 is under danger.

Damn me and my inability to resist cute cats and gorgeous mugs.

Day 20:

This is Day 3 of bringing sandwiches to the office to toast and eat.


To be fair, it's much yummier than anything Subway Malaysia could make (and cheaper, too).

Day 21:

It is not a sandwich day...

... for I have realised that I have enough points in my GrabRewards account to EXCHANGE FOR THIS.


So, I do.


FREE FRIED CHICKEN!

I am dedicated to Project RM360, okay?

Total spent so far in the first three weeks of June: RM281.55 (RM78.45 left) 

Day 22:

I brought noodles to work, and also bought a RM1.90 ice-cream.

Day 23 & 24:

Have you seen how much money is left for me to spend? Obviously I spend the weekend at home, AGAIN.

It's a good thing I am an introvert who likes being at home, but spending 4 weekends in a row at home because I ~actually~ can't afford to go out is taking a very grumpy toll on me.

Day 25: 

Back at work, which calls for... ice-cream (by now it should be fairly obvious that I eat my feelings in sweet things).


A Magnum ice-cream to chase the Monday blues away.

It also chases RM4.50 away.

Meh.

Worth it.

Day 26:

I... give up on Project RM360. 

IT'S BEEN 25 DAYS OF BEING GRUMPY. LET ME LIVE.

I don't exactly break my budget on Day 26, but I spend like I am about to.




My first Starbucks in a LONG time, discounted at 30% because of a Starbucks deal, so now it's RM11.55 instead of RM16.50.

I also buy keropok lekor because THE STALL OWNERS ARE FINALLY BACK FROM THEIR HARI RAYA BREAK! It costs me RM2.00.

Today is also the first day in June that I actually have a social life, by going out to meet a friend from Singapore. We have bak kut teh for dinner (RM30), and the Grab ride home costs me RM10.



Look at me, living the high-roller life.

Total spent so far up to Day 26 of June: RM341.50 (RM18.50 left)

Day 27:

Do I want to spend an average of RM4.60 per day for the rest of the month, or do I just give up on Project RM360 today?

I choose the latter... and celebrate with MORE DESSERTS.


This costs me RM30. Two cupcakes, one brownie, and two cookies cost RM30.

I am kind of amazed (in a not so good way) when I think seriously about this.

I am now RM11.50 over budget. 

OH WELL.

Day 28:

I have the day off, and for the first time in a long time, I go out to have A DAY TO MYSELF.

I meander around in Kuala Lumpur, and end up spending RM84.30 on drinks, books, and food.

It's a day that's good for the soul and helps me recover some level of cheerfulness, despite the damage to my wallet.



Don't ever tell me that money doesn't buy happiness. Just don't.

Day 29: 

It's another day off for me.

From my initial RM360, I have now spent RM455.80 instead...

...just by having a day (Day 28) and night (Day 26) dedicated to self-care (hanging out with people I actually like, which includes myself).

SIGH.

I just sleep the day away in hopes of not spending more money.

It works.

Day 30: 

I am finally blogging about why I have been grumpy all month long, AND also aiming to not spend any more money today before July rolls in.

MY TOTAL DAMAGE IN JUNE: RM455.80

*

Conclusion: 

So I failed Project RM360, and went RM95.80 over budget.

All I have to say is, I may have been successful for the first 25 days, but the happiness and relief I felt from Day 26th to Day 28th as I released myself from Project RM360 was REALLY good for my mental health.

In just a matter of days I felt less snappy and irritable, just being able to go out with friends/ by myself, buy the things I want, consume the food and drinks I wanted, and spend money on self-care.

There will be no Project RM360 for July (I don't think anyone, least of all myself, can take another month of being grumpy, because "poor"), but the Cutting Back still continues, as it always has since I started working.

This, really, is a testament to how much I love to travel, but I am definitely glad that the Project is over, and June 2018 is coming to an end.

Now, to think about making more money in July...

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