Around the world and in Australia, periodic inflation and cost-of-living crises are nothing new. But, the effect of rising costs in supply chains and households ripple through communities and have the biggest adverse impact on those who have low to moderate incomes.
Whether you come from France or Fiji, India or Lebanon, a cost-of-living crisis can cause newer immigrants to Australia to question whether they can continue to withstand increasing prices. When considering whether to return to your home country, if your family there relies on you to send money home you may not have much of a choice, particularly if inflation is an issue in your home country as well.
Rather than give up your home and life in Australia, it may make best sense to look for ways to manage costs until inflation starts to recede. Since Western Union is often your mode of choice to send money home, we thought we’d list some cost-saving tips to help you cope with increasing prices.
Cost-Saving Tips for Times of Inflation
Track your expenses carefully using a spreadsheet or mobile app.
Create a line-by-line budget for each category of expense. This helps you to see where you are overspending, and which spend items could be cut completely. Using a mobile app that allows you to categorise your spend will help you track your outgoings against your budget and highlight the areas that need action.
Shop for discounted fresh food items.
Supermarkets typically begin discounting fresh food items during the mid-late afternoon so this can be a good time to go shopping to pick up any bargains that are on offer.
Buy less meat or use frozen food instead of fresh.
By adjusting your diet slightly, you can reduce costs without compromising on taste or nutrition. Frozen foods—especially fruits and vegetables—can be a good lower-cost choice when there are fresh fruit and vegetable shortages and prices are high.
Grow your own vegetables.
Creating a vegetable patch in your garden or working in a community garden can be a great way to reduce costs of groceries. Set up informal exchanges with neighbors or friends who grow garden fresh food too.
Cut out more expensive forms of transport such as Uber.
Transport costs can rise very quickly when fuel costs are high, so consider walking, cycling or using public transport instead of taking Ubers or driving.
Reduce spend on luxuries such as eating out and takeaways.
When you need to reduce your monthly spending, the first category you can look to cut is eating out and takeaways as these increase your food bill significantly. If you are used to eating out regularly, why not cut down the number of times by half to ease yourself into the new way of doing things rather than cutting it completely.
Review your bank & credit card accounts to remove unused subscriptions.
Review all the monthly direct debits and recurring payments you make from your bank or credit card accounts to see if there are any items or services you can cancel or downgrade.
Shop around for better deals on insurance and mobile contracts.
Talk to your creditors to ask for a payment holiday or reduce monthly repayments.
If you are struggling with your current monthly costs, you could ask your suppliers to reduce loan repayments or give you a payment holiday to give you time to improve your situation.
Alternatively, look for ways in increase income.
Add a roommate or rent out a room in your property to bring in additional income.
If you have a spare room in your home, consider renting out that room to share expenses. This would not only help you pay the monthly rent or mortgage, but you can also split utility bills and even food costs with your lodger.
Find extra part-time work such as bar work.
Sometimes to make the money stretch to the end of the month, you simply need to earn more money. Look for part-time opportunities in service industries such as food, hospitality and transport.
Sell any unwanted possessions online.
Although a short-term solution, it’s worth sorting through your possessions to see if there’s anything you no longer use that you could sell. Items that can retain value include designer clothing and shoes, jewellery and mobile phones.
Claim any state benefits you are entitled to.
Check online to see if you are entitled to any welfare assistance from the Government, and make sure you claim whatever you can.
Making the decision to immigrate to a new country is a huge one and not something you would want to reverse and then regret. You probably aren’t alone in finding cost-of-living increases challenging, so reach out to your local community and social network to see if they have other suggestions for you.
If you are continuing to send money home from Australia, Western Union’s money transfer app offers transfer fees and exchange rates to make sure you can manage your monthly expenses and conveniently help family members manage theirs.