by Jessica Welsh – Financial Capability Worker, Kempsey Neighbourhood Centre
During the current pandemic we understand you may be struggling to get by, especially if you were working and lost hours or even your job due to COVID-19. If you are depending on a Centrelink benefits you may be eligible for either the one off supplement or corona virus supplement.
If you have been on Centrelink and are receiving the Corona virus supplement, you will be getting more money than usual on this benefit. It is really important to remember that this extra money will stop, probably in September or before, and it can be really difficult to manage on the basic benefit.
We have some useful tips on how you can use this money to help you get through this tough time and to prepare for a drop in income later in the year.
- You could pay extra on your rent to get yourself in advance in case of an emergency where you are unable to pay your rent. E.g.- cut of payments, travel for funerals or unexpected bill
- You could pay extra on your electricity to get yourself in front in case you can’t afford to make a payment one fortnight.
- Buy extra non-perishable food to stock up your cupboards and/or stock up on things like cleaning products, toilet paper, soap, shampoo and so on.
- You could pay a portion off a lay by for a birthday and/or Christmas coming up and get as much paid as possible before the income is reduced.
- You could pay off your current lay by (if you have one)
- Put extra money on your NILS loan to pay off quicker (if you have one) so you can reapply for another item if needed.
- Get your car serviced or tuned up so you have a reliable car in case of an emergency.
- Buy the kids extra clothing and/or shoes for winter or take advantage of end of season sales to buy clothes a size larger for your kids.
- Buy new linen and blankets.
- Plan and prepay for a family holiday.
- Purchase gift cards – Woolworths, Coles, Big W to allow you to purchase essential items between your payments e.g Bread, Milk, nappies, formula and even clothes.
- Some people buy a groceries only supermarket card and save these up for Xmas.
- Purchase house hold items e.g TV, fridge, washing machine, dryer with a NILS loan or other low interest offer and pay it off quickly.
- Pay extra on bills e.g car loans, credit cards.
- Pay off any arrears (if you have any) for electricity or other services and try to pay ahead on these utilities.
- Remember, every little bit helps and even being a few dollars ahead on some bills can help when things are tight.
If you find that your income has dropped dramatically and are finding yourself struggling to pay any of your bills and/or debts we have financial counsellors who can advocate on your behalf to your creditors, and assist you to work out how to get out of financial trouble.
It is important to take action sooner rather than later to reduce your stress and make sure that you do not pay increased interest or destroy your credit rating or deal with the stress of phone calls from collection agencies. We provide friendly and non-judgemental support, either face to face or over the phone.
Financial Counselling: 1300 662 540
Financial Capability (help with budgeting): 65628300