Pocket Money for Mummy

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A status update on a friend's Facebook page yesterday got me thinking. How much is considered enough pocket money for a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) in Singapore?

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? 



MummyMOO


21 comments :

  1. I am a WAHM. I do assignments on a freelance basis and conduct holiday craft programmes. So my income fluctuates. I've never liked asking for money from my husband so we came to the agreement that he would simply put money from our joint account and I pay the bills from there or withdraw money for marketing or school bus fees from there.

    Assuming the husband pays for all the big ticket items and I only have to take care of the daily necessities, $500 is still tough as I have to cook 2 meals a day.

    But we have to be cear : is the $500 an allowance to do as one pleases, or the household fund? If its the former then that would be a nice extra :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. To do as one pleases to run the household? Hahaha!

      I personally think $500 is very tight as well, and I've wondered how a lot of families do it!

      Delete
  2. I'm a FTWM, and I would love to be able to spend only $500 a month on groceries. We have six people at home, and our weekly grocery bill hovers in the $150 to $200 range. Granted, we do eat foods such as avocado, salmon, cod and beef. I suppose if we only ate chicken and cheaper local fish, our grocery bill might go down a bit.

    As for asking my hubby for money, I'm the one who is actively withdrawing cash and paying for stuff most of the time. He's so absent-minded, he sometimes forgets to take his wallet with him when he goes out! When my wallet is empty and I can't get to an ATM, he will give me money to tide me over to when I get to the cash machine. But that happens quite rarely.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Jean,

      My husband is the same! Forgets his keys, wallet or mobile. Then forgets to draw money when we're supposed to give ang pow or stuff like that. He's become so rude now... that when I complain, he replies: Then I marry you for what ah? :D I've taken it upon myself to take charge of such things now, so that we'll both be spared my frustrations!

      Delete
  3. $500 is tough, considering prices are increasing so much for food, household goods and transportation. With $500 I think the SAHM probably have to look for cheaper alternatives on meals to cook for the family, buy from parallel imports provision shops, and can't have a life beyond her home and family. THere will be hardly any left over to even meet up with friends or have meals outside more than once a month.

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    1. That's true... so basically it's a lot of sacrifice! It's either that, or try to squeeze in some work from home stuff, just to keep alert and to earn a little extra on the side.

      Delete
  4. I used to be SAHM and had S$400 for grocery spending for 2 adults and a kid, When I say grocery, it's plain grocery only, not inclusive of diapers, household bills and school fees. Used to spend about $75 per week for grocery. Unless I buy organic stuff, I would burst the the mark and end up paying from my own pocket.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think it also depends on what we spend on, ya? I suppose all of us want the best for the family, it's just how much we are willing to spend on certain items.

      Delete
  5. I'm a SAHM (surprise!!) and I think if I am given $500 alone just my personal use, I think I can still get by with lots of grunts. But if I am expected to pay for groceries and daily essentials etc then of course it's not enough. If the husband's pay goes up, retail prices goes up, surely our allowance should go up? Cos lets also consider that we don't have any annual bonuses to enjoy for ourselves. So lets be fair to the fairer sex. :)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Actually ya... nowadays, even a meal out for one can easily cost $30 - $50, if we were to dine at restaurants. I think it's manageable if we totally devote ourselves to the home, meaning there isn't any room for recreation or time outs on our own. Is that healthy, though?

      Delete
  6. I have the luxury of withdrawing any amount of money on a day/week/month basis for the household expenses or on myself. The husband trusts that I will not overspend, since I am the overall CFO of the household. If funds deplete then I will kan cheong myself you know? Hahaha. The husband sucks at counting and keeping count so I do the job. He simply banks in the salary at the end of each month and I do the rest. He takes out an amount for his monthly pocket money. He says he feels safer when the money is in my hands. HA HA HA. I must have played my cards right somehow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your husband understands you, and is comfortable with you taking charge - in the sense that he has no ego issues to address! There are others, unfortunately, who are still old fashioned in the thinking that: Me the Man, must be in charge of running the family! << my father was one of those.

      Actually, come to think of it, back in the olden days, isn't that the norm? In the sense that husband gives his salary to the wife, and she takes charge of the home front?

      The hubs is a keeper, Nads! :)

      Delete
  7. Just out of curiosity, the $500.00 us from your hubby or your extra income as SAHM?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. From the husband, as spending money to run the household on a monthly basis.

      I'm just wondering out loud as to a 'comfortable amount' to keep home, provided that certain luxuries are foregone.

      Delete
  8. Sorry, my bad. Sent to fast, should be the $500.00 IS from your.............. or...........?

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  9. Hmmm, I think if it's pocket money, then it should be money to be spent for personal use right? Not on household stuff or on the kids. If that's the case, I think $500 is ok, though I would appreciate more! Guess I'm quite lucky in that the husband just leaves me to spend whatever I want from our joint account on myself, on the kids and for running the home. We both monitor the numbers and adjust our spending accordingly. Since we've always had joint funds, I help myself to his wallet when I'm out of cash!

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    1. Hi V!

      It's great that you and hubs have a comfortable arrangement regarding finances. We can always do with more spending money, ya? Hehehe

      Delete
  10. 'Every family has their own problems', translated. Its up to u how u want to spent the $500.00. For yourself, for you kids or for family? So, who to decide beside yourself.......? Then, what is the problem?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Not a problem at all, actually. Just wondering how different families manage their finances, because as you mentioned - different people, different strokes.

      This is not a post to help ME decide what to do, because I have no intention of leaving my job to be a SAHM, at least not for the time being. This is just for the purpose of sharing, and engaging with others on different viewpoints.

      Thanks for stopping by. Perhaps if you would leave your name, then I can address you on a more personal level.

      Delete
  11. Or the simplest answer - if there's a will, there's a way.

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    1. Totally agree. My point exactly as stated in the post above - there are people who feel that $500 is not enough, while there are others who can manage. So it's all a matter of how we choose to go about things.

      Delete

 

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