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Mid Year Resolution Review: 3. Finance

New Year Resolution 3: Finance

The aim is to be financially prudent or to quote my company’s expenses policy – “X is committed to ensuring that all expenditure incurred is prudent, reasonable and reflects sound judgement and decision making.” Do I need a cat butt tissue dispenser? No.

No, I haven’t purchased the cat butt dispenser in question.

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This is what I’m babbling about.

Saving money does not come naturally to me. Spending without thinking does. I think part of it is because my parents financially supported me throughout my education life and they’ve never asked for anything in return. Not complaining about how fortunate I’ve been. All my income goes to my bank and I don’t have any mortgage or commitments to pay off (which also means I have zero asset…)

I’ve started becoming more financially prudent lately because I have a friend who is looking to buy a condominium in Singapore (she’s single, smart, around my age – PM me if you want to be introduced?) and I couldn’t imagine myself being able to afford the down payment of a condo here! I know I need to start saving up now rather than wait till I meet someone and save up together for a house. (Two is better than one when it comes to putting money in the bank).

So how have I been saving this year? I’ve saved up about 20% of my income. Not too bad, but I’m aiming to at least save up 30% for the next half year. I’ve not made any big purchases this year apart from travelling – but that’s reasonable.

An area of improvement is how I spend on fitness-related items. I have a gym membership now, so I should reduce how often I go to classes outside of the gym because that’s additional expense. I enjoy trying out new things but it makes more sense to utilise what I already have. Does that reflect sound judgment?

Also, I’m quite fickle when making decisions so I came up with a strategy to eliminate microdecision (Thanks to a colleague who brought this up). The idea is to have a constant answer to all my microdecision. For example, “Should I order food A or food B?” The answer is always go for the cheaper one. “Should I have coffee with my brunch?” Always no. Drink water because it’s less fattening or Chai Latte because it’s Chai Latte.

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Sooo….Onward to a richer 2018!

Ka-ching,
Mel.

P.S: I’m doing a mid year review of my New Year Resolution.

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2018 New Year’s Resolution

Finally done drafting my resolution! I take New Year’s Resolution seriously because I’m one of those unmotivated and easily distracted person so if I don’t have a list of goals, there’s high chance I might go wayward and meander through the year. Last year I am pleased that I did well against my resolution for the first time since I started making resolution list. So let’s kick start 2018 with a new set of goals! I’ve categoried them in no particular order.

1. God

I’m re-cultivating the habit of morning prayer as a symbol and reminder to start everything with God.

2. Health

Last year I wanted to be healthy and I’ve done so by going for crossfit and signing up gym membership (also actually use it). This year I wanna be healthier and fit by exercising 2x a week (I just wanna make the most out of my membership fee) and watching my diet. Reduce sugar and rice. Hopefully lose 2kg in the process.

3. Finance

The aim is to be financially prudent or to quote my company’s expenses policy – “X is committed to ensuring that all expenditure incurred is prudent, reasonable and reflects sound judgement and decision making.” Do I need a cat butt tissue dispenser? No.

4. Relationship

Make time to develop relationships. Be aware of who and how I’m spending my time. Accept that I am not be able to keep up with everyone because if I do I will burnout and lose track of people who matter.

5. Self-care

On top of making time for others, I’m setting aside me-time. This includes pampering myself (manicure, creambath, go to salon) and doing the necessities like an overdue visit to the dentist and my doctors!

6. Writing

Starting with 1 post per week to gain back the momentum. The post need not be extraordinary or meaningful as long as they are published.

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7. Career

I am grateful for the new job and now it’s time to take it up a notch – be aggressive and proactive. Do the obvious. E.g. Don’t understand? Ask! Need to cut the meeting and excuse myself? Speak up! Need to chat? Call!

8. Community

Continuing from last year’s resolution on being more involved with Toastmaster and Cell group, this year I want to be more present. To be part of a community means I don’t just receive from the group but also contribute my knowledge, experience, skills and time.

Alrighty. 2018, we’re ready for you!

Cheers,

Mel.

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Are you open for Jesus Monday to Sunday?

You’ve heard about Sunday Christians. You see them on Sundays. They don’t get too involved with the church and if you bump into them on a weekday, they behave like a different person. You’ve also seen Devout Christians – people who follow God wholeheartedly and the familiar faces who show up at almost every church events.

Then there are Christians like me who are a little harder to distinguish. I attend service and small group, serve in church, read bible, and do whatever I can to inch closer to God. Yet when my leader texted if I’m coming to the church’s monthly Prayer Meeting on that very day, I hesitated. I’ve always thought Prayer Meetings are for the holiest members of the congregation because the people who attend are usually the devout and it falls on a Wednesday night. The latter might not sound like a solid reason but you see, I’ve planned God’s activities to be on Sunday and Friday – the days I attend church and small group.

So I started having a mental debate whether I should come to the meeting. The argument centred on the questions if I don’t go to church tonight, how will I spend my evening? Will it be more useful or meaningful? I’d spend time with my family at home which is a strong case because I don’t spend enough time at home, and I would be reading this book called Evidence for God: 50 Arguments for Faith from the Bible, History, Philosophy, and Science. Then I began to see the irony. I was about to choose to stay home and read about the evidence for God when I could be in church experiencing the evidence for God. I decided if I can get off work on time, I will make my way to church. And yes, God made it happen.

SURRENDER MY DAYS

Standing in the church hall that night made me feel out of place. I was not used to worshiping God in church among the “stronger” Christians on a Wednesday night. Sure I listen to sermon at home on weekdays but it’s not the same to seek God on your own time and comfort versus rearranging your schedule to be at His altar. I clapped and lifted up my hands during praise and worship like I usually do on weekends but deep down I was wondering if the awkwardness of being in God’s presence that night will go away. Finally I did what I need to do. I prayed and invited Jesus to be Lord over my life Monday to Sunday.

LIVE ON GOD’S TERMS

I wake up to pray and listen to sermon every morning, read a Christian book on my way to work, and read the bible at night. On the surface it seems like I have my spiritual life figured out. I even prayed for God to enter every room of my life but I didn’t realize I only hand Him the keys on Sundays and Fridays.

Is God a guest or is He the owner of your life? When we choose to live for God it means He holds the keys and has access to every room in your life. Matthew 16:24 says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  It doesn’t say to follow Him on a specific day because following Jesus is a 24/7 commitment. Jesus is not a counsellor or therapist whom you schedule your time with. He is the leader of our lives and He has the privilege to rearrange our schedule. We live under His terms and not the other way around.

OPEN WHEN HE KNOCKS

If I had said ‘no’ when my leader asked me to come to the meeting I wouldn’t be writing this. It wasn’t the first time my leader asked me to a church event, few of which I declined but there’s one thing I learn – I can keep saying ‘no’ to man, but I can’t say ‘no’ to Holy Spirit forever. Every time you say ‘no’ to God, you’re distancing yourself from Him and disobedience will eventually dull your spiritual senses. Unless you’re ready to live without God, don’t let yourself slips into a place where you’re no longer bothered by Holy Spirit’s prompting. The fact that you’ve read my writing to this point, I hope means that you have the desire to live out the life that God calls us to have and so let your heart be open to Him 24/7.

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Put up this sign for God. Photo Credit: Pinterest, Etsy.com

X,

Mel.

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2/365

I ended 2016 and began 2017 in the house of God. At first I had apprehension it’s gonna be quite draggy with hours of praying and listening to sermons, but it turns out to be exactly the contrary. I mean yes, we spent time praying and listening the message and direction for the church in this new year but God’s presence was so palpable and spirits were high. Every worship is a resounding declaration of how God has been so real to the 4,000 strong congregation that packed the room. I had no idea celebrating New Year in church could be so refreshing.

The pastor shared his vision for the church in 2017, titled “Decade of Expansion”. He encouraged us to break out of the limitations we have physically or mentally and expand the horizon for our vision. This is especially important since we’re facing what the economists are predicting to be a slow year ahead. We need to discern the fact from God’s truth. Bad economy is a fact but the truth is God is still our provider and in control.

As for my personal direction for the year, the word I have is Responsibility.
I know it doesn’t sound sexy. In fact it sounds like impending hard work. But as I prayed over the word and seek God’s direction, I know this is the year that I need to rise up to the opportunities and be responsible for my own growth be it spiritually, career wise, etc. Events in 2017 are pre ordinate, but how I respond to them will determine the outcome of 2017 for myself. With that in mind, I want to be deliberate in being responsible and doing things as an example for others instead of finding the easiest way like there’s no one following.

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While it’s easy to say how I want to do this and that because it’s still the holiday season, tomorrow my conviction will be put to test as the first work day of the year commences. I’m stepping into the new era of my life in faith for good days ahead (or at least God’s days) and not dwelling on former things.

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom”
Psalm 90:12

X,
Mel.

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Seoul’d Out – Day 4

We knew Day 4 was going to start late because we were clubbing the night before. This was the last full day we had together as the Jakarta girls are taking the morning flight back tomorrow. Fortunately everyone woke up pretty on time and ready to roll as soon as we gathered. I’m amazed at how synchronized we were.

First photo of the day outside hotel.

First photo of the day outside our hotel.

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Why I blog even if no one reads.

I’ve said that I started blogging about my life journey hoping that it does a thing or two for you who are going through the same thing. Over the years, I realized the person I’m impacting the most through my writing is myself.

I’m not an outspoken person. I used to be but somehow I became more introverted as I grow older. I’ve not been thinking on my feet lately because I feel that most of the things I blurted or my initial response to any conversation can be rather absurd. In short, I fear I might say something stupid or of no value to the topic. Strangely and thankfully, I don’t have that fear when I’m typing. Even if someone thinks I’m typing crap, I’m not really affected by it. Maybe because it’s a blog, a one-way communication and I know you will either continue reading or close on me. To those who continue on, I thank you.

Blogging is a form of therapy to me; a way to sort out my feelings and thoughts. I also enjoy reading my old posts. It’s fascinating to see how far I’ve come to where I am now. For the same reason, it is also good to journal your self-reflection time or, for Christians, time alone with God.

I’ve not been blogging regularly as you can see and I’m falling behind my New Year Resolution of blogging twice a week. I have no excuse. I’ve used the “I’m too busy” and “I’ve got nothing to blog” cards far too many times. It’s time to just get down to it and blog even when I’ve got nothing to say. After all I’m doing this for myself. Yes it’s selfish, but sometimes you got to help yourself before you can help others.

So thanks again for reading till the end, by doing so you’ve actually done a thing for me. :)

Cheers,
Mel.

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Pre-30s Crisis

To all early to mid 20s; if you think quarter life crisis is a pain, wait till you get here.

Ok, maybe pre-30s crisis doesn’t poke you every single time or question everything you do, but that’s the problem – it reeks of apathy and submission. When you’re in your early 20s, just setting foot in adulthood, you have plenty of dreams and your fear might be whether or not you’re making the right choices or on the right track to where you want to be. When you’re in your pre-30s you’ve invested a good amount of years in the choices you made. If it’s the right one and you’re where you wanted to be then good on you but if you’re like me… doing okay, climbing the career ladder, yet feeling like I’ve lost a spark in me, then welcome to pre-30s. Things hasn’t turn out exactly how I wanted. Then again, I remember not having a clear thought on where I wanted to go when I was starting out which is probably the reason I’m still in this square.

I’ve just listened to a sermon by a random pastor* I found on Youtube about pursuing your calling and not your potential. It’s the first time I’m hearing such thing but one thing really spoke to me, “You have more things you can do than things you should do. If Satan can’t make you sin, he will make you busy. Not doing bad thing but neglecting first thing”. Have you ever feel like you’re doing so much, perhaps growing in where you’re planted but it’s still gives you the pointless feeling? I think that’s what’s happening to me. I’m doing all that I can do but not what I should do. What is it that I should do? Hmm.

Anyhow, although I titled this Pre-30s Crisis. I’m abolishing the mindset of life being one crisis after another. Quarter life crisis, Pre-30s crisis, and then post 30s and pre-menopausal crisis?? This ends right here. Sure life has its challenges but we are free to take actions and move on. With that in mind, I’m off to devise an escape plan from this crisis.

*The random pastor turns out to be Ps. Mark Driscoll. I read up that he is a pretty big and controversial pastor. If you’d like to listen to the sermon, you can click here.

Cheers,

Mel.

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