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Living on a tiny budget.

In response to someone asking how I budget /manage on Newstart (government benefit for unemployed adults here in Australia.) here goes.

I own my home out right, I have no debts. For these things I am eternally grateful. Especially when you wake up crying and cant stop, go to your doctors, and never return to work. A breakdown, no savings, no income, a diagnosis of Complex PTSD relief it explained so much for me.

For five years I have been on Newstart and have not had any debts. I save when I can. I live within my means, and I don’t have a single credit card and have not for over 16 years. I have never missed it. I find it liberating. I generally shop with cash. Because you are far more conscientious when you are shopping with cash.

I don’t pay water as I have water tanks and I don’t pay sewerage as I am on septic. I have wood heating, gas for cooking and hot water. My water pump fridge and freezers use most of my power. I also have an electric blanket for winter to take the chill of the sheets. I sleep with my bedroom window open all year.

My annual budget simple.

I receive $574 a fortnight for Newstart $14,924AUD A Year. All dollars in Australian dollars.
I work out all the actual annual costs I know I MUST meet.

Rates $ 706 concession taken off This is the first year I have had to pay quarterly rates but our council does not charge extra to do this.

Electricity $ 530 concession taken off

wood $ 720 6 ton

Gas $ 449 45kg LPG bottles.

Gas fee $ 80

Insurance $ 776 House/contents $440,000 $52,000

Dogs food $1430

Petrol $1430

NBN $ 828 Internet

Netflix $ 60TOTAL

$7459 divided by 26 weeks to show how much my definite costs will be out of my Newstart payment$286.88 a fortnight.

I have to ensure I have just for these costs. So $574 -286.88 = $305 a fortnight left.Now I have to think about tyres, and services so lets say 1200 a year 333.04 divided by 26 =12.80 a week

$292.20 a fortnight left.

Oh I have to get my paddock cut $40 a time, this year 3 times $120 =$2.50Dog registration $70 for two dogs, $2.70Basic shopping fortnight, 4 litres of tasmanian milk $4.30 for 2litres, 1dz free range eggs $6-8 depending on size sometimes I can only get large ones. Bread if I buy it and I usually do in summer $3.95 a week $14.25 basics a week.these last three items paddock, registration and basics for food add up to $19 a week $38 a fortnight

$254 a fortnight left.

RACT road side assist Tasmania $198 a year. I have to have ultimate, as any where i go basically is more than 32km from my place in the country and when your car is 15+ years old good thing to have. $7.61 a fortnight

$243 a fortnight left.

Medication $6.50 month

$239.50 a fortnight left.

Groceries varies, between 30-60 a week, depending. Every so often so lets say $45.00 a week

$ 149.50 a fortnight left.

This is as simple as I can make it. I am happy to go into anything further. I realise that I am very very fortunate to have that amount left. If I saved it and I do save money I would have $3,874 in savings in a year.

This year I have had to buy a New water tank, $1400 and three months ago my SUV 12 years old engine ceased, $6000 for a new engine could not afford to get it fixed, I had put four new tyres on the SUV I kid you not three weeks before it died cost $1000 I advertised the car $500 advertised the tyres for $700 NoT one nibble! new vehicle for me $1000 One of my dogs ate something that made her very ill $700 later. this year too. $4100 unexpected costs. over the last 12 months.$157 per fortnight over the year cost.

-$7.50 a fortnight over spend. Yes the final figure is minus $7.50 a fortnight. Lucky I had some savings in the bank.

Right now I have no savings, The new year begins and I am cutting back on groceries using my car, not going out, so that I can begin to save again.

This is how I do it. All my needs are met and I can think of nothing I want for myself or my home! I am on the whole content. I do eat out occasionally it keeps me in touch with people. Anyone with Complex PTSD, Depression, anxiety knows that if we close ourselves off we can go down hill. I believe that you have to live with in your means. That the only thing you should ever go in debt for is a house. I do understand that owning my home out right and having no debt makes a huge difference. I also do not have to look for work as part of my unemployment management, as my mental illness makes it impossible for me to work or volunteer. I have tried volunteering I had to leave suddenly. You have to be reliable and for me I can not guarantee that I can. I have also tried to study I was doing free online course through uni. One unit. I was getting good grades, but all of a sudden it all just became to much for me. The paper work and reading overwhelmed me. So I can not work and I am going through the process of applying for Disability support pension. an arduous task there are 61 pages of form and my mental health makes it impossible for me to deal with it. Thankful to have a lovely community social worker helping me. Humbling experience for someone with two degrees.

17 thoughts on “Living on a tiny budget.

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  1. O the papers, impossible! I shove them all in a drawer. I go to ask for help but still you need to be on top of things. Luckily I don’t have energy left to worry about money but I know it isn’t there. It can be so messy! I don’t own my place but I do have a lovely partner who helps me remember things and when needed goes with me to the union to get the papers sorted. I have a degree, I can do all those things but just not now. It is humbling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. it can also be very frustrating kachaiweb! it can be so messy and I have not shared this as yet but I am also a hoarder, slowly working through it. The support of a lovely partner who accepts you as you are and continues to love us anyway,,Smile,. is gold. I do miss mine he would be like that but heart broken to see what has changed since he died. he would understand, cherish your lovely partner. Degrees mean nothing when your brain is ill. be gentle and kind to oursel and sometime hopefully next year we can both share we have been accepted. thanks for your comment,

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I also own my own home out right and have no debt, and it’s tremendously reassuring. I’m also a nurse and am able to pick up a few shifts here and there, and so far I’ve been able to manage without having to go through the process of applying for disability.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. totally agree being financially secure is tremendously reassuring, a few nurses out there.. It is one of the beauties of the career that you can work a few shift to keep money coming in. I loved night shift and worked every friday and saturday night as a casual. It was because nurses are becoming so specialised, and a casual nurse who will work in ED, intensive care, kids, medical .rehab (so easy compared to doing aged care in a nursing home on nights ) neuro, surgical, neonates, psych(my post grad) cardiology, well anywhere is very employable. I earnt more money working two nights than if I worked full time on a rotating roster. Because I worked basically permanent shifts I was given sick leave, and prorata holiday leave. All at a casual rate, oh and superannuation too. they did not want to loose me. It is good if you are managing. If your under apsychiatrist or clinical psychologist it is easier. It has taken me so long to be OK with applying I was holding out hope I could at least return to mental health nursing. but under the new APRA I would have to do a return to work as a RN program even though I don’t want to work in general nursing hospital. However my week has yet again shown me I am not able to deal with reactions to triggers.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. yes but in truth I am very glad I had my breakdown. I am going to be living the rest of my life more me than I have ever been. Listening to my own voice, and doing my own thing.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. When my GP helped me apply for a Disability Pension Feb 2010, I was overwhelmed by the paperwork. And then, I had to go to Centrelink for an interview and they (literally) asked me all those questions all over again. With many chronic health conditions, 2 spinal surgeries, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, some inherited conditions and some of my own, stress and anxiety, I, fortunately, had plenty of health records to support my application.

    Tazzie, I warn you, be prepared. Even try to get someone to go with you if you have to go to Centrelink for an interview (which you will). Take a writing pad and write everything down. It’s hard to remember exacting what transpires in these interviews without taking notes. Since I was close to a 2nd nervous breakdown when I quit work (with no assets or means of supporting myself), spending so much time in a toxic Centrelink office was not a good thing. It was all I could do not to scream at the staff member, as the stupidty of having to answer all those questions again and watch the staff member type them all onto the computer in front of me was very, very tiring and stressful.

    What made it worse was that the carpet in that particular branch of Centrelink made me sick and close to throwing up. (My MCS – Multiple Chemical Sensitivity – really reared its head).

    Half my pension goes in rent and while I do get a small amount of rental assistance, it is actually only about 12% of my actual rent. I live in an NRAS property, but the Government subsidy on this finishes in about 2 1/2 years so I don’t know what I’ll do then.

    Good luck with all that and if you’ve got any questions, feel free to pm me through my own ‘nature’ blog. My email address is somewhere there. Probably under my Gravatar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vicki thanks for all that information. I am currently banned from Centrelink child services, and medicare offices. I can only speak to one person on the phone and doing the identification by computer using password and then having to answer more questions by a human just to speak to this person triggers me. So i spoke with my wonderful Labor MP (liberals and greens a did not much and never returned a second call, greens my local rep Iknow her, has never returned a call or responded to an email. Even when I have left messages at her canberra office!) I vote for the person who is really there for the community..regardless Lots of people say the same about this MP I have 11 more months to go of my ban(originally 3 I asked for a review made it 12 after thisbut not from the original ban date but the date of the review? go figure. I got banned all over a medical certificate my gp had written permanent on..already been through the Centrelink want medical certificates to say temporary or exacerbation. If permanent you should not be on centrelink. Newstart should be on disability. It becomes my problem to negotiate between my gp and them? So great for someone withcomplex ptsd hey! so I am frustrated to begin, and the woman who I have had issues with previously just says well just go to you gp and get a new one? trigger…i with raising voice, remaining seated say my gp is 140km round trip, I have enough petrol in my car to get home from here and go into my smaller town to fill up with petrol. when my payment goes in to bank in three days. if my certificate is not in I may not get the fucking payment! so still cant put petrol iin my car ….it only continued, I never swore directly at her it was about the situation, I did say she should not be dealing with clients with mental illness especially PTSD. we were sitting across a desk she handed me a sticky note and photocopy , but told her mananger that she felt threatened by me. Manager called me she says it about incident I go on to say how it impacted me and that my mental health was declining because of it and not knowing if my payment would go in or not. Manager tells me staff member has had to go on sick leava and is not well WtF? I said do yo have permission to share this staff members personal information with me a client? Isnt that a breach of her confidenitality? Well conversation went down hill she ended up haning up I did say fuck several times as before, I get banned. now back to the beginning, I had trigger reaactions twice with the person I am supposed to talk to ..she hung up me. I hung up on her. Spoke again to MP who looked into it, and until further notice I do not have to hand in medical certificates, or speak to anyone my payment will be automatic I just have to phone in every fortnight. Now if only that was the situation with anyone with long term physical medical mental illness or disability I mean if you have been on newstart for four years never had a job plan and your gp is writting permanent..not looking good for getting ajob? so for all that Centrelink is very aware of my illness. well documented.
      I would imagine you are not the only person whose rental situation under that scheme will be ending, Horrible place to be, though in normal rental you would not have that sort of security. I imagine that all the service providers and support organisations with clients in these situations will get onto it. But when it gets closer and you still dont know or you are really worry about it that it makes you ill speak to your MP so that at least they are aware of these issue. The more I have spoken with my MP office, the more I realise, it is only when people contact them they become aware of the reality of the impact of decisions and support programes and all sort of things that they really understand the real world impact the decisions of government and statisticians and financial advisors have on everyday people. thanks again for information and a listening ear, appreciated greatley.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I understand what you’re saying, Tazzie.

        I completely sympathise with your situation as I think the whole Centrelink administration & rules are totally mismanaged. Unfortunately, the people with no real health problems try to rort the system, make it hard for us genuine people with serious health issues.

        Fortunately, I have an inheritance on the horizon (once probate and all the paperwork is wound up) and while it will take some months to come to me, it will take the immediate financial worries off my mind in the today and the future.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. It is always sad when some rort the system. I believe it is not as high as media and government would have us believe. If it a generational situation as has been mentioned. What is that saying about programmes that are supposed to help and support people. Oh I’m getting of my soap box.
        I do hope you have managed to survive the heat so bad here today my home was curtained off and I use windscreen sun guards to reduce heat entering. Dogs wanted to go out so I let them and two minute later they came back in panting. So just sat inside watching TV. now have all doors and windows open to get the cooling air. I do hope your lovely garden (which you photograph so beautifully ) you have a beautiful creative ability with your photos.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Im sorry I am writting so much for some reason not sleeping much, suddenly gone from blah to this Going to be too hot for anything out sde tomorrow so I can stay in bed all day if need be and sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I do the same. I finally got to bed at 4.30am this morning so saw your post and read it. I, too, was able to get up around 11.30am and finally get some rest by sleeping in.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So glad you were able to have a lie in. My partner always said don’t beat your self up about staying up late.
        Ah I made it earlier. I was kind and took my dogs up to bed earlier, and I rolled up at 3am I was up at 930 wanted to water my garden. close down the house. sadly my bedroom is probably the hottest room in the house north west facing.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this candid post about your finances. I, too, live very modestly — and I enter everything I spend into a spread sheet to be totaled at the end of the year. Hurrah for the blessing of owning your own home. One sentence in the comments following your inspirational and informative post jumped out at me: “Degrees mean nothing when your brain is ill. Be gentle and kind to yourself.” Being gentle and kind with ourselves and with other beings might become my goal/resolution for 2020.


    1. thank You Willedare. (dog asleep on my lap typing one handed oops). It is something I have to practice and honour. gentle and kind to my self
      I personally believe many folk who break are empaths taking on others feelings. i am great at supporting helping listening for others but less kind for me, I am learning to be . amazingly thing seem to improve. when i am. May 2020 be your time to acheive!


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