Changing Jobs & Budgeting Finances As A Working Mother

28 Oct 2016 
SOURCE: The New Savvy

​I cannot stop smiling today.


Not just because it's my birthday, but also because I just inked my name on a contract with a new employer, and tendered my resignation at my current workplace.


What a glorious relief!


Job-Hopping Millennials?

Yahoo SG published an article today taken from Singapore Business Review, that highlighted the work attitude of Millennials and how "they have higher expectations of themselves and their employers, seek greater challenges and place more importance on the type of work they do, with the majority (92 per cent) focusing on job content when looking for a new role". This renders us more inclined towards job-hopping to test waters before settling down on a role we actually see ourselves comfortable in for the long-run.


How true!


Between landing my first job in 2008 to my current job now, I have taken on 8 different roles. That's like an average of a new job each year. Deciding to quit and looking for a new job was so much easier before though. Being single and carefree made fulfilling my needs the top priority. When work got too mundane or something irked me to no end, it had been relatively easy for me to take my wandering feet elsewhere. Lower pay packages and lower positions were fine with me then – I just wanted to explore my options and see if that job was what I really wanted to do.


But this new job offer took me 4 months to negotiate before I finally decided it was good enough for me to leave. Why is that so?


Budgeting When Changing Jobs – Then And Now

Budgeting has never been my strong suit – back then, if a new role meant lesser money, I would just shop less or stop drinking designer coffee all the time. Savings were only meant for me and my rainy days or retail therapy sessions. I didn't have to think that far ahead. The only fixed expenses I had were for my insurance policies which I was already paying for since university and rent because ChubbHubs and I moved in together before getting married.


Becoming a working mother has mellowed me to a certain extent. While I still have my ambitions and my personal motivations, providing for Bubs has become my main concern. Now, ChubbHubs and I actively worry and plan for the future. Budgeting has become a much needed skill.


The top three expenses excluding necessities we have now are:

  1. Insurance
  2. Savings and Investments
  3. Education


Insurance takes up a hefty 18% of our dual income. This includes the policies we have obtained for Bubs since birth. These policies are a life policy, a hospitalization policy and an ILP for each of us. On top of that, we got an additional endowment plan just in case. Because we want to ensure he is comfortably provided for should anything happen to us (choy!), we have also included all sorts of riders which some might call unnecessary but we deem important.


Read: Insurance Questions to Ask Your Financial Consultant


Articles are constantly telling us how much we should be saving by the time we are 30 or 35, if we can save $100,000 by 30 (people seem to keep touting this as the magical number) or if we are doomed to a life of working hard for nothing.  But really, articles like that fail to account for so many factors that could be affecting us as individuals or families. There will always be unforeseen situations and unplanned for expenses; that doesn't mind your entire savings plan will be derailed.

ChubbHubs and I used to spend quite a fair bit with little thought to how things would play out in the future. We cabbed EVERYWHERE. Eating out or ordering in was de rigeur (and he's a chef!). We booked last minute holidays when we could without planning ahead. As such, when Bubs came along, we really didn't have much saved up.


Finances When You have A Baby

The good thing is, our home is already fully paid for, so we have no mortgage loans. We refuse to get a car because we live in a really central location – no car loans! And we've been diligent in paying off credit card bills every month – no outstanding CC bills! But now, the real crunch would be teaching ourselves to budget and bulk up our cash assets.


After deducting CPF, insurance payments, childcare and utilities, we then set aside amounts for transport, groceries and spending. All these deductions then leave us our monthly savings amount.


It's not a lot. And honestly, I do get disappointed at times with the amount. But some months are better than others, and that's when we pump them into our investments. We don't have an extensive portfolio but it's slowly getting there.


If you've read my previous piece on parent-child classes, you would realise I'm a huge fan because of the bonding opportunities they offer. I see them as worthwhile educational investments which make my heart bleed just a little less when it comes to payment time every 10 wees. My calendar reminder rings 2 weeks in advance so I have ample time to adjust my spending and ensure our savings and daily spending budgets are not affected.


With this rather flexible method, we've managed to save 15-20% of our combined income and still enjoy eating out as a family at least once a week. We might not visit expensive play gyms all the time but we do have plenty of fun at one-north park@fusionopolis where they've got these huge parabolic plates that produce sound waves and acoustic drums that delight Bubs to no end. Botanical Gardens has always been our favourite place for morning romps (especially when the three little roosters appear), and for a short walk to get coffee, Holland Village Park is always a good spot to look out for trucks, cars and all sorts of vehicles. Fun doesn't always have to break your budget!


So back to the point. Reviewing the above made me comfortable to start looking for a new job with better hours which might not necessarily offer the same pay, but would not mean a huge pay cut as well. Opportunity cost right? It has also allowed me to accept a job offer in the last quarter of the year, which would mean foregoing AWS and bonus (sob).


Of course, discussing this with ChubbHubs was a must. He gave me his blessing since whining about work had become a bit of a common occurrence of late. And as much as the pain of not having another chunk of cash accumulate in our accounts still lingers, we are at peace (I am SUPER HAPPY!).


On to a new job!!

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