Saturday 25 November 2023


When you have aging parents and when both or either one is in poor health, the financial consequences arising from their medical needs can be devastating.

In particular if your parents (in my case, my dad since he was the breadwinner) did not make adequate financial provisions to meet with their future medical expenses.

It is imperative that we be aware of the importance of being prepared for contingent liabilities when we age.

My siblings and I now have to chip in to help pay for dad's medical/nursing home bills. Every month each of us has to contribute a sum that is equivalent to twice my gross salary.

So technically I contribute my monthly salary (which is net after deducting EPF, Socso/EIS and income tax) plus I have to dip into my own savings for the other half.

And then I dip into my savings some more for my own expenses. I don't earn nearly as much as my two brothers but even they feel the pinch as they also have their own financial commitments.

It is our collective duty to take care of our parents, hence this necessary financial sacrifice.

When my savings run out, I would have to dip into my EPF which is meant to be "simpanan hari tua anda" (savings for your old age) but in my case it may turn out to be "simpanan hari tua orang tua anda" (savings for your parents' old age). Well, what can I do? It is what it is.


No more afternoon soiree at The Red Kettle.

No more luxurious Big Breakfast.

No more Mocha Cake (or whatever cake). Well, Mocha Cake has been discontinued anyway, just as well.

No more half duck lunches at Twins Signature Roast Duck.

No more three meat combo platters.

No more Black Angus Steaks from Feast Market. I can no longer spend as freely as I used to.

This is what is left of my steak stash in the freezer. Very sorry, no more top up. My (precious) tomahawk is still there. I haven't found the time to cook it. Maybe I will give myself a nice Christmas treat.

 So now, more than ever, I lean on cheap(er) cuts of beef.

Beef trimmings (commonly labelled as soup meat) are no less nutritious and can be rather tasty (though a bit tough on the teeth).

I also do minced beef. Which can be turned into very tasty crustless pizza.

I will share the recipe one day.

I also lean on chicken which is more affordable than beef.

Luckily I started loving chicken again.

Or I do chicken and beef (trimmings) combo.

And I bring along my sendiri bikin Kopi C Ais Kosong to work.

The best Kopi C Ais Kosong is from Yit Cha Kaw Kaw Kopitiam and that would set me back RM5.10. I have evolved from someone who doesn't bat an eyelid at paying RM42.00 for lunch (that's half a duck at Twins) to someone who is trying to save RM5.10 by bringing her own coffee.

I still eat out though not as often, and I make sure it costs within RM20.00. I mean what can you eat at less than RM20.00 especially when you are a meat eater like me? It is either chap fan or those snacky stuff like kueh or karipap which I don't eat.

Anything below RM20.00 is even better. Like this Chicken Mimpi Kari from Rollti that cost me RM13.00. No drinks because I brought my own plain water.

I take this personal austerity drive positively, perhaps this is an opportunity for me to experience what it is like to be poor and having to live within a very limited budget. It is also an opportunity for me to get creative and think of ways to cut costs and to become more creative in the kitchen. 

My recent eats at home.

Minced beef omelette and leftover capsicums. The bacon were the last 3 strips left in the fridge. I won't be buying anymore anytime soon.

I was thinking of satay (via Grabfood) one Sunday (to eat in front of the TV) but no lah. Too expensive. So I air fried beef trimmings instead. 

For my lunch today I went a little over budget.

It's no big deal. Next time I'll just stick to two portions of meat.


  1. 😒😒 I can fully understand how tough it has been as I myself have been going to hospitals like my 2nd home. If I had no insurance, I would have died long ago. We are sailing and struggling on similar sinking boats in different oceans. Tell myself that good days will come again as problems are often playing in our minds only.

    I often carried my own coffee too, instead of plain water!!

    1. I hope our boats don't sink lah. Yes, good days will come again for sure. I must follow you, bring iced coffee instead of plain water. Lagi syiok!

  2. It's sad to hear that you have to forego all those "luxuries" on a daily basis...but make sure you treat yourself to them once a while. I used to think "wow" she eats half a duck without batting an eyelid (lol) when most of us (at least I) practise a budget that I adhere to on a daily basis on food. Sometimes it's good to try to "discover" eateries that offer the same food at a cheaper price especially when the taste is not much different. Even drink prices can differ from shop to shop. Eating in (as in "tapau) is also a lot cheaper as you save on drinks as well as not go overboard with ordering too much.

    I think it's difficult for the generation before us to have much savings since the women folk are usually housewives and the men may not work in jobs that have EPF like we do now. Fortunately my MIL was quite the "saver" so had quite a bit of savings to pay for her medical bills/nursing home. The children "contributes" what they can afford (meaning not equally based on what they earn) which I think is somewhat fair since you can't really ask someone to contribute more if he/she earns less. Well, at least that's my opinion but can also understand that the other contributors may deem this not fair if you're not pulling the same weight...haiz, it's a tricky one. But like .you said, it's our duty to take care of them now. We can consider ourselves lucky that we have siblings to share out the cost and I pity the future generations which (mostly) have only one child, so no-one to even share out the "burden" with. I too don't wish to burden my son, so must watch my budget too.

    1. Thank you for your commiseration. Sure, I will give myself a once a month treat hah..hah... Well, dad had EPF but he unwisely made bad investment decisions and lost everything. Hence our sad predicament. Your MIL's family is fortunate that she had the wisdom to save, hence not becoming a financial burden.

  3. I am really thankful for government hospitals. They provide good enough services and have extended the two elderlies lives at my end here for more than 10 years already. You and your 2 brothers are very filial but when all savings have been used up, don't worry, the government hospitals are still available and very affordable. Services are quite ok and some services can be said to be better than private cos some private hospitals will do referrals to government hospitals when the private hospitals don't have those services.

    1. In my dad's case, his condition is too complex and fragile, hence we prefer to continue with his primary care doctor at the private hospital.

    2. Of course I understand this. Just saying if the savings all ran out then government hospitals are still available unless you all plan to take personal loans instead to continue at the current private hospital.

  4. Yes, the expenses can be astronomical if you go to a private hospital. My parents would only go to those except for my dad's last few days when the private medical centre did not want to admit him saying that they did not have the facilities. Thankfully, my dad had a lot of money so we were able to get by without any problem. Should that happen to any of us, we would have to go to the government hospital - government servants and pensioners have the privileges. Otherwise, one would have to invest in some medical insurance - they all have that overseas.

    1. You and your siblings are lucky that your late dad had the means to finance his own medical treatment, hence saving your family from financial burden.

  5. We bought medical card for my mom, so the minor surgeries that she had previously was fully covered but the card will be expiring on next year and we are going to buy her another one for senior above 70yo, and hopefully her medical checkup can pass for the coverage. My in laws on the other hand have to rely on government hospitals as they don't have any medical cards and the siblings don't afford on the medical expenses (because the in laws have quite a few health problems which need medical treatment/medicines frequently).

    1. Good for you! Very wise to get the medical card for your mum.