|Mabel from amazinglystill.com
Mama chef with an unusual penchant for adventure
Stay-at-home-mum to 6-year-old Blake and 4-year-old Nakayla
|Lin Ying from bumblebeemum.net
Prolific mama blogger with a wry sense of humour
Stay-at-home-mum to 6-year-old MF and 3-year-old MY
Q: Was it difficult to stick to the $150 budget?
Mabel: Our family’s average monthly expenditure on food is around $400, so keeping within the budget is relatively easy. The challenging part is ensuring the meals are nutritious and to come up with a variety of dishes for the week. I tend to cook the same dishes that the family likes a few times in a week.
Lin Ying: Usually when I cook, I estimate the price of the ingredients I used for a meal to be about $10, minus the condiments and nitty gritty stuff like garlic and onions. Usually breakfast would be cheaper. My main concern was whether including fruits that we eat after meals would cause the budget to exceed. But I figured by keeping breakfast cheap (way below the average of $10 per meal), even after adding the fruits, it shouldn’t be a problem to stick to the $150 budget.
Q: What’s your best budgeting tip for other Singaporean families?
Mabel: Buy what you need, not what you want. Before we had children, we basically ate whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. We ate out all the time as it was too troublesome to cook for just two. Now with children, we have to ensure we spend our money wisely so that our children will learn to do the same.
Lin Ying: I like to head down and see what’s on offer at the supermarket and get inspiration from there. Do you know what’s the most efficient way of finding out what’s on sale? No, don’t walk down aisle to aisle looking for the yellow ‘Advertised Special’ or ‘Monthly Special’ signs. Although I do that sometimes when I’m super bored, with the kids in school and when I don’t feel like washing the never-ending pile of laundry. But for time-constrained moms, it’s easier to check out the newspaper clippings of items on sale at the entrance of NTUC.
Q: Any cooking advice you’d like to share?
Mabel: When you don’t know where to start, ask your mom and ask the internet. That’s what I did. My mom taught me how to make my favourite stir fry pork and I found a couple of easy recipes online to start off my cooking journey. Over time, with more positive feedback from my husband and children (and the assurance that my husband will eat everything that I put on the table), I started to experiment a little more with the food I cook.
Lin Ying: My favourite ingredient is the 2kg pack of frozen chicken leg meat from NTUC FairPrice. Since it has already been deboned, it cooks fast and is easy for the kids to eat. Super convenient!