New budget standards reveal the minimum income required by low income Australians for healthy living ranges from $597.31 per week for a single adult to $1,173.38 for a couple with two kids1.
These figures include housing, food, clothing and footwear, household goods and services, transport, health, personal care, recreation, and education, and allow for a degree of social participation consistent with social inclusion and healthy living.
Not everyone is in a position to increase their income, but there are ways every household can make their money go further, following the simple principals of budget management: save more and spend better.
Fatten the piggy bank
As most of our financial advisers will tell you, true financial stability is not so much about how much disposable income you have but about how much you have saved. This increases your ability to pay unexpected bills. So it pays to make saving a priority.
To do this, sit down and calculate how much you have, how much you need, and how much you want. This can be done by visualising your end goal, setting a clear time frame and defining achievable milestones.
- It may be useful to split your money into three pots: a pay pot to pay current and future bills, a save pot that puts a little towards your goals, and another for leftover money that’s safe to spend. The AMP Bett3r account is a smart bank account with these features built in.
- Managing these pots of money is much easier if transfers and deposits are automated, that way you’ll have less chance of spending on a whim.
- It’s never too late to start saving, especially if you use our savings plan calculator or how to save tips to help you get started.
Keep an eye on expenses
Find out how to budget and use a budget calculator to help you monitor your expenses. This is a tool best used alongside the following habits:
Check your bank statements
Check the income you’re receiving is correct. This may include your salary, Centrelink payments, child support payments or any other income streams, and if any is missing or incorrect, challenge it with your boss or contact Centrelink.
Also look at what you’ve spent by going over the ‘debits’ column of the statement and compare these debits with your receipts to make sure they’re right, and while you’re at it, consider how much you’re paying in bank fees and look to minimise these.
Reduce your spending
Stay on top of your budget by cutting costs wherever possible. Turn off lights, eat at home, reuse and do your own household repairs if you can.
Consolidate your debts
Prioritise debt payments to get rid of the highest interest rates first. You can also take advantage of balance transfer offers, or look at other ways to consolidate your debts and save on interest.
Compare before you buy
An informed shopper is a smart shopper. Insurance, health care and even utility providers offer special tariffs to accommodate all budgets, and haggling with your provider or asking them to match cheaper prices offered by other providers can help. You may also be eligible for low-interest loans or special bank accounts with little to no extra fees.
Maximise your entitlements
Find out if you qualify for any government financial support schemes. From housing and health care to utilities and tax deductions, there are many types of government support available.
You can count on us
We can help you stay on top of your bills, achieve your savings goals, and spend your money wisely.
My AMP gives you fast, easy and secure online access to your banking, super, insurance and investment accounts all in one place. You have the ability to add non-AMP accounts, and view your external balances, giving you a clear picture of your overall financial situation.
Check out these articles for more tips on how to save money and spend more wisely:
- Why renting household goods may cost you a small fortune
- 14 inventive ways readers have saved on a budget
- Wedding hacks that’ll save you money
Our 5-step financial makeover to make the year of the dog your best yet.