How to Supplement a Low Income

How to Supplement a Low Income

If you are living on a low-income, you already know how difficult it can be to make ends meet. You may feel like you never have enough money to meet all of your needs, let alone think about buying the things you want. While living on a low income can be quite difficult, there are things you can do to help supplement your income. This may even help you catch up on your bills, so you can actually buy some of those things you want.

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Benefits

If you are a low-income earner, you will probably qualify for several benefits or no-interest loans through the government’s Centrelink programs. This program offers several benefits and loans that are designed to help low-income earners offset some of the standard expense, such as rent, utilities, child care, food and clothing. You must complete an application form online or at your local Centrelink office to determine what, if any, benefits you qualify for. These benefits are typically paid directly to your current bank account on a monthly or fortnightly basis.
Rebates

Low-income earners are also eligible for some rebates to help offset a portion of their out-of-pocket expenses. It is vital that you understand the different rebates available, such as the Child Care Rebate, to help you supplement your income. Each rebate has its own set of qualifications and limits, but generally you must make the payments first and then the government will reimburse you for a portion of those payments. You can check with the Centrelink office to determine if your family is eligible for any rebates.
Senior Card

If you are a senior over the pension age, you may be eligible for a senior card. These cards offer a discount on various services throughout Australia, such as public transportation, medical services, prescription medicine, and at a variety of retail stores. Each state and territory offers its own special senior card, so discounts vary by location. The cards are free of charge and available to all seniors living in Australia.
Part-time Work

Another great way to supplement your work is to get a part-time job. This may include temporary or seasonal work, but may be just enough additional money to help cover some household expenses. Even if you just work a few hours each week, it will help to increase the amount of money coming into the household. If a part-time job is not conducive to your current work schedule, consider making things to sell or offer a certain service for a fee, such as dog walking or babysitting.
Bartering Still Works

Yes, bartering was a payment system that worked centuries ago, but it is still being used every day throughout the world. If you can find the right people to barter with, you can receive many of the service you want for free or at a reduced rate. This will allow you to spend your money on other expenses and avoid borrowing money in the end.

For example, the membership at the gym is too expensive for your budget. Ask them if they will reduce your membership fee if you agree to provide some service for them, such as maintain their website, send out mailings, volunteer to teach a class. Or maybe you want a free haircut. You know your hairdresser has kids, so ask her if you babysit for a night will she give you a free haircut. These are just a few examples, but if you think outside the box, you will be able to get many things for free or at a reduced rate.
Reduce Expensive

One of the best ways to make more money available each month is to cut your current household expenses. If you are low-income, you may have already had to cut your budget down, but look for additional areas where you may be able to save money during the year. The more money you are able to save in these areas, the more money you will have available to put towards your main household expense.

While it is not always easy to make end meet when living on a low-income, it can be done. Always be on the lookout for different ways to save money and to make money. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help when you need it. The government set up certain programs to help people cover some of their expenses, to allow them to have more money available for other things. Talk to a Centrelink agent and find out what benefits and rebates you are eligible for. This will help to supplement your income, so you can afford to manage your household without stress.

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