8 ways to ease the cost of living
19 February 2019
While bills and essential living expenses are facts of life, there are ways to minimise the growing costs of living if you know where to look. Here are a few ideas that can help you to save on some of life’s most common expenses.
1. Compare energy providers
The government website energymadeeasy.gov.au allows you to make changes to decrease the amount you spend on gas and electricity.
By entering your postcode and a recent bill, you can compare the different offers from retailers in your area to ensure you’re getting the best possible deal. This tool also gives you the ability to see how your consumption compares to other households in your area, plus you can discover how you can improve your efficiency.
And across many Australian state governments, schemes exist to give pensioners and families reductions or rebates on the costs of utilities such as water, gas and electricity. It’s worth checking out the eligibility criteria that apply in your local area.
2. Vehicle costs
If you live in NSW and you’re someone who pays an average of $25 a week (or $1,300 a year) in tolls, Toll Relief is a NSW initiative that allows you to register your vehicle for free.
If you're retired, in certain states you may be eligible for concessions in several areas of vehicle costs. In NSW, for example, eligible pensioners may be exempt from registration fees and driver’s licence renewal fees.
And when renewing your registration in NSW, you may be eligible for other perks such as discounted access to National Parks.
3. Apprentice vehicle registration rebate
If you're a first or second year apprentice who's registered with the NSW Department of Education and Communities, you could claim a rebate for the cost of registering your vehicle.
You can apply for this rebate by post or at a service centre once you've paid the registration or renewal fees.
4. Medical costs
If you need specialist medical treatment that isn't offered locally, there are schemes to help cover the costs of transport. In NSW, The Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) allows you to lodge claims electronically following a simple registration process.
5. Help save the planet, and your wallet
If you upgrade halogen down lights to LED alternatives in NSW, you could be eligible for savings. Making the change through an approved supplier can also mean discounts on the lighting itself, as well as cheaper energy bills.
A postcode search on nsw.gov.au will allow you to find an approved supplier in your area, and from there it's as simple as comparing quotes and choosing the one you prefer. An electrician will then be sent to your house to install your new eco-friendly lights.
6. Compare fuel prices
Apps and online tools are available across Australian states that allow you to compare fuel prices and search the locations of petrol stations. They can be used on a range of devices to ensure you're always getting the best deal.
7. Get paid to recycle
Did you know your state government could be offering financial rewards for recycling? For example, the NSW Government is offering 10 cents per container when returned to designated collection points.
Containers can be made of glass, steel, plastic, liquid paperboard (think cartons) or aluminium, and must be unbroken, empty and still show the original label. Check out your local area to find similar schemes.
8. Take advantage of other government rebates
Depending on where you live and your personal circumstances, you may be able to receive further government rebates and savings. It's worth looking into what's available for you. In NSW, for example, all you need to do is complete an online form of just six simple questions and you can discover the savings relevant for you.