While some of us may think that $500.00 is considered 'pittance', there are quite a few mums out there who manage with the same amount of money, if not less - and manage to keep house. Of course, in this day and age, where everything is all about dollars and cents, it can be really trying to make ends meet. With the prices of groceries and everyday expenses escalating, it can be a test of a woman's shrewd management skills in ensuring that all the household needs are met.
A reasonable amount?
So then... given the fact that every household is different and expenses differ between one family and the next, how do we calculate 'comfortable' expenses, with luxuries (such as shopping, eating out and recreation) not factored into the equation? Assuming that the sole breadwinner takes care of the big ticket items such as housing loans, car loans, insurance, school fees and weekend expenses, what is a reasonable amount to maintain day to day needs?
I have never been in a situation whereby I do not have money of my own to spend as I so wish, and I suppose I wouldn't know what to do if I were placed in that situation. I am not comfortable about asking money from the hubs, even before the kid came along. There were times when I completely forgot to withdraw cash and only realised that my wallet is practically empty when I reached home - yet I cannot bring myself to ask money from him, at least to tide me over till I am able to get to an ATM the next day. It came to a point when - knowing that I'm extremely 'shy' about asking - he will put in cash in my wallet when I'm in the shower, 'just in case'.
Wants vs. Needs.
I have a lot of wants (especially when it comes to the kid), but it doesn't mean that I need these things to get by, or that having these are mandatory to his or my well-being. Sure - the yearning is there, because the hardest thing to resist is temptation... and we all know that temptations present itself in various forms, especially when you have access to the net and it's as easy as a click to add to cart!
I suppose, at the end of the day, a lot of it boils down to how willing we are to forego luxuries. There are many families with two kids or more who can manage with a total household income in the lower range, and yet there are other (childless) couples who complain about the high costs of living and never having enough money with a total combined income of $5,000 and above.
SAHMs, please share your thoughts!
To live on love and fresh air is practically impossible (it only happens in books, and even then - newer authors know better than to inject that element!), so please share with me what you would consider a 'workable and reasonable' amount to have as 'pocket money'. For the Daddies reading this - please also drop me a note!
As a full time working mum, I do not claim to know or understand what stay home mums go through on a daily basis. They have my utmost respect for being there to maintain house and home, apart from giving the kids their undivided attention. In many cases, they forego adult interaction and their personal time to give their all to the family. Can we really put a monetary value to that?