The Coronavirus Supplement will be paid automatically up until the 24 September 2020.
Is the extra $550 per fortnight from the Coronavirus Supplement giving you a little bit of extra wiggle room in your budget?
If it is, it might be a great time to get ahead on your essential living expenses.
Essential living expenses don’t go away. As long as you keep lighting your gas stove, switching on your kettle and turning on your shower, these costs will continue to incur.
Electricity, gas and water have usage costs. Each time you receive a water, electricity or gas bill, the bill will tell you how much you have used in the last 3 months. Keep in mind that we are heading into winter, so your usage costs may increase.
If you contact your utility provider, they may be able to provide you with your fortnightly usage cost ($) (e.g. the amount of electricity, gas or water you use within a fortnight).
From a budgeting point of view, many people set up fortnightly payment arrangements to cover the ongoing cost of their utility bills. By setting up fortnightly payment arrangements, this can help to reduce the effect of what we call “bill shock” – the large unpleasant bill you receive every 3 months that leaves you scrambling for money.
If you know the average fortnightly cost of your electricity, gas and water and you have a bit of extra wiggle room in your budget, it might be worthwhile putting a few extra dollars per fortnight on top of your usage costs, towards these expenses. The extra contribution per fortnight may help to offset the effect that September may have on your financial situation.
For more information about the energy market, energy efficiency, contracts, bills and prices see the attached link to Energy Made Easy.
Today, Wednesday 8th of July, is Math 2.0 Day.
Math 2.0 Day is a celebration of the blending of mathematics and technology. Think of calculators, cars, computer programs, airplanes, the self-serve check out at the supermarket …the list goes on.
As a financial counsellor, I use math every day - I have 2 calculators on my desk!
I use math when I complete a budget and when I analyze a person’s income and expenses. I use math when I go through statements, utility bills and when I work out affordable payment arrangements and hardship options. Math pops up everywhere during my day.
On this day, Math 2.0 Day, consider combining math and technology to help your financial situation.
On the Moneysmart website is an interactive Budget Planner where you can enter your income and expenses to create your own budget. By combining math and technology, the Budget Planner allows you to view your expenses annually, quarterly, monthly, fortnightly or weekly, to help you take the first steps towards getting on top of your finances.
To access the Moneysmart Budget Planner follow the attached link to the Moneysmart website.
Unscrupulous Pay Day Lenders have been caught out using the current global pandemic to market their products.
With many Australian’s facing ongoing financial uncertainty, some day pay day lenders have come to the party offering quick, short term loans to ease the financial stress brought on by COVID-19.
As a financial counsellor, this makes my skin crawl.
Along with paying back the original amount, pay day lenders also charge high interest rates, lender’s fees, defer payment fees, default fees, etc.
Within my role, I have seen pay day loans snowball into more than triple the amount originally borrowed.
If you are struggling financially and you need funds to pay for an expense, there are alternative options available.
Other options include:
- [NILS (No Interest Loan)](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/no-interest-loans-scheme-nils)
- [Speckle Loan](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/speckle-loans)
- [Step Up Loan](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/stepup-loan)
- [Household Relief Loan](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/household-relief)
If you are struggling to afford essential living expenses, it may also be worthwhile booking an appointment with a financial counselor to discuss your options. To book a free appointment, call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 359 or search for [Financial Counselling](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/financial-counselling-services) at the Affordable SA website.
For more information about how pay day lenders are targeting vulnerable Australians, see the attached article from ABC news.
At the end of April 2020, approximately 6.8 million Australians received the first COVID-19 Economic Support Payment of $750. On the 10 July 2020, approximately 5 million eligible Australians will receive the second COVID-19 Economic Support Payment of $750.
If you are one of the eligible Australians who is going to receive the $750 payment in July, have you decided how you are going to spend the money?
One way to think about it - what expenses do you have that have consequences if you do not pay?
- Credit commitments (e.g. mortgage, car loan, personal loan, credit card, etc.)
- Council rates
- Car registration
- Driver’s license
- Car repairs
- School fees, etc.
Everyone has different priorities about how they choose to spend their money.
If you are going to receive the $750 in July, it is important to have a good think about how you are going to spend these funds.
If you have outstanding debts for any of the above expenses and you feel overwhelmed just reading the above list, consider speaking to a financial counsellor to discuss your options.
Financial counsellors provide a free and confidential service. To find a financial counsellor near you, see the attached link to Financial Counselling Services on the Affordable SA website.