There is no doubt about it — raising a family these days can be challenging (but oh-so-fulfilling!). Besides the emotional and spiritual “nourishment” that our kids need, we also need to nourish their physical bodies too.
Now, for a Filipino worker who earns a minimum wage of just P404.00 or roughly $9.00 per day, or around P10,000 to 15,000 each month, budgeting for a family can be tricky (and believe me, I speak from past experience!).
Of course, if you’re earning minimum wage, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to feed your family properly, or that you have to struggle just so you and her family can eat .
I know most moms are used to making sacrifices for their families, even if it means some discomfort for them.
For example, some moms might even decide to just walk to work, especially if their office is not that far from home. This saves them around P320 to 350 monthly — which could then be used for food and other expenses, such as water, electricity, and house rental payments.
Another way to maximize your income (yes, even if it’s just minimum wage!) is to create a budget and stick to it. Here, we share with you specific tips for creating a food budget for your family.
Budgeting for Food
Below is a sample food budget that you can use for doing the groceries at least twice a week, or 8 times a month. Some mothers say that it’s better to do the groceries twice a week, so they don’t spend all the money right away, so let’s take it from there:
1 kilo of chicken P136.00
A loaf of white bread P50.00
1 kilo rice P44.00
1.5 liter of water P41.00
1 kilo potatoes P68.00
1 kilo tomatoes P58.00
A dozen eggs P77.00
A pack of cheese P95.00
This means that you can allot P1,138.00 for a week’s worth of groceries, and P4552.00 for a month, if you go to the grocery or the market at least twice a week.
Of course, there are also times when the family has to eat out, like at a fast food restaurant or somewhere else.
To give you an idea of how to include that in your budget, here’s what you could expect to spend:
Value Meals at Fast Food Restaurants – P55 per person x 4 = P220.00
Now, let’s say the family goes out every Sunday. This means that in a month, P880.00 goes to fast food restaurants.
Of course, there are times when the amount goes higher because the kids want to try something else on the menu, which means that around P6,000 to 7,000 goes of your monthly budget goes to food each month—and this doesn’t include snacks, or food that kids buy or bring to school, and all other expenses.
So, what should be done to make sure that you stick to your budget?
Well, the key is to write it down. Write down your budget.
Planning is extremely important, especially if you ask most homemakers, because this makes them feel that, at least, they have an idea about where their money should go.
This way, they can tick off items on the list once they have bought them and they can be reminded about what needs to be done—and won’t be tempted to do otherwise.
When making a budget, prioritize only what’s important (i.e. your and your family’s needs), so the rest of your money can go to savings in the bank and investments, and for your other expenses.
A sample budget could be as follows:
Water/Electric Bills P1,500.00
House Rental P4,000.00
This leaves you around P3,000.00 for all your other expenses and savings. (Realistically, this may be challenging, I know, but the key is to make and stick to a budget!)
Don’t forget to save
Of course, you shouldn’t let all your hard work go to waste. Keep in mind that it would be good to save around 5 to 10% of your salary (actually, 20% if possible, as this is what most financial experts would recommend).
To do this, you can set up an automatic transfer account so that every time you get your salary, some money will automatically go to your savings account—and before you know it, you already have saved a considerable amount of money, which you can then use to build up your emergency fund and invest in stocks and/or mutual funds.
At the end of the day, remember that becoming “truly rich” in the material sense isn’t impossible — you just need to work hard, be disciplined, and learn how to make your money work for you, too. (Drop me a line here if you want to learn more about the latter.)
Of course, we also need to remember that everything we have — even our income — comes from God. So we should also be generous in giving of our “treasure” (i.e. our finances) to Him through tithing and love offerings!
How do you budget your income? Share your tips in the comments!
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*Image credits: First photo courtesy of eComparemo.com | Other photos courtesy of Dan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net