unexpected expenses
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24 Malaysians Share Their Uncommon Unexpected Expenses

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Unexpected expenses suck. They suck so much. They suck more than vacuum cleaners.

The worst part is you can’t avoid them. You can minimise them, sure. You can budget them in. You can set up an emergency savings fund. But you can never avoid them altogether.

As far as I can tell, there are two reasons why you can’t avoid them: (1) Life’s too unpredictable and (2) You might do something stupid (like I did, when I punctured a hole in my freezer while trying to chip away the ice buildup. I’M MAD BECAUSE THIS IS THE SECOND FRIDGE I RUINED THIS WAY)

When I asked the RoR Facebook and Twitter community about their unexpected expenses, I got a bunch of replies. I was surprised (was I though?) that many unexpected expenses were car-related! You told me about how you need to do major repairs after getting into accidents, need to replace batteries and alternators, need to fix the aircon, need to get new tyres, need to settle unexpected summons, and more.

A smaller number of you mentioned home ownership-related expenses too. Some had to fix leaked rooftops, some needed toilet repairs done.

What are other unexpected expenses aside from car and home-related expenses? Much more than you think. I compiled some of the other answers here so you get to see how unexpected expenses look like for the average Malaysian.

#1 – Medical expenses of loved ones and pets

1) My 16-year-old felt uncomfortable around her throat area on Sunday night. We had Assam Laksa for lunch and I thought perhaps a tiny bone was stuck in her throat. The discomfort went on for a few days. She had a little shortness of breath, on and off, and she said she felt nauseous after a meal. However, no weird pain when she swallowed.

I took her to a clinic in Hartamas. Doc couldn’t find anything wrong, however he gave me a referral letter just in case I wanted to go to the hospital. The next day my daughter said she was feeling really uncomfortable so I took her to Pantai Hospital. The doctor did both check-up and X-Rays but couldn’t find anything.

She wrote us a referral letter to another hospital in case we needed more details on throat and surgery option. I told my daughter let’s take the medication, antibiotics for any infections and some lozenges. My daughter was still dissatisfied. The next day she said she felt worse discomfort in her throat and after school I took her to another doctor a GP in Bangsar.

It turns out my daughter had… the flu. She was down with a sore throat and flu the same night and out for 3 days or so. Being a single mom isn’t easy especially when dealing with a teenager.

In total, I paid RM700+ out of pocket. My daughter has insurance but I’m unsure if I can claim from her insurance, since we never found anything. I paid using my credit card, and planned to pay for the unexpected medical expense by selling one of my branded bags (I’m a reseller of new and mainly Preloved luxury handbags).

Fortunately, like the universe was listening to me, out of the blue a lady from my Instagram account contacted and inquired about my Fendi handbag. I met her yesterday, she bought the bag, I made a profit and can now pay for that unexpected medical expense! – Audsterbee

2) Baby Aryan’s additional vaccination shot. Not compulsory but doctor recommended. RM 700 for the additional vaccination shot. – Razin Adha


#2 – Pressured into paying more for meals

4) I had this unexpected expense when my date was discussing about what’s a dealbreaker for our future partner. He said he wanted a woman that can financially support him. I thought that was okay.. to each their own. When it was time to leave, he told the cashier that I’m paying since apparently it was his birthday. The cashier just looked at me and I had to pay RM40 because I was embarrassed. Later, I got my money back after asking for it. So just be prepared to have some money in occasions like this – Sya

5) Went to Ikan Bakar Jalan Bellamy a couple of days ago. Took sotong + nasi putih + kuah. Total bill was RM26 per person. Was expecting around RM15..dang – Haris Halim

6) RM50 lunch. I tagged along with my co-workers. Usually we go for RM6-20 lunch. By the time we reached our destination, the food there were at least RM30 per portion. SO OKAY LA I SHUT ONE EYE ABOUT IT AND CRY INTERNALLY. By the time to pay for our food, the TAX went up to each RM20 per person. I cried internally even more. The thing is, we were also getting free dinner that night. I thought I was able to save money that day but ended up spending a week’s worth of lunch. – Sherinaz Basree

7) Midnight hunger. The kedai burger tepi jalan tu kata ada burger dah siap dia terbuat lebih and its a oblong double special. I just help him by taking it. Hmm.. Usual one would be RM4.. This one is RM11! – Zaim

#3 – Broken gadgets

8) Repairing washing machine once last 2 weeks and it broke again.. RM150 first and will fork again the same sum again later. And then it turns out the panel board is spoiled 🙁 – Shamini

9) Dropped my friend’s drone into the sea. Had to ganti balik RM1,100 – Muhtaram

10) I bought a Lenovo laptop charger, and guess what? The new one has issues, too. So, I asked for a refund and went to the post office to send the charger back to the seller and then, I ordered a new charger from a different seller. Overall, I didn’t really lose money this way, but I did lose time. – Anwar

11) Cat bit my Macbook charger. A replacement costs $80, about RM300. My housemate’s Macbook charger got bit too. Twice, hence double the suffering – Rushdi

12) Unifi route broke down, have to pick between paying RM400 something or get it for free (but extend contract for another 2 years). Either way still shit – Zul Hafiz

  • 13) A new phone haha my old phone suddenly broke and never functioning again. – nonosan
  • 14) Dropped the smart phone and forced to get a smarter one.. – Sky
  • 15) My phone suddenly died and I have to get a new one. Painful. – Lady Pineapple

#4 – Sudden travel expenses

16) Flight ticket back to Subang. Suddenly need to go to Kelantan to accompany my sister for her uni registration. Had to go back to Subang the next day for work – Ahmad Taufeq

17) At Ho Chi Minh airport, I was told I had to check in my backpack before I could board the plane. USD40. They have a bunting next to the counter that says hand carry bag + laptop bag/handbag cannot exceed 7kg. The lady said combined looks like exceeded. In Malaysia, the bunting says hand carry bag can’t exceed 7kg. No mention of weight of laptop or handbag. – Khor Hui Min

#5 – Theft & Lost items

18) Shoes got stolen, so needed to get a new ones. Some delinquents climbed over gate and took all the shoes that we’re on the rack outside. We now keep all the good shoes inside the house – Aki

19) Lost my wallet when I was out and about. With the amount of cash in it, the cost of replacing all the different cards (RM110 for IC, RM10-50 each for credit cards, member cards etc.), and the value of the wallet itself, I guess I purchased a very expensive lesson. – Lim Chooi Yen

#6 – A sudden celebration


21) Somebody’s getting married and I need a suit – Amir

22) Superheroes costume for kids birthday party – Najib

#7 – Paying back debt

23) Kawan tiba2 dtg dan tuntut hutang lama yg sy pun lupa. – Kruz

24) To settle the debt of the dead. My late dad. A loan of RM50k. I’m the eldest and didn’t want to worry other siblings. Lucky that I manage to schedule the payment instead of paying lump sum. Settled half. Another half to go. Wish me luck! – Adzra

What was YOUR latest unexpected expenses?

Did it fit into any of the above categories? Or is it something completely unexpected? Share with us in the comments section!

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  1. I had 2 unexpected expenses during our family vacation in Penang & 2 at home.

    Unexpected expenses #1: Gadget/IT Related
    During a wrestling session with my son, he accidentally kicked my phone & broke its screen. RM1200 flew with no substantial counter value.

    Unexpected expenses #2: Transport Related
    OTW to Penang my car’s tire went flat & only discover that the rims are beaten & out of shape due to constantly running over potholes. Initially I hesitated on a new set of budget rims, but I gave in considering the safety of family members travelling in the car. RM700 poorer after trading-in my old rims. After all life & safety is priceless, right?

    Unexpected expenses #3: Home Appliances
    Bought a 2HP Samsung Virus Doctor inverter air-con in 2015 for RM3k plus. The outdoor unit’s copper hose got damaged during a routine service. While waiting for the outdoor unit being fixed, I invested in a single unit Midea brand air-con for RM1.3k. Later came the news the the Samsung outdoor unit is beyond repair & the cost to replace the unit is RM2.8k. I contemplated for about 4 months and decided to get a 2HP Daikin inverter air-con worth RM3.7k as a permanent (lets hope this one lasts) replacement after my local air-con expert/re-seller lamented about how Samsung’s air-con sales is declining due to poor after-sales & spare-parts support(for clarity purpose, previously I didn’t buy the Samsung air-con from him).

    Unexpected expenses #4: Transport Related
    Meet in an accident at DUKE highway on my superbike. Bike suffered minor scratches while I suffered PTSD to ride my superbike. That forced me to buy a RM6k scooter for my daily commute.

    With that said, I had a total of RM12.9k in unexpected expenses within the past 6 months.

  2. My unexpected expenses mostly due to my stupid mistake:
    1) I send a parcel to a friend, the recipient address I put MY Address instead of my friend address…… laugh on me…

    2) I want to utilize the department store cash voucher that i have. While pick up few things and put in the trolley; I have the calculation done in my mind that, the total will not exceed the value of the cash voucher that i had….manatau…my maths fool on me!!! Never trust yourself too much if most of the time you are using calculator! So end up i need to pay more ………

  3. Washing machine broke down in January this year. Cost me almost RM 2k. Still owing credit card RM 900 😩 hope to clear by May this year.

  4. I could think of 2 immediately looking at my March total expenses that is severely exceeding my budget:
    1. My colleague shared with me that Phantom of the Opera is on World Tour and gonna be in KL this June. Tickets are selling fast. So bought it without hesitation. After all, I saved the flight to London 🙈
    2. Saw a watercolour class post on Instagram happening in a week’s time. Been thinking to go for one to develop a new skill for awhile. So signed up without hesitation as well. Good news is, going with a friend so we each got RM20 discount 🙈

    Consequence: severely over budget hahaha kena makan rumput sikit to feel less guilty

  5. I was reading the post and noticed one of the unexpected expenses include taking over a late family member’s debt. I read somewhere that one’s debt ceased once he passed away, and that it’s not necessary for a family member to take over. Not sure if it’s true, possible for anyone to clarify?

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