Just like many families out there with young children, we’re a one income family. My husband is the main earner in our household and I’m lucky enough to have been a stay-at-home-Mum for four and a half years now. While I dabble in a bit of blogging, graphic design and social media work, my husband is still the main “provider”.
I’m the first to say being on one income isn’t easy, and I know in some parts of New Zealand (*cough* Auckland *cough*), for some, it is literally impossible to live on one income only. So, I will say first off that I do feel extremely blessed to be able to make it work, and thankful that we live in a place that is much cheaper than other parts of New Zealand.
We bought our first home in September last year, and since then we have slowly been adding things, purchasing new things for the house and fixing broken bits and bobs. I’m sure all new home owners will know what I mean. If you follow me on Snapchat, you will know we have recently been doing some home renovations! The bathroom of our house was the only room that hadn’t been renovated prior to our purchase, and to put it bluntly – it was hideous. I can’t even explain. When our 4-year-old accidentally flooded the bathroom at the end of last year, that kick started us into getting onto it!
Part of the bathroom was covered by the flooding insurance claim, some with some money we had in our savings… but knew that we would need more for the extra things that we wanted – a shower dome, new fixtures and new decor (as ya do!). So, we opened a ‘house’ bank account. A sub-account to our normal joint account, where we could transfer across a certain amount of money each pay. This would also be handy for home maintenance costs – the downside of being your own landlord means you can’t just ring the landlord! Haha! We’ve done the whole bathroom on a rather small budget, and we’re currently at the point of getting tiles and attempting to tile ourselves (to save money)… wish me luck on that one!
I’m not going to lie and make out that I’m amazing with money. To be totally honest, up until a few months ago I was terrible! Nare was the bill payer, I was the spender. I never looked at our accounts and I never knew how much our bills came to. Nothing. I don’t know exactly what happened but a switch went off one day and I thought I better give myself a kick up the bum and start adulting… so I did. I sat down and created my own budget, I worked everything out, opened a bunch of sub-accounts and made up some automatic payments. And do you know what? It bloody worked! Nare didn’t have high hopes, he rolled his eyes when I told him I had done a budget – I’ve done it a few times before but only lasted a couple of weeks. Oops! But this time I’m proud to say that a few months down the track, I’m still going strong and we’ve been saving money! Yay!
A couple of weeks ago I had a chat with an advisor from BNZ about being on one income and how it can be a struggle. BNZ has been the principal sponsor of Plunket since 2010, so I knew they’d have a good understanding of the financial challenges when it comes to raising a young family. The advisor pointed me to a section of their website called The BNZ Plunket Hub, which is totally aimed at families and new parents. Who knew?! Wish I had found that a while ago – ironically on this page that’s about ways for new parents to sort out their finances, point number 3 says ‘make a budget, and stick to it’. So, if you don’t already have a budget, I highly recommend!! I keep mine on my phone so that I can look at it anywhere, at any time. I even pay the bills myself now, you guys! 26 years old, mum for 4.5 years… and I’m finally paying the bills! Haha!
For those yet to have a baby, going down to one income can be extremely daunting! And the idea of having ‘extra’ money after all the bills have come out, doesn’t seem like something that will ever happen. But you do get used it, and it does happen! You just learn to be a bit more savvy with things you buy, where you shop, and differentiating between what you really need – and what you want (I’m not amazing at that last one). On the BNZ Plunket Hub there are also a couple of reads from a couple who were pregnant with their first baby who did a ‘one income challenge’ one week to get a taste of what it would be like. You can see how it went here. Quite interesting seeing that once they had nutted out a budget, that they actually were able to save more than they originally thought they would. We found this too, once we had all the numbers in front of us!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading a bit about how we save for things like home renovations and other things that may crop up, and how we make it work on one income. Thank you to BNZ for sponsoring this, I’ve been meaning to blog about budgeting and this was the perfect opportunity! I’m going to turn this into a bit of a series – next up is the ‘Groceries Edition’!