Budgeting is doubly hard when you are in a single-income household, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t be in control of your finances. On the other hand, it might even make you more money-savvy because you need to keep track of your cash flow.
Over at our Facebook group, Smart Parenting Village (SP Village), a stay-at-home mom named Madeline “Madz” Ellado shared the simple hack she uses to keep her family’s expenses and savings in check: a money organizer that she purchased from Lazada.
“For 15 days na po ‘yan,” she shares in her post. “’Yung savings, hindi ko ginagalaw, idedeposit ko po ‘yan. Kasama na mga bills, pang-grocery at iba pang bayarin.” (This is our budget for 15 days. It includes our bills, including groceries and other expenses. I deposit the savings into a bank account.)
Speaking with SmartParenting.com.ph via Facebook Messenger, Madz says that she started the habit of putting money in the organizer when her son, Liam, turned two years old. Their expenses ballooned especially with Liam’s milk and diaper needs. It was also her way of helping her husband, Aldwin, manage his income.
“Full-time housewife ako so wala akong naiaambag sa husband ko for the expenses, so ‘yung pagba-budget sa salary niya, ‘yun ang tulong ko sa kanya. Para alam din namin kung saan napupunta ang kinikita niya,” she says. (I’m a full-time housewife and I can’t help my husband with the expenses. Budgeting is my way of helping him, so we know where his salary goes.)
How to budget money on a single-income household
Here’s how Madz breaks down their budget for 15 days:
- Liam’s needs – Php3,500 (includes milk, diaper, shampoo, and baby wash)
- Daddy’s allowance – Php2,000
- Grocery – Php3,000
- Meals – Php3,000
- Rent – Php7,500
- Electricity – Php1,200
- Water – Php500
- Phone Bill — Php1,299
- Home Credit — Php2,300
- Savings — Php2,000
TOTAL: Php26,299 for 15 days
The 34-year-old mom says that her husband readily gives his full salary per cutoff and it is up to Madz to give him his “allowance” — food and fare expenses when he goes to work. She adds that most of their bills’ due dates fall every 15th of the month, but she also sets aside half of the needed amount for some of the bills that are due at the end of each month, “para pag dating ng due date hindi na mabigat sa bulsa.” (So I won’t have to worry when the due date comes and it’s easier to pay off.)
She also tries to save an additional Php2,000-Php3,000 every end of the month and all of their savings go into her son’s junior savers account.
Apart from their savings, Madz says her husband takes care of their insurance. They are also thinking of getting an educational plan for Liam, who is now three years old and who will be starting playschool soon.
Madz isn’t fond of shopping or makeup, and she thinks it’s another factor why they’re able to set aside money every month. They do indulge in going out and buying toys for their son, but Madz lets her husband take care of that. “May naka-separate po kami ni hubby para doon. Meron din siyang naiipon kaya kapag lumalabas kami, siya ang bahala, at hindi ko na isinasama sa budget ko,” she says. (We have a separate budget for that which comes from my husband’s savings. When we go out, he takes care of the expenses, so I don’t include it in my budget.)
How to make a single-income household work for you
Here are some more budgeting tips from Madz based on her personal experience:
1. Write down your grocery list and stick to it.
Madz plans a menu for 15 days and lists down all the ingredients she needs to buy in the grocery and wet market. “Kailangan nakasulat para ‘pag namalengke ka, kung ano lang ang nakasulat, ‘yun lang ang bibilhin mo. Talagang ‘di ako pwedeng sumobra,” she says. (I need to write it down so when I go to the market, I will only buy what’s on the list. I can’t go overbudget.)
2. Get your husband’s full support.
Open communication and testing what works best for the family is the key to making their set-up work. Before she started budgeting, she talked to her husband to explain what she will do with their money. “Sobrang thankful ako na napaka-supportive ng husband ko pagdating sa pagbubudget ko kaya nagagawa ko ng maayos,” Madz shares. (I’m thankful that my husband supports the way I budget our money, so I’m able to do it properly.)
3. Set a budget that’s within your means.
Because not all families have the same circumstances, Madz says that it’s important that you find a money-saving strategy that you are comfortable with. “Hindi kailangang gawin ‘yung ginagawa ko kung hindi kaya. Ang importante hindi nagugutom at may naitatabi kayo. Hindi kailangang malaki ang savings, ang importante, meron kahit paunti-unti,” she says. (You don’t have to copy me if you think it’s not possible with your income. The important thing is your family doesn’t go hungry and you are able to save even just a small amount. What’s important is you get to save little by little.)