Despite the fact Australia managed to escape the global financial crisis unscathed, the cost of being an Aussie has shot up in recent years. If you’re feeling the pinch, rest assured that surveys show you’re not the only one. But there are ways of staying informed about rising costs and saving yourself money. Read on for some suggestions and advice:
FoodAustralians throw away over two millions tonnes of food per year, wasting vast amounts of money and resources. Make sure you’re not contributing to this! Buy food that’s well within its use-by date and store it according to the packaging. Refrigerate leftovers, freeze bread you’re not using so you can eat it later, and use the handy food calculator to make sure you’re not cooking more food than you need.You’ll be amazed how much money this saves you in the long run!
When it comes to feeding your kids, you may face different challenges. Sadly, junk food is always going to be cheaper and more readily available than healthy produce - that’s just the way it is. Have your children grow some vegetables in a garden or allotment – this will help teach them a valuable lesson about where food comes from and get them interested in the process. Educate them the best you can about good eating habits – and don’t give in when they want expensive junk food.
EducationThe average Australian parent will spend about fifty thousand dollars on their child’s education, and much more if they choose to go private. The Schoolkids Bonus previously existed to help out families with the cost of education, but it has been discontinued. Nonetheless, you can find out what help you’re eligible for here.
Meanwhile, for adults, Australia is one of the most expensive places in the world to study. In May 2014, the government announced possible changes to university fees in 2016. It seems like a long way off, but it’s worth learning more about it.
InsuranceObviously making sure you have the right insurance is massively important when it comes to saving money. The rules on insurance vary according to state, so look at your official state website for more information.
Car insurance, especially if you use your car for your work, is vital. A small accident could set your savings back years if you haven’t got the right insurance, or haven’t kept the insurance company up-to-date with changes to your vehicle. Make sure you get it right!
As you get older, you will want to consider life insurance. Even though this is something you might not want to think about, there is a chance that you might get ill or come to a life threatening situation in your later years. Thinking about your family is the key point of view here. Knowing that at all times, no matter what happens to you, they will be safe. When it comes to life insurance, it's all about getting a good deal in a good company. Try and find something specialised for your needs, and have in mind that you always, always need to read the fine print.
CommutingHaving access to transport is vital in this day and age, but keeping a car up and running is expensive. If possible, plan out trips in advance to find out whether you really need to take the car or not – if you walk to work once a week, for example, you could save a huge amount of money.
Inevitably, you’ll need your car for long journeys, and petrol prices are soaring. So - find out the best ways not to waste your fuel and shop accordingly. The tyres, oil and air conditioning of your car can affect the amount of fuel it consumes. On the other hand, adjusting or cutting down on your use of these can save you plenty of money.
|HOW MUCH FUEL ARE YOU WASTING?|
Renting a homeAll over the world, young people are finding themselves locked out of the housing market, and Australia is no exception. In past times, working for a living wage would ensure you were able to settle down in a house after some time, but sadly there is no such guarantee any more. The argument continues to rage over buying vs renting: some companies claim that buying a house is cheaper in the long run. People looking for a place to live have to take few things into consideration: interest rates, location, distance from work or family or schools – there is no real correct option, it’s ultimately down to the individual.
A few things to bear in mind when renting, you will have to pay a high deposit, usually equal to four week’s rent on the property. And whatever your rent is, it may not include amenities like water and electricity – make sure you check first! You may have to consider going without things like internet for a while in order to afford the rent.
To save on costs, many people choose to share a flat with other people. Obviously, this involves carefully checking them (as well as the building) out, and if possible getting as many commitments as you can in writing. But if you know (and REALLY know!) that you’ll get along with your potential flatmates, this could be worth doing money wise.
Saving money is always a good habit to get into, whether the costs of living are rising or falling. Times will change, but you’ll be the happiest when you know you have savings to see you through them!