Setting Up May 2022; I Plan: 1 May 2022

In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

Firstly, Happy Labour Day! I hope that all you hard workers out there, some still working today, will have a blessed day ahead!

Secondly, I almost forgot to set up my May bullet journal!

Very simple designs this time round. I realise that I need variable space for my daily logs so I decided not to go for the fixed weekly spaced kind of template. I did, however, try to draw inspiration from artists online and found this particularly interesting doodle. So of course I had to try it out but I did it in my own style!

The inspiration

Hers definitely look lovelier now that I am looking at her reel again. I only had one look at it a day before doing my May setup. Explains why mine is pretty off from the original. Poor memory!

Yeah, my art and design skills still need a lot of work. I am happy to keep practising through my bujo though!

And Allah is Al-Lateef, The Most Gentle. – MM

Setting Up April 2022; I Plan: 30 March 2022

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

Hello! I broke my promise to you! I did not manage to set up some pages of my bujo in preparation for April last week. So this is me making up to you!

Before starting on it, I need some inspiration. My kiddish art skills could definitely use some help.

One of my favourite bullet journal designers is AmandaRachLee. This is her 2022 bujo setup:

Alright, now let us see how I miserably try to incorporate or rather, kinda learn from copying her ideas.

Hahaha! Yeah, I added my own spin to it but you could see where I tried to imitate.
I think I should write more legibly for goals instead of writing in cursive because it just looks like I am not taking my goals seriously enough. I took a different approach because I have already kinda mapped out my goals in this manner.
Slightly different spin but you could see me imitating some parts here.
I kinda dig the folder idea she used. Unfortunately, I was tryna squeeze three months into one since I am only starting my bujo in April. Or else, I would have gotten a more consistent look.

I skipped a lot of the collections she did. I would probably add on if I have time to do so.

Next, I need to set up the monthly log. I visited https://www.archerandolive.com/blogs/news/monthlies-what-are-they-for-and-how-can-you-customise-them for some ideas. This is how I executed the first inspiration showcased on that webpage:

I got the proportion all wrong and I just cannot get the shading right. LOL. But hey, I tried to maintain the general look that was inspired by AmandaRachLee.

My estimation is way off. I do not know how much space I need exactly for each day. If this layout does not work out, I will give more space for the rest of the weeks.

And there you have it. My April setup for my bujo! I am really glad I did this. It has been a while since I get to do any visual art and this was a great outlet. My drawing skills definitely need improvement but I am happy that I beat my laziness, firstly, by doing bujo and by forcing myself to draw something difficult. Secondly, I am happy that I am learning to carve out some time to do this. To do art. However badly it may be. Hahaha!

And Allah is Al-Khaafidh, The Reducer. – MM

Resuming Bullet Journalling; I Plan: 18 March 2022

In the name of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

I gave up on Bullet Journalling after doing it for a year. I started in 2019. Tried to continue in 2020 but dropped the ball. Tried to continue it again in 2021 but failed yet again.

Well, it might be a little late to continue bullet journalling this year but, heh, why not? Since the years for 2020-2021 were never completed, beginning in the month of April for this year seems fitting enough. These kinds of things can probably drive perfectionists crazy but I am not perfect and I am broken so whatever comes out of me remains imperfect and broken.

Anyway, let us have a little review of what my 2020-2021 bujo (short for bullet journal) looks like.

On the spine, we have 2020 written on it. I will need to add on the years 2021 and 2022.
So this is how the cover looks like. I will need to add on 2022 to it.Looks like I will have to write it in an even smaller font. Haha!
I pasted the key symbols of a typical bullet journal here to remind myself how a bujo works in case I forget. I mean, I only did one full year of bujo and most of the entries were done on a catch-up. So to date, I do not really have that pure bujo experience.
Why waste a good pic? That is me in all of my honourable glory at my old workplace.
My 2020 cover! Right about now, you would have already established that I have nooooo sense of artistic talent whatsoever.
And on top of that, my handwriting is simply atrocious. You can see that I added on 2021 to the incomplete 2020. So I will have to add 2022 below the incomplete 2021.
Ha! Can I just stop being weird? I don’t even know who that lady is anymore. Really seems like a lifetime ago. Now, I am goalless, dreamless, focusless, and affirmless. I do not even know if I used the correct words. Just kidding. We have already understood that I do have goals, dreams, focus, and…well, maybe I do need more affirmations.
I kinda like how this looks but I acknowledge I lack the finesse to make this look really good.
I tried to make a spread that shows the different designs for each month but clearly I dropped the ball halfway. Also, I was only able to enrich my little mind by a little bit through reading four physical books from the library. Sad. No wonder I am still not smart.
Hmm. I should probably print out some 2020 photos to fill these pages.
I was trying so hard to use various art tools here. Water colour, colour pencils, markers, pens, and shiny pens. Epic failure.
Clearly, I have not been doing any house chores since 2020. Sighs.
I just realised that this is like a very kiddy version of Blue Lagoon. Embarrassing.
Ooh, my first ever Batam trip! With my husband to boot! After COVID-19 had hit mostly China the month before but have not overcome Indonesia and Singapore! Fond memories.
My art is worse than a child’s. I honestly think it is because I lack practice and that I just got lazy and decided to rush my art.
OMG. First meeting and jam ever with now drummer, Teck, and pianist/guitarist, Shike. What a ball. I cannot believe our friendship has only been two years. It feels like we have been playing music since forever.
Yes. I just got incredibly lazy and it does not help when I lack energy and time to do this shit.
Wow. I still remember that last day of operations in my old workplace. We all had to close down due to the first strong wave of COVID-19. Our very first nationwide lockdown. And yet, I simply did no house chores during the entirety of the lockdown. The irony.
At this point, I am pretty sure I had given up but I still forced myself to create something. Because something is better than nothing.
Haha! Forced annual leave (ANL). I really held a grudge there. But it was better than not having money to eat. A lot of people lost their jobs due to the lockdown. 😦
Yeah, even when I tried to continue in the following year, it just was not happening for me.
Ah. The studio project. It was a huge accomplishment.
What is design? Who the hell has time for designing nice layouts in their bujos? Why was I so busy?! Oh, the tasks were actually a few just that they took up a lot of time and wanted to squeeze in the prayer timings because, you know, I have a problem with not praying on time. Yes, you read that correctly. Present tense; I still have the problem.
If you were to do a psychoanalysis on me, I think it is pretty safe to say, I am quite mental.
Very. Lazy.
I could probably wish all of these July birthday babies a Happy Birthday in one email. LOL.
And so this was the last page of my condemned bujo.

The reason why I want to get back into it is mostly because I want to have more content on this blog firstly and secondly, I need a lot of practice with my art. I have zero art skills and talent but we all have to start somewhere if we get very interested in learning it, do we not? I think doing this is a perfect opportunity to not only finish an incomplete book but to train myself to finish things I had once set out to do.

For tonight, since I am pretty pooped from doing deliveries throughout the week, I have added in 2022. Let us put a stop to this madness!
As expected, I squeezed it in.
I was pleasantly surprised that this pen still works after 3 years. It helped me to write on the cover of my dotted journal. The finishing is not fantastic due to the surface of my book but I am a peasant so I have to make do with what I have. It cost $1.60 at Popular bookstore back then.

Alright, in my next bujo development blog post next week, I will share how I set up my 2022 cover and future log. Stay tuned!

And Allah is Al-Qaabid, The Withholder. – MM

Oy, 2022! I Plan: 3 January 2022

In the name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

Hello! How has the holidays been for you? It was mostly work for me so nothing about it felt like any sort of holiday. But that’s life as a working class man like me.

I have promised myself that I will change my life this year. But that determination was nowhere to be found two days ago. Ha! Woke up very late in the afternoon with a headache, which led to me downing multiple cups of caffeine and going to bed only at 2am.

I was just sorta thankful that Syuruk is after 7am so I could somewhat sneak that usual 4-5 hour sleep in. Not good because I should be making an effort for tahajud and then making it for Subuh from the very first minute.

It is all about priorities and clearly, I have been like any normal human being, wrapped up in the illusions projected by this world.

Choices are easy to make but the follow-up actions are always hard to execute.

A lot of people have been giving a retrospective of their past year and the prospective of their new year goals. Let’s review the success of my 2021 planning before we jump into the my 2022 planning.

Retrospective:

I like to use simple traffic light colour coding nowadays. Red for not achieved, amber for somewhat achieved, and green for achieved.

I did not achieve any of my 2021 goals.

But that does not mean my year was a complete failure.

  • I feel like I read the Quran in the morning more than I have had in my past. But I kind of dropped the ball recently as I go into 2022. I think I would like to revise this goal for 2022.
  • Although I did not exercise every Monday and although I gained weight instead, I ran, for the first time in my life, the most in a single year! And I even got two medals out of running!
  • I did not get to fully konmari the house because I do not have the energy of a childless housewife. However, we managed to clear a lot of things out of the storeroom and we managed to revamp one room into our own music studio.
  • Although SMC has not generated any profits for me, it is actually a viable business because the setting up is done. I just need to put actual time and effort into it to make it a success.

Prospective:

I have realised over the course of my life that as much as I want to do everything in life, I really just cannot. There are only a few things you can focus at one time and that is okay. I had to keep telling myself that it is okay.

Even at work now I keep telling myself to let things go. Always consciously having to tell myself that there is no need to go the distance and to just lay back. I did not know it was that hard to be honest. Working 200% has become so natural that it became awkward to operate at 50%.

I even knocked my eye socket bone against a metal bar yesterday in a bid to get things done quickly. It hurts whenever I touch it. From experience of dropping a metal frame on my foot, I think it will hurt for a very, very, very long time. I think I got a hairline fracture on my foot bone so I will not be surprised if I get a hairline fracture on my eye socket bone. Ugh.

And no, I’m not going to bother to claim compensation. Money does not mean anything to me.

I hope to achieve my goals. Let’s begin!

And Allah is Al-Malik, The Eternal Lord.

I Plan: 19 March 2021

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

My sister Hazwanni is getting married today! And I’m the worst sister ever.

I think I’m still too selfish. I need to gather my energy for tomorrow and work throughout! I tried really hard to get more work done but I still feel the exhaustion from my full-time job.

So right now, as I am getting ready to sleep at 2am, I decided to plan out the things I need to get done later during the day.

7am: Subuh, Quran, and charge GoPro

7.30am: Breakfast

8am: Iron outfits for attending wedding

10am: Complete packing of wedding favours

1pm: Purchase memory cards for GoPro

3pm: Get ready for wedding

Evening before bed: Blog on MM, share current affairs on SG, check on Stripe’s reply for SMC, and check on 4V77V.

It will be a busy day tomorrow.

And Allah knows best. – MM

Financial Matters; I Plan: 30 January 2021

In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful.

People often associate men with being methodical and calculated but in all honesty, I find men to be more impulsive than women when it comes to financial decisions.

During the planning stage, they are fast to whip out numbers and lay out a plan. Yet, when it comes to actual day-to-day spendings, they are quick to make allowances as well, willing to deviate from their original plan.

But my feelings and observations may be completely wrong. Maybe you would feel differently about men and money.

In any case, as a lady, I know I would have to be the one to step up and face the family financial matters myself.

My financial advisor has issued me this planner that contains some tips on money management. Let’s see if those advices could work for me.

So the first topic is cash flow management. It first talks about having a solid plan for our income.

The plan is CPF 40-30-20-10 rule.

For the benefit of international readers, CPF stands for Central Providence Fund. Kindly Google it. I am too lazy to explain. Lol.

CPF allocation is already automatically done for me, with 20% of my income going into that.

20% x $2400 = $480

So I am left with:

80% x $2400 or $2400 – $480 = $1920

Besides this deduction, as a Muslim Malay, the government automatically sets a set of deductibles on my salary as well. These are classified under ‘Fund’ and known as Mosque Building Fund (MBF) and Mendaki. I know some people rather withdraw from these but the amount is nominal to me so I have never minded. The MBF is $5 and the Mendaki Fund is $1.50.

$5 + $1.50 = $6.50

So after deducting that from my salary,

$1920 – $6.50 = $1913.50

I decided not to include variables such as Over Time (OT) pay and bonuses since those aren’t fixed.

So every month, I am bringing home that amount of money for sure.

So now the rule is <40% to be allocated to loans, <30% to be allocated to expenditure, ≥20% to be allocated to savings and ≥10% to be allocated to insurance.

I only have two outstanding loans at the moment, thankfully. The first loan is a housing loan, which I took up due to my parents’ dwindled CPF savings. The loan repayment is via CPF so I didn’t mind buy buying 33% ownership of the house since it won’t affect my income. Pro: I actually own a house. Like legit have my name on an actual house so if my husband leaves this world, I have a place I can return to since he is the sole owner of his house and I can’t have my name on two public properties. And my siblings don’t have a say in it. Con: I will have to keep a full-time job in order to maintain sufficient balance in my CPF so I am able to make the monthly repayment of $519. At this moment, I am left with a balance of $97,168.72. Either that or if I am to be self-employed, I need to ensure I am able to deposit that amount independently into my CPF every month without fail, which will be tough.

The other outstanding loan is one I dumbly took up for our planned trip to South Korea in order to meet the deadline of the payment. Unfortunately, right after I took that loan, the agency then decided to postpone it indefinitely. To this day. Sighs. So anyway, I took out a loan of $3000 via cashline for a two-year repayment plan. After making my 11/24-month payment, I am left with $1782.30 to pay. The repayment is at $152.50 a month so it doesn’t hit my salary too much. I have just requested for the annual fee waiver. Hopefully that goes through. Let’s see how much I am spending from my income on the repayment.

$152.50 / $1913.50 x 100 8%

That means my usage of loans is within a very healthy range of my spending power, considerably less than 40%.

Which means I have a buffer of 32%, which I won’t allocate to anything for now until I have figured out my expenditure. 32% of $1913.50 is $612.32 so let’s just keep that in mind.

As it stands, I am left with:

$1913.50 – $152.50 = $1761

If 30% of my salary is meant for expenditure, that means I only have:

30% x $1913.50 = $574.05

I am telling you now, that amount is insufficient for two people. But let’s take a look at the monthly bills and see if we can work things out.

Ez-link top-up: $90
MyRepublic Internet: $69.99
Netflix: $19.98
NTUC membership: $9
Town Council: $31
Utilities: $120
VIVIFI: $35.25
YouTube Premium: $11.99

Total: $387.21

That’s the list of die-die-die-must-haves in the bank. That leaves us with for groceries at best:

$574.05 – $387.21 = $186.84

Wow, that is tight. This shows I have no choice but to finally learn how to cook. Huhu. And it also shows I should probably fast regularly. So I’ll just eat twice in a day. Lol.

Ideally, that would be the plan but it is not realistic at all because A has needs such as smoking. I have no idea how much he smokes because he would buy two to three packs at a time. It becomes harder for me to track and I’m away from home most times. But I think I would need to put my foot down and tell him, hey, this is the amount you can get for the fags so you gotta make it work. My suspicion is he smokes four packs a week. He smokes LD Red Long, which retails at $12.20. So in one month, he should only spend:

$12.20 x 4 packs a week x 4 weeks = $195.20

Let’s keep that amount in mind for now. I shall proceed to savings. So based on the rule, I should at least save each month:

20% x $1913.50 = $382.70

So let’s take that out of the equation.

$1913.50 (Inc) – $574.05 (E) – $382.70 (S) = $956.75

10% should be allocated to insurance so that will be

10% x $1913.50 = $191.35

Our hospitalisation insurance premiums cost $200 per person on top of me taking up the Vitality programme at $8 a month.

$200 x 2 = $400

$400 / 12 months = $33.33

$33.33 + $8 = $41.33

$41.33 / $1913.50 x 100 2%

Lol. Definitely not spending the recommended minimum amount but we all have to agree here that it is not wise for us to take up anymore insurance plans. I could seriously use the remaining 8% of excess for expenditure instead.

So if we take the excess of 32% from loans and the 8% from insurance, we end up with a good 40% of buffer, which will undoubtedly go into expenditure. It can’t be helped. I have a family. Lol.

$1913.50 (Inc) – $574.05 (E) – $382.70 (S) – $41.33 (Ins) = $915.42

Okay, now I’m confused because 40% of $1913.50 is $765.40 yet I have $915.42 at my disposal after taking away the necessities except cigarettes. This is why I don’t do Math. Or rather, I can’t do Math. Hahaha!

But anyway, let’s take away the budget for cigarettes from the leftover.

$915.42 – $195.20 = $720.22

Okay, now it made more sense because the numbers are closer. Guess cigarettes are a necessity for my household after all. Sobs.

In Islam, we believe that in order to be blessed with more money, we should give more alms. The best is always to provide for your family first. I want to start giving my parents a monthly allowance again. It’s a good time to start this year. I can’t give much so I’ll give a modest amount of $100 each to my pops.

$720.22 – $200 = $520.22

$520.22 / 2 people = $260.11

That means the allowance for myself and A is $260.11 per person. So we will have to keep within this budget for whatever it is we wish to spend on. Jamming sessions, hangouts, meet-ups, car rentals, suppers, etcetera etcetera.

I just realised I could totally be mean and just take $915.42 minus $200 for the parents and then divide by two so that A will have to figure out how to balance out his budget for his cigarettes.

But I think it’s better to prepare that money earlier. Wifely intuition, maybe. If he needs more, then he has the allowance to tap on. I think that’s reasonable, yeah?

Here’s to being financially independent. I can do this.

Also, discovered there’s an Empire State of Mind Part II?! And it’s a Broken Down version?! Whut?! Well, put it on!

And Allah knows best. – MM