thread: High income to pension.

  1. #19
    Registered User

    Dec 2006
    In my own private paradise

    you may also be able to access your ftb and/or pps advances if needed to get you the freezer - yeah, it means you're losing money from the payment for six months - but getting freezer and paying it back is easier than trying to save that amount each fortnight when you don't have access to the freezer for bulk cooking...

    NILS is a good idea - not had a lot of experience with them, but have referred people in the past. it's generally for essential goods, so a freezer should be ok to qualify you

    i honestly don't think mince is that cheap in terms of cuts of meat, unless you go really cheap hamburger mince - other cuts can be equally cheap, and just as versatile, if not more so - i'd suggest watching the specials, getting to know if there is a local place that does cheap meat (no idea if you're anywhere near a Tasman outlet), and aiming to buy or cook in bulk. we have freezer space, so save up and do a decent meat shop every couple of months. means we only have to buy essentials each week, so can get away with a big shop maybe once a month, and then just bread/milk/fresh fruit and veg every other week, so live on about $50 a week - the big shop is maybe $130 - and then we spend a decent amount on a variety of meat every couple of months. check the local butcher to see if they do weekly/fortnightly "packs" too - they tend to be ok value - and some will negotiate with you to change items of similar "per kilo" prices to get something you prefer if you don't like one particular cut

    make the most of the slow cooker where you can. umm, make soup at the end of each week with leftover veg, make as much as you can from scratch (which i'm sure you do anyway!), shop on a full stomach, with snacks for the girls if you have to take them with you. another option that i know can be hard with kids, but if you have anyone that can stay with them after they are asleep, sometimes the best time to shop is late at night when meat has been priced down...

    we sometimes struggle - i'm fine with doing a tight budget, because i've done it since i left home, but until DD was born, DH had never really lived on a budget - we went from 140k plus to dole levels over night, and he still sometimes forgets that we don't have a large disposable income. i'm working the minimum number of hours that i can so that i can be home with DH as much as possible through this cancer treatment, and adding treatment costs into the mix, it's left us back on a realy tight budget - without the freezer, we'd be screwed, cos we bulk cook on my pay week, then freeze and eat from the freezer the following week - so if advances or the NILS scheme can help, go for it.

    oh, we tried aldi, but i wasn't overly impressed - it really didnt' work out any cheaper than doing home brand or watching for specials - and the things that had a decent saving for DH to take in the truck with him (fruit in jelly) he said were so disgusting he threw them out - so we just dont' bother now unless there is something particularly good value in the catalogue and then we go in (usually art supplies for presents!)

  2. #20
    Registered User
    Add fionas on Facebook

    Apr 2007
    Recently treechanged to Woodend, VIC

    I've lived on a pension but that was pre-kids so the other girls have much better tips than me for day to day stuff.

    But to answer your question about getting into a low income groove, this is what worked for me.

    I'm competitive. If you give me a challenge to live on $x per week, then it's a competition. Can you think of it in those terms ie. how much you've saved by not buying a latte rather than it being a shame that you can't buy one?

    Remember too, that this is temporary. If you can live on a low income, think about how much you can save/invest when you're on a normal income again.

    If you're a creative person, maybe turn living on a pension into a blog (maybe there's some already, I don't know).

    Just find something emotionally that works for you and turns a negative into something more positive.

    Sorry, I don't mean to sound so pollyanna about it. I know that it's tough. But this is your reality right now so I hope you can find a way of dealing with it that makes it less of an emotional burden.

  3. #21
    Registered User

    Apr 2009

    Not sure that I can really add anything in here that hasnt already been said. Ive been PPS for a number of years now. The key that I have found is budget, budget, budget. It can get really depressing micromanaging your finances, but it is worth it in the long run.

    As someone said, add up all your long term known bills and average them out. Pay a bit each fortnight, you can centrepay or just pay them direct. I found if I put the money aside into a different account it was nothing to just "dip" into there when something came up. Also budget an emergency fund, even if its just as little as $5-$10 a fortnight at this stage - it adds up and you never know when something will suddenly die.

    If you have insurances, it may help to pay them monthly. Yes it does cost more in the long run, however if you dont have that money here and now then it too can help cut the costs temporarily. If you have health insurance - are you benefiting from the current level of insurance that you have? Can you drop it down a tier?

    Different states do different deals, but generally, rego and license are reduced if not free - check it now as you can/could get a pro rata refund on these. Gas/Electricity (only one does it cant remember which) and phone also gives rebates.

    Phone - PREPAY! No nasty $1000 bills. If you are on contract see what the penalities are for breaking, how long you have left etc and go from there. Also if its prepay then if you cant afford it then you just dont buy credit.

    Budget your food, meal plan, and look at what you can buy homebrand and what you cant etc. DS has special diet requirements so costs are increased there, but we can skimp on some of the other "luxuries".

    Are you still studying? You may also be eligible for Pensioner Education Supplement which varies from $30-$60 depending on study load, plus you may get reduced day care fees if eligible.

    Skip the playcentre if you can, we make the most of our parks and free/cheap entertainment.

    Pre-loved clothes, if you have friends with older children they may pass them down otherwise use your charity shops and there are even facebook buy swap pages now. I have bought things with their tags still on in both places. I also pay it forward and the things he grows out of go back to those places.

    Honestly I get no CS so eventually did return to work casually. However we made it work for around 3 years without any extra income. Its frightfully hard but if you can make a budget and stick to it then it can open up more opportunities.

  4. #22
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Thanks so much everyone! So much helpful stuff in there.

    I am a meal planner. Just trying to get used to planning smaller meals! I am used to being able to freeze all the leftovers.
    Thanks N2L - I will definitely look into NILS. I found a direct rentals place that does no interest Centrepay rentals to own over 12 months to HCC holders, will look into that more too I think.

    BG - can't use my advances, I am not eligiable for them at the moment, I used them to help cover moving costs and what not over here a couple of months ago.

    Keike - the phone thing isn't a bill stuff up - it has come from an issue when I first moved over here with Telstra not connecting my home phone on the bundle properly, which has only been resolved in the last week, meaning I had to keep using my mobile to make calls, which went above and beyond my cap in a BIG way. DH had lowered my cap without telling me and so I am screwed, and VF had removed the free call between our two numbers, despite both DH and I calling to put it back on on 3 separate occasions. I am in the process of getting rid of the contract mobile altogether, but will be stuck paying it out as there is about 12 months left on it. We got them both on a business deal years ago and it just keeps rolling over, which i did last year and upgraded the phone. Since separating and separating the accounts though and putting it in my name, we lost a major discount (the point of having them both on one name ITFP ). Anyway, I have a prepaid, and have a home phone now that includes the net, and ALL local and mobile calls, which I can start using by Wednesday to contact D for the girls to talk to him. That is really our major expense, phone wise, comeone is always calling to or from a mobile.

    WRT to the Foxtel, yep, I watch it and for me it is worth it. As I said, there really is no going out or anything on my own, so movies, everything, all happens at home. The girls watch the cartoons, and I watch the footy, cricket, movies and most importantly, the docos. It will be getting reduced when uni starts back in a couple of weeks though.

    I have given the concession details to the utilities and to Telstra, all of which come out each fortnight via Centrepay so I don't even see that money - which is AWESOME! lol Love that it comes out before I see it, unlike the money that comes out the day after it goes into my account, that is depressing!

    Abigail - I didn't realise that the rego could be reduced or free with the pension card! I have the WA rego on the car until October, then will need to switch it to Vic (which I think will also involve a trip over the pits to get a RWC, is that right??) so having to not pay that full cost will be a life saver.

    I use the car much less frequently here than in Perth, so that is helping. I am getting about 3 weeks from a tank of petrol most of the time, if I don't go to far too often, saving me about $100 a month.

    The girls are covered under exDH's top notch private health insurance - a BIG bonus of his job is the supreme health cover included on top of his salary - it doesn't cover me, but does him. The car insurance is about to get changed over too next month when it expires, so will be doing that monthly, but should only be about $80 a month for full comp cover.

    I get boxes and things of fruit/veg, but I can't plan that way what is coming, so I am hesitant. I have looked into having the basics delivered from AFD and a few other places, and it is just not economically viable at the moment. The girls can't drink cow's milk anyway, so have to get "specialty" milks and I only drink milk in my coffee and for cooking (which I use theirs). Will be making our own bread though, I can't afford my bread anymore, but the $1 loaves from Coles just don't sit well with me. They eat a lot of bread so need to be careful with it. I really hate processed crap.

    We go to the park OFTEN - about 3-4 times a week. It is our staple now, but when it is raining and freezing, the playcentre is a good out for them - in Perth though most of the time it is too hot to go to an outside park, so the playcentre became something we did several times a week - but it was more than HALF the cost of our local playcentre (which is crap, expensive and we won't be going back to).
    It is good to now there are some places I can take them that are concession friendly - DD2 is *almost* at an age now where I can take her to places like the museum without her getting bored witless.

    DD1 is at kinder days a week, and the mums have told me about the Steiner playgroup that runs for DD2, but not sure I can afford a daycare day for DD2 yet. She goes to the creche at the gym when I go, as does DD1 on her days off kinder, the hour to myself is lovely! lol But will be leaning on my brother and sister I think to take them for a day every fornight so I can study.

    Abigail - yes, I am on a FT study load, who do I contact about information for the Pensioner Education Supplement?

    Fionas - thank you That does help immensely, I think I need to work on my mindset a lot at the minute, it is all pretty negative up there really, and needs to change, or I am going to end up in a ball rocking back and forth in the corner. Not Pollyanna at all - exactly what I needed.

    Can anyone tell me anything about Myki? Has this replaced the oldschool yearly/half yearly tickets? Is it worth getting this, or will I need to get one for me and one for DD1 herself (she is 5 in November), or am I still best off sticking with Metcards for now? When do the Metcards stop being sold?

    Thanks again everyone, I think it is really just going to require much more attention than I am used to it needing, and me getting used to doing it all on my own 100% of the time.

  5. #23
    Registered User
    Add Little Chicken on Facebook

    Mar 2010

    I don't think you can get met cards anymore, myki only from now on. Also, you do not need to take the car for a RWC to register it here. If you do it before is due, you can get back some of the rego you paid in WA.

  6. #24
    Registered User

    Dec 2006
    In my own private paradise

    You can find the pensioner education supplement details on centrelink website.

  7. #25
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    Oh fabulous! Thanks BG

  8. #26
    Registered User

    Dec 2006
    In my own private paradise

    Another thing. With the ftb advance you can pay it off earlier and get it sooner too. So if you previously got a 500 advance and have paid back 300, you can get the last 200 paid back and advance the whole 500 again. Puts you 300 up now. May not help you with the freezer situation right now, but it may when rego is due or something.

    I increased my payments each fortnight so I could get advance again a week earlier due to rego. You don't have to pay that one over 13 fortnights. That's the maximum timeframe.

    Just puttIng it out there. Something to consider. I paid an extra few bucks a fortnight and got it paid off a fortnight early. Some people double the payments so thy get limp sums every few months, some pay a lump sum like I first mentioned as they could use the extra cash for a situation like yours with the freezer...

  9. #27
    Registered User

    Dec 2007

    I didn't know that, BG. Will have a look at that, because I have found that if I don't have the money, it doesn't worry me not having it - that's why I love Centrepay! lol Thanks

  10. #28
    Registered User

    Feb 2008
    Gold Coast, QLD

    All great advice, some amazingly good budgeting skills here.

    I just wanted to add a really important note to take care of yourself. Try to avoid falling into the trap of feeling "poor" because it's a dark hole to wake up in and is difficult to climb out.

    It can be really hard to go from well off to struggling because you don't recognise yourself and you don't feel comfortable in your shoes. It's not just about not having spending money, it's about waking up in someone else's life, not knowing how you got there.

    Did you know that the majority of billionaires are totally tight with their budgets and know every cent they spent and where it went. So just keep that in mind next time you're trying to save a dollar. You're in the company of billionaires.

    I hope no one's offended. There's nothing wrong with not having much money, as long as it doesn't hurt your psyche and that's all I'm trying to help you with.

  11. #29
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jun 2008
    In snuggle land

    For local cheap stuff:
    There's a Tasman or similar butcher near Aldi at Mentone, near the DFO. The veggie shop there is good too.
    A few friends have recommended shopping at Dandenong market for cheaper goods - meat, veggies, etc. Obviously, the freezer thing is a issue ATM but that may come in handy down the track.
    There's a cheap veggie shop in Bentleigh near the IGA on the west side of the train tracks.
    There's a wholesale market in Cheltenham that you can shop at. They don't just do wholesale. They have meat, veggies, and things in bulk like rice, pasta and toilet paper.

  12. #30
    Registered User

    Nov 2008
    in the ning nang nong

    Lots of super ideas.

    The first thing I'd do (which you may already be doing) is to keep a budget, accounting for every cent - when it goes in, where it gets spent.

    I don't have MYOB or anything like that, but from the say I moved out of home at 18, I set up some excel spreadsheets with a "journal" which had all my ins and outs, and then separate sheets for categories, and fortnightly planners.

    So for money coming in, I would allocate it (food, rent, bills, medical, uni, clothes, slush, entertainment, etc) and those figures were based on a 26th of my annual projections.

    Then when I spent anything - and I mean anything - it would get put on the budget. Everything from a 30c phonecall to my $700 contents insurance.

    And I updated my projections every quarter to make sure I was on track.

    When I got DH to start doing it too (back when he was DP, and then DF!) he sharpened up really quickly and noticed those $3 coffees, $3 hamburgers, $25 CDs and whatever else - because our food budget was $50 each a week, and one month he spent $191 on MacDonalds!! Now I'm sure you don't do that, but I found that the absolute accountability meant that when he went to buy a magazine or even something perfectly good - but not accounted for - he stopped short, because he knew he'd have to come home and put it on the budget.

    Now you're not 19 years old and earning $7 and hour - and maybe you're already doing a budget - but I thought I'd stick the idea out there anyway

    PS: Costco has super cheap meat. If you do get a deep freezer, find someone who is going to costco and see if they can pick up some meat for you and drop it around

  13. #31
    BellyBelly Member
    Add kitten2b on Facebook

    Feb 2005

    instead of play centres are there any clubs nearby with play centres in them, I know in Canberra the Hellenic club has a huge kids play centre in it and membership is only $8 a year.

  14. #32
    Registered User

    Oct 2007
    Middle Victoria

    I have got some gorgeous 'good' brand clothes (pumpkin patch etc) from the local buy sell group on fb for around $4 a piece. I collect clothes the next size up, when quality things come up at a good price (op shops too).

    I also sold a chest freezer on there for $50.

  15. #33
    Registered User

    Jul 2005

    Join your local library. Lots have preschool or toddler storytimes, it's also a free and easy day out (and free wifi for you!), plus you can borrow CDs and DVDs too.

    Art galleries usually have lots of areas that are free and it's the visiting exhibitions you pay for.

    Great cheap day out with kids can be public transport - not sure what Melb is like but in Sydney a very cheap Sunday family pass gives you unlimited buses, trains and ferries. All if which are fun for DD1!

    Join every stores' VIP program where it's free. It may not happen quickly, but extra savings/discounts/vouchers when you can earn them come in handy. Don't forget flybuys. Make sure you keep petrol discount vouchers too.

    Playdates with friends are free! If you're sick of going to the park, invite someone to go with you and share the outing.

    Have an idea of practical presents the girls would like when it comes to birthdays and Christmas, like swimmers, shoes, bedding, furniture (instead of just toys). Put together a list so when ppl ask you know how to answer.

    Homemade gifts from the girls to those you need to buy for - there are lots of ideas online for starters. My DD1 makes all of our cards and wrapping paper, which makes it personal and cheap.

    Join Freecycle - that freezer may be closer than you think! Don't be afraid to post an ad with what you need and why. We have received so many things this way (oven and dishwasher last month, for eg). Join more than one group - as far as you're prepared to drive to pick up. Keep in mind that the stuff from nice areas is usually quite good. Don't forget Gumtree either, unlike eBay you can contact the seller and do a deal.

    Good luck!

  16. #34
    Registered User

    Apr 2009
    in the garden

    Do you know someone (or a few someones) who would be interested in sharing the cost of bulk buys? Kind of a co-op I guess - if you can buy food in bulk and split it, the storage and cost is not such a strain.

  17. #35
    Registered User

    Dec 2006
    In my own private paradise

    Do you know someone (or a few someones) who would be interested in sharing the cost of bulk buys? Kind of a co-op I guess - if you can buy food in bulk and split it, the storage and cost is not such a strain.
    We do this and it makes a big difference. My folks are on a tight budget, as are we, so when we can, we pool resources and bulk buy and split it. We go to the farmers market here most months and get fresh veg. Mum and dad chip in a third of the cost of everything and take a third of it. We recently had dd's godparent slaughter a cow for us to split between our freezers. Yes it was a big outlay (well, it would be if they would give us bank details to pay!! It's sitting on our savings account for now) but it's made a huge difference to not have to think of what we can afford to buy. Buying bulk (side of beef etc) works out cheaper for a lot of cuts. Do you have someone you can share a side with when you get the freezer?

    We also share the expense of some meals with my folks. Mum makes an awesome chicken soup so we supply either the chicken or the veg, she supplies the rest and cooks it and then we split it. She can't make a decent fried rice or chow mein, so she chips in on the veg for those, we make them and send them home with her. Is there anyone local you can pool resources with like that? Meal swap frozen meals when you get the freezer?

    Obviously this isn't something that would work for everyone but it's an idea.

  18. #36
    Registered User

    Jul 2012

    I love these ideas. They've been really helpful for my family too.