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How does everyone else afford this? UPDATED

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#26 Paddlepop

Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:34 PM

View PostMands09, on 10 January 2019 - 09:57 PM, said:

Also, is your eldest old enough for a booster? I’d buy a booster that doesn’t need to be tethered so that you don’t have to modify your car. Put the money towards saving for a new one.

View PostFuzzyChocolateToes, on 10 January 2019 - 10:17 PM, said:

Can your eldest travel on a non-tethered booster? Could you manage with one car? We have one car,  but we are close to PT.

Agree with these. I assume that your eldest is at least 4yo to be starting FYOS. That means that she doesn't have to be in a harnessed seat, and can instead be in a booster seat. Get one that doesn't require tethering, like these ones:

Your DD will still be safe and legally restrained, and you won't need to get a different vehicle or modify your current one. The Infasecure one is only $49. It's a much cheaper option than changing vehicles.

I agree with everyone else that the private school needs to go. You can't afford it if you can't afford food for 6 months of the year.

#27 just roses

Posted 10 January 2019 - 11:41 PM

OP, these people can also be helpful. See if there’s one where you live.


Buy an untethered booster for your eldest, enrol her in public school and then work with a financial counselling service on budgeting and building up a buffer.

#28 Cheesy Sanga

Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:17 AM

View Postcabbage88, on 10 January 2019 - 08:28 PM, said:

We have surprise baby number 4 on the way. I'm currently driving a 7 seater car that will require some difficult modifications to fit a 4th car seat in the back for my eldest. Problem is, that car is now on 250 000km, having several troubling and unresolved mechanical issues and I'm really worried it's soon going to become a mechanical write off. We'd be really lucky to get $2-3k for it.

Are you talking mods to engineer and certify a new anchor point? Or something else? Can you ring around to see if there's any cheaper options? I totally understand wanting to keep a 4/5yo in a tethered and harnessed seat rather than an untethered seat belt booster.

TBH I'd be concerned about the mechanical issues. At some point you just end up throwing good money after bad. If you have a decent mechanic maybe you can have a chat about what's likely to need doing to solve the issues.

#29 Chocolate Addict

Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:26 AM

View Postcardamom, on 10 January 2019 - 10:48 PM, said:

It's only a small part of the puzzle, but is there a Saver Plus program near you? It's a matched savings and financial education program run by ANZ and the Brotherhood of St Laurence, if eligible you can receive up to $500 to put towards education costs. You also get a series of free financial education workshops which might help with your budget overall.

Good luck.

You need to be able to save money to do this program. They match your savings over ten months, up to $50 per month. So if you save $10 a month they give you $100.
However, it must be used on the school aged child and for something school/education related.
Also, I am pretty sure it is only for public schools. I know you need to have a health care card and be working at least 10 hours a week.

I think private school needs to go, sorry. Not eating is not a good way to live.

You could be eligible for a NILS loan via the Good Shepard (think this is only in Victoria), we also have State School relief that supplies uniforms for low income families, but again, only for public school.

#30 lizzzard

Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:38 AM

We are religious as well so I really do understand your feelings about the school. BUT, it's not feasible to pay for all your kids to attend a school that costs 5k per year though - you know that, right? I mean this in a kind way....you probably to stop sticking your head in the sand about it. PPs are also right - the fees are just the beginning - everything is more expensive at a private school - uniforms, etc At a minimum I think you definitely need to approach the school and discuss whether there is an option for you to pay no fees. If you are a devout member of the congregation attached to the school, I think you would have a very good chance of negotiating an exemption from fees.

#31 cardamom

Posted 11 January 2019 - 03:58 AM

View PostChocolate Addict, on 11 January 2019 - 12:26 AM, said:

You need to be able to save money to do this program. They match your savings over ten months, up to $50 per month. So if you save $10 a month they give you $100.
However, it must be used on the school aged child and for something school/education related.
Also, I am pretty sure it is only for public schools. I know you need to have a health care card and be working at least 10 hours a week.

I get that, hence why I said in my post that it was matched savings, up to $500 and might be eligible :) Didn't want to bombard with too much info so didn't go into detail.

It's definitely not only for public schools, the child (or the participant themselves) just needs to be at school/engaged in education. The incentive is for educational expenses only but the criteria around that are pretty flexible.

I was thinking the budgeting workshops might be particularly helpful for the OP, with any matched savings as a nice side benefit.

ETA - also doesn't need to be minimum 10 hours of work, the person just needs to receive some income from paid work to be eligible, it doesn't matter how little.

Edited by cardamom, 11 January 2019 - 04:03 AM.

#32 #mocha

Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:48 AM

Talk to the school, school fees can be reduced in financial difficulties.

#33 Lesley225

Posted 11 January 2019 - 04:50 AM

Why would religious beliefs even come up at pre school.  i can't imagine many 4-5 year old  would be discussing it.

#34 Freddie'sMum

Posted 11 January 2019 - 05:29 AM

We pulled our 2 x DDs out of a Catholic primary school, which was in theory "low fees".  One of the reasons was even though the fees were similar to the $5 k you are talking about, there was always something else that had to be paid, excursions, uniforms, fund raising for the school, fund raising for the poor, it just never ended.

OP - if you don't have enough money to buy food then you must see that paying even "low fees" school costs is not doable.  

Congrats on baby number 4, see a financial counselor and best wishes for the future.

#35 SummerStar

Posted 11 January 2019 - 05:46 AM

When we decided on number 4 we bought a new car by extending our home loan and used the money for a new car and to fix up an area of our then small house as another room.
We don't use private schools and by choice never have. The public schools in our area are good and I do not see the need to spend excessively more on private school especially primary school aged.

Food we only ever spend $100-140. Now they're older I spend a bit more at $180-200 all from Coles or woolies. I don't feel I particularly budget the food that much but I do meal plan so I know what I'm buying for the week and not everything needs replacing each shop so I spread out the purchase of some things.

We did not have more than one car seat in the car after the first two who were close together. The other two were further apart from them in age and the last two had a big gap.

I personally wouldn't have gone number 4 without knowing at the time we could do it, hindsight I wouldn't have done it but it's too late for that now. I could never go another one though for many reasons including finances. But that's a personal choice for our family, I know others are able to just tighten the belt more and make it work but it's just not for me.

Edited by SummerStar, 11 January 2019 - 05:48 AM.

#36 SplashingRainbows

Posted 11 January 2019 - 05:49 AM

View PostLesley225, on 11 January 2019 - 04:50 AM, said:

Why would religious beliefs even come up at pre school.  i can't imagine many 4-5 year old  would be discussing it.

Church events being raised at news?
So many reasons a little child might regurgitate the things told to them around these times.

4yo girls insane ability to talk non stop from morning to dinner about anything and everything going on in their life (generally - not having a go OP!)

#37 SplashingRainbows

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:06 AM

On those incomes you can’t afford private school. Your school may be willing to support you so your child can attend. Or they may not. You need to ask or start her at the local public school when school goes back.

My children attend public schools. The ratio of teacher to student is so much better than the local private. And the education has been superb. There are many many children of religions who are not the major religion in this country. What do those kids do? They don’t get a special school just for them.

You need to ensure you’re claiming what you can from Centrelink. Renting with four kids and a primary earner on $60k should result in a fair amount of benefits per fortnight.

You could look at increasing your incomes.

I would not do any modifications to your current car and as PPs said I’d buy an untethered booster for the school age child. Defer the purchase of a second car for as long as possible.

#38 ExpatInAsia

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:11 AM

View Postbakesgirls, on 10 January 2019 - 09:26 PM, said:

School fees of 5K/year. Even though it sounds like a low fee private school, you can't afford it if you're struggling to buy food. Is changing schools to a public school an option?

ETA- I just saw your response to the school question. All I can say is your kids will get over it if they have to move. Food and shelter are priorities and you've stated you have 2 weeks a month you can't afford food. Take the emotion out of it and be practical. It's only going to get harder and funds tighter with another child on the way.


Can you approach the school and ask for reduced fees/no fees due to inability to afford it?

If you can't get a fee reduction bringing your fees down to almost zero, then ALL of your kids need to be in a public school. It really is unreasonable to prioritise a private school over feeding your children properly and scrimping to survive but still not having enough.

I agree. Your child will be excited by FYOS no matter where they are. Your reality is that you can’t afford school fees right now.

#39 afterlaughter

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:19 AM

How old is your oldest? Can they sit in a untethered booster is a spot that does not have a anchor point. So you can hold onto the car a little longer while finances are sorted and maternity leave is over?

#40 Ho Ho No

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:25 AM

Cutting the private school fees will give you an extra $400 per month, but you have a shortfall of $700/month. Even if you switch to public school, you still aren't covering your expenditure.

Something has to give.

#41 Caribou

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:26 AM

Can you minimise the car use? Is there not an option to walk/transport to schools? For example, kids would have a free bus pass. The buses are very safe.

Kids under 4 are free on transport in NSW. So if you
Are still nervous and want to travel with them on bus you can. You’d just need to pay your fare.

Online shopping to avoid car when possible. Walk. You’ll save for a while on fuel and maintence and once you’ve got the amount you need you can purchase a car. I can only imagine how much fuel your 7 seater goes though each week. If you can avoid the car for a couple months you may get the savings you need much faster.

Something has to be scarficed. It’s up to you want you need to live out in the short term to obtain the car.

#42 MarciaB

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:33 AM

How long do you have to go on your $150/month loan? That will ease things a bit for you.

I agree with the private school - sorry but at this stage it looks out of reach. You could revisit for high school if things are better for you then.

One of the great benefits of public school is that your dd will meet local friends and you may be able to walk there!

#43 Crazyone26989

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:39 AM

From the figures you've given you earn $5200 a month combined (I've assumed after tax). Rent, bills and food (I calculated the $350 as a weekly figure but I don't know?) costs of $4060 ish.

That leaves over $1000 a month left over. There is still petrol costs and the $400/month in school fees and obviously just incidentals which can add up.

I assume there must be more costs as I would think you'd be receiving quite a substantial amount of FTB - around $1000 a month or more.

#44 Lucrezia Bauble

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:41 AM

“how does everyone else afford this?”

well, for many, they don’t. they stop at one kid - two maximum. that’s what they can afford. and they don’t send them to a private school.

#45 Sweet.Pea

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:44 AM

I wouldn't worry about a new car. Given what you are left with, you won't have the money to go anywhere.

With groceries, either take the old car and leave the kids with DH or shop online (delivery will be cheaper than a new car).

In terms of the schooling, your daughter can't have everything she wants. There are some good public schools around that suit your budget.

#46 nup

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:53 AM

I don't have 4 children so can't imagine how much extra financial stress that would add. I save using an old method of splits. Mine are
50 for living expenses
20 for future savings
10 big purchases
5 for personal
5 for each of 3 children

I have been a high income earner and I have been in financial distress for 12 months. I am surviving by shuffling my budget according to priorities as my bills have increased across the board and income decreased to next to nothing.

My big purchases are now supporting car rego
Kids budget is now financing their schooling extras

My third goal after securing the safety of my family and resolving legal disputes is to increase income. I can't afford to live on my current income. That's my reality and I need to radically reassess my entire life to get there. Mine is forced circumstances as is your. People juggle things all the time and some people live like this permanently. With costs of living increasing in any areas it's important to assess needs versus wants. If you don't know the difference you will come unstuck financially.

Do you know the difference of running two cars versus one? Have you considered alternatives to even owning a car? All scenarios need to be played out if you are serious about your family's financial future. Your current position is unsustainable so practice a budget and make it work. Good luck

#47 Silverstreak

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:53 AM

Just looking at your figures, your rent is quite high, but if you've just moved and have a baby on the way, you won't want to move again so soon, plus there are moving costs.

I don't think your utilities are that bad for a five person household, but you could always shop around, plus see how your bills go in your new house.

Not having enough food for two weeks per month on an ongoing basis is a major concern, particularly with young kids and a pregnant mother. Forgive my bluntness, but this is unsustainable and dangerous and something has to give.

No way would I personally be preferencing the schooling wishes of a young child over my family's need to eat properly. If things are tough now with one child at private school and three kids, they will become even tougher with four kids, all at private school. Your family's basic needs come first.

Re the car, I would be looking at booster seats and buying a model that is a lot cheaper than $20 K, as you cannot afford it. If you can't afford to eat half the time, you can't afford a $20K car.

Honestly, the only people I know who have several kids and at least one in private school are on good money. We are on a similar income to your family (a bit less, but not much) with one child and cheaper rent and no way can we afford private school, even a cheaper one.


Edited by Silverstreak, 11 January 2019 - 06:59 AM.

#48 Silverstreak

Posted 11 January 2019 - 06:58 AM

Just adding that $5 K a year schooling is just under $100 a week, which would go a long way towards supplementing your grocery budget with milk, bread, fruit, vegetables, cheap cuts of meat etc.

#49 Seven of Nine

Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:01 AM

Congratulations on #4!

If the school is very important to you then you need to approach them and talk through your situation. There may be funds available for full scholarship for your kids. I know our parish have funds to completely subsidise families who are experiencing hardship and I know families who have negotiated reduced or non existent fees at a more expensive religious private school in our area. It seems to be possible.

How do we afford a large family? We moved out of Sydney and commute in, and we bought our minivan using the loan we took out when we bought our house. Honestly we are now in the fortunate position of having a bigger income than you do - though that wasn't always the case. You're on about $85000pa combined? Is that likely to stay fixed or can you try to increase it?

#50 nup

Posted 11 January 2019 - 07:02 AM

View PostSplashingRainbows, on 11 January 2019 - 05:49 AM, said:

Church events being raised at news?
So many reasons a little child might regurgitate the things told to them around these times.

4yo girls insane ability to talk non stop from morning to dinner about anything and everything going on in their life (generally - not having a go OP!)

We have a few strongly religious families in our school that I have met over the years. One 7yo from one of the more zealous families is mates with mine and they bring home alot of information about this child's beliefs. The child has been excluded from school performance due to family disapproval of song choice and he has a reputation of being quite intense with the other children around behaviours and beliefs. It's a part of the public experience and can be a positive and a negative depending on how resilient (? starting to loathe the overuse of this word) we are. Perhaps I more mean adaptable.

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