For almost a year now, I have been living in a rental one unit apartment in Western Australia with my husband and child, and we have been surviving on one income.
Everything I have mentioned in that one sentence above, was all very new to me when the year 2011 began.
The notion of depending on another for shelter, food and clothing while taking care of a first born child… Learning how to take care of a child = doing unpaid work which goes on for 24/7 and there is no such thing as a holiday… ! Finally understanding what bills look like and having to work miracles with what we have so that food can be cooked and put on the table in the midst of rising costs…
To top it off, I’m pregnant for the second time.
There might be some who are thinking – ARE YOU CRAZY?
Yes… Crazy in love with my life as it is. My humble environment now has allowed me to appreciate what I have in life. When I was working, single, had no responsibilities and was able to save quite abit, I had no true purpose in life. But my current circumstances have taught me the following:
– I love and trust my husband (whom I have been with for almost 13 years of my life, including married for one year plus) with all my heart. He is my partner in life and together, we will make the best of what we have now.
– My children give me so much love and strength, that I want to achieve the best in life just so I can be a good enough provider for them.
– I am an amazing person with a crazy, passionate attitude. I believe nothing is beyond me – I want to achieve the best for my family and for myself.
Just because of these few points, I reflect on this year and think of ways to better how we do things about our family.
There are a few points I want to work on for 2012…
– Pay off hubby’s time trial bike (my hubby is training for the Busselton half Ironman in 2012).
– Refine our family budget and curb bad spending habits!
– Look and acquire a new rental property for February 2012, for a 12 month period, since we’ll be needed at least another room for the kids to share…
– Look at cheaper insurance for car and health…
– Save money for a home.
– Get a part time job working night or weekend shifts (after baby is born).
I find it amazing how we seem to break even every month and wonder what is a good way to assist the process of us saving for our first home… Looking around at some articles on the net (since this is my quickest and most efficient way of setting my mind at ease), I found the following pointers –
Be debt-free: Based on that, I need to calculate what has been paid off on our beautiful car and also on my husband’s gorgeous bike, and decide how we can shave off what we owe on those items. Makes good sense, really. Once we pay these items off, we then can focus on saving for better things rather than having to cut a chunk of the income just paying these items off. It was a good thing that after we had purchased these two items, my husband and I agreed to not purchase any more items requiring loans or long term payment.
Finding cheap insurance: What I have understood from reading some sources is that it is best to compare prices from various insurers and change over if you can achieve a better offer for what level of insurance you want. When my husband and I moved to our rental unit from my parents’ place, we were aghast to discover that because our place was more central and considered more “risky”, our first car insurer increased our premiums to nearly $100+ every month, which was an insane increase of almost $30! Naturally, my husband and I thought this was rather steep and changed to an insurer who offered us a cheaper monthly premium. Apparently if you had paid the full premium but wanted to change insurer, you would be able to get a refund but we figured that monthly premiums was the way to go with us. Anyway, point is – this is another way to salvage some serious coinage…
Entitlements: I must admit that one of the reasons I love living in Australia is how well the people are being taken care of when their circumstances are rough. When I had to make the tough decision of becoming a stay at home mum while my children are this young, I worried very much about having to leave my job and the financial stability I had built for myself. However, aside from making frugal choices, I found out that the Australian Government offers a baby bonus for mothers who have children to assist in the cost of a newborn child, as well as the option of Family Tax Benefits and other payments to assist with childcare and immunisation costs. Centrelink and the Family Assistance Office have more detailed information on this if you find yourself stressing financially like I did and it would be worth ringing them to discuss your circumstances and eligibility to garner some assistance – so that you can focus more on having your baby and regaining your strength in the future. My friend told me that for families struggling with rentals, they might even be able to discuss rental assistance to tide over a rough patch until something good happens…
I’m really grateful for what little I have gained from the Family Assistance Office in terms of having my first child, and can’t wait for my kids to go to school so that I might be able to rejoin the workforce and contribute back to this society that has helped me raise my children and support my family. That, I’ll talk about my plans at a later time…
Open discussion: Honey, we need to talk. Remember that time we bought ice creams/snacks/pregnancy craving stuff, or magazines, or petrol for the car, or nappies? All little money zappers we failed to account for in our perfect little groceries budget, which is probably another reason why we struggle to save for our first home. One of the reasons why I love my husband is even though he grouches and cringes when it comes to discussing money, he still willingly has an open discussion about our strengths and weaknesses when it comes to spending and agrees to work with me to curb our negative spending nature, and save for our slice of heaven. Communication and trust between couples is just so imperative – when I watch some shows on TV and I see couples playing the “you should be able to read my mind by now” game… Really, grow up and don’t be afraid to talk about what you need. Stop wanting people to read your mind if you can’t even string what you feel into a sentence… Everything starts with a single action! The want to try!
Anyway, just talking about these few points has exhausted me and I need all the strength I have to sustain a family… For those of you in the same plight as me and have other tips and suggestions as to how to keep a family afloat in these economical times… Please do share, thank you. =)
In future, I would like to discuss some ideas as to feeding newborns/toddlers on a one income budget, as well as simple activities to do with children. Being a romantic at heart, I’m also going to share how my husband and I keep our passion alive through soiled nappies, sleep deprived nights and temperamental children/hormones (since I am pregnant lol) and I would be ever so grateful if anyone would share when I am inspired enough to write.