I’m a Single Parent with Four Kids: See My Budget


Welcome to YNAB Money Snapshots—where you see a real picture of someone else’s budget and finances. They’re all anonymous, because sharing money is still a squirrelly topic for many, but we think airing them out in the open makes you better with your own money story. 

As you read these budgets, keep in mind that some people make lots of money and some people make a little bit of money, but we know it’s what you do with that money and how you feel about that money means more than any yearly salary. 

See how a support admin in Israel making 96,000NIS (roughly $27,600 USD) a year spent her money in June.

About

  • Name: MRM
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Israel 
  • Job: Office manager/accounts payable/customer communication (in short – administrative support)
  • Living situation: Single mom (divorced) of 4 boys (ages 8, 10, 12.5, 14)

Income: 96,000NIS (roughly $27,600 USD)

Savings: It’s Complicated

  • 45,000NIS in savings belonging to my children (~$13K USD)
  • 10,000NIS in emergency savings (~$3K USD)
  • $2,000CDN in an account my parents put money in that I try not to touch (~$1.5K)

Debt: 700,000NIS (~$200K USD)

  • This is mortgage debt

June Inflows: 7,000NIS (~$2K USD)

  • Payroll: 7,000NIS

Budget

Budget

Catego­ry What
I
Spent
Notes
Gotta Get Paid
Roof over our heads ₪4,180 Mortgage payment
City Living ₪398.15 Municipal property tax
Keeping the Lights On ₪470.86 Utilities
I Feel Good! ₪630.57 Medical
Nice Talkin' to You ₪116.19 Internet/mobile
Just in Case (Insurance Policies) ₪364.86
We All Need This Stuff
Mmm Mmm Good ₪2,143 Groceries
The Wheels on the Bus ₪413 Transportation (we ride the bus)
The Emperors' New Clothes ₪230 Clothes – mostly for the kids
Spending Money ₪55
Fun Stuff ₪56 Kids’ allowance and magazine subscriptions
Community Chest ₪100 Charitable donations
The Next Generation
Kids' Activities ₪135
School Stuff ₪1,133 Tuition, school supplies, field trips
Summer Vacation ₪3,732 Summer camp refund
Good Stuff
SM Bar Mitzvah Oct. 2020 ₪845
Miluim (Reserves)
Furnishings & Appliances ₪315.50
Home Improvement & Maintenance ₪1,851 Boiler/hot water tank
MRM's Sanity ₪124
Total Expenses ₪17,293.13

My Savings Categories

Right now my top savings goals are:

  1. One of my son’s bar mitzvah
  2. Trip for my younger two sons to visit my parents in Canada next summer
  3. Replacing the pipes in our new apartment (I’d love to overhaul the whole place but I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew.)

My Month

It was a reasonably normal month. My ex paid (most of) his child support, and there were no extra bonus government payments. I did have to pre-pay summer camp for most of the kids, but I’ll get a partial reimbursement for that.  Oh, and I had to replace the boiler (there really is no normal month). I lent a friend a chunk of money when she was in a tough place that I’d really like to get back (since originally writing this, she has started to repay what I lent her); and that money will go towards the pipe repair.

I have two months’ buffer of my full mortgage payment saved that will give me the flexibility to reduce my hours should we go back to lockdown and I need to help the boys with their distant learning.

My Story

I had been a Quicken user for twenty years before I started with YNAB. That means that I could tell you to the agora (or penny) how much I spent on what, but somehow I still didn’t know how we went through the “spare” 2000NIS (almost $600 USD) every month.  

My ex has/had low-earning potential, so me not working was never an option. In 2012 my youngest was born. I was thankful to take the 14 weeks of paid maternity leave and I had a savings fund that allowed an additional three months of time off.

When I started working again, I landed in a job that ended up being a pretty toxic working environment. I was out of the house 10 hours a day including my commute (by bus). If I was back in time to pick up the kids, my pay was cut short. Something had to change.  

In June of 2015 a part time (4 hours/day) job fell into my lap. I mean, I had to interview, but it was perfect. It was half the hours but it was only about a 1000NIS/month net pay cut (about $300 USD), and it saved me more than that in childcare. I actually got to be a mom!  

A year later, my ex and I separated. At my prior job, I shudder to think of what that experience would’ve been like while still at my former toxic workplace. I ended up going full-time in the fall of 2017 and I will not forget the kindness shown by my current boss during that whole process. 

A few months after the separation with my ex, I finally closed all the joint accounts and did a fresh start—I had a net worth of -7,334NIS. By December, when my ex was 4 months behind in child support, I had a net worth of -16,272NIS. I’ve had my ups and downs, but today my net worth (not including my mortgage or apartment, and not including the savings that are in my childrens’ names) is 31,971NIS.

My Financial Goals

I’m working to put aside enough to do the repairs necessary to the apartment (I didn’t realize I’d bought a “fixer-upper”). Once the bar mitzvahs are paid for, I’d like to put enough aside for weddings.  

Here in Israel, it’s really hard to get enough for a down payment (minimum is 25% and often more is required), so I’d like to put enough away to help my kids with that.  

One of the boys is special needs—he is going to need help to be independent as an adult, so I’m going to have to manage that. I’m also looking ahead to when my children each turn 18 (and therefore child support will be reduced). I’m going to have to put aside enough to make those transitions a little easier.

I would rate my current financial situation: 4/5

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