I find this time of year such a struggle on my wallet – what with all the gifts for the extended family, entertaining, and eating out – it leaves nothing left for household expenses. What are your tips for running a successful household budget?
Jenny: Um... between you and me, I think I got quite a bit of money from the government. Because I had five children! It’s true! We called it lai fun cheen: milk formula money. Even now, if you have twins or triplets, they give you lots of money. They do that because otherwise they’ll be swamped by migrants, and they want to make sure Australia is white. Actually, wait – no, that’s not right: my Chinese children are Australian citizens too, so I guess it can be whatever race! Anyway, I’m lucky: I don’t have much extended family in Australia to start with, so I don’t have to buy them gifts. They’re not here, hahahaha.
For the kids, we only bought clothes when they were on sale – never pay full-price, that’s Jenny’s rule – and clothes at Target and K-Mart are so cheap and new. And when you have boys and girls, they can do “hand-me-downs”. However, in Chinese culture, we say “no” to second-hand shops, especially with clothes. (Ugh. Skin diseases, you can’t get rid of them.) For Christmas, if you have lots of family members, just have a small budget – like $20 – for everybody, then chip in with other family members to get people one very good gift. Also, with the Asian diet, we don’t eat that much meat and my children aren’t big eaters. So buy Home Brand for sugar and flour – all the basics – because they’re usually fine and made in Australia. But don’t buy home-brand tinned food, because most of them are from China now. Eat them, and you might be slowly killing yourself.
Ask Jenny your questions at #TheFamilyLawSBS
The Family Law starts Thursday 14 January on SBS