From budgeting to support services, we’ve curated some practical and to help navigate Australia’s cost of living crisis.

As the cost of living continues to rise, many Australian households are feeling the pinch. From soaring grocery prices to increasing utility bills, it can be overwhelming trying to make ends meet. However, there are practical steps you can take to ease the burden and resources available to help you navigate these challenging times.

 

1. Create a Budget

The first step in managing your finances is to create a detailed budget. Start by listing all your income sources and expenses. Be honest about your spending habits and identify areas where you can cut back. Websites like MoneySmart, run by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), offer free budgeting tools and guides to help you get started.

 

2. Prioritise Essential Expenses

Once you have a clear picture of your finances, prioritise essential expenses such as rent or mortgage, utilities, and groceries. Consider cutting back on non-essential items and services. It might be tough, but it’s important to focus on what’s necessary to keep your household running.

 

3. Shop Smart

Grocery bills can be a significant part of your budget. Look for ways to reduce costs by shopping smart. Use loyalty programs, buy in bulk, and take advantage of sales and discounts. Plan your meals around what’s on special and avoid impulse buys. Websites like Compare the Market can help you find the best deals on groceries and other household items.

 

4. Save on Utilities

Utility bills are another major expense for many households. Simple changes like turning off lights when not in use, using energy-efficient appliances, and taking shorter showers can add up to significant savings. Compare different energy providers to find the best rates using resources like Energy Made Easy, a government website that helps you compare energy offers.

 

5. Seek Professional Advice

If you’re struggling to manage your finances, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. Financial counsellors can provide free, confidential advice to help you get back on track. Organisations like the National Debt Helpline offer support and can connect you with a financial counsellor in your area.

 

6. Access Government Assistance

The Australian government provides various forms of assistance for those experiencing financial hardship. This includes Centrelink payments, rent assistance, and utility relief grants. Visit the Services Australia website to see what support you may be eligible for and how to apply.

 

7. Community Support Services

There are also numerous community organisations that offer support services, such as food banks and emergency relief. Groups like The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society, and local community centres can aid with food, clothing, and other essentials.

 

8. Review and Adjust

Your financial situation may change over time, so it’s important to regularly review your budget and adjust as needed. Keep track of your expenses and look for new ways to save. Staying proactive can help you stay ahead of financial challenges.

 

9. Mental Health Support

Financial stress can take a toll on your mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out for support. Organisations like Beyond Blue and Lifeline offer free counselling and mental health resources to help you cope with stress and anxiety.

While the cost of living crisis is undoubtedly challenging, there are steps you can take to manage your finances and access support services. By creating a budget, prioritising essential expenses, shopping smart, and seeking professional advice, you can navigate these tough times more effectively. Remember, help is available, and you don’t have to go through this alone. Reach out to the resources mentioned and take control of your financial wellbeing.

For more financial content, read through these 7 Easy Tips to Maximise Outcomes at Tax Time. Including housing and healthcare costs, learn more about How Much You Need to Retire in Australia.

This article was first written by Vanessa Stoykov and supplied to Hunter and Bligh.
Feature image: Photographed by Sarah Aktag. Image via Shutterstock.