Ah Huay belongs to the sandwiched middle class. An assistant manager in her mid-30s, with ageing parents, a husband who’s doing freelance work and a 4-year-old daughter, Ah Huay has many needs to fulfil – her parents’ healthcare bills, her own job skills upgrade and her daughter’s development.
Ah Huay’s maths is not very good but her husband’s worse. So she tries to pay attention to every year’s Budget, to see what goodies the family can get so she can do some planning for her family.
Ah Huay’s ageing parents
“My father and mother said they a bit dui that they are not old enough for PGP so they were damn happy to hear that they can get Merdeka Generation Package. They don’t care if it’s an election budget or not. I also don’t care. As long as we get to pay less when my parents visit the polyclinic or SGH specialist outpatient clinic, the annual $200 top up in Medisave for the next 5 years, additional 25% off subsidised bills at polyclinics and public Specialist Outpatient Clinics, I long zong take.
Next time my father and mother complain they are bored at home, I can also remind them that their Passion Silver cards got $100 top-up from the government. Can enroll in classes to kill time. Don’t need to always call me to ask how my ah girl is doing. “
Ah Huay’s little princess
Raising a kid is very challenging and expensive. Childcare subsidies as much as $740 per month may help. But I don’t think I can get so much. HENG, Singaporean kids’ education is heavily subsided (Minister Heng said one). Primary school fees is $13 a month (eh, cheaper than childcare?). If I cut down on my Starbucks, maybe 2 frappes less every month, then can pay for ah girl’s primary school fee liao. Mental note 1.
There’s also the S&CC rebates, GST cash voucher and U-save. Can save a bit here and there. But maybe down the road ah girl cannot learn ballet, piano and art classes altogether already. Because quite chor. Since she is not particularly talented in any, I will let her choose the one she enjoys most. Mental note 2.
Ah Huay and hubby’s job development
“I don’t have a maid, so the monthly concession for foreign domestic worker levy is not applicable to me. My hubby’s income fluctuates. I don’t pay income tax so the income tax rebate of $200 probably help my sister, who pays about $400 income tax a month, more.
But there’s the $500 SkillsFuture Credit that I’m thinking of using. And my company HR said we can sign up for courses that are heavily subsidised by the government. When ah girl grows bigger and more independent, I can go and study to learn more things. Maybe can change department or change job to earn more money. Mental note 3.
Hubs can also try the Professional Conversion Programme. I never knew got such a thing. No need relevant qualification. Interesting. Maybe that’s why it’s called “conversion programme”? Minister Heng said they are jobs in new growth areas. See hubs keen on any of these jobs or not.”
Ah Huay on reserves
“I heard about reserves… is it like my bank accounts? We have a fixed deposit that we put in a lot of our savings. We don’t touch it unless we really need the money because the interest rate is higher. We are saving it for ah girl’s uni school fees. I have another bank account for my GIRO payments. When we get out bonus, we use some of the bonus to pay for short trips to Bangkok or Hong Kong and save the rest in this account. When we have a big sum, we will invest. We hope to build up our money for ours and ah girl’s future and for emergency use. Touching fixed deposit is last resort.”