Monday, 1 February 2021

Monthly Goals Review: January 2021

Alright, it's that time of the month again. My monthly goals will be based on the goals I've set for 2021

Financial Goals 

1) Save at least 40% of my income every month 


Spending breakdown

Note: I stay with my parents, and this saves me from expenses such as rent, utility fees food expenses, which I am really grateful for.

The largest chunk of my expenses goes to Shopping, followed by Transportation (eg: petrol, parking, toll and my monthly instalment for my car loan), Food & Beverage (my expenses when eating out), Friends & Family (eg: expenses incurred when treating friends/family, or donations).

As we spent more than half of January in lockdown, it was easier to save up as I don't go out as often, other than to buy groceries or take-out. On a typical month, I believe my eating out expenses (categories as Food & Beverage) and Transportation expense would be higher. 
Under my Shopping expenses, the biggest contributor was my Grocery spending, which, is not a big surprise, given that I cook a lot nowadays. This is followed by spending on electronics (my monthly instalment payment for my stand mixer!), and stationery.

I've spent quite a bit on new stationery purchase for the month of January. I've recently gotten into the habit of recipe journalling, where I"d write down recipes I've tried and tested and note down what modifications I've done etc.

I've started to find the joy in journalling and hence purchased a few unnecessary items such as washi tape and alphabet stamps, but as this ritual of mine I find it therapeutic, so why not invest in some things that'd make this ritual more pleasant and enjoyable :) Spending justified! I bought a few notebook refills, a notebook, some washi tapes and a stamp set for my journaling habit. 

2) Establish a side income stream

OBVIOUSLY, nothing happened.

Right now I feel as though I am lacking the courage and confidence to start. I keep citing that I need to do more research and have a long-term plan on how it will roll out. 

Silly me also disabled Carousell notifications on my phone because I find it rather annoying how they've been sending advertisement as push notifications. And turns out I missed out on two prospective buyers messages because of this huhuhu. 

For the month of February, I will start listing some of my self-propagated plants on Carousell. Shameless promo, if you're looking for some terracotta pots or self-propagated plants, do check out my profile on Carousell :D 

3) Invest at least 20% of my income

As mentioned, this is an autopilot/passive goal as I've set up an auto-debit into my Stashaway account every month :) 

In case you're interested to set-up a StashAway account, you may use my referral code and we can get our first RM30,000 managed for free for 6 months :D 

Personal Growth / Learnings

1) Listen to at least one podcast every day

Check! It's now a habit of my to listen to podcasts first thing I do once I wake up, thank you Mi Earbuds! Shared some of the notable ones in this post :) 

For the month of February, I want to try keeping a log of podcasts I've listened to, and my personal learnings/takeaway from it. 

2) Read at least one paragraph of non-fiction/fiction every day

And this total up to four books read for the month of January 2021!

If you're interested to read my thoughts/reviews on these books, do click on the links below: 

3) Participate in at least one online events and/or online courses every month

For the month of January, I completed the Science of Wellbeing course by Yale University on Coursera. (PS I am doing the free version, which means I don't get the certificate of completion, I only go through all their lecture materials and quizzes and do not submit their assignments)  

You probably have read articles raving about this course before (here's one by Business Insider). I've also many friends that took this course that was raving about it, so I've decided to give it a go.

The expected readings and videos for each week wasn't too heavy, compared to a course I am currently taking now (will be writing about this for February goal review), I spend an average of 2-3 hours per week completing the course :) 

I like how their assignments are all things you implement in real-life, rather than...plain essay writing. In fact, your first assignments include a personality quiz to assess your strength, and also to measure your perceived level of happiness

My strengths - I agree on the curiosity and love of learning part :D 

You'll also be given an e-workbook, where every week you're expected (or more like, encouraged) to do a retirement exercise (eg: sleep 8 hours, perform a random act of kindness etc) 

I find that some of the concepts introduced are not completely new (some were already part of my personal beliefs prior to this, and/or I've learnt about it from some TED Talk), but it has reaffirmed a lot of my personal beliefs, backed with proper data and research. It also gave me a logical & structured way to implement all these concepts in my personal life.

Would I recommend this course? Yes :) Do give it a try! 

4) Cook/Bake at least one dish per week

Week 1: Dak Galbi, Lemon Ginger cookies, Zha Jiang Noodles 

Week 2: Sourdough Pizza, NY Cookies (tried out a different recipe!), made my very first sourdough loaf and Char Siew!
Week 3: Sourdough Loaf with Rye (20%), and homemade ramen from scratch!

Week 4: Sourdough chocolate chip cookies, Beef Goulash

Also want to share some of my #failed bakes hahah.
Tried making sourdough banana bread, but I think because I didn't use enough baking powder and did not properly mix the batter, the cake came out dense :( I made a UFO sourdough rye too - as I accidentally broke the surface tension while shaping it, resulting in a flat-ish bread. 

It's always quite frustrating when what you're making doesn't end up how you visualise it to be, but it's always a good lesson :) And once you find out your mistakes, you most likely will remember not to repeat it the next time! 

Also made some of my old classic favourite - sourdough crackers, pumpkin soup, kale chips and brownies chips! 

My personal favourite cook/bake this month is the sourdough chocolate chips cookies! Absolutely love it. Although making these cookies requires a few extra steps (eg: browning the butter to remove excess moisture, as when you add the sourdough starter in, you're introducing extra moisture into the batter!). The Zha Jiang Noodles is also my personal favourite - this one is quick and easy to make, perfect for a weeknight dinner. 


That's it for January 2021! Hoping to be as productive & disciplined in February. Chinese New Year is coming and I know for sure my temptation to shop for clothes would sky-rocket. I'll try my best to keep myself grounded, and remind myself about my ultimate end goal. 

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