How Much Do Other Moms Make?

Good Housekeeping (Philippines) - - News -

Have you ever thought of turn­ing your cre­ative pas­sion into a ca­reer, but got wor­ried it wouldn’t be enough to sus­tain your fi­nan­cial needs? We asked cre­ative pro­fes­sion­als in their 30s to spill the de­tails of their salaries, bud­gets, and all things money.

Wwe think of cre­ative ca­reers, it’s hard to shake the im­age of the starv­ing artist. We’ve been con­di­tioned elieve that a so-called artis­tic job doesn’t rake in the big bucks—but moms with fam­i­lies to raise need the big bucks, and there’s no lux­ury to do any­thing purely for the love of it. So how do moms who pur­sue their cre­ative pas­sions and tal­ents man­age to make ends meet? If th­ese moms are any in­di­ca­tion, a lit­tle in­ge­nu­ity and pri­or­ity-set­ting are all you need. And even bet­ter, they prove that you don’t have to shelve your cre­ative skills if you want to con­trib­ute to the fam­ily’s fi­nances.

Pur­su­ing my pas­sion means I wake up en­er­gized ev­ery day.” —Pia, pho­tog­ra­pher

THE PRO­FES­SIONAL PHO­TOG­RA­PHER: PIA*, 36 STA­TUS: Mar­ried with two kids aged 5 years and 9 months AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY SALARY: P150,000, but about P250,000 com­bined with hus­band’s in­come

“Aside from my pho­tog­ra­phy, my hus­band (who is a graphic artist) and I own a pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio. We also sell some of our art. In the morn­ings, I fo­cus on help­ing our el­der child get ready for school, then I do ad­min­is­tra­tive work like an­swer emails. I mostly shoot in the af­ter­noons. On non-shoot days, I’m busy do­ing mar­ket­ing for the stu­dio.

“The ben­e­fit of our pro­fes­sion is that we own our time. We can say no to projects we don’t feel like do­ing, and this flex­i­bil­ity helps give us time for what is truly im­por­tant to us. And pur­su­ing what I am pas­sion­ate about means I wake up en­er­gized ev­ery day, ex­cited to work.

“In terms of the fi­nan­cial as­pect, I do feel that our in­come is enough for our needs. Our big­gest ex­penses in­volve our child’s ed­u­ca­tion and food—we love eat­ing out and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing new things rather than shop­ping! We are able to save and al­lot money into an emer­gency fund and a sep­a­rate travel fund. We are also able to in­vest—we bought a small condo that we rent out. The next step is to ac­quire more con­dos to ex­pand our rental busi­ness and look into other sources of in­come.

“My ad­vice to women who wish to pur­sue a cre­ative job is to know how to price your work and en­sure that you get paid what is due you at the end of each project. Pro­tect your­self with con­tracts, and learn how to walk away from projects that do not give you what you de­serve. And since you’ll be earn­ing on a per-project ba­sis, learn how to save! Re­gard­less of how small or big the fee is, set some­thing aside and bud­get what you earn.”

THE IN­TE­RIOR DE­SIGNER: SAN­DRA*, 34

STA­TUS: Mar­ried with one kid aged 3 AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY

SALARY: P40,000 to P100,000, but about P150,000 com­bined with hus­band’s in­come

“I am an in­te­rior dec­o­ra­tor and stylist, and I help out with the fam­ily busi­ness. I nor­mally start my work­day at 9 a.m., af­ter bring­ing my daugh­ter to school. I have a home of­fice where I work on my client mood boards and de­sign pro­pos­als, but on cer­tain days, I leave the house to check on my fam­ily’s busi­ness and do site vis­its for clients. As much as pos­si­ble I try to end my work­day by din­ner time.

“Since I am self-em­ployed, I do not have the typ­i­cal gov­ern­ment and health ben­e­fits. I pay taxes on my own, and I pay for our own health and life in­surance an­nu­ally. But in terms of ful­fill­ment, I be­lieve I have found my true call­ing! I orig­i­nally crafted my ca­reer path around writ­ing, but I re­al­ized be­lat­edly that it wasn’t some­thing I was pas­sion­ate about. I took some de­sign cour­ses and started feel­ing like I was where I had al­ways wanted to be.

“When I have ex­tra money, I try to stash some away in a mu­tual fund so I can still grow my money de­spite hav­ing an in­con­sis­tent in­come. I am also man­ag­ing our credit card debt, which I iron­i­cally ac­cu­mu­lated while I was still em­ployed.”

“I have learned not to see each client check as money I can use to splurge, or as some­thing I de­serve. I don’t mind fore­go­ing fam­ily va­ca­tions and shop­ping trips be­cause what is most im­por­tant now is the fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity of my fam­ily.”

There’s a lot of com­pe­ti­tion, so you need to keep im­prov­ing.” —Niqui, makeup artist

THE MAKEUP ARTIST: NIQUI*, 31

STA­TUS: Sin­gle mom with one kid aged 2 AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY SALARY: P25,000 to P40,000

“I’m reelance makeup artist, which mean my ys are spent at photo shoots and wed­dings. I some­times hold makeup tu­to­rial and work­shops to earn ex­tra money.

was al­ways nto makeup—my mom said I was kikay ev at a young age and I would play it her makeup. I stud­ied mar­ket­ing in ol­lege be­cause I never thought do­ing makeup could be more than a hobby. I eventu ly pur­sued it pro­fes­sion­ally af­ter a co le of years in the work­force.

“I also wanted to pur­sue makeup af­ter un pect­edly had a baby. I want my kid to of work­ing

some­thing not just for the money, but be­cause you want to ex­plore your tal­ent. But of course, be­ing a sin­gle mom is hard, so I rely on a sup­port sys­tem to help me lo­gis­ti­cally and fi­nan­cially. We live in my par­ents’ house, so my child­care and rent are free, but I do con­trib­ute to the util­i­ties and the gro­ceries. I also have to shoul­der my own gas or cab rides.

“Bud­get­ing in­come from a makeup job is a chal­lenge be­cause no two months are the same. Some weeks I am fully booked, some­times I’m call­ing ev­ery project man­ager or ac­count­ing of­fice, track­ing down checks. I’m grate­ful that I was wise enough to plan ahead and saved a year’s worth of bonuses and profit-shar­ing be­fore leav­ing my old job, so I still have a bit of sav­ings to fall back on, but I need to hus­tle harder if I want to see my money grow and if I want to af­ford a good school for my son.

“A ca­reer in makeup can be glam­orous, but it’s not al­ways fun. Shoots of­ten run late, and the so-called glam team isn’t al­ways treated well (no food and late pay­ments are nor­mal). Wed­dings can be ro­man­tic, but it can also be drain­ing deal­ing with ner­vous brides and moth­ers. You re­ally need to have the heart and stom­ach for it. There’s also a lot of com­pe­ti­tion, so you need to keep im­prov­ing your makeup skills. I don’t re­gret pur­su­ing a ca­reer in makeup, but I have to ad­mit, some­times I miss the reg­u­lar pay­check and health ben­e­fits that come from of­fice work.”

THE WRITER AND EDITOR: MALEN*, 30

STA­TUS: En­gaged with one kid aged 1 AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY SALARY: P50,000, but about P100,000 com­bined with fi­ancé’s in­come

“I quit my PR (pub­lic re­la­tions) job and shifted to WAHM (work-at-home mom) life when I gave birth. I eas­ily got work writ­ing and edit­ing ar­ti­cles for for­eign dig­i­tal pub­lish­ing firms, which gave me the chance to fo­cus on my baby and set­tle in with my fi­ancé. Days can be hec­tic, since we chose not to em­ploy house help. Peo­ple think writ­ing and edit­ing is easy work, but you’d be sur­prised how much time and ef­fort you spend re­search­ing on­line, in­ter­view­ing peo­ple, and cor­rect­ing sub­stan­dard work— not to men­tion deal­ing with clients you might not al­ways agree with.

“De­spite the stress, I en­joy what I do. I rec­og­nize how blessed I am to be able to do what I love while be­ing fully hands-on with my child. But when you’re work­ing a cre­ative job from home, you need even more dis­ci­pline, both in terms of man­ag­ing your in­come and keep­ing to a rou­tine.

“All my in­come goes to my baby’s needs—my fi­ancé takes care of house­hold ex­penses, so what I earn is set aside for things like dis­pos­able di­a­pers, vac­cines, and the oc­ca­sional new toy or dress. I ad­mit that my fi­ancé and I are ma­g­a­s­tos—we eat out of­ten, es­pe­cially when we’re stressed out with work (he’s an ar­chi­tect em­ployed by his fam­ily busi­ness) and fi­nan­cial lit­er­acy and bud­get­ing are both things we can im­prove on. Bud­get­ing, sav­ing more, and be­ing more in­ten­tional with our fi­nances are def­i­nitely our goals for this year. I am hon­estly still liv­ing pay­check-to-pay­check and I am al­ways on the look­out for side jobs to sup­ple­ment my in­come.

“If you’ve al­ways loved to write, keep do­ing it! Start a blog, read more, try to con­trib­ute to lo­cal web­sites and publi­ca­tions. Be­ing a writer takes ded­i­ca­tion, and it takes a while be­fore it be­comes ‘worth it’ fi­nan­cially, but that shouldn’t stop you from im­prov­ing your craft.”

THE FREE­LANCE MODEL: ELLEN*, 32

STA­TUS: Mar­ried with one kid aged 1 AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY

SALARY: P20,000 to P40,000, but about P100,000 com­bined with hus­band’s in­come

“My hus­band is the pri­mary bread­win­ner. He is em­ployed by a multi­na­tional com­pany and he also has a small busi­ness on the side. I haven’t held an of­fice job since we got mar­ried two years ago. We both grew up in house­holds where the dads worked and the moms stayed at home, so we were both com­fort­able with that set-up.

“About a year or so ago, some friends urged me to try mod­el­ing. Ap­par­ently, there is a big de­mand for young, ‘friend­ly­look­ing’ moms for ads. At first I laughed it off, but I went to a cast­ing any­way and was sur­prised to see moms who looked a lot like me! I booked a cou­ple of small cam­paigns, and I earned about P20,000 to P30,000 for each of them—which I thought was not bad for a few hours of work.

“Since I am not un­der any pres­sure to bring home the ba­con, I don’t jump at ev­ery VTR or cast­ing. It can hon­estly take its toll, head­ing all the way to Makati where most VTRS take place, shop­ping for clothes and get­ting your hair done to fit the peg, some­times on very short no­tice. And when you’re booked, it can be stress­ful due to the very early call times and the hec­tic at­mos­phere of the shoot. Also, the agency takes a large per­cent­age of the tal­ent fee (TF), so it can be a lit­tle frus­trat­ing at times.

“When I do get my TF, I use it to pay for my fam­ily’s health in­surance. We are cov­ered by my hus­band’s job, but I chose to take out an­other pre­mium so we are not de­pen­dent on his com­pany. Also, we use my TF to fund our trav­els and things like our daugh­ter’s Gym­boree. We don’t re­ally get to save for long-term goals, but I am proud to say that I con­trib­uted sig­nif­i­cantly in the build­ing of our emer­gency fund.

“I wouldn’t rec­om­mend pur­su­ing mod­el­ing as a pri­mary source of in­come. The wait­ing game and ef­fort isn’t worth the pay-off. I’m grate­ful for the chance to con­trib­ute to our fam­ily’s in­come and sav­ings, but mod­el­ing isn’t a vi­able ca­reer and I know I won’t be do­ing it forever.”

THE CRE­ATIVE DI­REC­TOR: FRANCESCA*, 36

STA­TUS: Mar­ried with two kids aged 5 years and 6 months AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY SALARY: P70,000, but around P140,000 com­bined with hus­band’s in­come

“A few part­ners and I put up a small ad­ver­tis­ing and dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing firm, where we ser­vice up-and-com­ing clients and brands. I don’t just play with Pho­to­shop all day, though that’s part of it. I also take part in com­mer­cial and print ad shoots, in brain­storm­ing, and I also talk to sup­pli­ers.

“It’s a busy job, and a very com­pet­i­tive one. My hus­band is also busy with their fam­ily busi­ness, so a lot of our in­come is spent on child­care. We spend a for­tune on yaya, maid, and driver salaries and ben­e­fits. Our el­der child has playschool, which is also pricey. It can also get ex­pen­sive main­tain­ing our house­hold—a por­tion of our rent and gas is sub­si­dized by my hus­band’s fam­ily busi­ness, but we spend way too much on food. Luck­ily, I am still breast­feed­ing the lit­tle one, so we’ve saved a lot on for­mula.

“Since our firm is still new, we haven’t set up any ad­di­tional ben­e­fits, so in­surance is an­other thing my hus­band and I spend for. We banked our younger one’s cord blood, and it’s also an added ex­pense. Some­times I worry about how lit­tle we seem to be earn­ing com­pared to other friends who look like they have it all fig­ured out, but we man­age to scrape through and still have room for small trips around the coun­try.

“Right now, our pri­or­ity is sav­ing enough for our kids’ school and to pay our health in­surance, be­cause my hus­band and I have a fam­ily his­tory of can­cer and di­a­betes. Down the line, I am hop­ing to be com­pletely fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent from my hus­band’s fam­ily.

“I love my job and en­joy be­ing able to grow pro­fes­sion­ally. I was wary about work­ing for a com­pany, know­ing that my pri­or­ity will al­ways be split with my chil­dren, so I am glad that the vi­able so­lu­tion turned out to be start­ing our own firm—this way, I get to prac­tice my pro­fes­sion but I can still fo­cus on my kids.”

THE FASH­ION DE­SIGNER: LALA*, 34

STA­TUS: Mar­ried with one kid aged 2 AV­ER­AGE MONTHLY SALARY: P40,000, but about P100,000 com­bined with hus­band’s in­come

“I used to only do for­mal dresses for friends, but those were one-offs that brought in about P5,000 to P8,000 a piece, so I didn’t re­ally con­sider my­self in the fash­ion-de­sign­ing busi­ness back then. But when we had our baby, I felt the need to push my­self more in terms of earn­ing money to help my hus­band with the ex­penses. I take care of our baby’s needs while my hus­band takes care of the util­i­ties and gro­ceries. Luck­ily, he was able to in­vest in a small town­house so we don’t have to pay rent.

“I part­nered with a friend and soon we started sell­ing ready-to-wear beach coverups and dresses in­spired by my trav­els. It’s a small, home-based busi­ness so costs are kept low. Of course, my in­come is based on sales, so there are months where it can get lean, but I’m glad that I took a chance to put up my own fash­ion busi­ness be­cause I am learn­ing so much.

“I don’t re­ally earn as much as I would like, but I am grate­ful to have a busi­ness that is steadily earn­ing, and I truly en­joy what I do—which is more than I can say for my richer friends who are stuck in jobs they don’t like for the high salary.

“If you want to ex­plore a hobby or tal­ent, the best thing you can have is a good sup­port sys­tem. My hus­band not only pro­vided seed money for my busi­ness, he also func­tions as kar­gador of stocks, de­liv­ery driver, even sales­man dur­ing bazaars! Hav­ing some­one push you to keep go­ing is so im­por­tant.”

Work­ing from home

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