Surviving on one income

You may be surviving ona single income because you are a solo parent or because either you or your husband are at home raising a young family, while the other has returned to the 'coal face' to help pay the bills and chip away at the mortgage.  Whatever your situation we think you'll find these top tips useful.

One of biggest mistakes a single income family can make is not developing a realistic budget and sticking to it, according to Michael Cant, Head of Retail Products at the Commonwealth Bank.

To achieve this, a families need to take into account all expenses such as home loan repayments, rent, car registration, childcare and amenity bills. Once this is established, there will be a better idea of the remaining income and a better view of where to assign a realistic budget - which the family can stick to, for other expenses such as clothes, new furniture, toys and family outings.

When you have an understanding of the true state of finances, you may find you have some extra change left over. Ideally this money should be placed in a separate high-interest saving account and put aside for an emergency or any unforeseen expenses.

Sticking to a budget is often hard, but with a little bit of planning and discipline, it can be achieved.

10 helpful saving tips for families on a single income:

  1. Shop online – there are multiple online websites that allow you to shop and compare prices of products from the comfort of your own home.
  2. Re-evaluate whether products/services in your home are a must-have or nice to have – for example, cable TV is a nice to have but on a tight budget, is it a must-have?
  3. Consider shopping at a discount food supermarket for your weekly big shop and limit your trips to the local convenience store.
  4. Make a shopping list and stick to it - that way you only purchase what is on your list and you don’t end up buying all the unnecessary extras.
  5. Shop at the sales – especially for things that won’t go out of season such as kitchenware, linen and Christmas presents for the children.
  6. Limit dining out and/or takeaway.
  7. Don’t be afraid to compare prices even if you think it’s a good price, you’ll never know if you can find it cheaper.
  8. Teach your children the importance of turning off unused switch lights and TVs – not only will this help the environment but it will keep your electricity bills down too.
  9. Prepare a packed lunch, snacks and refreshments for when you take the children on an outing.
  10. Unload the car – the heavier the car, the more petrol it consumes. Make sure you always take out unnecessary items.



For useful Online Tools to help with Budgeting.........The Commonwealth Bank has a range of easy to use online tools including an online Budget Planner as well as a Monthly Savings Calculator, at to assist all families surviving on a budget.