Jump to content

Living on one income
Advice and tips please!

  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 axiomae

Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:35 PM

DD is 6 months old and DP and I are trying to figure out what to do when my maternity leave is up. We both earn $60K a year however with child care costs being outrageous one of us will likely work part time. I'm also considering being a stay at home mum as I'm a teacher and can take unpaid leave while still having my permanent job held for me.

I guess I'm after tips and advice for those who live on one income - how do you do it? What are the secrets? What do you sacrifice? Our mortgage is $700 per fn, then if we put away $300 for bills, that leaves us with $500 for the fortnight - food, fuel, lifestyle etc. We usually spend about $400 a fortnight on food (which we could cut down on I guess) so I'm not sure I like the option of only having $100 a fn to spend on outings, or to save for holidays, buy gifts or toys etc.

What does everyone do to manage? All advice would be wonderful!

#2 Sunshineandsmiles

Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:41 PM

Hi there,

Check this link out, might find some helpful tips on there to save money.


#3 JRA

Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:47 PM

I would also add, child care costs are high, but while you only have one child, and get $7,500 back, from the govt for the childcare, are you sure the costs are out of the question

#4 froggy1

Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:48 PM

Bulk buy to cut down on your food bills - you should be able to gain at least $50 per week this way if you're really careful with food (whilst still eating well).
Only run one car. Walk wherever possible. Ride a bike. Borrow books and DVDs from the library. Clothes and toys from op shops. Bake instead of buy.
That's a few of my tips anyway!

#5 axiomae

Posted 19 December 2012 - 01:57 PM

Hi JRA, it's not totally out of the question - I'm just looking at all options at the moment. We have no family at all near us so we don't have family help. I'm also hesitant to go part time as a teacher because I know I'll essentially have to work full time - I'm high school so I'll have to prepare all the work for when I'm not there, do all the marking and reporting and it's not worth it for half the wage.

#6 lilmissmars

Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:02 PM

Just looking at your figures I'm not really sure how you came to $500 per fortnight for everything else?
We are a family of 5 on under $50K per yr and we pay more in rent and bills than you seem to have stated and still have more than $250 per week left over for everything else.

Even with a mortgage you should still get a little FTB as well.

We have $300 rent per week, and $305 in debits each week (car payment, health insurance etc, doesn't inc electricity and such) we spend $200 in groceries and still have some left over.

Having said all this though I have debts that are about to be put into bankruptcy so im not really one to give advice I guess.

Have a look at your budget very carefully and get exact figures including any FTB and what your child are rebate will be.
You can get your rebate paid to your childcare to cover fees too. Doing this had my fees down to $15 a day when we used childcare.

I'm just saying it is possible to stay home and pay your mortgage and bills but you really need to look at the exact figures not just the round about figures iykwim

#7 Ice Queen

Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:16 PM

I am a SAHM and my DH does earn more than yours but having said that I am aware of how much I spend and am pretty frugal during the week.  

With regard to food and cooking I do have the time to cook from scratch.  I have always cooked at lunchtime when the bubs are napping.  So I buy very little pre-prepared or jarred food.  I bake my own cakes and biscuits.  Since I am cooking so early in the day I use the slowcooker a lot so you can buy cheap chuck steak and chicken thigh for stews or curry type dishes.  

We dont spend a lot on outings.  I usually take at least some of my own food (cut up apple, sultanas.....that kind of thing) so if we are at a cafe we might all just share 1 pastry or piece of cake with my coffee.  I have always stuck to one activity at a time.  At the moment DD is doing swimming lessons, previously that babygym thingo (mental blank on name), next year in winter I am going to try Little Kickers.  If you combine that with the playground, a playdate, a library trip, you dont need to be paying for endless activities.  I have never found they really need it although DD is getting bored now but she is 3.5yo.

#8 Mummzy

Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:21 PM

We are on one income we earn around 80k

We still put our two children into daycare though. my 4 year old goes 4 days a week and my 2 year old will be going 3 days a week next year. I think we will be paying just over $300 a fortnight with the rebates.

$420 in rent fortnight (defence housing)

We pay $600 fortnight on the car payment.

$350 fortnight on food for a family of 4-5

we pay $200 in other bills

and usually have $100-$200 left over.

We do have $6000 on the credit card that needs paying off though.

We manage just fine. I also get family payments which helps. I use these payments to buy presents, clothes, toys and medicine, doctor bills and anything else the boys need. (I will be using most of this payment to pay off the credit card next year though).

It is very doable.

#9 roses99

Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:34 PM

I'm a teacher too, OP. And I absolutely agree that if you're going to teach part-time, you might as well teach full-time. I've done supply for the past five years (since my first was 9 months old). Initially I had my Mum do the childcare (which I realise isn't an option for you) and then I used childcare two days a week. I just told schools the two days I could do, and overall, I averaged one day a week of work. I still came out ahead though; my out-of-pocket childcare cost was $80 and a day of supply paid $300.

I also generated some back-up work for the days I didn't get called in. I've done a variety of contracts a my local university. The pay is pretty good (between $36 and $42 an hour) for work that I could do from home, at the time that suited me.

As a teacher, I really think that's probably your best bet. Plan to work two days a week, take the supply that you can get, and have work (research assistant/marking etc) that you can do out of hours as a buffer against the days you don't get supply work.

Let's say you did 40 days of supply in a year (12k) and managed to get 40 weeks x ten hours a week of work-from-home work (seriously, that work is out there! And with your background you'll be great at it) paying $30/hr. That'd be another $12k. You could probably make more than that, but even the bare minimum as stated above would more than cover your childcare costs and give you some extra cash.

#10 I'msoMerry

Posted 19 December 2012 - 02:40 PM

We manage on one income of $60000.
We have three kids and two dogs. Mortgage $350 a week.
one child in private school.
We dont holiday or have takeaway.
i would rather that sacrifice than not be home with my kids. We ration our fuel and try to be very careful with luxuries. It is worth it!!

#11 axiomae

Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:32 PM

Thanks everyone for your responses - it is definitely an an option I am considering at the moment, good to know it can be done!

Roses99 - I'm interested in the university work, how did you come across that? Who did you approach and what would you call what you are doing? Any other info would be great!

#12 roses99

Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:08 PM

It kind of happened in a weird way - I emailed the Dean in charge of the library because I thought I might be able to get a few hours after-hours re-shelving books. It was completely cold call - I got his email address from the website - but he asked for a CV and then called me in for an interview and offered me a contract as a research assistant. That led to another RA contract and then another and so on. The work I've done includes: copyediting research books, doing the background research for literature reviews, proof-reading dissertations and project managing a faculty research centre.

Each faculty has research teams and individual academics who get grant money (internal and external) that they need to spend. They're often looking for people to do the sort of work I've described. You can start by contacting the University's HR department and putting your name down on the casual pool. Then contact the Faculty of Education (specifically the admin person who works for the Assistant Dean in charge of workload) and have your name put down for marking. As a teacher, you'd be qualified to do that. Then contact the admin person who deals with research and let them know you're interested in research assistant work. You can contact those people in each Faculty/School.

Good luck! All it takes is to get that initial contract and then that one will lead to another and then to another and so on. I love the work because it's rewarding and enjoyable but not too demanding. And it is awesome to be able to work from home and at my own pace (according to deadlines etc).

ETA: Because you're a teacher, it'd make sense to start by contacting a Faculty of Education. But if your specialisation is science or maths or whatever, then approach that faculty too.

Edited by roses99, 19 December 2012 - 10:10 PM.

#13 GreenCabbage

Posted 27 December 2012 - 03:15 PM

I'm also a teacher. Living on one income (single parent). I lived on PPS with no CS for 2.5yrs and managed to save and survive. Been working a yr now and just bought a house. I also took DD to HK Disneyland this yr in the holidays.

Really comes down to budgeting and prioritising what are needs and luxuries. I make sure electricity bills stay down by turning everything off etc and don't need foxtel etc.

Edited by pinkpineapple, 28 December 2012 - 08:41 AM.

#14 heart-beat

Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:49 PM

I'm on one income (single parent). I work part-time, have 2 in LDC 2 days p/w (this will change in the new year when my eldest goes to school, we'll be using OOSH for him). I claim all government benefits that I'm entitled to (I'd be stuffed without them).
I turn off most things at the wall when not in use & try to cook double batches so using less power. Minimal use of a/c. Buy some things in bulk (tp, wash detergent for example). Multi-errand runs so I'm only out in the car once during the day, not coming & going all the time.

#15 Pearson

Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:00 PM

QUOTE (axiomae @ 19/12/2012, 01:35 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DD is 6 months old and DP and I are trying to figure out what to do when my maternity leave is up. We both earn $60K a year however with child care costs being outrageous one of us will likely work part time. I'm also considering being a stay at home mum as I'm a teacher and can take unpaid leave while still having my permanent job held for me.

I guess I'm after tips and advice for those who live on one income - how do you do it? What are the secrets? What do you sacrifice? Our mortgage is $700 per fn, then if we put away $300 for bills, that leaves us with $500 for the fortnight - food, fuel, lifestyle etc. We usually spend about $400 a fortnight on food (which we could cut down on I guess) so I'm not sure I like the option of only having $100 a fn to spend on outings, or to save for holidays, buy gifts or toys etc.

What does everyone do to manage? All advice would be wonderful!

We earn about what you and your DH do - out oldest is in high school now, and our youngest is 2.  We only have 2 children - our out of pockets for day care have never been more than $150 pw.  this is after rebate and CCB have been applied.  This is not even a fifth of my take home pay.  It means we can pay off our mortgage etc a little faster, and get ahead.

#16 Alina0210

Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:33 PM

totally do about... $500 a fortnight is more than enough,

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Join the Real Mums Test Drive Team

Five new mums will join the Essential Baby Test Drive Team and discover great new baby toys from Fisher-Price & write a review to be published on Essential Baby.

Two children fall from second storey window

Two young boys have been rushed to hospital after falling out a second-storey window of a home in Eastwood.

Victorian Labor to introduce same-sex adoption laws

Thousands of same-sex couples with children will have the right to be jointly recognised as parents by Victorian law.

Sneak peek: Maxomorra bee dress, t-shirt and romper for babies

Cutest snap find on the planet - bee rompers, tees and dresses for babies.

Toddler found two days after going missing

A two-year-old girl who disappeared on Friday night from her great-grandparents' home in rural Ohio was found alive Sunday evening in a nearby field.

Dad builds the ultimate bed for his toddler son

The transition from cot to big kid bed might be a little easier if every toddler had a bed like this one.

Is Woolworths now cheaper than Coles?

Woolworths appears to have taken the upper hand in its price battle with Coles after investing millions of dollars lowering the cost of groceries, according to new figures.

Aussie babies and parents stranded in Nepal after surrogacy ban

Parents say Australian babies are being "kept captive" and cannot come home after a ban on commercial surrogacy in Nepal.

Wannabe dads left behind in IVF debate

If virgin women can become mothers through IVF, maybe we're ready for another miracle - genuine equality for men in the parenting debate.

The health and fitness lessons I've learned

What I once assumed about health and fitness is wrong.

Our angel baby story: Hunter James

I have two children: one living, the next an angel baby.

Newlyweds send bill to no-show guests

Planning a wedding can be stressful – and, as most newlyweds can attest, it can be very costly, too.

Your choice or theirs: the tug-of-war over baby names

They had just decided on a name they both agreed on, but then the grandparents threw in an offer of $10,000 in exchange for choosing something else.

Dad-to-be's tearful reaction to pregnancy news goes viral

After 17 years of trying, this man had given up hope of having a family.

Claire Danes: acting out postnatal depression was difficult

Actress Claire Danes found it difficult pretending to have postnatal depression in Homeland, as she had just become a new mother herself.

The moment a 92-year-old meets her great grandaughter

It's a heart-warming photo this family will treasure forever.

How to prepare for breastfeeding when you're still pregnant

While every woman's breastfeeding journey is different, many hurdles are shared. Knowing what to expect will enable you to make informed decisions if - or when - you meet challenges along the way.

Sneak peek: new Love Mae bamboo dinnerware designs

We do love ourselves some brand new designs in tried and true products. The renowned bamboo dinnerware from Love Mae has just had several more members join the family, in addition to a brand new website.

Mum who killed paedophile gets reduced sentence

A mother-of-five who killed a paedophile has had her jail sentence reduced by a judge who described her case as a "truly exceptional" one.

Sneak peek: Geleeo self-cooling pram & high chair liners

We just spotted Geleeo, a brand new self-cooling pram liner you can buy in time for summer.

Toddler's silent debate with mum about naptime

He might not utter a single word - but this toddler is having a great debate with his mother about nap time.


What's hot on EB

Stella McCartney honours mum with lacy bra

Fashion designer Stella McCartney has honoured her late mum, Linda McCartney, by designing a special bra for post-mastectomy patients.

Don't panic: A granddad midwife's guide for dads-to-be

Mark Harris has helped deliver 500 babies. And he's now telling fathers what to expect.

How to be a calm parent when you're feeling anything but

Being a calm parent takes a lot of work, sometimes more than is obvious to those around us.

The joy and isolation of being a stay-at-home dad

It's cool, kind of like a second childhood. I love him to bits and think, on average, I'm an okay dad. But I also want to talk about the other stuff.

How baby Teddy's short life is helping save thousands of lives

He may have only lived for 100 minutes, but that didn't stop baby Teddy from saving the lives of others.

A heartbreaking trail of missed chances in death of baby forgotten in car

A haunting reminder to stay mindful about babies in cars, especially as we approach summer.

What to do if your baby has tongue-tie

Tongue-tie can cause feeding problems. However once it is diagnosed, the condition can be easily treated.

How to move house without losing your mind

Some people move frequently, while others like to stay put. But everyone finds it stressful.

'She had nowhere to go': how new mum's life began to unravel

The birth of her first child should have been happiest of times for Campsie mother Phuong Cao, but friends say it marked the beginning of when her life began to unravel. 

Women giving birth to a son keep some of his Y chromosomes

It was an experiment doomed to failure - they were looking for male cells in female bodies. And their search was stunningly successful.

Photos: How babies fit in the womb

A gorgeous photo series shows babies in the first hours after their birth - as they were positioned in the womb.

Baby tries to persuade stubborn bulldog to walk, fails

We don't know what he's saying, but this baby has a very clear message for his bulldog pal: let's walk - NOW.

The best toddler gift ever? Nine gender-neutral play kitchen picks

Without a doubt, one of the best gifts for a toddler turning two or three is a play kitchen.

9 easy steps to improve your baby photography

With a few simple tips you can take your images from random happy snaps to lovely clean images that create beautiful lasting memories.



Can't decide?

Check out the Essential Baby Names section for some inspiration

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.