Mama on a budget 

When one no longer draws a 5-figure monthly paycheck, and you see your bank balances depleting by the day, especially when you have a new start-up, every dollar counts. Seriously. Before I quit my bank job, the once-a-year long haul holiday is an absolute must, with loads of shopping and dining. Back at home, branded toiletries and make-up. Japanese and Thai eat outs every other day. Imported foodstuff. Even placed a deposit for a Merc!

Those days are over. For now at least. Now, my focus is on my child and business. Don’t get me wrong, I still provide the best for my child. I buy all things natural and organic for her, as far as I can. Her wardrobe is more extensive (and expensive!) than mine now. Heck, I can’t remember the last time I shopped anything fancy for myself. Boohoo. But that’s the thing. Mums, generally (those who’s otherwise, please don’t shoot the writer!) are willing to spend more on their children (be it education, toys, clothing, food, etc) eventhough they need to be on a tight budget themselves.

So now. In view that I’ve got limited budget, and overseas trip is a no-go (for now!), what can we do instead? I figured, why not I list down a few not-so-expensive stuff to do with your family, and keep everyone happy at the same time? Here goes.

1. Support local tourism

Visit your local cities and go off the not-so-beaten tracks (can’t be too adventurous with babies now, can we?). Instead of checking into your usual (boring!) hotels, why don’t you opt for homestay? They’re affordable, but yet gives you a slightly different experience as compared to a hotel. Of course, you won’t get your standard hotel breakfast and gym/pool facilities, but hey, a break from the norm can be rather refreshing for the soul!

The recent trip we made to Malacca, the historical state of Malaysia, courtesy of Mr Hubby who decided to take us for a short excursion to celebrate my new found “corporate freedom”. He found us a nice, cosy homestay called The Stable for RM380 a night, located right at the centre of Jonker Street, and I thoroughly enjoyed my stay there. Not super baby friendly, but we managed comfortably. Thanks to the very comfortable king sized bed and soft pillows, M enjoyed her beauty sleep so much, she slept till close to 10am the next day!

Looking out at ya from The Stable. Do not let the facade fool you, Inside’s cozy and gorgeous!

Or go on a foodie trip (perhaps a stay over too!) and fill up your “tanks” with good local hawker food. Try to avoid weekends or public holidays if you can, less be overwhelmed (and frustrated) by the sheer number of people surrounding you waiting for your table. Totally not baby friendly, unless your tot is so well behaved, he or she doesn’t crank up in the heat and hustle and bustle, I would avoid going to these places on a weekend at all cost. Last weekend we were in Ipoh for a quick getaway, good weather (thank God!) and (almost) well-behaved baby. Happy days 🙂

Artsy mailboxes, perfect for the camera! Outside Sekeping Kong Heng
2. Visit your local parks and zoo
We took M to Aquaria, a bit pricey in my view, but it was M’s first time, and she loved it! So, anything to keep her happy and entertained, i say!

Thoroughly enjoying the “seaview”
Next would probably be the zoo, bird parkbutterfly parkFarm in the City. Or you can even go to your local swimming pools for a swim! It costs less than 5 bucks per person, go early and if possible, avoid weekends, to have a decent time of splashing fun with your little one.

3. Have a cook/ bake-out at home

I’ve been cooking and baking more at home these days, reliving my yesteryear passion, one that was put on the back burner ever since I joined my last employer 4 years ago (no thanks to the long hours and stress). Also, wanted to make sure the little one is well fed with as much unprocessed food possible. Japanese meals (udon, teriyaki, chawanmushi, etc), pasta (with tomato paste made from scratch!) and even cheesecakes. Might not be easy juggling all that work that entails, including attending to a fussy baby (not forgetting the cleaning up afters) but the little one learns as we go along, that mommy is making food for her, that she might as well watch and learn! I’ll hand her the kitchen utensils to play (and throw!), spaghetti noodles to fiddle and figure out how to feed herself, bits of fruits to chew on while I finish cutting up the rest. She’s mighty busy herself, with all that “work” that she’s assigned with. But on days when Ms Fussy Pots decides that she needs to have a close up helicopter view of whatever that I’m doing at the kitchen, I’ll end up carrying her in one arm, and working with the other. Just yesterday, I attempted to make thin crust pizza for the very first time. I thought I did good, with all that effort in making my own tomato paste and all, until I took a bite off that crust. OMG! I forgot to add baking soda to my dough! My pizza ended up tasting like biscuit. Lol. Next time, we shall try again. Next experiment, spinach hand made noodles 😁

Looks can be deceiving. LOL
So yea. Life doesn’t have to be a bore eventhough one is on a budget. There’s much to learn and explore as a family, just need to be more imaginative and willing to try on new things.

p/s. Oh, did I also mention that I’ve cancelled my Astro (cable tv) subscription. STRICTLY NO TV (and NO children/baby shows on iPad/ laptop!) for my child until she’s at least 2. I would rather spend time reading and playing with her. And no tv for me coz I just don’t have the time! Any time that I have left at the end of the day is spent on work. And blogging 🙂

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