How Motherhood Change The Way I View Personal Finance

I was married at a very young age and did not have much savings to start with. Being young I admit I was very optimistic about my future and I have always believed I can get through it all despite being young. The challenges of Motherhood have been the inspiration for me to manage my finances better despite the fact I studied Islamic Financial Planning and started my career as a Financial Advisor. I believe I became much better with my finances after having my kids. Motherhood has provided me the skills to help me thrive in my personal finance.

Motherhood pushed me to reevaluate my time and value Before having kids, I used to spend most of my time with work and always going back late. Staying in the office to finish up the work and using my spare time to explore other ‘opportunities’ to gain more money. I was going to networking events almost every other night. All the free business networking I’ll be attending and some even paid ones too. After having my kids, I know I had to choose the best ones only, as I had to juggle with going back home on time. Also I started searching for opportunities for me to have the option to go out for work and also work from home some days. I know without motherhood, I would still be the headless chicken going from one event to another without actually achieving anything. I learned you can actually achieve more when it is placed in good use. The 80/20 rule book really changes the way I view how I do my work.
Motherhood pushed me to be more discipline in my budget I grew up with both my parents being a physiotherapist in a hospital from a small town in Ipoh. I grew up watching my mother being very mindful over every single purchase we made and my mother does it so well when it comes to budget. After moving out for my university studies. I went wild with my money because I actually had the freedom to do purchases without my parents nagging and could hide it better. But after having two kids it actually took me back a bit. I truly understand now why my parents were so mindful about every spending they have made. I now don’t have the luxury to simply spend on an expensive dinner or coffee because every single cent counts.

Motherhood pushed me to start a side business I have experienced many MLM purchases before getting married. It’s amazing how much I spent on this MLM business. I can cry thinking about it back. But after being a mother, everytime someone tries to sell me this I am more mindful and I can just say NO easier now. But I have been hunting for other ways to safely do my businesses on the side while still keeping my full time job. Couple of years back I purchased a small freezer and started selling frozen kuihs. The income from that did help us a bit and since then I have started many other opportunities for me to slowly grow that business. It has taught me that slow growth is still progress. Not every business you venture in can just simply have explosive growth. Small growth is still good. Small steps.

Motherhood taught me to write down everything I purchased Is there enough milk to last for this week? Is there enough diapers? Is there still cooking oil to last us the month. I can’t remember how many times a week I have to go back to do my groceries because I have forgotten one item from the list. How I had to stretch on one item because we were waiting for pay day! I hate looking at my bank account and always hope I magically have enough money to purchase my groceries. I know I had to do it. Because I know I can’t keep digging my emergency funds every time we run out of milk formula. I am the parent, so I don’t have anyone nagging me on my budget spending. Sure it would be nice to have someone nagging me about my purchases and how I need to buckle up on my spending!
Motherhood has me seeking advice I feel more open now to talk about my finances and seek advice from others. Because I know I am not the only one struggling with this. I have two little ones to care for. The stress is higher and it made me more vulnerable to admit my mistakes. Forcing me to reevaluate everything I know about personal finance and where I would like to head my life at. It had pushed me to look at my life, 3, 5 and 10 years from now. I know moms need to lean on someone to seek advice on these things and sometimes just remind me that I am doing well. I don’t need to stress so much on my money.

Having two kids and having a full time job, sometimes it’s hard to keep track on my finances. I tend to overspend and have anxiety over nothing. Between rushing to send my kid to kindergarten and deciding on to splurge on going out for dinner. I tend to over think on my spending habits. I found this app HeyAlfred very useful. My very own virtual personal finance butler.

It links to my bank so all my transactions are captured through the app. I’ve never used an app before to track my expenses, I usually just write it down in my budget book. So to see all my expenses in a board is amazing.

The app automatically categories all my spending. Since I use my debit card a lot on all my spending it reflects on the app. I feel I am more mindful on my spending and I don’t feel so guilty if I splurged once in a while because it reflects on the app how much I have spent so far and how much I have saved. This app really helps because being a mom of two kids it keeps me in check over all expenses. I really want to avoid unnecessary expenses and to worry about not having enough. (between diapers,milk formula and nursery expenses)


This app also has the fun chatbox Alfie that I can chat and ask how I am doing so far!

Keeping up and staying on track with my bills is my top priority as a mother. Budgeting is the answer! It could be hard at times but having a fun app that helps create and makes sure I stick to that budget can really help. I feel more and more like I am in control and that’s exactly where I want to be with my finances!

Giving birth in Malaysia- My personal experience

Congratulations on the bundle of joy! You got 9 months to decide where to give birth. Setting up the perfect budget before giving birth. No insurance companies in Malaysia covers cost of birth (why not???) and if you are lucky some big companies does offer cost of birth to their staffs or their partner. But for most of us we have to come up with a financial plan to cover the cost.

For government hospital the expenses ranges between only paying RM 20- RM1000 for Malaysian citizens as the cost has been subsidies by the government.

The price tag for private options here in Klang various between RM300 to as high as RM20,000. Lucky for some where companies cover the cost of giving birth.

Keep in mind if your baby is premature or if you experience any complications private hospital often times will revert you to the nearest government hospital because most hospitals are not equipped with tools or specialist to assist your medical emergency. Therefore you have to reassure and speak to your private practitioner if you experience any complications what would the hospital cover.On a personal note when I was in the labor room for my second child there were 3 walk ins from private hospital because the private hospital did not have proper resources to tackle the cases.

For my first child I wanted to go private because of all the things my office mates was saying about the government hospital and their experiences. So I decided to do some research on it. The price tag was unbelievable. So private was out the door because I could not deal with the stress of dealing with the bill.

So for checkup on my pregnancy I did both ‘Klinik Kesihatan’ and private. I open my pink book at Klinik Kesihatan for the monthly checkup and weekly check up at the end of the pregnancy. The only issue at Klinik Kesihatan is the crowd. You have to wait for long for the check up. But their checkup are very detailed and complete. So if you have any sign of complication they will refer you straight to hospital. The other thing I like about Klinik Kesihatan is the nurses there are experience with the number of patients they would not necessary give you medications you do not need. Generally all government hospitals have strict practices like that. They just don’t necessary give you medication you do not need. 

The reason I also did go to private clinic is because the government clinic did not have ultrasound and only had Fetal Doppler so had to do my scan at the private. Which cost me around RM120 per visit. So did scanning only twice all through out my pregnancy, so it was around RM240.  I did not do the high tech scanning of 3D and 4D scanning cause I felt it was a waste of money and normal ultrasound will do for me. 

Had to spend two nights at the hospital for my first born and one week for my second born cause he is G6PD deficiency had to be under the light for a couple of days after he was born. Of course it wasn’t a five star hotel accommodation but it really did not matter with all the pain I was going through I just wanted to be home as soon as possible and not be in the hospital. I think that is more important the after care.  

My hospital bill for both my kids were only RM20! 

The full table charge from the hospital website:

Caj Bersalin Warganegara Malaysia

Kelas Wad Normal (RM) Caesarian (RM) Forcep / Vakum (RM) Breech (RM)
Kelas 1 450.00 1,200.00 600.00 600.00
Kelas 2 150.00 400.00 200.00 200.00
Kelas 3 10.00 100.00 50.00 50.00
*Semua caj yang dikenakan TIDAK TERMASUK caj ujian makmal, x-ray, pembedahan dan bayaran prosedur klinikal yang dijalankan
 
 
I was so grateful that I was surrounded by very supportive and loving nurses despite the horror stories that are often shared by people. I guess the power of manifestation was strong with this one. 
 
It really depends on your choices when choosing to give birth. For us at that time we did not had the luxury to spend a hold lot of money. But at the same time I am glad that I did not spend it on giving birth in a private hospital. As the money used can be put somewhere else.(one month after giving birth straight away opened a bank account & ASNB account) 
 
Giving birth wasn’t the hardest part 😉 

 

It’s Not About Us Is About Them (Kids)

The first time I heard this statement was for an Introduction talk on teaching kids how to handle money. The speaker ask us to repeat this statement again and again reminding that every time we are out preaching is all about the kids. The kids are always the priority.

Till today I still remember and practice this saying.

Even now every decision I make is based on that statement.

Becoming a mother to a young beautiful little girl, every decision I make is around the fact on what is best for this little one.

But sometimes I tend to forget that particular statement.

Decisions are made at the spur of the moment, my own selfishness.

Businesses that are run with zero empathy sometimes leads and drags me to this chaos. Sometimes I’ll sway so far into the darkness into my own selfish struggles that I forgot that statement.

It’s not about us is about them.

Suze Orman and her brutal honesty

I fell in love with the idea of helping people to get back on track to manage their finances!

I was obsess with her show since then. Watching every episode that she appears on Oprah. It was very interesting and I really wanted to pursue a career exactly just like that!

I still clearly remember the first time I watch Suze Orman on TV. It was one of her first appearances on the Oprah Winfrey Show. How she helped a young girl get back in control of her finances. Cutting back on all unnecessary expenses and increase on paying back on her credit card loans.

Well I did but specializing in Islamic Financial Planning.

But I’ve learn more about personal finance from years of reading, listening to podcast and watching videos then I ever did when I was back in the University.

I really still do wish to pursue in preaching people to better manage their personal finances. Because Suze Orman’s brutal honesty is what some of us really need to pursue the path of financial literacy.

Never Stop Reading

The advice I got from my mentor on career advancement is to never stop reading. The news, articles and books. She will frequently suggest books or provide me books from the library for me to read.

What I lack in years of experience I’ll replace it by reading.

She always warn me not to waste time at work given at any free time I got read a few articles or read the latest news report. If at the least laziness listen to a podcast.

Warren Buffet’s key to his success is by spending most of his time reading.

“Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.” -Warren Buffet

But Buffet takes this habit to the extreme by reading around 600 to 1000 pages daily when he began his investing career and still manage to allocate 80% of his day to day habits to read.

Elon Musk also build his empire by just reading books. According to his close relative he reads more then an average person reads, that is the reason how he could learn twice as much faster then the average.

From picking up this habit I have learn 3 things;

  1. I asked the right questions. When the right questions was ask I built a better relationship with others both personally and my workplace.
  2. I was a better listener. Also I knew how to manage people with different personality and feed on their ego. Relationship win!
  3. Help me beat my anxiety. In meetings or any networking events I always feel anxious over large crowd. With a lot of the reading I made I learned how to handle my anxiety better.

I know there is much more benefits out there. Currently this is based on my personal experience after 3 years experience working. I hope to keep going with this habit and push it as near possible way of the great Warren Buffet and Elon Musk.

Financial Anxiety – How It affects Your Body

One of the top factors that cause financial problems for Malaysians is poor financial planning, the high cost of medications, business failure, and uncontrolled credit cars usage. The rise in number of bankruptcy in Malaysia amongst Millenials have reached 25,000 (as of June 2015; The Star). Many feel trap in this financial wheel and your body will be affected by this stress.

Sleep Issues

Thinking about how you can repay your debt or worse if you had borrowed money from illegal it could affect the safety of yourself. Waking up in the middle of the night consistently thinking about all the financial obligations. When you experience a few restless nights will not bring an impact on the body but if it becomes a pattern, the stress that you are experiencing can be toxic.


Headaches

If you experience stress your brain muscles tend to be tense and is a protection mechanism from injury. Constantly feeling tense will have the muscle be consistenly tense and tight. Therefore it would effect the tension of the neck, shouders and head.

General Pains & Body Aches

Having constanly thinking about your financial situation and feels hopeless about it can take a toll on your body. When the pain starts from the pain it will start fulling towards your system with stress hormones. Being on the edge constantly regarding your current situation may make your brain to lead on the edge and you anticipate that something worse were to affect you.

Getting Sick More Often

Consider how you feel about your current financial state if you notice that you often feel sick. Constant stress can lead to the weaken of the immune system and will lead towards more sick days.

Dealing with Financial Anxiety

Paying attention to how it makes you feel when you start talking about your finances or checking your bank account balance. Acknowledge if you have a physical reaction towards it consider what are triggering these feelings. Using this technique teaches ourselves to work with our emotions instead of ignoring the situation. It is also to best seek help if you feel overwhelmed because achieving your financial goals are just not about the numbers but also the emotions, attitudes and thoughts that drives us towards those behaviors.

Reflecting on my life choices

I have two kids and I am 27.

I have a 8 to 5 job, I teach English part time and I sell frozen food (kuih) part time too. Graduated a degree in Business Administration (Islamic Financial Plan) and it has been 5 years since I left school. I still feel bad looking and my current financial situation.

Scroll down through social media I see my pears all out from one holiday to another and their night life, weekends branches. I feel sick to my stomach watching them one by one. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy for them they get to live life on their terms and they are in a happy place. But how do I reach to that spot where I am content with myself.

People questioned my life choices all the time but all my choices are base on what I felt important was my happiness. It didn’t hit me till now I slowly started doubting myself. Maybe they were right I am doomed to begin with.

After giving birth to my second boy I decided to stop all this negative self talk and just do something about it. SO started a instagram account called @dearduit.

Through the journey thought me, whatever I was going through my life experience all of it has it’s purpose.

Every mistake and every wins has it’s own life lessons. I believe without that experience I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I maybe struggling now but I know I am not alone.

Dear Duit, I believe I will be having a better relationship with you this year 😉

Dear Duit <3

I have always been insecure about my money decision and my money management skills. I always thought for the longest time that I am financially doom because I the life choices I made. For the longest time I thought the road that I have choose was a mistake.

Excuses over excuses I gave myself and the situation I got myself into.

I just woke up one day and felt damn what the heck am I doing? I am sick and tired of being worried about money and the future. I’m sick of being in a stuck situation. So I decided to start Dear Duit on Instagram!

My first goal was to post until 100 posts and I promise myself I have to take this to another level.

So here I am turning this into a blog!