There are many ideas for staying cool and saving on expensive utilities bills if you have your own house. When you are renting it is hard to make the changes to problem areas of the home necessary to effectively reduce your costs.
"The Renters Guide to Saving Money" helps people renting to look consider what changes they can make to save money and life sustainably and how to negotiate with landlords for a reasonable outcome.
The booklet is biased towards the East Coast of Australia but many of the practical ideas are still worthy of exploration. Concessions and laws may vary between states so it is worth checking.
The ACCC launches investigation into Telstra sales people signing up people to contracts that they cannot afford. Financial counsellors say the mis-selling of phone contracts is "rife" and want telcos to to run a similar credit check as banks.
Listen to Karyn Hicks, Financial Counsellor and Team leader for the National Debt Helpline, on 891 ABC Radio with Sonya Feldhof.
HomeStart is a low deposit lender owned by the SA Government and has been in operation for around 30 years, helping around 71000 people get into home ownership.
John Oliver, CEO of HomeStart, took off the jacket and tie to take Affordable SA behind the scenes and talk about the process and best ways of preparing your finances as well as the information required to apply for a home loan.
John says that "Many people assume they are not eligible for a home loan when in fact they are". HomeStart lends to people from all backgrounds, single parents with kids, couples and more mature people. Around 40% of HomeStart's customers are on Centrelink payments.
HomeStart's mission is to make home ownership a reality for more people in more ways. They also have a strong focus in helping regional home buyers and anybody from anywhere in South Australia can approach homeStart for a home loan.
Watch the interview with John to find out all you need to know to get started with owning your own home sooner.
The throes of winter has many South Australians throwing on an extra blanket or two and bracing themselves for the expected bite from the costs of heating over the next few months. The last few years of higher energy prices has raised our anxiety of heating and cooling costs and is now the single most feared expense in the family's annual budget.
South Australians in particular are well adept at power consumption reduction around the house but there is only so much you can do regarding heating and power consumption to keep your family out of the cold. Many of us are facing the real prospect of disconnection because we simply do not have the money to pay. Even those with some financial capacity and or budgeting strategies can find paying the kilowatt costs hard. For those who do not have the ability to pay it can be a pretty cold shower of devastating reality. Who can they turn to for help?
Many struggling families have utilised the SA Government's Emergency Electricity Payment Scheme but Financial Counsellors are still finding some people unsure of what they are entitled to in regards to assistance or the types of assistance available. EEPS can be accessed if you are experiencing significant financial difficulties and have had your electricity disconnected or are at risk of disconnection. Payments of up to $400 for low-income households and applicants are available for an emergency electricity payment once every three years. The Scheme is only accessible through the assistance of financial counsellors, who will assess your financial situation before lodging an application. If you're in financial hardship and unsure about where you stand regarding access to assistance please ring the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539. The Helpline can help you understand the assistance available to you or provide an appointment to see a financial counsellor if needed.
The SA Government is one of the more generous of the states and territories regarding this emergency assistance. It is truly aimed at those in most need and under threat of disconnection but with access to the scheme only every three years if you qualify for the scheme one year you will need to consider major changes to manage the subsequent years between. Accessing a Financial Counsellor early may also help to stop you sinking into more debt.
There are other concessions for a range of circumstance such as Medical Heating and Cooling, Energy Bill Concessions, Energy Bill concessions for Asylum seekers and Cost of Living concessions. These can be accessed through contacting the Concessions Hotline on 1800 307 758 or go to https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/care-and-support/financial-support/concessions
Financial Counselling is free, confidential and independent. The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit, community based service that is available to people in Australia experiencing financial difficulty. South Australians ringing the national helpline will be transferred to a financial counsellor who knows and lives in South Australia, and is as local to the caller as possible. If you require assistance from a financial counsellor please contact the National Debt Help Line 1800 007 007 (Mon to Thurs: 9.30am–8pm and Friday: 9.30am-4.30pm) or go to the Affordable SA App or visit the Affordable SA website to see more information and the services available in South Australia that can be of assistance.
You can find more information on how to apply for EEPS call the Concessions Hotline or visit the sa.gov.au website or follow the links below.