Budget Revealed: 3 Single Moms


Being a single parent has its own challenges. Not only acting as the main bread winner for herself, but also for her children. Financial management is a must to deal with.

Read stories from three awesome single moms about their financial life and targets! Are they having financial stability and getting closer to their wish?

Sally, 31 years old

In three months, Sally and her only son will be moving to Bali because of her new job as a Public Relations officer. Her current income is around Rp 8.6 million per month.

Her total spending is around Rp 3.5 million, which include electricity, phone bill, and daily needs. Currently, Sally stays at her parents’ house and contributes Rp 500,000 every month for her parents.

Sally's health insurance premium for herself and her son amounts to RP 500,000 per month. On the other hand, her ex-husband gives her an allowance of Rp 2 million that she saves for her son’s education fund.

Goal: Sally hopes to have her own business, an online boutique, have her own house and a car. Every month, she strictly saves around Rp 1 million for her target of having business that might cost her Rp 10 million- Rp 15 million for starter.

LiveOlive comments*:

Sally's move to Bali means that she will no longer be living with her parents. She therefore needs to adjust her budget to allow for additional expenses, i.e. rent, child care for her son, etc.

The next thing is ensuring that she has an emergency fund to cover 6-8 months of expenses. The last thing a single mother like Sally will want is for a large unexpected bill or expense to set her back or get her into debt.

Being a single mom, she should consider taking life insurance with her son as the beneficiary. In addition, Sally should consider critical illness insurance for herself.

Sally should also invest the Rp 2 million per month for the child's education fund, rather than just keeping it in a savings account.

Now for her goals:

  • Home. Sally first needs to decide where to buy. Will it be Bali or near her parent's home? She can afford a maximum of Rp 2.5 million for mortgage on her current salary, so this means a loan of about Rp 200 million assuming 12% interest rate over 15 years. However, she first needs to save for the down payment.
  • Online business. While she has estimated Rp 10 million-Rp 15 million to set it up and get it running, we strongly advise Sally to first do a business plan to determine whether this amount will really be enough.
  • Car. Sally may need to re-think this, especially if she intends to buy a property.


Nanda, 32 years old

After two years of not working, Nanda is re-starting her career as an Account Executive. She earns Rp 6 million a month from her full-time job with another Rp 2 million- Rp 3 million from her online shop.

For each of her sons, her former husband gives her Rp 7 million a month and she spends Rp 2 million a month for both of her sons’ school, and another Rp 3 million for their allowances and other needs.

Nanda herself spends Rp 3 million-Rp 4 million for personal needs, daily and household needs which includes her credit card bill. So far, she doesn’t have any health insurance or any investments.

Goal: Nanda plans to pursue a Master Degree. She is wondering whether to work part-time or choose to study full time.

LiveOlive Comments*:

Nanda seems to have disposable cash of about Rp 4.5 million out of her income.The first thing she needs to do is build an emergency fund of about Rp 24 million –this will provide a cushion for her in case of any major expense.

Getting health insurance is also a priority for Nanda. She can check what her company currently provides and adds to that if it is not adequate. She also needs to get critical insurance now, as premiums tend to be lower if one is younger.

She can invest part of the allowance her husband is providing for her children, to start a university education fund. Suggest that she sets up separate funds for each of her sons for clarity and ease of monitoring.

It is commendable that she wants to pursue her further studies. While it may be difficult initially, it is probably better to do this part-time, possibly taking 1-2 subjects per semester rather than a full load. Quitting her job, just after having returned to work, may not be advisable as she may forego opportunities in her current job. She can maybe consider asking her parents for help in taking care of the children while she is at school. 


Miranda, 36 years old

This mother of one daughter has her own cupcake business. She can earn up to Rp 10 million a month, depending on orders. She also works as an administrator at a school that pays her Rp 5.5 million a month.

Her insurance premium amounts to Rp 1.2 million a month and she saves Rp 2 million a month, or more if her cupcake orders are high. She has a time deposit and she never withdraws the interest for her emergency fund. As for her monthly spending, Rp 2 million for grocery, Rp 100,000 for phone, around Rp 700,000 for electricity and Rp 500,000 for daily needs. Around Rp 500,000 every month goes towards her daughter’s education fund via education insurance.

She regularly saves money 20% of her total income.

Goal: She wants to grow her business into a serious project where she can focus on it as a daily work. Shortly, she plans to have another baking or cooking course, so she could sell more menu. It would cost her up to Rp 10 million to complete the entire baking and cake decorating course.

LiveOlive comments*:

The challenge for Miranda is that more than 50% of her income from the cupcake business is variable –sometimes high, sometimes lower than expected. This being the case, it makes sense for her to have a higher emergency fund, perhaps 8 to 12 months of her expenses. It is also advisable to keep the basic expenses lower than her fixed income–as a school administrator.

While she is already paying a significant amount for insurance, she has to make sure that this covers critical illness for herself. Depending on what allowances her ex-husband provides, she may have to look at an education plan for her child.

In terms of capital for expanding her business, she can start by setting aside some money from the profits of the business, towards investing in a baking course. Miranda also needs to be clear what she needs the Rp 10 million for –is it for buying new equipment for baking? for hiring new staff to help increase production? Then she should calculate how much profit this capital of Rp 10 million will add to her business. Having a business plan will help her with this. It will also help her determine whether the revenues are sustainable enough for her to  quit her other job and focus on this business.

*Note: LiveOlive’s comments are based on information shared by interviewees. Portfolio yield may vary according to fund performance. Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. 

Read also: Budgets Revealed: 3 Housewives

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