22 Answers

We are a single income family with Hubby working full time. We have four children under six and receive about $100 in government assistance every fortnight. I was wondering how you MoM members budget. We tend to pay all our bills as they come and dont have a set limit for expenses (hence we find saving impossible).
Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Posted by mom88, 23rd January 2016

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  • We work out approximately how much our monthly bills are and put aside a portion each week, when the bill comes in we usually have enough to cover it or only have to add a little more.
    We’ve been doing it for a few years now & find it so much easier.
    With our food shopping we go by the catalogues & try to coordinate our meals around what’s on special.

  • Saving is nearly impossible, we follow a budget spread sheet, that has helped us track our money and from there we have been able to figure out a realistic budget that will help us save a little each week. We also track our weekly spending with the pocketbook app.

  • I agree savings is not possible, we have three kids under 8 and only one wage which earns under 60,000 a year. We pay every thing by credit card but pay the whole wage minus house repayments evey week. Its doesnt allow us us a extravegant life, but we make do most times of year. Without the fees of intrest repayments most time through the year. but the kids never go without we do… eg going to the hair dressers, new expensive clothes, dage nights etc… The way i see it, as long as the kids are happy with what they have. Im happy. With the little extra i save we might have a litte four day holiday every couple of years the kids love it. Its at a caravan a few hours drive but it means the world to them that we get away…

  • Love so many of these comments and I think I will use them as well.

  • I found writing down everything we spent for a month showed me where we were spending a s where we could save. Going to the shops several times a week resulted in us spending way more than we really needed. I now meal plan shop once a week or get shopping home delivered once a fortnight (I find the delivery cost is less than the petrol and kids wanting something). Also see if you can pay bills monthly, we do this so no big bills coming in.

  • I’ve been living independently since I was 16 and I’m still learning how to budget! Like another said, it really does come naturally to some while others need to make an effort. My sister-in-law is brilliant at it, as with meal planning etc. I’ve just been taking it as it comes and my bank account reflects that (what are savings?). I’m getting better, but honestly don’t know if I could ever be completely strict with budgeting. You can only estimate so much, as life happens and unexpected expenses do crop up. The best I do is not going silly and buying lots of unnecessary items. The other tips here will be very helpful to me, so thanks for asking this question and to those answering!

  • We work out every bill for the year minus weekly expenses. So work out insurances, rent/mortgage, elctricity, kindy fee’s, rates etc for the year than divide them weekly/fortnightly depending on when you get paid. (best done on spreadsheet) Open 2 new accounts which will now be designated as your “bill account” only pull out/transfer this money for bills listed above and your 2nd account is your “savings” account. Now with any weekly expenses like groceries, fuel, go via etc deduct them directly your pay every week. (Easest way to do this is withdraw the cash amount and leave whatever left over in the account until the following pay) Any left over the day before the next pay day goes into your new “savings account”. Set a reminder on your phone every 3 months to review all your bills as they do tend to increase over a duration of time. I hope this helps.

  • Some people are naturally great at budgeting and for others it’s a conscious effort (I’m in the other category). We tried working out the cost of all our bills for the fortnight or month, and also broke down the yearly bills per pay… Then we new our ‘spend able’ income which made it easier to know how much we could spend and we set savings goals, broke it down to how much per pay, then tried to set that aside. If you don’t save it’s understandable because you’re single income with kids! It’s a season!
    Try a budgeting program too (I used YNAB but it is a bit of work to get used to) but it helps having all your bills and spending recorded
    Whatever you do it will take a while to get used to budgeting so be patient with yourself and family.
    Good luck xx

  • Find a good accountant / financial advisor and get them to look through your finances with you. Sometimes there are things you can do to save money (like prepaying interest or setting up bank accounts differently) and things you can do to structure your income/expenditure. Ask around and see what your friends do to save money on groceries. I found out a market near us discounts meat and veg on a Sunday afternoon as they are closed for 4 days. I probably save around $30 a week by shopping there rather than Coles or Woolies.

  • It is essential to have a budget for all expenses. It is the only way to keep track of spending. Try writing down all expenses too as it helps to see on paper where your money is going. Once you know where it is going – you can stop spending on items that are not essential. Only buy what you need and not what you want. Set limits on all spending and do not go over the limits, no matter how tempting it may be to go over the limits. It does take a lot of discipline initially and then it becomes a habit.

  • We signed up with MyBudget. Absolutely the best move we ever did. Cannot recommend them highly enough!

  • To fully budget you need to have a good understanding of where your money goes. Try tracking all money coming in and going out to work out where all your money is going and then you might be able to identify areas where you can make some savings.

  • Stay within your budget,work out your bills,food,petrol,expenses etc.Put money that is over into a savings account and use it only when needed.

  • Set goals for something you want to achieve – long and short term goals. Write down everything you are spending for a fortnight and see where you can cut back. I also meal plan from specials at Coles and Woolworths (don’t have Aldi but could do from there if you do).
    If you can afford it put $50 a fortnight into another account – this will give you $100 a month and $1200 by the end of a year, perfect for holiday or Christmas.
    If take patience and determination but is achievable.
    We also have four children so lots of our spending is on food – check out cheap recipes to save extra money.

  • keep a spending diary and record all spendage for a month. then see where you can cut back. after bills, food is the biggest expense so try to cut back on spending there. have cheap eats nights and just do toasted sandwiches or basic pasta meals.

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