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Thread: How do you afford the bills alone?

  1. #1

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    Default How do you afford the bills alone?

    Recently my circumstances changed (well a few months ago now) and I am wondering how other single parents support their family..



    I pay 290pw rent ( I recently moved to save $100 a week rent) this was the cheapest place I could find ( with the timing I had) and that was suitable for us. I really wanted 3 bedrooms so the baby could have a room...It barely fits my furniture as it is ...

    I paid $63 for two days a fortnight childcare, as I have no family around to help if I have a appointment etc. I spend that day cleaning, shopping and washing the car. things I cant do with ds because of his age atm and for my prenatal appt and dentist etc

    then I paid $50 off my elect bill
    So i have $300 left

    Petrol is usually $40 a week and food $70 plus a few odd purchases (milk etc)
    Nappies $15 .. those are the necessities atm

    I obviously need to do up a budget and try and make it work.... any ideas?

    How do you do it? How do you go to work if childcare is so much?

  2. #2

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    I know you need the childcare for your sanity, but could you cut it down to one day a fortnight to save a little money? If you go to a playgroup you could enquire about setting up a babysitting club for if you need more childfree time than that. A lot of mums are in the same position with little money so you may find you can make an arrangement with some of them. I know how tough it can be coping with no family to help out, but if it comes to it you may have to look at dropping the childcare because it is possible to live without it, unlike your other major bills and food.

    Where do you shop? I save a fortune by avoiding the major supermarkets and get everything from Aldi. Can you contact your phone provider and see if you can get on a better plan (mobile and landline). Could you cope without a landline?
    Also look through your bank statement for the last month (or keep a record of all spending for the next month) and identify any areas that could be trimmed. Things like take-away coffee, magazines and trips to playcentres can be replaced with a thermos, a library pass and trips to the park.

    I would recommend contacting centrelink and talking through the payments you are getting to make sure there is not something you are missing financially. It seems strange your payments were dropped when they said they wouldn't be.
    I hope you find something you can do to help improve your situation. It sounds like you are doing it really tough and I'm sure your MIL removing half your possessions hasn't helped you any

    ETA I hope you don't mind me answering without being a single mum, I used to work in banking and have a bit of experience with budgeting as a result.

  3. #3

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    I have no advice I'm sorry but I just wanted to give you a big .

    It sounds like you are doing it so tough and I hope it gets easier for you soon x

  4. #4

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    It can get really tough. You just need to budget, budget, budget. Don't be afraid to ask the Salvos or St Vinnies for help if you need. Everyone hits rock bottom, but just muddle through.

    The best advice I can give is get rid of all credit including credit cards, unless you can absolutely keep the balance at zero. Otherwise you can get yourself in real trouble.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Are you on the lists for Public Housing and Housing Co-ops? If and when your name comes up, that will mean less rent (but the places are small). While you're paying private rental, have you applied for Rental Assistance (paid with the family tax payment).

    Have you applied for the ChildCareBenefit? That can reduce your child care bill.

    Financial counsellors are a great resource. (not financial advisors, who advise people on investments, but financial counsellors who advise on budgets for low income people).

    Instead of credit cards, you could get a debit card, so you can only spend, what is in your account and no more.
    Or if you want to keep ONE credit card for emergencies, keep it in the freezer, so you avoid impulse buys.

    Most insurance companies will accept monthly payments.

  6. #6

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    Hi Mum2R,

    You should apply for JET fees. Go to Centrelink and obtain the form from them, take it to your childcare centre to complete (the section they are required to fill out). This should reduce your childcare fees alot and if need be, enrol your child for more days because it is affordable and you might need in for your situation. Good luck. Hope all goes well for you.

  7. #7
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    i have just moved, was paying 290, now paying 240 once im all moved in... moved from 3 bedroom to 2 bedroom, baby will have to share a room but 3 bedroom houses are sooo expensive, u might have to compromise!

    i was struggling when i was paying 290 but i could still afford clothes for DS and stay on top of bills ect.. im not sure of ur situation but are u getting full single parent pension and both FTB's? and full rent assistance?

    with childcare, try cutting that back cuz its very expensive, its hard but i take DS where ever i go, toys and food keep them occupied! and by the way JET funding is only if ur studying lol

    try paying a bit off every bill everytime u get paid n that will stop big bills coming in the mail

    shop at aldi and coles, the rest are sooo much more expensive... and try just cooking basic as meals and cook big meals n have leftovers..

    sell ANYTHING u dont need/use, buy baby/kids stuff off ebay...

    umm thats all i can think of atm! just stop 'luxuries' for a while! i dont go to the gym anymore, no credit cards, no going out for tea or lunch or buying food/drinks out... get pay tv cut off if u have it, be careful with electricity/water... try and do free stuff! i dont miss any of these kind of things

  9. #9

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    Just subbing coz I am in a similar situation, though I live at my mums, I dont wanna be here forever!

  10. #10

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    im living with my parents atm too, only cuz my lease ran out and single mothers dont seem to get houses easily *rolls eyes* saves alot of money but im so glad i move in 3 weeks lol

  11. #11
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    i hear you Jess, landlords want "two full time workers, no kids". and they can choose, cos there is so much competition for rentals.

  12. #12

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    I was lucky , the landlord prefers single people , and likes to help out single mothers apparently, hes already been around and bought new lights for all the bedrooms after i showed him a crack in one, and needed a globe replaced in another

    He has sorted any problems i had straight away too, Guess im super lucky ,
    I was honest and out my married name ( which I still use of course ) and reason for moving, I put currently seperated.... I thought it would hold me back and was super suprised when it helped ...

    I was just stresses about the cash flow after moving, thanks ladies for all your ideas, I do them all, and dont need to stress so much now that things have settled, i still owe telstra but im paying it off and as I see it they are arses for charging two seperate connection fees for one service (ph & net in one) so they can wait for their money. ....

    life gets easier and I have been making some great cheap meals....

    Whats a luxury anyway? lol Just kidding....

  13. #13

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    yep Gigi thats it! or they prefer the 'perfect' 2 parents 2 kids kinda thing, its crap! what, since we are single mums we cant work, or have enough money to pay rent? and cant keep the house tidy? its crap lol

    oh thats very lucky mum2romone! i looked for the whole time i was preg with DS cuz i took over the lease from mum when she got married, place was a bit small so i wanted something bigger... had no luck then, then started looking again when DS was about 8 months old n looked for a year again, no luck.. then when i got with the ex, we looked for about 3 months n got something... really shows that they rather 2 adults! and i looked for about 6 months for the place i just got, was just luck that i got it i think... and im pretty close with my current real estate agent lol... anyway, yer write up what u spend n cross off what u can live without! cheap meals work well and dont feel bad about asking st vinnies for salvos for food vouchers, i rang st vinnies when i moved outta my last place, cuz i had to pay the ex's bills he left and carpets to get steam cleaned ect, and they gave me 2 vouchers, for 110 each! i was very suprised! that fed us for a month lol! dont know how often they do it but it was a lifesaver... yer whats a luxury!? i dont know these days either but u get used to that too haha

  14. #14

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    Im still paying of debts from back when I was with xdp, and I dont have a car (coz i left it with him even tho now he has 2 ) so atm for me its a house or a car sucks

  15. #15
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    my x's financial irresponsibilities are still following me, even though we're separated.

    "Moving House expenses" always throw me for a loop, they're always more than i expect. I got billed for DISconnecting at one end and billed for RE-connecting at the other end. Yowsa. No gap in time, just transferring.

    and extra to that, i've spent $100's on making this place lockable, safe (living on a corner in a dodgy neighbourhood) and repaired. never had to spend like this on any other rental i've ever had (in 30 years). The Housing Trust has this stock standard answer, if something is wrong "that's your problem". i suspect the gas heater here is leaking carbon monoxide - it's MY problem apparently. if i want it fixed, i have to pay for it 100%.

    i'm glad you've got a great landlord M2R.

    in my opinion, it takes months to recover just from the moving costs, let alone all the other unforeseen expenses you have been coping with.

    the DV service very kindly gave me a reconditioned fridge when i first moved out, but after six months, things are going wrong with it, i'm dreading replacing that fridge. Something is wrong with the washer, it's JUST still in the warranty period. But the replacement part is not happening (poor plumber has been out 3x, part has never fitted). if i have to replace TWO whitegoods in the same year - i dread to think about it.

    this time of year makes me grumpy - we haven't gotten the annual Family Supplement - cos X doesn't file his tax returns. That would make SUCH a difference to us.

  16. #16

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    Salvation Army stores ( the ones with furniture) have whitegoods too

    i was just thinking this the other day as my fridge is about to go. They had ones bigger, newer than mine in perfect condition for only $200.
    Thats where im going when it totally dies

    Mine has been damaged from 10 years of moving between houses and hasnt had a light in it for yonks so have a look for whitegoods there ....

  17. #17
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    thanks, i will ask Salvos. i thought they had stopped selling electrical goods, due to Public Liability insurance concerns, so would not have even thought they would have had whitegoods. thanks for tip. I know of people (in last five years) who have wanted to donate whitegoods, who have rung multiple charities, and been refused by all (because of the Public Liability worry).

  18. #18

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    Try asking on free cycle lots of people are willing to help.


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