As a mum raising a family in Singapore, I realised that many of us tend to spend a large portion of our incomes on our children and family. The monthly childcare fees, enrichment classes, buying them the freshest ingredients, getting them new clothes and presents… multiple cash outflows that go towards kids.
How about ourselves, mummies?
When was the last time you bought something for yourself, or gave yourself some solo time to enjoy your own company?
I know. Sometimes, thinking about that coveted “me time” brings waves of mum’s guilt. How do we plan for special indulging dinner sessions with our “long lost” friends?
We usually try to spend less on ourselves so we can try to save more after spending on the family. But, how can mummies be smarter with money when it comes to finances and planning? Can these be done without compromising on our own well-being and joy?
Do you know how much savings and expenses are incurred every month? Mums can be money-smart and manage the family’s finances better with some easy tips. Plan a monthly budget – for yourself and your family
Often, children’s education takes a substantial portion of our expenditure. Education is almost like a long-term gift for them as learning is lifelong, and knowledge would play a huge part in their future. Put this down in your monthly budget. If you are looking at choosing infant care, childcare or kindergarten for your kids, here are some tips from fellow parents in Singapore on deciding which school.
Tips to be financially smart mums: Set up a tertiary fund for your kids and start planning early. Future University fees are estimated to cost at least S$200,000 per child.
Baby and toddler necessities such as diapers and formula milk are essentials and there are many options in Singapore. Go with pocket-friendlier alternatives such as house brands, especially since babies can go through a lot of diapers in a month. You will be able to save a fair bit with bulk deals like carton promotions at baby fairs too!
For homecooked meals, a quick way to manage grocery costs – offer kids with the same food that adults are having. Parents can make slight tweaks to the dishes they cook such as: omitting salt for kids under 1 year old, skip organic options since they usually cost more, let kids eat a variety of ingredients instead of just offering “popular must-eat” ones such as limiting to just cod fish and salmon, which are more expensive too.
Are you prepared for your kids’ unexpected medical bills?
Many pregnant mummies usually get a prenatal or maternity insurance plan which protects them from their second trimester. This popular insurance plan covers the mum-to-be for unforeseen pregnancy complications and babies against congenital illnesses. This is bought with the intention to minimise the hospital bill should any of the above happens and it guarantees the insurability of the baby.
This policy is transferred to the baby upon birth without any medical underwriting and continues to protect him comprehensively e.g. against death, disability, early to major Critical Illness (CI) including Child and Early to Major Stages etc.
When our young bubs embark on their childcare or kindergarten journey, it is also the period many of them fall ill. As their immune system is still developing, this makes them susceptible to catching viruses more easily. It is common that kids under 6 years old are down with the common Flu/Cold, Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD), Bronchitis, Pneumonia and Mycoplasma.
For the last 3 illnesses, treatment can range from medication and the loan of nebulizer, or a hospitalisation stay for more severe cases. Are your savings sufficient to take on these unexpected expenses? Will your child’s medical bills be claimable when it happens?
Tips to be financially-smarter mums: If you have a Maternity Insurance Plan, speak to your Financial Advisor about the exclusions. There are also Medical and Life insurance plans to insure your children and are catered to different types of coverage and budget.
How about you, mums? Are you adequately covered by any insurance plans?
Well, after planning for your kids, have you put yourself in the picture? As our kids grow, we are growing older too. Like myself, we belong to the “sandwich generation” – we have young dependents relying on us and we have our aged parents to care for. This can be pretty stressful when anyone in the family has health issues and medical bills snowball. But first, remember to get yourself adequately insured with at least a Medical Plan to take care of hospitalisation and medical expenses.
Tips to be financially-smarter mums: We know how expensive medical bills can rake up to in Singapore, and that is why it is important to be adequately covered for the unexpected situations. When things happen, you and your family members can be relieved from further stress and focus on recovery instead of being burdened by escalating costs. Talk to your Financial Advisor about the plans you already have, and how to go about achieving better coverage.
Have you thought about your retirement plans?
Most of us are so fixated in our daily grind – work commitments, sending kids to and fro schools, being a filial daughter to our elderly parents and so much more. How many of us have really given retirement a good thought?
The gist of the matter is: if we do not plan for it, it will not happen. We may hope to retire by a certain age, with a desired amount of cashflow in the bank, but will all that be possible without the right planning? Retirement should not be a piece of hope or dream; to turn it into a reality means to start planning for it!
Some questions to think about: How old do you wish to retire? How much do you need after you have stopped working? Will you have any passive income by that desired age?
My personal tips on budgeting as a Financial Consultant and Mum in Singapore
For me, budgeting is a must-do. It is about being disciplined to have insights on my salary, expenses, and savings. This way, I’ll know if I’ve been spending “too much” on my “desires” which could be ways of pampering myself. Additionally, I will also be able to know how to grow my financial portfolio over a long-term basis and work towards my financial goals.
Here are some easy tips on how to be a money-smart mama:
- Start an Excel budget sheet, list down all your fixed and variable expenses, and calculate the current allocation as a percentage % to your gross income.
- Review and get as close to the guided allocation – to make your portfolio grow at efficiency.
- If you are a saver, great! Plan your savings into short term (emergency and desires), mid-term (upgrade of car, buying a new house) and long term (retirement). Never put all eggs into one basket. For example, some of us put all our earnings into the regular savings bank account only. But the funds are not diversified to earn other possible interests to grow optimally.
Tips to be financially-smarter mums: Always put aside the amount to save BEFORE spending. Regardless of your financial goals, it is important to allocate your salary and save about 20%.
For a complimentary consultation of your financial health, call me at 8181 6383 or send me a message here. Take charge of your family’s future and start by planning today.