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Cutting back work hours drastically - have you/would you?


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#1 newbub2014

Posted 17 July 2019 - 05:53 PM

I’m a single parent to one, currently work 4 full days per week and also study. The study is part time but next semester they are expecting 30 hours of study per week.  A job has come up in my field that is only 2 days per week. It would mean my income would probably more than half (the rate will be slightly lower than my current job), although I would barely pay any tax. I also wouldn’t have to pay back the HELP debt that I am starting to accumulate through study. I would also get $460ish per fortnight in single parent payment that I’m not currently getting. I think FTB would stay the same as what I get at the moment. Overall, I think I’d be about $600/fortnight worse off max. It is a lot of money in the scheme of things , it’s not a high paying field. But I figure if I didn’t have it, that would force me to cut my spending right back.

I could study full time so get through it a fair bit quicker. I could also pull DS out of 3 mornings of before school care and possibly 1 day of childcare (he goes 2 days as he’s in preschool 2.5 days).
So that would be another saving. I also imagine I could meal prep more and walk him to school etc when I wasn’t working, so there’d be other ways to save money. And when it came to school holidays I’d only have to put him in a couple of days a week when I didn’t have enough leave. Our first experience at holiday care was not good, so I’m not keen on having him in there much while he’s relatively young.

I do want to get ahead on my mortgage etc, but at the same time I feel like this isn’t the time to be doing that. When DS starts high school I’d only be 37ish, so there will be plenty of time for that (I already have 30% equity anyway, so am in a fairly reasonable position for my age). Plus I’ll be masters qualified so my earning potential will just continue to increase. I’m constantly exhausted at the moment (even right now when I’ve been on uni break for 4 weeks), and my mental health is not good but I force myself to go to work because I don’t have much leave. In future my mum will be retired so might be able to help out in school holidays and other times to give me a break (she’s interstate), but at the moment she’s still working full time so it’s not an option.

Obviously I may not get the job, I’m well qualified and experienced for it but those kind of hours could be appealing to a lot of people (female dominated industry). So I want to decide before applying whether it is actually feasible for me, because I don’t want to burn any bridges with places I will interact with professionally in future, and might want to work for.

Has anyone done this? Drastically cut back their hours and had to make a lot of sacrifices financially and be very frugal? Did it work for you/not work?

#2 Holidayromp

Posted 17 July 2019 - 05:55 PM

My concern would be where would you find the time to do all those things to save money and live frugally?

#3 newbub2014

Posted 17 July 2019 - 06:10 PM

Hmm good point. I guess I was thinking I’d be able to do the full time study within like 30 hours a week max, probably even less. I.e I wouldn’t be doing as many hours as they require (next semester with the expectation of 30 I plan to do 20ish because I literally won’t be able to fit any more in). Also uni holidays are quite lengthy so I’d fit stuff in there too eg meal prep for the freezer.

#4 Manicmum

Posted 17 July 2019 - 06:10 PM

I say do it while you can. You won’t get parenting payment forever

#5 Jersey Caramel

Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:24 PM

Would dropping to 3 days in your current role be an option?

I'd run the numbers on all situations, including the childcare savings,  tax, HECS, parenting payment,  and see where the sweet spot is financially,  while still trying to get a bit more balance.

#6 blueskies12

Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:36 PM

I would do it. Track your spending and cut back in everything. It will be worth it!

#7 Heather11

Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:43 PM

Have you done up a budget to see if you would manage on the $600 per fortnight less knowing that some expenses would also reduce?

#8 just roses

Posted 17 July 2019 - 07:48 PM

I would do it. Providing you’re able to keep a roof over your head.

#9 PrincessPeach

Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:03 PM

I'd do up a detailed budget to work out how much you need to bring in to exist at a bare minimum & go from there.

Centrelink calculators will be helpful in giving you estimates of parenting payments you will be entitled to.

#10 Renovators delight

Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:06 PM

I did. Not single but over the past few years DP and I have chopped and changed a bit. I was working 32 hours, then 17, now none. He worked 10 hours then went full-time.

Our youngest child has had some chronic health conditions, and with some equity in our house I would rather take the time now while all 3 are young to muck around with study.

In your situation I agree with others. Find a budget that works and take advatange of your access to thinganlike parenting payment and the equity in your house to establish yourself with the right qualifications for a future career.

#11 Babetty

Posted 17 July 2019 - 08:14 PM

If you can afford do it and keep a roof over your head, it makes sense to me to do it now and get the study done, as expenses will increase as your DS gets older - even saving on childcare, there is still OOSHC, school expenses (uniforms, excursions, book orders, resource fees) extra curricular, the never ending presents for birthday parties etc!

#12 Chelli

Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:13 PM

I've recently left my .7 position to take up full time Uni and I also applied for a .5 position to do instead. I'm hoping it's doable! When I left my job, I had no intentions of working as well as Uni, but I was asked to apply for this new job that has come up.

The .5 position will have a lot less obligations as far as evaluations, reporting and case noting, so that in itself will make it a lot less demanding. It's ideal because it's in a similar field and will compliment my studies perfectly.

OP I would take into consideration the demands of the job on top of studying, and I would take the savings you make in not paying child care into account as well. I'm lucky because my kids are older and can take care of themselves pretty much. Now is a perfect time for me and it sounds like you've given it a lot of thought, so I'd say go for it!

Best of luck

#13 Freddie'sMum

Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:31 PM

Do a detailed budget OP and write absolutely everything.  It seems to me that a $600 drop in income per fortnight is a big drop.

Can you drop to 3 days per week at your current work and do the study?  Good luck with your decision.

#14 123tree

Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:33 PM

I have cut back my hours but I am married and DH works full time. We live frugally on his wage and my part time hours. I have a different set of circumstances to you but basically my cup was running over and it was unsustainable for me to mentally cope.  It was fine being full time but I couldn’t do it forever. Plus anything additional to my week (otherwise called life) meant staying up until midnight doing the extra jobs.


I think that if you can do it getting your study out of the way quicker in theory would be good as you can keep momentum.

Plus although paying your home off quickly is a very good thing interest rates are comparatively low historically speaking.

#15 lizzzard

Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:42 PM

I didn't cut hours but took a much lower paying job. I lasted a year. It was worth it, but only for a finite period. I think its easy to forget how stressful it is to be on a really tight budget, even if you've done it in the past....or maybe its just me. Few things stress me out more than worrying all the time about whether my debit card is going to decline at the end of each month!

Edited by lizzzard, 17 July 2019 - 09:44 PM.


#16 Noodlez

Posted 17 July 2019 - 09:59 PM

I would do it only if I knew I could manage with the reduced income and I knew the additional education would put me in a good positiyince completed. It gets so much harder once they get to school age so take the opportunity while you can.

#17 -Carpe Diem-

Posted 17 July 2019 - 10:00 PM

$600 a fortnight sounds like a lot of money to me ? Could you actually live off that comfortably ? I personally would worry about additional stress from living on less money and what that would do for your mental health? How much longer do you have till you finish your study ?

#18 WaitForMe

Posted 17 July 2019 - 10:33 PM

Are you sure you'd be able to put in 30 hours of study, when you are dropping a daycare day, and before school care?

How much more study do you have to go? If its just 1 more year under this scenario, then it might be worth doing it. Longer than that, I don't know. Also depends how much savings you have, so if your washing machine needs replacing, can you?

Oh and how hard would it be to find a new .8 job if you decide after 6 months its too tough.

#19 newbub2014

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:35 PM

Thanks everyone, lots of things to think about.  Dropping hours to 3 days at my current work is not an option unfortunately, although yes I think 3 days would be ideal and I could definitely live off that.  My boss is also very difficult, so it's not an option to ask for unpaid time off when things are tough (i.e. difficult as in even if it suited the programs needs and budget my boss would still not consider it, and then would spread the news to all my peers that it was something I'd asked for).

It seemed like good timing whilst I would be eligible for parenting payment because in future I won't have it.  I still have a long time to go with study, this is my first year and its 4 years part time or 2 years full time.  I was feeling like this last year though (just constantly mentally drained, depressed etc) when I was working full time and not studying, and DS was in childcare full time.

Good point about the additional stress from the financial position.  I guess with my (tight) budget I worked out I could live on the new amount of money, but yes potentially WaitForMe I wouldn't be able to automatically afford to replace things like washing machines etc.  Also I guess any house repairs that were needed would be tricky to budget for as well given I own the place.  I am very good with money and have never had a credit card debt or any kind of personal loan, but yes I think the unexpected expenses would potentially stretch me too much on the reduced hours :(

It's tricky as the part time roles rarely come up.  Whilst 3 days a week would probably be my ideal, I've been getting daily emails from SEEK about new jobs in my field for a long time and they are rarely 2-3 days a week.

#20 Babetty

Posted 18 July 2019 - 12:41 PM

Could you contact the "new" job and explore whether they'd be open to 2.5 days?

#21 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 20 July 2019 - 07:20 PM

How likely is it that your study will get you a job in the field at the end of it?

(Im not saying don't study Im saying will you have to allow a time period afterward to find employment)



Whats the job security like in your current job vs your new job?

Will you have enough money for emergencies in the new job?

Id give serious consideration to the above factors and think long term not just week to week.

Edited by WannabeMasterchef, 20 July 2019 - 07:23 PM.





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