When you earning just enough to get by, making every cent count is crucial. Here are some things you should ponder on to help you manage your finances better:

Do You Have a Budget?

You need to be aware of how much money is coming in on a consistent basis. This would give you the framework necessary for you to know how much you should spend and on what.

Maximise your entitlements

Depending on your situation, you may be able to secure financial support. Contact these government agencies to make sure you are getting all of your entitlements:

  • For income support payments and other government benefits, contact the Department of Human Services
  • For help with raising a family, contact the Family Assistance website
  • If you want to check how much child support you should be receiving, contact the Department of Human Services

Find a Bank Account or Loan That Fits You

Shop around for bank accounts, credit cards and personal loans
The cost of financial products can vary from one bank to another. Here are some tips on how to look around for bank accounts, credit cards and personal loans.

Some financial institutions offer basic bank accounts with:

  • No account keeping fees
  • Free monthly statements
  • No minimum deposit amounts
  • No overdrawn fees

Consider a No or low interest loan
The No Interest Loans Scheme (NILS®) is made for people on low incomes who are in need of safe, fair and affordable access to credit. The scheme provides loans of up to $1,200 and there are no interest charges or fees.

Smooth Out Your Bills

You may find that some months cost you more than others. This may be due to occasions or unexpected events. Here’s how you can smooth out the ups and downs of your expenses.

Mark your calendar
Collect as many of your bills and bank or credit card statements as you can. Then, highlight the big bills that come less often, like electricity, home contents insurance or school expenses.

After that, you can work out what day or month each bill is usually due. Mark each bill on your calendar or yearly planner, together with birthdays and periodic events.

Set aside some money
Sum up how much your big bills come up to for the year. Add an extra amount for gifts and celebrations. Work out how much this is per pay or benefit period

Put this amount aside each time you are paid so that you will have the money ready to cover the next big bill or special event.

Centrepay
Centrepay is a direct bill-paying service offered free to Department of Human Services customers. A small sum is taken out of your payment each fortnight to cover your bills. It’s a way of managing your bills that can help make things less stressful.

Get Help When Needed

Learning to manage your money can be difficult when you don’t have a lot to begin with. But don’t fret; help is within reach. Financial counsellors offer free assistance for people in financial difficulty. They can show you how to budget, manage your debts and help you deal with other money problems.

The Department of Human Services has a free Financial Information Service (FIS) that can give you general help with your finances such as budgeting or preparing for retirement.

Money can be very hard to come by. But one of the best ways to make sure that you have some when you need it is to take on some extra work. Here are your best options at getting some extra work and some extra cash in your pockets.

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