Making the Most of a Low Income

Earning less than $40,000? Read on for some tips that will hopefully help you in controlling your finances.

Be Smart With Your Money

  • Track your spending
    • Learning how much you spend will make you more conscious of where your money is going and how you can cut down on some expenses.
  • Pay your bills in instalments
    • Rather than paying bills annually, you may be able to pay them in monthly instalments instead. Or, if you have a good budget in place, it may be worth paying yearly if it will work out cheaper than paying monthly.
  • Save money on your grocery shop
    • buying canned beans, vegetables, and cheap staples like rice and pasta to make budget friendly meals. Cutting out meat can be cost-effective as well as being good for the environment and your health.
  • Can you find cheap accommodation?
    • Can you move back in with family or friends to save on rent and utilities? Can you live in a share house to split the payments? Cutting down on living costs will be the best way to cut out spending quickly.
  • Have an emergency fund.
    • A cash buffer, or emergency fund, should be a priority to build up if you are on a low income. Having a buffer means if you do have any unforeseen expenses come up you will be able to pay with cash instead of having to dip into credit or get a personal loan. Any amount of cash is better than none, but aiming for at least 1-2k or ideally three months of expenses will leave you in the best position possible.

Increase Your Income

  • Check if you are eligible for government benefits and payments.
    • Centrelink
    • Housing, aged care and disability services
  • Check for state government grants, concessions and assistance.
    • Depend on the state in which you live in, each state varies.
  • See if you can pick up a second job for additional income.
    • This one is self explanatory, see if you can find extra hours on week nights or weekends for additional income.

Find Other Options for Low Income Earners

  • See if you are eligible for the no interest loan scheme (NILS)
    • No interest loans are provided for individuals and families on low incomes for essential goods and services for up to $1,500. This may include things such as fridges, washing machines, car repairs and medical procedures. The repayments are set at an affordable amount over 12 to 18 months.
  • Have a look at the good insurance company for cheaper insurance
    • They offer affordable and simple insurance policies for people on low incomes, in conjunction with some of Australia’s largest insurance companies.
  • See if you are eligible for the low-income superannuation tax offset (LISTO)
    • If you earn $37,000 p.a. or less, you may be entitled to a LISTO. This means that the Australian Government will contribute up to $500 to your super balance per year. There is nothing you need to do on your end, if you are eligible the ATO will pay the money into your super.
  • See if you are eligible for the Saver Plus Program
    • Saver plus is a financial education program for families and individuals on a tight budget to develop-life long savings habits. If you reach your savings goals you can have your savings matched by up to %400 by ANZ for education items for you or your children’s education expenses.
    • To be eligible you must:
      • have a health care care or pensioner card AND an eligible Centrelink payment.
      • Be in school yourself OR have a child in school
      • Have regular income from work
      • Be 18+ years old

Resources

https://moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/managing-on-a-low-income

https://www.bsl.org.au/services/saving-and-managing-money/saver-plus/

https://goodshep.org.au/services/nils/

https://goodshep.org.au/services/insurance/

https://www.ato.gov.au/Individuals/Super/In-detail/Growing-your-super/Low-income-super-tax-offset/

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