It’s no secret that the past few years have seen dramatic economic changes. With prices still on the rise, many South Australians are now finding themselves having to cut back on utilities, groceries, and petrol. 

So, what can we do to ease the pressure in this cost-of-living crisis? Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. As we pay more for the usual things, we end up with less savings, and ultimately less of a buffer for emergencies. A lot of us will then look for ways to cut back, but sometimes it’s on things we might need in the future, like health insurance or medical appointments.

To help, we’ve pulled together a list of things that could possibly ease the current financial strain: 
  • Check to see if you are eligible for any rebates on your utility bills. In South Australia, there are rebates available for low-income households. Read more about these rebates and eligibility criteria here.  
  • Likewise, shop around for utilities. It is always worth calling your providers to see if you are on the best rate, or checking what their competitors offer online. Often you can secure a better deal just by calling for a price comparison.  
  • Contact your home loan provider and ask if they can give you a better deal.  If you are struggling to manage your repayments due to ongoing increases, check out HomeStart’s Repayment Safeguard feature. Whilst interest rates are fluctuating, HomeStart’s Repayment Safeguard provides peace of mind by ensuring that your repayments only change once a year in line with inflation – not when interest rates change. So, if interest rates go down, you’ll pay off your loan faster. If they go up, it’ll take a little longer unless you choose to make voluntary repayments.
  • Plan your meals for the week based on supermarket specials and shop for fresh fruit and veg that’s in season. Figure out the best time to shop to find discounted perishables and stock up the freezer. Or even better, shop in your cupboards and use up all those random items you bought for a one-off recipe. 
  • Do you know how much energy your appliances are using? Look at ways to reduce the use of heating and cooling, refrigerators, clothes dryers, and lighting as they consume the most energy. Turn off appliances at the wall when they’re not being used and check the peak and off-peak times for gas and electricity usage. You can save big money in the long run by using your appliances during off-peak times. 
  • Consider switching to a pre-paid mobile plan when your contract ends and keep your handset (these can often be cheaper, depending on how much data you need). If you have wi-fi and are home a lot, you don’t necessarily need to pay for an excessive phone data plan.
  • If your car is old and not worth much, consider switching from a full comprehensive insurance to third party. This means that you are covered if you damage someone else’s car but won’t assist with damage to yours. 
  • Look at sites like MotorMouth to find the cheapest petrol in your area. Similarly, some fuel companies have their own apps, where you can earn rewards the more you use them. You could also increase the fuel economy of your car by: 
o    ensuring that your tyres are properly inflated
o    decreasing the weight your car carries (like extra things stored in the boot)
o    combining all of your errands into one route/drive
o    turning off the AC when possible

One thing we can agree on: simply cutting out Netflix isn’t miraculously going to solve anyone’s financial challenges. Instead, we encourage you to take some time to learn about financial topics, like budgeting or home loans, to help work out what you need to do to ease some of the current financial pressure. 

For further information on budgeting, saving, or to learn more about the home buying process, try HomeStart’s free Home Buyer Ready Program. Or, if you would like to learn more about our low deposit loans, Shared Equity Option or unique range of product features, contact HomeStart today. Home ownership could be closer than you think.