SELF CARE FOR PARENTS
Reducing Repetitive Costs
Many of the things we spend our money on are repetitive and if we are willing to look at our expenditure, cost savings can be significant.
Transport is the second major repetitive cost.
Below transport option costs are analysed and compared.
Driving a vehicle:
There are associated costs of owning a car: Initial outlay cost of buying a vehicle plus registration, insurance, maintenance and repairs, petrol, parking fees and tolls.
Advantages: convenience and mobility, less subject to weather conditions, being able to park car close to work, ability to shop on the way home or pick up children from day care, after school care, etc
Disadvantages: driving in traffic, by far the most expensive option out of all forms of available transport especially if you have borrowed money to buy it.
The third major recurring cost I'm going to highlight is food and consumable items.
Where we regularly shop can make a huge difference over time to our savings. For example: If we spend an extra $1 a time on each of our grocery items at a more convenient, yet higher priced store, the cumulative effect can be greater than we may realize. For just 20 items the extra $20 a shop for the convenience, done on a regular basis can become $1000 over the year.
Costs of brand products as opposed to generic. As an example: I love the smell of a particular brand of hand wash, and its significantly more expensive than other brands especially generic ones. So I either stock up on it when it's on special, or I buy a similar smelling product at a discount grocery store. And while each of these things on their own only saves two or three dollars a time, because there are so many products I regularly purchase, it really adds up, especially because I'm going to purchase many of these same items next week and again the week after
Buying non-perishables on sale: Washing powders and dish-washing tablets are great to purchase in bulk. I usually only buy dish-washing tablets when they're on special and I really stock up if they're half price.
Costs of Cosmetics, Hair and Nail Salons: Hairdressing and nail costs are a huge variable. Having a set of clippers can save a significant amount of money for those family members who don't mind home cuts. Alternatively regular visits to hair and nail salons can result in more maintenance costs as nails need to be infilled and hair colours outgrow and need to be retouched. And the variation between salon costs can be significant. While I pay $85 for a cut and colour a girlfriend pays $250. If we both go once a month over a year that means one of us pays around $1000 while the other pays $3000.
DISCLAIMER: N.B. The financial information on Best Parenting Advice.com is what I did and what worked for me. It may not however work for you in your financial situation. For financial advice specific to you and your situation you need to seek advice from a financial advisor or accountant.
For most of us housing is our major repetitive cost.
And I will treat it, because of its importance, separately in another section.
But there are other high level costs in our lives that are recurring.
And by making simple changes to some of these most frequently recurring costs, it can make a huge difference to our financial situation.
For example, if we look at transport first as it remains one of our most expensive recurring costs, the choices are driving, catching public transport, cycling to work or if close enough walking.
And each has costs associated with it that we can explore.
Costs of paying for travel which can vary significantly depending upon your distance from work yet there are no additional fees unless you have to pay for taxis because the transport isn't close enough to your work.
Advantages: relatively convenient if you are near facilities, not having to drive through traffic.
Disadvantages: subject to weather conditions, having to share space which at times can be crowded, sometimes public transport puts you in contact with people you may rather avoid.
Cycling: Initial outlay cost of a bike, ongoing low cost maintenance.
Advantages: It is by far the cheapest option and assuming you ride safely it's good for your health.
Disadvantages: It's weather dependent, the trip often takes much longer, it can place you in danger if you have to share the road with vehicles, it can be a less attractive option when the days are shorter as you can be leaving and/or arriving home in the dark, you may need access to a shower when you get to work.
But by looking at our situation we found compromising saved us money.
For example: If my husband had a staff meeting once a week that ran late, he might drive that day and pick up the children on the way home. Or he might car pool with a colleague.
On fair weather days he cycled using a cycle way.
And some days I would drop him on my way to work at a bus stop that provided a direct route to his work.
Now to drive it cost him approximately $10 a day, five days a week, forty eight weeks a year: totaling around $2,500. (And that was just one of our vehicles.) If he was able to cycle just two days a week, that saved almost $1000 over the year. My son similarly cycled to Uni and it saved him around $60 a week, which over the shorter academic year saved him $2400. But because I had no available public transport options and could only cycle to work along a freeway I had no opportunity to compromise unless I car pooled.
But I've also created some other great ways of saving significant amounts of time and money while supplying healthy easy to prepare meals for your family.
For menu planning, linked shopping lists, money and time savers the following Best Parenting Advice links may be useful:
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