Now that we are no longer enjoying a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) lifestyle, D and I have been discussing ways on stretching our dollars and cents. I suppose one of the things that we didn’t really do was to live on one person’s earnings while both of us were working, not that we were splurging on extravagant things and living outside our means. We did our research and made sure our purchases (climbing/scuba gear, gadgets big and small, travels etc) were necessary and that we got the best that we could afford, which doesn’t mean the most expensive thing. But of course, given that we both brought in the dough, it made it easier to make the decision on what and when to buy.
There were times when the topic of finances came up amongst friends, how household finances and a/cs are sorted out, can be different.
In Sgp, D and I do have a joint a/c that we opened in the early part of our relationship, while we were both dating. We reckoned something good will come out of our relationship and that joint a/c was mainly for the wedding expenses that we would incur. Subsequently, we do “dump” some money into that a/c, but we also had our own separate a/cs that each of us know about, maybe not the actual amt. Reason is that we need some autonomy in our respective finances, and the freedom to decide on things that we would like to reward ourselves with, without having to discuss with the other person. Usually D and I would inform one another before the purchases, out of respect, and the one thing we agree on is “It’s your money afterall, as long as you don’t overspend and suffer for the next month”.
In HK, we only have our separate a/cs but we will still discuss together, whether it’s for the house or personal use. I suppose we keep our a/cs quite transparent to one another, there isn’t anything to hide really. To stretch our money and balance our wants and needs, we tend to split the costs, or combine birthday and Xmas pressies together. Now, we are looking into putting a portion of our savings together into unit trusts (rather than stocks and shares ‘cos these are too volatile), so as to stretch our dollars and cents more, rather than just reaping the interests in our HK bank a/cs. But more research needs to be done.
With a baby on the way and that I am taking about a year off work, it is imperative that we rethink lots of things. Second-hand stuff for the kid is welcomed, clothes, toys etc. To me, I would prefer to keep that money for good quality food (healthy, organic) and healthcare for the family, since those things are more lasting and benefits us in the long run.
D and I have our responsibilities also to our families in Sgp: we still give money to his mum but he mentioned that he would reduce the amt when we have our baby, besides the monthly CPF deduction for the Pasir Ris apt. Dunno how my MIL will take the news tho’ that her allowance would be cut, altho’ she also gets quite a big sum from her other sons. But then again, money is never enough especially if she has been living a certain lifestyle for so long. If my FIL was still around, her tai tai days would have continued, but now, I do understand that she would have to watch her pennies more.
Once I started to work and when I got married, I continued to give money to my parents on a monthly basis. This was money that I gave on my own, i.e. D didn’t share a portion with me. It was only when I moved to HK when I told my parents I wouldn’t be able to give them that monthly allowance cos we were moving to a different country and living on our own and we needed to some time to adjust our finances. But whenever I come back to visit them, I would still give them quite abit.
For now, I, still pay for my dad’s life insurance, besides my own, and have also resumed giving my parents a couple of hundreds when he retired earlier this year. That was before I told him I was pregnant, but when my child is born, I also mentioned to him I will not be able to give him that monthly amount, especially since I will be off work.
Just the other day, I found out from my mum that the factory which she had been working for the last 6 years would cease to operate, and her severance pay would be 1 month for every year that she worked. Which means, both my parents are out of work, and my hands are also tied. At present, my only brother, who is staying with them and just started teaching, does give money to my parents; and my dad has resumed giving tuition too, and his schedule seems to be quite packed with students. So I suppose it will not be too bad a situation for them if I can’t always give them money on a regular basis.
Just last night, D and I looked at the Baby Bonus that our S’pore government would give to new parents. This is one of those benefits to encourage couples to have more kids, cos we have been experiencing a declining birth rate. Well, for our first child, we would get S$3000/HK$15000 and I was quite happy about it until I read the finer print. This amount will be paid over 4 instalments of S$750: 3 wks after the birth of the child, 6 mths, 12mths and 18 mths. Gee, we thought it will be a one-shot payment to my bank a/c. I suppose getting money from our gahmen isn’t very easy, but money is still money just that it comes in stages, but frankly, it is ridiculous that the 3k isn’t given to us parents within the 1st year of the child, which is more important, given the expenses incurred, such as diapers and visits to the doc during the 1st year of the kid’s life. Haiz.
Interesting how all these situations that we didn’t care or bother about when we were younger would become such a big deal now.