Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Single Parenthood, Home Ed and Finances.

Can one be a single parent and home educate?

Brief background, back in the day I was a nightmare with finances, I'm still not brilliant, it has to be said.  However, been up to my eyes in debt, and just tired of never having any money despite earning a LOT, a rubbish marriage, and so much stress fear that we'd loose the house, meant that radical change was needed... ended the marriage, sold the house and paid most of the debts off and then took off to find myself.

Didn't quite go to plan; nonetheless I learned a very valuable financial lesson..... ALWAYS LIVE WITHIN YOUR MEANS.  Falling pregnant with Rye also meant my priorities in life change drastically.  I re-trained to become a childminder because I wanted to work from home and be with Rye, and I knew I wanted to home educate, and so I need a job that would allow me to home educate and still pay the bills.  I also did not want to be the cliche of a single mum on benefits.

Childminding was perfect.  It was a slog, and for 6 months I was drawing benefits, but 2 years ago I took on my first contract, the little girl is still with me, and after a while I took on a second child.  Much to my surprise I discovered that as a lone parent and a childminder I would receive subsidies; so I do receive some housing benefit, my council tax is reduced and obviously I do receive working tax credits.

However, I also live pretty frugally, I buy second hand when I can.  I am quite extravagant with food and mostly organic; but then for those 6 months I was on income support, there were times when all I could afford was a loaf of cheap bread and tins of beans.  Or pasta with "oops" veg, so now I insist on good quality food, because I can afford it.   My bills though are low.  I do not have credit cards, I do not have any loans, household bills are generally low as I live in a small but newish house, so tends to retain heating.  I do not own a car, (a friend is currently lending me hers), I do not have a TV license, so I don't watch live TV, which means not only do I not pay the license fee, but I also do not pay for cable either.  I do not have a fancy mobile phone, I rarely drink, I do not smoke, I'm not interested in hand bags or shoes, make up, clothes.  I use vinegar and soap nuts for cleaning and laundry, which saves me a fortune!  On the odd occasion I do buy laundry liquid, I'm stunned at the price.

I re-assessed what was important to me; Rye, being home, home education, not being in debt; and so I live a pretty simple life, and strangely enough, I now have more disposable income than I've ever had; but it is because I do not have credit cards, loans, things on HP, a car etc.  I live within my means, and if I can't afford something, I go without or I save up.

As for costs for home ed; mostly I spend on craft materials, group activities and outings, and we have a couple of subscriptions; reading eggs, study ladder etc.

So yes, my bills are easily covered by what I earn/receive; and if I didn't receive the subsidies, well at the moment it would be a struggle because one of my minded children has started her 15 hours at nursery, and another child will be leaving the setting in a few weeks.  Two full time children does meet all my costs though, I wouldn't have a great deal left over to play with; but I'd manage it.

I feel very blessed,  I have a good life, I have a job which provides an invaluable service to other parents and at the same time allows me to be with my own son.


Freedom Five said...

you are very smart and sounds like you have a great life with much to be thankful for :-) we too do not have credit cards or car payments. We paid cash for a cheap car though. We do have a mortgage :-( doing a lot better than most.

Rose said...

You're doin' it girl, you're not in debt to anyone, self sufficient in as much as you can be and following your heart with regards your lovely boy and his education/upbringing. Much respect, really! So nice to read your positive summary on how it all came to be.
Blesisngs and love X

Sharonmanc said...

Thankyou for this post, i am soon to be a registered childminder for the same reasons as you, and am hoping I can make it work financially, so i can home educate. I live frugally so hiopefully it will enable m to make it a possibility

katescraftycards said...

I haven't read blogs for a while now but I am so glad to read you are still working and enjoying life as a childminder. Have you thought about being Accredited then you might not lose the children to nursery for the free funded hours.

I am also very envious (in a good way) of your lifestyle. Sadly I don't have children but if I had I wanted to home educate.

Good for you you are so positive in your post and I love dipping into your life with your gorgeous son.

Lily said...

Hi, just discovered your blog and it's great to 'meet' another home edder on a limited income. You sound like you're doing great and I'm sure your little boy appreciates not being forced through the school system. Well done.