21 January 2019, by Jeremy Ratnam

Managing Finances With 4 Primary School Going Children

Being the sole breadwinner in my family of six, finances can be a little tight. But with a little shrewd planning, things can go a long way, especially when there’s a ‘financial minister’ at home.

Can you guess who?!

This is to make sure that the year ahead is financially mapped out for my family.

Here’s introducing the Ratnam’s family financial planning:


As the start of the new year, I am proud to share that all four #RatnamKiDS are in Primary school!

RatnamKiDS back to school

Danielle started Primary 1 this year while her siblings are in Primary 3, 5 and 6.

So first on my list would be to put cash aside to purchase new school books, shoes, bags and uniforms (hand-me-down could save you a bit).

RatnamKiDS School Bags

For the beginning of this new school year we have already spent more than $1,000 on these items, and counting.

In the following months, it will get easier on the pocket – so it’s gonna be safe to say I will set aside 5% of my salary for the monthly school fees and other school-related expenses.


Next is what’s needed at home, and my wife, Jamie, would be the one in charge.

From home to daily necessities, most importantly the food that will be stored in the refrigerator.

Online grocery shopping has helped Jamie tremendously. The convenience of purchasing non-perishable products in bulk has helped her in getting all the items she needs at a cheaper rate and with the ease of home delivery.

Especially when home delivery is FREE with a minimum amount spent!

Comfortably, I would set aside 15% for home expenses.


As neither of us drive nor own a car, we are not tied down with the various taxes that come with car ownership.

In fact, public transportation in an extremely convenient country like Singapore has never been an issue for my family and me.

The Ratnam’s way of transportation is proper planning, which my eldest son Kevin, usually helps to plan.

Sometimes it kicks off with a bus ride, then the MRT and maybe boarding a bus again.

If all fails there’s always the cab, but since we can’t all squeeze into a single cab, a Maxi-Cab would be ideal.

All in all, setting aside 15% of the salary is more than enough.


Recently the family got the crucial hospitalisation insurance that covers all family members. According to the insurance company it was the basic or in insurance jargon “the base of insurance pyramid”.

So “the base” will eventually cover all six of us, if we’re admitted into a hospital for more than six hours.

It was an eye-opener for me, but at the end of the day you kinda feel at ease.

A comfy 5% goes into The Ratnam’s insurance coverage.


The next tier of important strategies in family finances, is one that takes preference: Holidaying!

And since no one in the family flies at the moment, (nor cruises), staycations are perfect (and a norm) for us all!

The process starts with my wife going through the best deals online, and that’s right after we’ve selected a preferred date for the staycation.

Some of the hotels we’ve stayed are ones that the kids absolutely love, so we keep going back for more (Psst…click here to read about our favourite hotel).

With proper planning and avoiding peak periods, you can get a really good staycay every month for the entire family!

For us, 10% of my salary is saved for this. And if you don’t have plans for staycay you save the 10% for that month!


Two more tiers to get through and one high in importance, has to be your monthly savings.

In my household it’s 30% into the bank, including that “rainy-day cash”.

We have heard so many stories of how cash is needed at the most unexpected timing. Therefore, spare cash is always good.

So with the 30% going into our savings, I’ll split 25% for permanent savings and 5% into the much needed spare cash.


Finally and probably what’s pretty much a given is 20% that’s set aside for the routine monthly bills.

From mobile phone bills, electricity and gas, allowance for the parents and more!

Now when it comes to electricity, there’s a pretty cool habit you can adapt to help lower your electricity bills. That habit is making sure that all appliances (except the refrigerator) is turned off when no one is home.

Well with all the expenses set aside, it’s time to unveil the ‘financial minister’ at home… yes you’ve guessed it…

My wife.

Tags : , , ,

Posted on : January 21, 2019

Filed under : Parenting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *