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How to provide better financially

I’m a solo parent to 2 children so only have 1 income coming in. After rent I have $580 to allocate to food/bills/boys activities/fuel/ insurance etc. can anyone break down a budget for me pls. So far I worked grocery down to $80 a week with a lot of prep and cooking of premium mince and low fat/salt sausages. Thanks for reading

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Answers (9)

Find out if there are any charities in your area that have food pantries or outreach. We have some in our area where you can access cheaper groceries including fresh fruit and veg for good price. I work in welfare and have families in the same position and alternate between charities in order to access healthier food options because of their circumstances. If you are working part time or studying there are some extra payments from centrelink you may be entitled to for a particular period in order to get on your feet through the transition. Cook only the amount you need.seperate meat according to meal portions. Wrap veggies to keep freshness for longer. If you buy chips for lunch boxes, instead or buying pre packed buy the cheaper bigger bags and seperate into zip lock bags to save money. Freeze bread and only take out each day what you need. Set up centrepay or direct debits on utility bills so you save a little on the quaterly bill.

Garage sales can be brilliant for household items, especially people who are moving a long distance. They want to get rid of everything and will often sell good items for a pittance. I have picked up deck chairs for $2 each. You can get things you want really cheap, as long as you know your prices, and don't get tempted to buy things you don't need.

Look at Jamie Olivers books on using leftovers. Also, invest in a jaffle maker or toasted sandwich maker, and make a couple of nights a week throw together meal nights. Or pizza bases and kids create their own pizzas with items from the pantry and fridge. Much cheaper than buying pizza.
Look at growing some of your own greens, herbs, tomatoes and corn, if you have the space and access to garden space. Some local councils have public shared community gardening areas. Kids might really take to this.
I found buying a punnet of 6 chive plants at Bunnings was cheaper than 1 packet of cut chives at the supermarket, and I have just kept them in a water tray and am now getting my fourth crop off them.

When you need furniture, check out tip shops, and local weekend markets - some have second hand shops or stalls.

If your kids join a sports club you can sometimes negotiate free or reduced joining fees by being a volunteer. You will be at the games anyway so why not volunteer your time, this may involve getting there a bit earlier to set up or helping organize the kids.

 Some states also offer a one off payment for sport. In qld it is $150 for low income earners/health care card holders. Check that out also.
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I think you're doing well on groceries, I'd add rice as a staple and make sure there are lots of carrots, peas, apples, bananas, etc. coming in as well.
As for a budget and bills, you haven't said if that's a monthly, fortnightly or weekly income and I don't really know your expenses. If you go online, there are lots of budget calculators. Banks often have them on their website and the ASIC has a great money saving website too.
Good luck!

Look at a few vegetarian nights, you can make all sorts of things with puff pastry. Do free activities, like the park, fishing, football. Call up some of their friends and organise a game each week.
Save any amount into an emergency fund, and sell anything you don't need around the house x