Yes, I am a Master of the House
A few weeks ago, I read a post from facebook saying that a stay at home mom should not be called "plain housewife" because there is nothing plain about being a SAHM. According to him, we are the Master of the House. That does sound a lot cooler than housewife stay-at-home-mom. But whatever we call ourselves, it is still a fact that one of our job descriptions is to manage the finances in the house.
We need to make sure that the money the family has will be allocated properly down to the last cents. I am lucky that my husband does not look for a "financial statement" and trusts me entirely on how I manage our finances. It may be because I do my budgeting right beside him while he's working in the kitchen. I would run the budget plans by him but he would usually just listen to me blabber and then just agree with me right away.
Our family's finances were cut by more than 50% when I chose to resign to take care of our daughter full time. With the drastic change in income, drastic lifestyle changes needed to be done too. One of the bad habits I had, when we have a bigger income, is not looking at the price tag closely. To me, it was one of the luxuries I wanted to enjoy, coming from a destitute family, and surviving my indebtedness, and receiving a paycheck that made me afford to have a little bit of a surplus in cash even after deducting all the deductibles like savings, investments, bills, and so much more.
When I left my job, running short on the financial aspect was one of my fears. Which is why I made sure that we would not come to that point. And so I learned some new tricks on family budgeting. These might be common practices to all other financially savvy people out there but these are tricks I learned from my observations and experiences.
Plan your meals ahead
A sizeable proportion of our budget goes to food. We do intermittent fasting which means during our feasting hours, we observe a healthy feast. I am able to get considerably big savings when I create a week's worth of meal plan. When I made a regular weekly schedule to the market, I got to know the sellers, they give me discounts or some extras on the veggies and fruits. It pays a lot go gain a suki in the market here in the Philippines. This isn't only favorable for us budget-wise, but also health-wise.
As much as possible, avoid eating out
It's good to dine out (or order take out at this point) every now and then but if it can be avoided, please do. Preparing homecooked meals on special occasions, though tiring and cumbersome at times, is far more special and rewarding.
Buy in bulk
Sachets are a big thing here in our country. I used to buy sachets back when I was young so I can control my usage. Now that I have established my discipline towards my usage - and I am enforcing that to my husband and my daughter as well, buying bigger bulks of goods and toiletries is a lot more advantageous to us. Buying bigger bulks in the supermarket also means lesser plastic and packaging usage. So not only will it be beneficial to my budgeting, but it is also an Earth-friendly practice.
Divide and conquer
Back then, the way I budget for our monthly payables is to just designate an amount for the bills from our paycheck within that period. Say the bill due date falls a little after the 30th, then that bill amount will be deducted from the paycheck on the 30th. Right now, I divide all the bills equally to be deducted on each payroll period. I did this because I wanted to make our spending and saving habits constant and consistent. I find it is a lot easier to act and react to anything unexpected when you have established stable and sustainable spending and budgeting habit.
Plan for Backup
Plans should include contingencies. One of the lessons learned the hard way for most people I know is planning for the unanticipated. A lot of things took us by surprise this year. If not for the generosity of some utility merchants in the country, a lot of families may have had to live inside their homes with no electricity, or internet connection. But that left everyone who did not save for the rainy days at the mercy of the rich. So make a plan, make a backup plan, save for the rainy days. Emergencies are something that every master of the house needs to anticipate and prepare for. If summarized, the year 2020 is nothing but a whole lot of emergencies packed in a year. This is the year where everyone, especially the stay at home mom were tested to the core.
These budgeting tips goes around the top rules that I follow when spending.
- Make your budget realistic
When our income was reduced to half, it was only logical to adjust our budget as well. The budget allocation should be attainable. Not too high lest you'll end up with debts and loans, but not too low otherwise you'll feel too deprived.
- Live within your means
It is simple. If you can't afford it, then don't buy it. In our household, as much as possible, we always buy in cash. My friends told me I'll enjoy the rebates and whatnot. But I just got traumatized with all the loans I needed to clear back in my younger years. So no more loans and debts if avoidable. After all, the luxuries we enjoy in life should be the product of our hard work, not an obligation that we will need to pay after.
- Stick within your budget
Discipline is the key. You are bound to be disappointed and discouraged if you see your own allocated budget is not observed. To feel empowered and encouraged, make sure that you follow your budget allocation. If it's outside the budget, it must go (out of the cart).
My family is not rich. We are not one of those people that has an inheritance we can use, nor do we have so much to give our daughter a big, fat stash of cash in the future. At least not yet. Both I and my husband needed to learn the hard way how to get by in life until we got to the point where the troubles are far more bearable even when the worries are greater. These tips have helped me so far and have helped us get adapted to the current situations. I know there will be far better days ahead, but for now, as the master of the house a housewife just has to deal with things the way she always does: smarter and wiser.
@romeskie is a full-time stay at home mom juggling homeschooling, crocheting, and homemaking. A Business Administration graduate with a major in Marketing who ended up in the contact center industry, on the frontlines, climbing her way up to Workforce Management where she found her passion in real-time analysis and management. A once self-proclaimed careerwoman who soon realized homemaking was her real calling. Her passion varies from reading, writing, photography, and most of all, crocheting.
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