Thursday 17 December 2015

November 2015 Expenditures

This is my first time ever recording our family's expenditures in a month and  sharing it for everyone to see. I am really interested to see what were the things that we spent money on and how we can be more efficient, prudent and frugal in the months to come. I am still getting used to recording every single "sen" that we spend. It is quite a task tracking and recording everything down. Please note that this is just our spending and excludes utilities, fixed monthly payments like insurance, home mortgage and other debt repayments.

I found that as an "expense tracking virgin" asking for a receipt every time I buy something really helps because I can then take the stack of receipts out at the end of the day or (days sometimes) and record it properly. It's either that or I develop the discipline to record it all down at the end of everyday.

Hopefully I should be able to do it faster next month. Anyway here it is!

Amount (RM)
Yuan Yuan Confinement Home
This was a deposit for me to stay in a confinement home when baby #2 arrives
Hubby’s Clothes & Personal Shopping
This was Hubby’s once in a purple moon shopping spree and he really needed new pairs of pants, shirts & a new wallet
Pregnancy Belly Support
I bought these to help alleviate my round ligament and sacroiliac joint pain. Bought them at 20% off from Lazada!
Stretchy Dresses
Broke my clothes buying ban in November as I needed something more accommodating to my growing belly.  Clothes buying ban restarting!
For both our cars. It’s my daily commute to work, whilst Hubby moves around quite a bit
Kids Clothes
Chapati was out growing a lot of his stay-at-home clothes and my MIL was asking us to get some. We bought like 10 sets of shorts & t-shirt and 4 sets of long sleeves & long pants for sleeping. CHEAP! Plus it’s going to be handed down to baby #2
3 bags of diapers for Chapati
Kid’s Foam Play Mat
We are doing up the house to have an kids play area, so we invested in a play mat
Toddler Sense Classes
4 classes for Josh at Baby Sensory
Baby Laundry Detergent
4 bottles in preparation for baby#2’s arrival
We have been trying to cook and eat at home more often.
Eating Out
We hope to reduce this expense in the near future
Home maintenance
Hubby managed to replace our master bedroom tap and our living room LED downlights by himself.  Our room air was leaking water so had someone repair it.
Home Cleaning
Our weekly cleaner who helps to keep our home clean & tidy
Electric mosquito traps
Hubby bought 2 online
Small items
2 book straps for the playground, jelly moulds, soy sauce bottle, apple corer, hot/cold pack
Angpow for Mum’s birthday and small gifts for a friend who is unwell and one who was in hospital
Hubby’s cholesterol pills & prenatal Vitamins
Produced by homeschooling kids
Crazy huh? I can't imagine that it was so easy to spend RM6000 over on stuff. How was your expenditure last month?

Monday 14 December 2015

Klinik Kesihatan Ibu & Anak (KKIA) - My Frugal Epiphany!

I first found out about our Klinik Kesihatan Ibu & Anak (KKIA) from another Mummy when we attended Ante Natal classes together when I was pregnant with Chapati. Both hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed the Ante Natal classes by Jenlia as we learnt some very practical things about pregnancy, childbirth and babies. I would really recommend that all first time parents attend Ante Natal classes to better prepare themselves. Plus you make some very good friends and pick up ideas and sharing about family and children. We are still good friends with a couple that we met there and our sons go to Baby Sensory Classes together and now that they are toddlers, attend Toddler Sense classes.  But I am digressing...

Klinik Kesihatan Ibu & Anak (KKIA), roughly translated to English is Mother & Child Healthcare Clinic. This is public healthcare fully funded by the governement of Malaysia for pregnant mothers, babies and children until they become 6 years old. We didn't really take it seriously then and only registered Chapati when he was about nearly 1 month old, just in time for his immunisations.

On the whole I think that a lot of people are not really aware of this healthcare service, because I know that I wasn't until I spoke to quite a few new parents and even then, the information was sketchy. So here I am outlining the "how to" and my experience in receiving pretty good healthcare for both pregnant mothers and babies without spending any money! (Ok nearly no money...I remember paying RM1 for something.)

It is of course best to start when you first find out that you are pregnant and they can then care for you right up till birth and then continue the follow up when your baby is born until he/she is 6 years old. I am doing that now with Baby #2 though I registered with them a little late at 27 weeks.

How To Get Registered  

I think most difficult part is finding out which clinic that you need to go to because it depends on your home address. You can only register if your home address is within their coverage area. I remember when I first started to look for a list of the KKIA locations, it was a little confusing. I finally typed "klinik kesihatan ibu & anak kuala lumpur" and one of this link was this  so this lists the clinics in Wilayah Persekutuan KL and Putrajaya area. I figured that my address was KL so it would make sense to look for KL based clinics. I continued to look and came across another link which was

Honestly, I couldn't really find a comprehensive site that helped to determine exactly where I was supposed to go and register. So I decided to just go to the nearest one to my home and try my luck. When I got there I was told that my home address was not within their coverage area and they helped me to locate the correct clinic location which not that far from my home which is good! They also gave me the list of things that I needed to bring to register Chapati which is as follows:-

  1. Baby birth certificate
  2. Utility Bill (electricity, water or telephone to verify you home address location)
  3. Parent's IC
  4. Baby book from the hospital that he was born in to confirm any immunisations that had been given

I quickly gathered all my required documents and went straight there to register. I must say that my experience with the nurses there was the biggest surprise. They were happy, pleasant and extremely helpful??? They even seem to genuinely enjoy their jobs. Maybe it has to do with the fact that they are dealing with babies, children and pregnant mummies, all the cuteness probably helps a lot.

Once I was registered, they gave me an appointment to bring him in for his first check up and immunisation. They also gave me a baby book to track everything about him which I will have to bring for every appointment.

Our Experience with the Clinic

When we went for our first check up, the nurse spent about 30 minutes speaking to me, asking me about how I was coping with breastfeeding and sharing important information like what to eat and what to do. She also explained that if we had registered when Chapati was born, they would have also done home visits to check on the mother and baby especially to make sure that baby was not jaundiced.

I think I spent about RM 900 for about 6 visits from the private mid-wife as I had breast feeding troubles with Chapati being a first time Mum. Engorgement, mastitis, bad latch and at one time his refusal to take to the breast. I could have saved a lot of money...maybe? But having the midwife really helped me to overcome all those issues and continue to breastfeed Chapati for 16 months! Otherwise I think that I might have stopped much earlier.

During our first 3 check ups, they examined both Chapati and me. They also monitored my vaginal wound to ensure that it was healing well and my overall well being.

All of Chapati's compulsory immunisations were FREE! (Now isn't that music to you ears?) On top of that they also check on his development and milestones. One of the milestones that he missed was when he was 18 months old and still wouldn't talk. It prompted us to get some help and we were also referred to HUKM to see a specialist to check and make sure that there was nothing wrong with him overall. I wrote about it sometime ago here and an update here about him not speaking. Other than that, we can also see the clinic doctor if he was unwell and they will prescribe the necessary medications for FREE!

My Pregnancy with Baby #2

This pregnancy is vastly different from my pregnancy with Chapati. From horrible, horrible morning sickness, to round ligament pain, to sacroiliac joint pain, painful muscle cramps...we thought that it would be wise to register myself for care at the KKIA just in case things turn out differently and I might need to go to a government hospital.

So if you are pregnant and want to register, you will need the following documents:-
  1. Utility Bill (electricity, water or telephone to verify your home address)
  2. Photocopy of marriage certificate
  3. Photocopy of hubby's IC
  4. Confirmation of pregnancy - normally an ultrasound scan
When I registered, I was already 27 weeks so there wasn't any doubt that I was pregnant! :)  But I still gave them the ultrasound pictures that I had from my appointments with other doctors.

They did ask us where we were looking to deliver the baby and the impression that they gave us was if we were looking to give birth in a private hospital, they would not open a file for me as they would prefer for me to go back to the private hospital and follow up with the doctor there. Anyway, we were still unsure, so we told them that possibly we would like to go to Putrajaya Hospital. This hospital also has a Full Paying Patient (FPP) scheme. Another friend shared with us that they only spent RM 1800 for facilities and care like a private hospital under the FPP scheme at Putrajaya Hospital. That is a big difference considering that we spent RM 7800 for Chapati's all natural birth with no epidural in Prince Court Hospital.

You also get a red mummy book to track all your appointments, medical history and other useful information. You have to carry your book everywhere with you in case something happens and from 27 weeks onwards, you are also suppose to count your baby's movements throughout the day and record it daily. Anything less than 10 movements in 12 hours warrants a visit to the emergency room.

Pregnancy multivitamins are also free, you get folic acid, vitamin B and Obimin from them. On top of that, urine tests, blood tests, glucose tolerance test and medicine if you get sick (cough, flu..etc.) are also free. I was also given a tetanus jab during my check up and it was also FREE! (I paid RM 30 for my first tetanus jab)

Now that I have to go for appointment every two weeks, going to the KKIA for follow up will save me at least RM 240 for the next months. Bearing in mind that I believe from mid January onwards, it is going to be a weekly affair so the savings would be at least in the region of RM 360 for 3 weekly appointments until the arrival or Baby #2!

Have you discovered KKIA and their services yet? I would love to hear about your experience!

Friday 4 December 2015

4th Consultation Appt. with Obstetrician & Gynaecologist - Dr Tan Ee Ping

I am now 29 weeks pregnant and earlier this week, I went for my follow up appointment at CT Women & Child Specialist Clinic. I actually missed my original appointment date the week before and this was the earliest available date after that.

It was a very eventful day because I had a prior pre-natal appointment at KKIA Cheras where I had to do my MOGTT test (Glucose Tolerance Test) and Hubby got into a really bad car accident with Chapati, I only made it to the to the clinic at about noon compared to my first appointment at the clinic where I arrived at about 9 ish and my second time  when I reached there at about 10 ish. Both times I spent more than 2 hours there. This time, I finished everything within 1 hour! It was awesome! I wonder if I should try this timing again for my next appointment? So much time saved!

It was generally uneventful, I weighed in at 69.5 kilos and I spent some time complaining to Doc about my sacroiliac joint pain and leg cramps. Since my last posting, I am so thankful that my round ligament doesn't hurt anymore but somehow the pain in my sacroiliac joint hasn't gone away and some days are quite bad. She suggested some exercises and in particular to start using a gym ball. She said to sit on it and gyrate, gyrate, gyrate until the pain goes away???? The other thing to do is go to the pool. According to Doc, she says that when she was pregnant she would go into the pool and not want to come out for a few hours.  With regards to the legs cramps, I am glad to say that with the stretching, I only had 2 near cramps in the early morning which I managed to ease on my own without screaming for Hubby to help.

My scans were good, amniotic fluid good, umbilical cord good and Bump has even turned with his head down already.

Hi everyone! I am now 1.6 kilos! It's harder to take a good photo now due to my size and position.

I decided not to buy any vitamins this round as I already have a stash at home from the KKIA and my vitamin shopping at BIG pharmacy last month. Thanks to a wonderful person there (You know who you are! Hugs!) She also gave me samples of prenatal vitamins enough to last me at least one month!

So here is my cheapest bill yet since I started seeing Dr Tan.

Consultation Fee        = RM 80
Ultrasound                 = RM 40
Total Bill                   = RM 120

As I was about to leave the clinic, I realised that I didn't get a photo of Bump. So I went to the Ultrasound room and asked if I could get a photo of him. I told her sonographer that it was strange I didn't a photo. It was then that she told me, patients usually get charged RM10 for a photo! That was news to me indeed. I told her that I don't remember getting charged for a photo. So I asked her if she could print a photo for me without charging me and she said yes! (Ask and you shall receive indeed!)

Now I have figured out what the charges for "Others" were when I went to the clinic for the first time! It was for a print out of Bump! But I didn't get charged for it when I went there in October. Hmm...I guess it must be a discretionary charge. Depending on how how Doc feels on that particular day. I will be sure to ask the next time I get a print out of Bump.

It was eventful day indeed because as I mentioned earlier, Hubby and Chapati got into a really bad accident in the morning. He was driving to drop Chapati off at my in-laws place and he was passing through an area with MRT works. Somehow or another, the road barrier strayed to the middle of the road and the car in front of him swerved hard to avoid it. Hubby couldn't change lanes so he stopped the car, next thing you know...BAM! It was a 3 car pile up. Chapati was in his car seat at the back seat! Poor fella must have been wondering what happened.

The aftermath...this is what the back of his car looked like. The car that hit him was pretty damaged too and his airbags actually deployed! The stupid road barriers that MRT Corp uses for their construction site and carelessly left in the middle of the road. Any other country and MRT Corp would have been sued for negligence and millions of dollars!

Sigh, now the inconvenience and hassle of a police report, insurance & repairs, not to mention having one car between the both of us???!!

Wednesday 2 December 2015

Confinement Centre Viewings - Yuan Yuan Confinement Retreat Centre

Hubby found Yuan Yuan Confinement Retreat Centre browsing through Facebook recently. He said that we should really check it out as location wise it would be extremely convenient for us. I did a search online and found their website. However information on their website was meager and I sent off an online enquiry. I got a reply and also some calls to arrange for a viewing but I was really swamped at work during the later part of September and the whole of October that I forgot all about them.

I had by then decided that I was going to do it myself. (You can read my earlier postings on planning for my DIY Confinement, confinement food reviews and planning) So visiting the centre was the last thing on my mind until recently. Hubby and I have had very "lively" discussions (meaning near disagreements) about the helper that we were looking to hire. Hubby doesn't like stay in strangers and is more partial towards part time help that could come everyday and I felt that it was important to have someone stay in for at least the duration of my maternity leave. We both then decided that the silent treatment on this topic was necessary to maintain peace in the household, whilst I of course had a whole series of "videos" going on in my head of how Hubby was going to be doing everything when the part timer left after the contracted half day. (Not to mention, I had also cooked up a host of other things that I would make him do just to prove the point that we needed a full-time-stay-in helper! *Evil laugh*) But I am pleased to say that recently, I have been convicted to be a more loving and considerate wife...

I thought of another option as my previous research of confinement centres (you can read them here, here, and here)  allowed for shorter than 28 days stay. I also met a someone recently who shared that she only stayed in a confinement centre for 2 weeks and it was more than enough. It was her second child as well and she didn't want a confinement lady this time around. I decided to arrange a viewing of Yuan Yuan because it was really so near our place.

I called them on Sunday afternoon and asked if it was possible to visit within the next 1 hour. They were very accommodating and told me that I could come over any time. We arrived around 1.30 pm and we were greeted by a very pleasant Poh Poh (elderly lady) who spoke flawless English and showed us around. Then she introduced us to the owner Mr Lee who then proceeded to explain the package in detail.

Our first impressions of the home was good! The house itself was new and in a new development area. What made the place feel very spacious was the high floor to ceiling height! I think at least 9-10 feet high. Mind you, this is only an intermediate terraced house. The centre had 3 individual rooms and 1 shared room that can accommodate 3 mothers at one time. The rooms were pleasant and simple with clean white tiles and basic amenities like cupboards and cabinet space for storing your things, a flat screen TV and a 1 seater sofa for the bigger rooms. Even the shared room was homey with windows and natural lighting! We both liked it straightaway. It obviously scored a lot of brownie points!

Overall, the center has more of a "homey" feel than all the other centers I have visited. This is probably due to the fact that it has limited number of rooms and the renovations were done in such a way that the place still look and feel like a house rather than a confinement center.

Once again I didn't take any photos! (Duh...really got to put a string on my finger next time...) Anyway, I had to hunt high and low for some photos on their facebook page and after scrolling and scrolling right to the end, I found 4 pictures to share.

This is the general living room area when you first enter the center

These are picture of the individual rooms ie. Deluxe rooms

This is the Shared room 

These are the following things that we found out:-
  1. Breastfeeding friendly - They encourage and will assist to carry the baby to the mother every two hours throughout the day and at night. This is even for the shared room! 
  2. Their prices are really reasonable and good value. starting from as low as RM 5,799 (shared room), deluxe room at RM 7,599 and VIP room at RM 8,699. This is for the 28 days package.
  3. They also have a separate category of packages called "Premium", so you can basically upgrade the Shared, Deluxe and VIP room to Shared Premium (RM 7,599), Deluxe Premium and VIP Premium. Cost of the Shared Premium is RM 7,599, Deluxe Premium RM 8,799  If you book the premium package, you will get birds nest soup, double boil chicken essence, traditional post natal massage and facial cleansing session. Obviously the more expensive the package, the more food and massage/facial sessions you will get. 
  4. Baby diaper is also included for the 28 days. They use disposal diapers. 
  5. To book your space, you only need to pay RM 1,000 as a booking fee. Then when you check into the center you pay another RM 3,000. After two weeks of staying there, you will then pay the remaining balance.
  6. They have NO SURCHARGE for Chinese New Year! Thank goodness there are still businesses that don't take the chance to charge extra, extra JUST because it is Chinese New Year. 
  7. Their caregivers are not registered nurses but experienced individuals that have taken care of mummies and know how to take care of newborns. 
  8. Herbal bath for both Mummy and baby.
  9. Based on the information that they gave me, they will also have a registered nurse who will visit to check on Mum and babe twice a week. 
  10. No problems with parking of course because it is a housing area. 
  11. Visiting hours are also pretty flexible. 
Everything was just perfect for us! Hubby was already convinced. It is about 5-10 mins away from home, the price was reasonable and value for money, I could go home at anytime, don't have to stress about help and food...convenient for hubby and Chapati to come visit...what else could I ask for? 

Ok , ok I don't sound very enthusiastic because I had already set my heart and mind on spending my confinement at home...putting together my own food menu...planning how to organise the house and help...just being in my own I told them that I would get back to them in the next few days. Hubby seemed a little upset with me because he kept saying that if we wait we may not be able to the secure the room. I just told him that I needed a day or two to think about it and come to terms with the different plan. So we went home and talked about it, taking into account cost of food, a helper that would come to the house everyday, utilities for cooking, washing and cleaning. We estimated that food would come up to about RM 2,000 plus overall ( I already spent RM 1554.54 on the confinement herbs from Eu Yang Sang) Then the helper would probably cost us RM 1,500 - RM 2,000 for the whole month. Essentially we would be saving about RM 1,000 plus...

Basically it was RM 1,000 more for being totally looked after and having peace of mind! I caved in and we went to pay the deposit last Saturday! So I am now officially going to go to a confinement center. I really hope that everything will be alright, so now I will have to adjust to idea of living somewhere else for 28 days and go to Eu Yan Sang to speak to them about changing some of the stuff that I initially purchased for the confinement package. 

I also told Hubby that since we have all the herbs and alcohol like DOM, he would have learn how to boil the chicken essence for me everyday! 

If any of you Mummies had awesome and positive experiences staying in a confinement home, please do share! Thank you!