How To Budget on One Wage

Starting a family is a joyful and exciting period, but it can be expensive. Women who know they want to return to work after having children will often plan to do so after a year, which was until recently, the legislated maternity leave allowance. Some return to work earlier than that due to personal or financial reasons, and some may return later, or not at all.

Whatever scenario you face after having child, there will almost certainly be a period of reduced income as the primary carer takes time off to look after their child. When you’re used to living on two full time wages, adjusting spending habits to accommodate the loss of income can be a real challenge for new parents.

However, a bit of forward planning and commitment to a more simple life can go a long way to reducing the financial changes.

Here we Show You How to Budget on One Wage:

  1. Plan ahead. While you’ll probably spend the nine months of your pregnancy to fund all the baby equipment that you’ll need, it is really worth the extra sacrifice of putting away some money each pay day for a ‘rainy day fund’ while you are off work. If you still have the nest egg when the time comes to return to work, you can put it towards a holiday (or perhaps baby no. 2!)
  2. Get familiar with your incomings and outgoings, then make sure you plan accordingly. Take a look at what your weekly grocery bill is for the two of you, then add 10 percent to cover baby-related expenses (such as nappies, formula, dummies, bottles). Consider things like your utilities bills – you’ll go from only using these for a short time in the morning, and again in the evening, to someone being home all day, every day. This adds up, particularly in the winter when you need to heat the house.
  3. Practice mindful shopping. A huge amount of money is wasted on impulse buys on fashion items and gadgets. Really consider whether you need the items, and set a rule that anything over $50 you wait 24 hours before purchasing. Taking this time to consider the spend and item can really help keep your budget in the black.
  4. Meal plan. People that meal plan will tell you that it is the most useful strategy for managing a budget. You shop to a list and it takes the pain out of trying to decide at 5pm what you’ll cook, especially if it’s been a hard day with the baby.
  5. Live within your means. Try to pay off your credit card debt before the baby arrives so the money you have coming in can be used just for household expenses. Putting away your credit card, and using it only in emergencies will help keep you on track for only spending what you have.
  6. Set aside an afternoon to call Centrelink to find out what you are entitled to. There is either the New Born Upfront Payment/New Born Supplement or Paid Maternity Leave, and depending on your household income, you may be eligible for a Family Tax Benefit Payment. Even if this is minimal it might be enough to pay for your nappies each week, or buy a treat like a take away meal or a bottle of wine.
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