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Living on one income
Advice and tips please!


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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.



http://www.stayathomemum.com.au/link-to-sahm/

#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 pinkpineapple

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,




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