It’s nearing the end of the month, and I’m more than broke. My net worth has dug its way to rock bottom, and kept on going.
This seems to be a common occurrence for me, being broke. And yes, I’ve been through the drill before – I need to manage my money better, I need to spend less, I need to stop splurging on food, et cetera. But really though, does anyone seriously expect me to do everything I need to do (most of which involves paying for petrol, food, and buying gifts) on a budget of RM500 a month?
(paying bills hasn’t been added to that list of things to do, thankfully)
I’ve done my calculations. Let’s say every day, it’s inevitable that I eat at least one meal on my own, since no one’s around for most of the morning and early afternoon, so let’s call that amount for brunch at RM6 per day. (It’s really more than that, especially on weekends, but let’s work with this amount for now). Rm6 per day, 30 days in a month – that’s RM180 spent on food alone. That’s alright – still RM320 to go.
Now, petrol. Malaysia has some of the cheapest petrol in the world, at RM1.90 per liter, but I travel to freakin’ Kota Damansara every other day, which is 30km per trip. I won’t go into the details, but let’s just set the daily petrol usage to RM10 per day – some days I travel more, some days I travel less, but that’s about right. So RM10 per day, 30 days in a month – that’s RM300 spent on petrol.
Before you ask, no, it is not any more economical for me to take the public bus/train. A single trip to Kota Damansara involves buying a ticket into the city, which costs RM2; and then from the city, it costs another RM2.50 to board either Bus 98 or Bus 99 to get into Kota Damansara. Multiply that by 2 trips to get there and back again, I’m already spending RM9 per day. The public bus, on average, takes an extra 90 minutes to get me to where I need to be – 180 minutes wasted, in total. So no; no public transportation for me.
Now, with petrol out of the way – I have a grand total of RM20 left to spend! At the end of the month, I could totally go and get something nice for myself- oh, wait. That’s right. I’ve forgotten to deduct 10% from the RM500 at the beginning of the month for my tithe. So let’s take RM50 from that amount and – there we go! I’m left with nothing – less than nothing, really, because I’ll be owing someone somewhere some 30 ringgit.
(not that I begrudge paying my tithe, mind – I’m just proving, mathematically, how impossible it is to be left with anything more than nothing at the end of the month)
It’s a most fortunate thing that I am able to write to some degree. I can at least get something on the side doing copywriting, and every once in a while, a major scriptwriting job comes along and I’m paid enough to last me for another 2 months or so. But these things come by only occasionally, at best; and soon I find myself having to look for some way to get by comfortably.
But I should really learn to be more thankful. Most people support entire families on RM500 a month – who am I to diss the amount? I just think that considering the life that I live, the kind of expenditures I have to make, the real thing I have to do isn’t to spend less. What I really need to do is to earn more.
Which is exactly why I just cannot wait to get out of university – firstly, to have that freedom to create awesome stuff for the world to see; and secondly, but by no means any less important than the first, to be able to receive a full-timer’s wage on the work that I produce.
So hire me. Someone. Anyone.