Budgeting on a low income, here’s some tips

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Budgeting on a low income it’s challenging but not impossible!

We’ll give you some handy tips you can use in your budgeting!

Although being on a low income can be restricting there are plenty of tips and tricks that you can use to make the most out of your money and budgeting on a low income does not have to feel impossible.

Why is budgeting so important?

Creating a budget and knowing what is happening with your money is the key ingredient to financial success. Making sure you know what bills are coming and setting money aside for that bill can relieve a lot of bill stress in just a small amount of planning.

Are you getting all the help you can?

There are government organisations and programs that are set up to help those who are living on a low income.

You can visit government websites and find out what you are entitled to. For example are you receiving income support payments or Family assistance and Child support?

There is help out there, head to the Department of Human Services website and find out how they can help www.humanservices.gov.au and what you are entitled to.

Shop around for the best bank or loan

Some banks offer basic accounts with:

  • No fee’s
  • Free monthly statements
  • No minimum deposit
  • No overdrawn fees

Shop around for these deals they’re out there and some of them are with the big 4 banks! http://www.affordablebanking.info/Which-Australian-banks-offer-a-basic-bank-accounts-.html

If you can’t find something there that suits, you could try the NILS program (No Interest Loans Scheme).

This program is designed for people on low incomes who need safe, fair and affordable credit up to $1,200 with no interest or fees.

You will have to qualify for the program but it’s worth checking it out.

Organise and be prepared for your bills:

Make a list of all the bills you have and check your statements to find out how much they are costing you each month and then each week. ie Phone bill = $50 a month then divide that by 4 weeks and it is $12.50 a week (it’s not so scary in a small amount).

Use your B-pay to set up a direct deposit to the phone company etc. Once you receive the final bill it will be paid off or significantly smaller than usual and much more affordable.

Repeat this with all of your bills and you will be ahead in no time.

If direct deposits and internet banking are a little hard for you to wrap your head around then perhaps you should consider centrepay.

Centrepay is a similar scheme, where (if you receive Centrelink payments) a small sum of money is taken directly out of your payments before you receive it on a regular basis.

Can you save on your loan or rental?

Sometimes reassessing rent or home loan’s can find us a little bit of savings.

Maybe another bank is offering a better interest rate for your mortgage or possibly you may be able to find a cheaper house to rent.

Trying to keep the housing cost to 25% of your take home pay can help relieve a lot of stress on mortgages and rent can be more affordable at this price.

However sometimes this may not always be possible and you are stuck with the cost of housing within your current area.

You can try things like refinancing your mortgage at a lower interest rate or rent out a spare room to a border to help with the rent or mortgage repayments.

Meal Planning!

Make a meal plan on what you are going to purchase and eat for the week, there is a lot of money to be saved on cutting out those takeaway or lunches on the run!

Write a Shopping List!

Writing a shopping list can really help with money management. Have a pen or a chalkboard ready to write down anything you may have run out of during the week.

Then stick to it when you do your groceries and avoid impulse buying, this will make budgeting easier.

Have you heard of the Saver Plus Program?

The program offers low income families the opportunity to learn budgeting and saving skills.

To be eligible you will need to have a relevant concession card to join the Saver Plus program.

ANZ offers a hand up by matching your savings dollar for dollar up to $500!

If you are chosen for the program you will need to make regular deposits over 10 months and attend workshops to build your budgeting skills.

Finally budgeting, saving and managing your money does not have to be a constant headache.

It does take some initial time to set up direct deposits and figuring out when bills are coming etc but once the initial set up is done the budgeting part is really more of a maintenance task rather than a weekly headache.

Being organized and committed to your budgeting is the key.

We are all going to fall off the wagon or get an unexpected bill every now or then, but if we organize our budgeting to include some rainy day money then these situations will be a breeze!

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