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How do you make a smaller ever diminisihing amount of money go further. Rent increases have also exacerbated the financial situation. Besides the obvious one of working more, what are parents doing to make ends meet? Do you have any tips?

I recently spoke to a single mother who will have her CSA drop by half; this was a combination of the  changes and the ex having a lower paid job(after redundancy).  The rent increases have also exacerbated the financial situation. Besides the obvious one of working more, what are parents doing to make ends meet? Do you have any tips?

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
monteverdi said
I recently spoke to a single mother who will have her CSA drop by half; this was a combination of the  changes and the ex having a lower paid job(after redundancy).  The rent increases have also exacerbated the financial situation. Besides the obvious one of working more, what are parents doing to make ends meet? Do you have any tips?
 Be ever greatful for wonderful parents who are able and willing to help me finanically.  It is not their job, but they see their grandchildren being penalised because of the constant bungling of CSA. This also covers the new formula taking effect from July 1st!!

 
Being on the disability pension and 50% of FTB A&B the recent increases in the price of living have really effected the budget and how.

I have always cooked extra when my daughter is with me then frozen left overs to be zapped in the microwave, this saves on power and even if you have the kids full time they may well have an unknown fondness for these zapped meals.

On the days I can physically manage to walk to school we do, petrol is a biggy and because of this you may have to find entertainment with in walking distance or around the house, spend time sharing with your kids by playing at home.

Look for the price cut meats you have to do quick calculations to see if the price is the same or less than the special price.

Local garden markets can be a good source of cheap vegi's, perhaps a bit more bug eaten on the first few leaves but hey worth the effort.

Good time to give up smoking, lets face it if you smoke and your on a living allowance your self indulgent, give up and see how much money you save, same with booze.

Biggest thing is to live with in your means some people think nothing of having a $100 mobile and $100 home phone bill do we really need to be on phones for ten minuets when we will see that person that night.

Economizing can be painless but does need a change in habits and takes a conscious effort.

Well thats all I've got.
Good points and a lot of what I do too.

I lost threee weeks pay in January when I was hospitalised for perforated ulcer. This set me back heaps and still recovering ( financially) from that.

It is hard to cope at times. But tell me is it fair to tell the kids there are no extra activities such as football and weekly dance lessons?

It is not their fault they find themselves in this situation.
I buy second hand school uniforms.

Home cooking from scratch - no packets/sauces.

Keep school lunces cheap: I buy a large juice and put it into smaller poppers - saves $1.60 a week. Get large tins of fruit, make your own jelly, put into containers and send them to school.

use plastic bags as bin liners. Line dry/drip dry don't use the dryer.

Don't go shopping with the children.

Turn all appliances (except the fridge) off at the wall, when you can.

Look at all your bills and regularly search for cheaper options on insurance (health, house, car etc). See if there are discounts by paying direct debit.

Bring coffee and milk makings to work - don't buy cappucinos.

Buy children's clothes end of season a size bigger for next year. Use hand-me downs from friends or neighbours.

Give up buying papers and magazines.

Try to buy generic brands at the supermarket as much as possible.

eat more legumes and mushrooms so you need less meat. Summer, have salads - winter have soups.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 

Some groups will allow negotiated payment arrangements

Some groups, clubs and teachers will waive fees or allow payment arrangements in cases of genuine need. It pays to ask!

For me - Shared Parenting is a Reality - Maybe it can be for you too!
We buy everything in bulk and only when it is on special. Also deciding the weekly menu's in advance helps to only buy those things that we need when shopping. This often frees up extra money for other things.

Activities with the kids don't have to mean spending money. there are alot of cheap or free alternatives.

I have found making small payments each week towards the electricity / phone etc helps when the bill comes in, average it out of you can so that you are always that little bit ahead and don't receive an unexpected bill.

If CSA payments have reduced then she should be entitled to an increase in FTB payments (if these were previously affected by the amount of CS paid).
We are preparing for a hugh jump in CSA payments we have to make. DP's wage has increased since the last assesment.

So we have done a budget. It has been a life saver. Everything is accounted for. And money is put away for all our bills (rego, insurance, utilities etc). It's nice to know now when a bill comes in i don't have to put it away and try and forget about it. I know now that we have the right amount of money sitting there waiting to pay the bill with.

In fact it has been amost 'fun' to open the bills and see just how close my estimate is (both for the amounts due and the due dates).

I have forcasted the next 16 months. I have even taken into account our possible rent increase (due to happen in the next few weeks) and weeks where the normal weekly amount need not be paid/put away due to there being more weeks between the due dates then normal (ie i have based all amounts on a four week payment month, so if there is five weeks between payments being due, then one weeks payment can be used for something else or put away for a 'rainy day').

I also played with the amounts in our budget to see where we were spending. I even calcutated what percentage of our combined take home income was being used for each item/catergory in the budget. I now know we spend just over 22% of our combined take home income on rent.

So the main thing for us has been budget budget budget!
Good On you Miacat - we too have had to budget in basically ever cent that comes into and out of our House, thank fully like yourself we have taken a realistic approach and can even find the joy in opening a bill ie phone or elec and know that is it paid for already!!

Our grocery budget has been the hardest to get inline lol but we are getting there and all will be better off after we have got the hang of it allo, but i do think a budget uis the way to go.,
Saphire said
Be ever grateful for wonderful parents who are able and willing to help me financially.  It is not their job, but they see their grandchildren being penalised because of the constant bungling of CSA. This also covers the new formula taking effect from July 1st!!
I can see you are obviously "doing it tough" and I was keen to see if we can look at what this "constant bungling" is all about. I am happy to look into your issues and take them to some resolution as in all honesty where there is some genuine issue the CSA (From the cases I have put up) has gone a long way to fixing them.  There are many specialist areas in the CSA who deal with particular issues so please provide through a Personal Topic (click "Whisper" and select start a personal topic) a list of your complaints and examples of "the bungling"

Unless we identify the areas that affect payers and families we will never fix the system. We can only fix it by doing this a piece at a time and if it takes one payer at a time then lets do it so we make it better for all.

You also say that "This also covers the new formula taking effect from July 1st!" Can you elaborate on that and the specific areas of issues. Have you completed the lodging of any issue on our issue register? See the home page and "Have your say"? Also have you been to teh web guide area and looked at the CSA FAQ to answer any queries? If we don't have the answers we WILL get them.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
I would suggest one of the biggest problems that are being suffered by breadline families is that assistance has raised less than $40 in prior times yet increases in staples has risen to near 30% +.

people tend to live with in their means, basically you spend what you earn and become accustom to this style of living, when there is a dramatic price rise buying the same costs more.

My personal breadline of late has become poverty line and cutting the neccessary corners means basically being house bound, not phoning family, not heating my home unless my daughter is with me and reducing what is eaten.

Anyone receiving assistance and no or limited C.S.A. has no choice but to just keep on tightening that belt.

Hints like above can really help people feel they are not alone.

I use dial up internet for about $9 per month unlimited, it's slow but saves over $20 a month plus.

 
my parents used to wash up with bicarb and sunlight soap. It was about the same price as detergent, but it lasted heaps longer.

Teach your kids to sew and try to fix things before throwing them out.

I think the depression was the original re-cycling era.

Junior Executive of SRL-Resources

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on this site (Look for the Avatars). Be mindful what you post in public areas. 
Here's a spreadheet that some might find useful with budgeting.

You input your Income and outgoings in a relatively flexible way and it totals it all up by year, half year, quarter, month, 4 weekly, weekly and daily.

In the Item column you give a description for the item
In the amount column you specify how much you pay
In the Prd column (stands for period) you specify the payment period (Y=Yearly, H=Half Yearly, Q=Quarterly, M=Monthly, 4=4 Weekly, W=Weekly and D=Daily)
In the F (stands for frequency) you specify a factor that can change the period, 1 and the period is as, 2 makes the period twice as long.

None of the other columns should be changed as they are all formula driven.

For example if you get paid every other week, then Prd could be W and F 2 (alternate Prd could be D and F 14).

There are two main sections, the first is for income, the second is for outgoings, the latter has sub-sections for essentials, luxuries and Other.

If you need to add extra rows in either section/subsection, then right click in one of the rightmost columns (with the numbers) (but not on a bolded/overlined and underlined row with the section totals) and click on copy, right click again in the right hand column and this time select insert Copied Cells (if the one you copied had information then you'd likely need to over type that). Let me know if you want this.

I hope the download thingy works.

If anyone has MS Acces I also have a shopping list database thingy. Basically it can be used to create a shopping list with the totals on it (requires adding the stuff you buy). It will even, if setup that way, sort the shopping list by aisle (and shop if you add multiple shops). It can also, again if setup, automatically add things to the shopping list.

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Miacat said
So we have done a budget. It has been a life saver. Everything is accounted for. And money is put away for all our bills (rego, insurance, utilities etc). It's nice to know now when a bill comes in i don't have to put it away and try and forget about it. I know now that we have the right amount of money sitting there waiting to pay the bill with. So the main thing for us has been budget budget budget!
Miacat.

I go one step further and use internet bankning to pay most of those regular bills fortnightly by direct debit.

When the bills come in the mail, they have zero or even postive balances and that is really fun to open!

For the ones that only allow annual or six monthly payment, I do as you do and forcast a cost then use a spread sheet to keep track of how much of the total I have put aside is allocated for each.

For those who have a mortgage, it is better to set the allocated bill paying funds aside in a mortgage offset account, pay the bills on the credit card, then pay the credit card from the mortgage offset account.



BriarRose, I was thinking about paying the money onto the bill before it comes in, but for the moment i prefer to know i have that money with me, just in case.

Once my budget has been up and running for a few more months, and some of the larger and important bill are out of the way, i plan to have money i am currently putting away put into my high interest ING account, that way while i am waiting for the bill to come in i am earing interest on my money (hey every little bit helps right).
personally I don't kie direct debit, a bit of a hassle to stop. What I do is as soon as I get a bill I go on-line and setup a BPAY to pay it on the due date. I use a credit union account as you can avoid any fees (me coming from the UK, when there were no fees for using an ATM etc am so against paying any bank fees other than what I see as expected going overdrwan [once in my whole life which was my own fault]).

I also use a credit card (Virgin) which is paid off via Bpay, that has no annual fee, the interest rate doesn't worry me because I always pay off in advance. I use MS Money to track all my finances and thus know in advance how the cash flow situation is going. I also use the budget feature and regularly check for overspending. Although the way I do things I always over estimate costs.

I did have another spreadsheet used for forecasting including mortgage payments, it was sort of similar to the budget spreadsheet above in the way it was setup. It even catered for things being put onto the credit card and this being paid off, it then basically goes and works out when the mortgage will be paid off. If anybody wants this, I could try to find out where it is, hopefully I haven't lost it. Just ask and I'll search for it and put it up as a download.
Thanks MikeT Great spreadsheet for the budget, I am going to try and work one out. :thumbs:
The trouble at the moment is the never ending increase in the cost of food and petrol. The price of the main 5 food groups have risen over 28% and just keep rising. I think anyone on a low income would be finding it extremely difficult at the moment. Then you have to take into account, illness, repairs to motor vehicles and appliances.
Also if anyone has a dental problem the budget is blown away again.
I'm sure I am not the only one on this site who are finding it difficult trying to manage.
LifeInsight said"effective websites for attracting a mate to pool assets and share costs with and have what is called a "relationship".
Wow why didn't I think of that, gee you mean I could look for someone with assets lol
Or better still due to my daughter being a single mum, we could bludge off someone for life. :$  Wahoo, wouldn't that be a change rather than working and making ends meet.
Not every female or single person expects others to provide for them. There are some decent single parents out there. Well back to work I go, ho ho
Sorry Lifinsight I realise that they were viable answers but I honsetly didn't take in the POOL and Share
I apologize if you found my response to be flippant, it wasn't intended that way :(
 If she can afford a car then she should get one that runs on LPG. That will save her a packet on petrol every week. Get rid of home phone or have it set to incoming calls only (this should be free service to low income people) and use a prepaid mobile with $30 capped plan per month. Start going to a church - the Salvos are probably the best - they usually have access to bread and other perishable foods for free and most other things you need in the house. If not for the free food etc… a good church can usually provide a cheap social life for the family. If considering a change of housing - look for a place with solar hot water heating. Switch light bulbs to flouro globes. Grow fruit and vegies in the back yard, and throw some chooks in as well.   said

Some good tips there but some need to be considered to wards the value of savings or more cost.

The newer the Solar unit the better it functions some rentals not only have old units but they leak where you cant see and tend to use more electricity than they save so condition is important as well as a correct temperature setting. The newer the better.

Having an L.P.G. converted care is great unless you live country, the savings a greatly reduced if any at all because of the inflated price, I'd like to get mine converted so when I go to the city it will be cheaper to run but the conversion cost itself is not possible for very low income people, even though rebates reduce the cost dramatically you need the cost in pocket and it's just too hard.

It would be nice if Gas Conversion companies could acquire all rebates to reduce the major part of the cost direct from Medicare for low income earners.
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