Is it possible for a family of four to survive on a single-income of $4k per month?
I have thought long and hard before deciding to share this. I am a housewife with 2 kids 11 and 9 respectively. Below is a breakdown of my monthly family expenses based on take-home pay of $3.2k after CPF deduction :
Groceries : $400
Insurance : $300
Food/Entertainment : $500
School Bus : $150
Transport : $120
Utilites/Telco/Internet/Conservancy Charges : $250
In-laws allowance : $200
Piano fees for daughter : $300
Misc : $200
Mortgage : Serviced by CPF
Total : $2420
Savings per mth : Approx $800
I do the household chores, cook lunch/dinner during weekdays, teach the kids myself. I also have the occasional dividends, trading gains from my shares to add on to the savings even though the amount is not substantial. I am also lucky as my parents do not expect any allowance from me as I do not have a fixed income hence I try to treat them occasionally.
For transport, we rely on bus, mrt and the occasional taxi/uber/grab (We used to own a car in the past but since our kids have grown up, we decided that we can do without it). For food, we dine at hawker centres, coffee shops, food courts, fast-food and occasional restaurant dining treat. For holidays, we go on short-mid haul trips to places like hong kong, taiwan, malaysia but mostly is to Malaysia via cruiselines.
As for my kids, I taught them to differentiate between needs/wants but I do spare them the occasional indulgence. They are happy to be able to eat stuffs that they want and go on holidays even though those are not atas places like Europe, Australia, Japan, America. I explained to them that we do not splurge as I need to set aside savings for retirement planning so that we will not be a burden to them in our silver years. We teach them swimming, cycling instead of getting coaches.
As for myself, I do not splurge on facials, spas, mani/pedi, hair salon visits etc. I get the stuffs and do it at home (it costs less than a fraction of doing it outside). E.g I bring my daughter to a home salon for our yearly rebonding and it costs $90 for both of us as compared to if we were to visit a hair salon at a shopping centre which can cost upwards of $300. I also help my husband to dye his hair which is much cheaper as compared to doing it outside.
Hence, it all boils down to how we stretch our money. It is possible to rely on a single-income for a family of four. We just have to use our money wisely.