Guest Story:  By Kylie Travers of The Thrifty Issue (single mum with 2 daughters)

As a young adult doing a hairdressing apprenticeship no one thought anything of me sharing a house. When I was married then later as a single mother, many people had opinions on it, but I found sharing a house as a single mother to be hugely beneficial to myself, my kids and those we shared with, especially when they were single mothers too.

In my experience, you need to have enough space, thoroughly check people out and make sure you both have boundaries and rules in place. Single mums can’t rush into anything, especially when kids are involved but if you do it right, sharing with another single mum can save you time and money! Why should you consider it?

SAVE MONEY ON RENT, CHILDCARE AND MORE!
What if you could halve your rent and other bills? When I’ve shared a home, the rent has been split or I rented one room for a set price. $250 a week is the average I have saved on rent by sharing. Other bills such as gas, water, electricity and internet were split as well. Bills rarely went up too much with extra people in the house, so every saved more. Since I was already living frugally with my bills, I saved around $50 a week on my bills. Lastly, I saved on childcare. When sharing with single mothers, we split the child care which enabled us both to work more and not need to worry about paying for childcare. This has saved up to $270 a week for me.

Savings – $500 to $600 a week

SHARE THE LOAD AND GET TIME OUT
Parenting on your own can be tough. If you are sharing with someone else who has the same values, parenting style and rules as you do, it can make sharing the load easier. On top of the child care arrangement, having another parent in the house to back you up can make a big difference. Or on days you want a break, you can take turns and let the other parent have a day off. Mentally, it can help knowing there is someone else there.

SOMEONE TO DO THINGS WITH
Trying new classes, watching TV, hosting parties and other events can be done with someone else instead of on your own. Hiring a babysitter so you can both go out, having another adult at kids birthday parties or just watching something on TV and having someone to talk about it with are all benefits for single parents.

YOU CAN BE TOTALLY SEPARATE
While all the things above are about the benefits of sharing/collaborating on everything, I’ve also had scenarios where the other person is like a ghost. We each had our own sections of the house, were not involved in each others lives at all and money was transferred to my account each week for the rent and bills. It worked as the house was big enough, so you don’t have to be totally involved in eachothers lives.

If you choose to share a house, whether it be renting out space in a home you already have, applying together for rentals or doing it through ShareAbode, do your research. Interview the people you want to share with, make sure you have the same values, they are financially responsible and check references. You want to ensure it’s a good experience for everyone.

About the contributor.

Kylie overcame domestic violence, homelessness, robbery, rape, paralysis, a cancer scare and mental health issues as a single mum to become a multiple international award winning CEO, keynote speaker, author, blogger and charity advocate, in the space of 3 years. Through her work Kylie won 3 Plutus Awards, was a finalist for Young Australian of the Year and a runner up for numerous other business and advocacy awards. Kylie was the youngest ever director on a board for a homeless charity in Canberra and is passionate about ending homelessness and domestic violence.

Kylie’s focus is helping others turn obstacles into opportunities and helping Australians to make and save money to empower independence, which she does predominantly through her websites The Thrifty Issue and Kylie travers.com.au. Kylie also works with national and international governments and corporations regarding finance, marketing, charity efforts and public speaking. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her two daughters.
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