Despite the name, being a budget wife — or "经济适用女(jīng jì shì yòng nǚ)" in Chinese — is harder than it seems. According a list published by an anonymous Web user on Sina Weibo, China's most popular micro-blogging platform, to qualify as one, you must:
Be between 5'2" and 5'8"
Weigh between 100 and 120 pounds
Have long hair that trails over shoulders
Be warm and mild in personality
Have B- to C-cup size breasts
Not be a "gold digger"
Not be a flirt
Not be horny
Earn between roughly $500-$1000 per month
Have a BA or above
Know how to cook and wash clothes
Be responsible and sympathetic
Be educated and reasonable
This newly coined term used to be a trending topic on Sina Weibo, with 5.6 million mentions.
"Budget wife" is the female counterpart of "budget husband," or "经济适用男(jīng jì shì yòng nán)", a concept introduced at least six years ago. The 2009 publication of the book Me and My Budget Husband popularized the term, and its 2012 transformation into a TV drama series fueled the term's further spread.
The word "budget husband" originates from the word "budget housing" (经济适用房-jīng jì shì yòng fáng), government subsidized public housing for low-income households. As the name implies, budget husbands' economic power trails that of "diamond husbands" — intelligent, educated, rich, and well-mannered men from respectable families. Nonetheless, a budget husband is, according to Baidu, the new ideal among Chinese female white-collar workers.
One of the main characteristics of a budget husband is that he be "normal." Not ugly but not too handsome; neither poor nor rich. In short: mediocre.
But this mediocrity promises stability. Budget husbands are reliable, both financially and emotionally. They will loyally stay at home and take care of the house; they will not go out to bars or have extramarital affairs.
The criteria of a budget husband are as follows:
Between 5'8" and 5'11"
Weighs between roughly 145-190 pounds
Normal haircut and appearance
Warm and mild personality
Does not smoke, drinks little, doesn't love frequenting bars
Has a BA or above
Earns between $500 and $1,600 per month
Knows how to cook
Has filial piety and refined manners
Patient, loving, keen to advance forward, modest, earnest, magnanimous, absolutely devoted and loyal,
ready to shoulder responsibility