Essential hacks to help live your best life on a budget

budget

budget

Remember being a kid and thinking, “I can’t wait to be older and have enough money and do whatever I want”? Well, more often than not, the adult world rears its big ugly head and squashes this dream. Faced with the cost of living and house prices on the rise, it’s pretty easy to feel like a lot of the joy has been sucked out of life. Now, perhaps you haven’t found that job with the dream paycheck just yet. Or perhaps life keeps getting in the way of saving for what you want. Whatever the reason, it can be really easy to feel like you’re stuck in the rat race, just spinning that wheel around.

Whether you’re trying to afford an overseas trip, or just trying to save on groceries, we’ve got a list of tips and tricks to help you live the best life possible on a budget.

Disclaimer: Personal Loan Pal is a lender-finding service. We do not offer financial advice. Consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how the information and ideas presented on this website relates to your unique circumstances.

At home

You’d be surprised as to how many expensive things you can make at home. While having supermarkets everywhere has no doubt made our lives easier, we have lost the art of doing things for ourselves.

Now, while it would be awesome to carve a dining table from scratch, there are much easier places to start when it comes to DIY. Not only is it extremely satisfying and cost-effective to DIY, but you could also easily make these into gifts for your family and friends.

Beauty Products

Not only are commercially manufactured beauty products often filled with chemicals and tested on cute animals, but they are also expensive. Making your own at home can be incredibly rewarding, and fully customizable. Products such as lip balm, lotion, shampoo and face masks are incredibly simple to make at home. You can even reuse your old empty store-bought containers or, better yet, store them in eco-friendly glass jars.

See how to hack DIY beauty products below:

Soap

Stop spending money every month on soaps, when you could easily make them at home yourself. Soap making has made a huge comeback recently, and it easy to see what all the fuss is about. Even making liquid soap or hand sanitizer is incredibly easy. The internet is full of easy, DIY soap recipes. Check out the one below:

Cleaning product

We as a society have been swindled into brand name cleaning products. Instead of buying overpriced liquids that will kill three turtles every time you pour it down the sink, make your own. A combination of a few simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda will cut through any mess.

Sauces and condiments

You’ll be surprised how easy it is to make your own condiments and sauces. Not only that, but they’ll taste so much better than any mass-produced thing at the supermarket. Whether you’re looking to make your own tomato sauce, mustard, salad dressing or steak sauce, your homemade version will save you money and taste delicious. See how to make some excellent dipping sauces in the video below:

Gardening supplies

Learning how to make your own fertilizer or compost yourself, will save you a heap of money. Imagine making your own homemade strawberry jam out of strawberries you grew yourself with the help of your own fertilizer. You won’t have spent a cent, and you’ll have a delicious pot of jam ready to gift (or keep for yourself). The best part is that you could cut down on waste by adding your decomposable rubbish to your own compost heap!

Pest Control

With summer almost upon us, it is indeed time to face up to the pests we often share our homes with. Instead of paying for expensive pest repellents, there are plenty of homemade solutions you can make for a fraction of the costs. So whether you need to get rid of ants, moths, fruit flies or fleas, there is a homemade remedy for it.

Out and about

Want to get out the house this weekend but can’t spend much money? There are a ton of different options available to you if you’re on a budget.

Free days out

The best things in life are free, right? Well, that’s super debatable. However, there are a heap of free things to do and see. Jump on to your local council’s website to see what free events are happening near you.

Additionally, if you want to escape the city, Australia is blessed with beautiful beaches, countryside and rainforests. Most importantly, they’re often completely free.

Groupon

Groupon is an online marketplace that offers deals on goods and services of up to 70%. The discounts Groupon offers to consumers allows us to experience new restaurants, bars, hairdressers and adventures we always thought to be outside our budget.

As the vouchers offered on Groupon change all the time, there’s a massive variety on the goods and experiences you can get discounts on. No two Groupon experiences will be the same.

Travel

In a perfect world, everyone would travel, and travel often. The trouble is, as we are sure you’ve already gathered, this ain’t a perfect world. This is a world where everything costs money and plentiful leave allowances are in short supply. While we’re sure you’d love to be saving for your next overseas trip, all of life’s other bills and expenses surely keep popping up and getting in the way.

Luckily, there are still a few tips that will allow anyone, with any budget, to get out there and see the world. So, whatever shape your bank account is in at the moment, listen up.

Comparing airfares

While the modern world has its fare share of ills, shopping around to find the best deal really has never been easier. This is due to one thing – the internet.

With a few clicks, you can have access to hundreds, if not thousands, of cheap flights. The only drawback to this is, there may be too many options. It can be pretty overwhelming sometimes trying to find the best flights on a budget. There are, however, a few things you can do though, that’ll put you in good stead to save a nice chunk of dollarydoos.

Search in incognito mode

Yeah, this may sound a little conspiratorial, but bear with us. Have you ever searched for the same flight a few times and noticed the prices going up? Well, you’re not going crazy. Flight prices do increase when a particular route is searched repeatedly in the same browser. This is the site trying to trick you into panicking, and buying tickets before prices get any higher.

So, to avoid this, always search for cheap airfares in incognito or private browsing mode. It should be pretty easy to find the option to turn on private browsing in the settings. If you are having trouble with it though, just do a quick google search for a shortcut.

Use the right search-engines

While these search-engines will market themselves as the good guys trying to find you cheap flights, their sole objective is really to make a profit. They do this by inflating the price on the flights they offer. For example, sites such as expedia will jack up their prices more than most search engines.

So, finding the right search-engine will go a long way towards finding the best airfare. Here’s our favourite search engines for comparing flights:

While all of these sites are great, we recommend comparing the search results between a few of them to find the best deal. Also, keep in mind that different departure dates may have drastically different prices attached to them. So play around the departure dates to find yourself the best deal.

Be adventurous

When you’re on a budget, it can be hard to stay in touch with your adventurous spirt. Airlines can sometimes make mistakes and this can result in some seriously cheap flights. Don’t worry, these mistakes aren’t going to put you in danger. Generally, flights discounted by the airline are the result of exchange rate mishaps, technical problems or good old-fashioned human error.

So, while the destination on offer may not be somewhere you’re particularly interested in, the cheap airfare might be enough to sway you. AirFareWatchdog is great resource for finding these type of sales.

Accommodation

Whether you’re looking for a quick getaway in Australia, or for accommodation for your overseas trip if you’re on a budget, here’s how you can save:

Cut out the middleman

Just like airfare search-engines, sites that compare hotels will inflate prices to make a profit. So, if you see a room you really like, get in contact with that hotel directly to see if you can save by booking through them.

Companies like Accor Hotels and Hilton have best price guarantees. If you see one of their rooms listed cheaper somewhere else, they’ll match it.

Be open-minded

If you’re an adventurous type, consider booking a “mystery hotel”. Sites like Hotwire find hotels around the world at a discount of up to 60%. The only catch is you don’t find out the name of the hotel until you’ve paid.

Don’t worry though, you’ll get enough of a description so you know roughly where you’re staying and the quality of the hotel.

Airbnb

If you’re looking to avoid hotels and hotel prices, Airbnb is your best bet. With over 5 million listings all over the world, you’ll be hard-pressed to beat Airbnb on variety. So whether you’re looking to rent out an entire family home, or even backyard camping spaces, Airbnb has the scope to find you a great deal.

Live your best life

Saving and developing a budget for your future should not mean living like a monk. Saving and budgeting smarter can allow you to still live the life you want. Travelling to a new places and saving money for a house deposit do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Sometimes though, no matter whether you budget or not, life can catch you by surprise and there’s not a lot you can do. When this does happen, it’s reassuring to know you have a pal in your corner. We are that pal – Personal Loan Pal.

So, if you’re in a jam, and need to be put in touch with a personal loan lender, let Personal Loan Pal take the hassle and tedium out of the process. Apply now and see if we can find the lender for you.

Get ahead by learning how to save for retirement!

retirement

Retirement is something we all tend to daydream about in the middle of a boring work day. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel that makes our entire careers worth it. Just imagine having your days entirely free to do with what you will. You can do whatever you want, where you want, when you want. Hold on, that sounds amazing. Why do we have to wait until we’re old to enjoy retirement? Can’t we just do that now?

However, as much as we like the idea of retirement, it’s not really something that we like the idea of planning. As soon as we give it too much thought, it becomes more of a hassle. Retirement villages, superannuation, investments, retirement pension – all of that’s ages away. Why do we have to think about it now? Surely everything will just work itself out anyway?

If only it were that simple.

The key to having a happy and relaxing retirement (besides being filthy rich) is making yourself as financially secure as possible. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Whether you’ve just started working or you’re well into your career, you can still benefit from thinking about retirement. Here are just some of the ways you can make your money work for you when retirement rolls around.

retirement

1. Start saving early.

The best time to start saving is now. No matter what age you are, saving for retirement is a bit of a drag. You could already be semi-retired, and the concept of putting some money away for retirement would still seem like something you could worry about another time.

The truth is that if you’re earning a consistent income, you should always be saving a portion of that return. Now, that doesn’t mean you should be thinking about your retirement as soon as you get your first stable job. There will undoubtedly be a number of things you want to save for throughout your working life. Think of these as practice runs for the big one. You can always keep retirement in mind when you’re debating whether to save or spend. You’ll thank your past self way, way, way down the line.

2. Keeping fit and healthy pays off in the long run

Yeah yeah, exercise sucks. It hurts and it’s boring and you’d rather stay in bed, or do literally anything else for that matter. But consider this: staying fit and healthy by eating right and exercising regularly is a long-term investment.

It’s not going to ensure that you will definitely be 100% healthy for your entire retirement. However, regular exercise and healthy eating throughout your adult life will stave off a wide range of nutrition-related conditions. Remaining active and eating a balanced diet even as you transition out of the workforce will stand you in good stead to make the most out of your retirement. Ensure that you have the necessary health insurance.

3. Consider salary sacrificing to boost your super

If you’re super saving savvy and want to ensure that your money lasts long into your retirement, you can ask your employer about salary sacrificing. Salary sacrificing is “an arrangement between you and your employer where you pay for some items or services straight from your pre-tax salary.” The purpose of salary sacrificing is to reduce your taxable income, allowing you to boost your super fund.

Salary sacrificing for superannuation is a great way to put some extra cash into your retirement fund. Most employers will allow you to salary sacrifice into your super account, but check with yours just to make sure.

4. Decide on your ideal retirement lifestyle

As you get closer to retirement age, your thoughts will shift to what your retirement will look like. Some will want to keep their home base in the same place and wander abroad from time to time. Others might see retirement as an opportunity for a permanent change of scenery. Obviously what most of us would love is to be sipping drinks by the pool all day. However, that’s probably not going to be the reality. So, rather than setting yourself an unrealistic target, devise an ideal but achievable retirement plan. You can tailor it to your situation and finances.

Whatever you decide, it’s best to have an idea of what you want before you enter retirement. This will allow you to work out how much money you’ll need to sustain this lifestyle. Speaking of which…

5. Work out how much you’ll need to sustain your retirement plan

Once you’ve got an idea of what your retirement will look like, it’s time to plan how you’re going to make the ideal lifestyle of your twilight years a reality. This is why it’s important that your retirement plan is realistic. Trying to budget for something you clearly can’t afford is pointless, and will only cause you more stress.

As you get closer to retiring you’ll have a better idea of what your super fund will look like, how much time you have left in the workforce and what assets you will want to keep or sell. These can also contribute to the financial plan behind your ideal retirement lifestyle.

6. Transition into retirement

There is no definitive retirement age Australia, so people will exit the workforce at a variety of different times in their life. If they are in a secure enough financial position, most people will choose to retire once they reach their super ‘preservation’ age. This is the minimum age at which you can access your super fund. If you’re not sure of what your super ‘preservation’ age is, you can use the MoneySmart super and pension age calculator to find out.

At the end of the day, when you retire will depend on your own specific circumstances. If you are in a fortunate enough position to be able to dictate the terms of your retirement, it might be beneficial to wind back your work commitments rather than quitting cold turkey. Going from working to retirement is more like a slow fade than ripping off a band-aid.

This will benefit you in a number of ways. Financially speaking, you will still be earning a semi-consistent income as you scale back your hours, meaning that there’s less of a drain on your super fund. Your body will also thank you for the positive physical effects of slowly reducing the amount of time you spend at work. Psychologically, transitioning into retirement will help you to adjust to your new lifestyle. Going from seeing your co-workers on a full-time basis to having drastically less human contact can be a bit of a shock to the system.

If your situation allows it, making a steady transition from the workforce into retirement could be immensely beneficial.

7. Take advantage of entitlements

Just like the super ‘preservation’ age, your ability to access retirement pension payments will depend on your age, among other factors. The MoneySmart super and pension age calculator is your best friend for determining your eligibility on that front. Of course, there are other eligibility requirements that you must also fulfil.

If you reach your retirement pension age and find that you are eligible to receive some payments from Centrelink, don’t hesitate to claim! You’ve worked hard and it’s time to take advantage of all the benefits of retirement – that includes pension payments. If you’re eligible for retirement pension payments, you should claim as soon a possible.

8. Consider downsizing

As life goes on, your needs change, and so do your living requirements. By the time you reach retirement age, the size of your family will most likely have shrunk quite a bit. At one time you might have had a few kids and some pets running around the house, whereas now it could just be you and your partner. As you reach retirement age, it’s a great time to consider whether you need the extra space. If not, you can shop around for a new home that better suits your living situation.

If you choose to cash in on the family home and move into a more compact space, you could net yourself some sweet investment money. However, this will count towards your assets and could affect your age pension eligibility, so weigh up the pros and cons before making a decision.

9. Diversify your investments

Say that you’ve gone down the path of downsizing, and now you have some financial assets. You also have a wealth of options when it comes to what you do with that money. Do you put it in a savings account, dip your toe in the stock market or perhaps wade into the property game? These are just a few of the investment opportunities that become available once you’ve got a bit of cash in your back pocket.

Rather than putting all your eggs in one basket, it pays to put a bit of money into a few areas. In the investment world, this is known as diversification. If done strategically, you can maximise your profits and protect yourself from losing huge amounts of money if one investment doesn’t pan out.

Not sure exactly where you should invest your money to get the best returns? That’s why it pays to…

10. Get financial advice

Working out tax, super and retirement plans can be exhausting. It’s something that no one really wants to think about, which is why we procrastinate so much in the face of it. Even when we decide to face the problem head-on, we often take the view of getting through the process as quickly as possible rather than dealing with it thoroughly. When it comes to your super, retirement and investments, it pays to be informed. But, if you don’t know where to look for this information or don’t have the time, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Accessing financial advice will cost money, but it pays for itself in the weight that it takes off your shoulders. Find a financial advisor who you trust and takes your personal situation and finances as seriously as you do. Make sure you keep an open dialogue with them about the investments they recommend so that you’re aware of what’s going on, and keep your eye on how those assets are doing.

After all, this is your retirement we’re talking about. You want to make sure that it’s as stress-free as possible so you can enjoy every second of it! Maybe try enter a $250 cash prize contest?

If you’re in need of some extra funds, hit up your Personal Loan Pal!

Even if you plan out your retirement perfectly, you can still be caught out by sudden fees. If you’re caught out by any unexpected bills, you want fast finance that you can trust. But who do you know who can find that?

Well, now you know us, Personal Loan Pal! If you’re after a personal loan, we are the people you want on your side. Our specialty is finding quick cash loans for our clients. We can even find loans for pensioners and bad credit personal loans for those with a less than perfect credit score!

Searching for fast cash loans online by yourself can be confusing, tedious and time-consuming. Apply with Personal Loan Pal instead and let us put in the hard yards to find a loan that works for you!

How to beat work stress once and for all

work stress

You would struggle to find a single person of working age in Australia who hasn’t experienced work stress at some point. We’re now at the point where we seem to treat it as a joke rather than the serious problem that it is. We’ve convinced ourselves that feeling stressed at work is just part and parcel of having a job. But behind the laughs and jokes, the truth is that work stress is having an extremely detrimental effect on our mental health.

More than 7,200 Australian workers make claims as a result of work-related mental health conditions, accounting for 6% of overall compensation claims. Approximately one in five people admit to having taken time off work due to stress and mental health. However, some mental health professionals argue that the true figure is in fact much larger and that people are often embarrassed to admit that stress has overwhelmed them.

work stress

What are the signs of work stress?

The signs of work stress can manifest themselves in a multitude of ways. Heads Up, an organisation developed by the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance and beyondblue has created a list of the ways in which work-related stress might present itself. The more outwardly noticeable physical indicators include:

  • Chest pain or a pounding heart;
  • Fatigue;
  • Reduced interest in sex;
  • Nausea, diarrhoea or constipation;
  • Getting colds more often;
  • Muscle tension, pains and headaches;
  • Episodes of fast, shallow breathing and excessive sweating;
  • Loss or change of appetite;
  • Sleeping problems;

As well as these more noticeable signs, work stress can have a number of detrimental effects on your mental state. For this reason, they can be easier to dismiss as being the result of other things. Be on the lookout for:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or frustrated;
  • Feeling guilty or unhappy;
  • Being irritable;
  • Losing confidence and being indecisive;
  • Thinking negatively;
  • Having racing thoughts;
  • Memory problems;
  • Excessive worrying.

Having these thoughts or experiencing these sorts of emotions every once in a while is perfectly normal. After all, everyone has bad days. However, if you notice that you start to feel down for a prolonged period, then it’s time to make a change.

As well as having a negative effect on your quality of life, work stress can also be detrimental to your work. If you’re constantly worrying, chances are you’ll notice a significant drop in both your productivity and the quality of your output.

The best way to cut down on work stress is to identify and eliminate the factors that can influence it.

What are some of the causes of work stress?

Just like its symptoms, work stress can be caused by a number of different factors. Once again, we turn to Heads Up for a register of the possible sources of workplace stress.

  • Working long hours or overtime, working through breaks or taking work home;
  • Doing shift work;
  • Time pressure, working too hard or too fast, or unrealistic targets;
  • Having limited control over how you do your work;
  • Limited input into broader decisions by the business;
  • Not receiving enough support from supervisors, managers and/or co-workers;
  • Job insecurity;
  • High mental task demands, work that requires high-level decision making;
  • A lack of role clarity;
  • Poor communication;
  • Conflict with colleagues or managers;
  • Bullying;
  • Low levels of recognition and reward;
  • Work that is emotionally disturbing or requires high emotional involvement;
  • Poorly managed change, lack of organizational justice;
  • Discrimination – whether based on gender, ethnicity, race or sexuality.

Although this list encompasses a wide variety of stressful situations that can contribute to work stress, it’s not exhaustive. If something is causing you to feel stressed at work, even if it seems trivial, you should attempt to deal with it before it becomes a bigger problem.

So how should I deal with work stress?

The best way to go about dealing with stress at work will depend on the situation or issue that elicits these feelings. You can probably find a bunch of general tips if you search “how to deal with stress at work” online, but the specifics are circumstantial. So, that’s why we’ve decided to go through some of the most common causes of stress at work. The solutions we’ve come up with are easy to implement and can make a world of difference. Let’s get started!

Maintain your health

You’ve probably heard it from your doctor a thousand times before, but the importance of sleep, exercise and a balanced diet cannot be overstated. You’re probably aware that maintaining this will improve your physical state, but it can also have a profound impact on your mental health. Doctors recommend getting at least eight hours of sleep per night, and exercising for around between 30 minutes and one hour daily.

You don’t have to tell us that sometimes this is physically impossible. We totally understand.

However, there are some lifestyle changes that you can implement to at least gradually improve your habits. Think of it like climbing a mountain. It can be hard going, but each step brings you closer to the summit.

Start off with achievable goals, and be honest with yourself about the unhealthy habits that you can cut out of your life. Do you really need to drink a coke with your dinner, or could you just have water? Instead of watching TV every night before you go to bed, why not go to the gym a few times a week, or even work out at home? Wouldn’t you be better off going to bed a bit earlier, rather than staying up watching random YouTube videos?

Remember, even a little bit is better than nothing.

Use your commute to unwind

Whether you live close to work or have a long distance to cover, use this travel time as an opportunity to relax, but beware of secret costs. Thinking and fretting about all the things you have to do at work that day won’t help get them done, and will only result in even more stress at work. Instead, take the time to entertain yourself or even switch your brain off for a bit in preparation for the day ahead.

You can listen to music, an audiobook or a podcast while you’re commuting to take a little break from life. The options are almost endless! If you can find a way to relax during your travels, your brain and body will thank you for it later.

Avoid personal conflict

You would think that gossip and drama would have died out after high school, but apparently not. You will find in some workplaces that rumours and chit chat tend to spread. While it may be fine and even entertaining to engage in this in small doses, you don’t want to get too involved. Before you know it, you might find yourself at the centre of a needlessly dramatic situation that you don’t want to be a part of it.

To limit the possibility of any further work stress, it’s better to avoid too much gossip. You should, of course, feel free to talk with your colleagues. However, if the conversation shifts to a topic that you’re not sure of or comfortable talking about, then quietly excuse yourself and move on to something else.

Make sure your workspace is comfortable

You might not realise it, but something as small as an uncomfortable chair can affect how you think about work.

That might sound ridiculous, but hear us out.

Imagine this: You wake up on a workday, get yourself ready and leave your house. Chances are you’d already rather be at home than going to work, or just about anywhere else for that matter. You finally arrive and sink down into your awful chair. The backrest gives you no support, there are no armrests and it feels like there are nails poking up just below the seat cover. This is all you’ll be able to think about for the rest of your shift.

Obviously this is specific to an office-type work environment, but anything in your workspace that irritates or distracts you can cause unnecessary work stress. If you’re going to be at work, you might as well be as comfortable as possible.

Separate your lunch breaks from your work time

Just like your commute, you should treat your lunch break as you-time. Whether it’s an hour or half an hour, use this time to disconnect from your daily tasks. It might be beneficial to leave your place of work during this time as well. Go for a walk to a nice spot and eat your clean lunch in peace. Even that small period of recuperation can boost your mood for the rest of the day.

Stay organised and don’t put too much pressure on yourself

Demanding too much from yourself is a sure fire way to allow work stress to overwhelm you. It’s extremely important to be honest about your abilities and the time that it will take to complete certain tasks. Make sure that you’re organised so that you don’t have to spend too much time getting your bearings, and take the time to do each task as well as you can. There’s no point rushing and doing a dodgy job which you’ll have to fix up later, as that will only cause further stress.

Establish some clear work-life boundaries

With the current state of technology, more and more people are taking their work home with them. Having email alerts on your phone means that you are constantly notified when someone needs something from you.

There might be an expectation in your line of work to respond to these no matter where you are or what time it is. However, your job should not encroach on your life outside of work. If you are able to, switch off these notifications on your devices and make it clear that you will not be dealing with these matters outside of work hours. There will no doubt be some exceptions from time to time, but it’s important to not let this become a trend. You deserve to have your own life, free of interruptions from work!

Raise any issues with your boss and/or co-workers

If you can’t reduce your work stress through your own actions, never be afraid to ask others for help. Issues with fellow staff, your workload or the overall workplace environment are serious concerns and should be taken to either your supervisor or HR representative(s). If they are doing their jobs correctly, they will hear you out and help to find solutions to the problems that you’re having.

Consider taking mental health leave or seeking compensation

Feel like you need a break as a result of work stress? Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed; many people experience the same feelings. Safe Work Australia states that work-related stress has been linked with high levels of:

  • Unplanned absences including sick leave;
  • Staff turnover;
  • Withdrawal and presenteeism;
  • Poor work and poor product.

If your job is causing you such stress that it is proving detrimental to both your health and work, then leave and/or compensation might be an avenue worth exploring. You can find out more on the Fair Work website’s sections regarding leave advice and workers’ compensation

If all else fails, seek better working conditions

At the end of the day, a job simply isn’t worth it if it’s negatively impacting your health. If you’ve done all you can but you’re still suffering, then it might be time to quit and look for work elsewhere. Besides, if you bring up your concerns with your boss and co-workers and they fail to take you seriously, that’s not a workplace you want to be a part of. Unfortunately, not everyone is in a position where they can simply leave their job.

Finding a new job can be a bit of a lottery. However, if your current position is causing you so much stress that it’s affecting your health, and there seems to be no end in sight, then handing in your resignation might be the best option. A new start could be just what you need.

Work stress isn’t the only issue that Australians face

Unfortunately, pressure and feelings of anxiety can crop up as a result of many different things. Apart from work stress, you might also find yourself having to deal with financial stress from time to time. Just like this blog post has (hopefully) helped you to deal with work stress, Personal Loan Pal can help to find an affordable loan for you!

We understand how costs can spring out of nowhere and hit you all at once. Not only that, but we know better than anyone that time is of the essence. That’s why we find quick cash loans, fast cash loans, cash loans faster than the speed of light, or on the spot loans! We make finding easy loans… well, easy! Not only that, but you can even apply for a loan through us if you’ve recently received a Centrelink cash advance. If there’s a personal loan out there that works for you, then Personal Loan Pal will find it. To take some stress off your plate, apply today!

Superannuation and Retirement: Find out how to live your best life

superannuation

That feeling of bliss when payday is upon us. Ah, it’s a beautiful feeling. When your bank account chokes back into life and you are free to spend a few extra dollars on a fancy coffee. The illusion, however, is somewhat shattered when we glace over our payslip and notice tax contributions. Then, there’s superannuation. At the bottom of your payslip, you may have noticed a small sum of money and think “where has that money gone?” Well, it’s going into hibernation for your future!

Whether the future is far away or frighteningly close, it’s important to understand superannuation and how it works. So, let’s dive into superannuation and find out how it’ll really help your future.

Close up: Superannuation

What is superannuation?

The most befitting (and cutest) analogy to explain why we have super and how it works is by looking at bears. Over the span of autumn, summer and spring bears gather supplies and food for the winter hibernation, where they enjoy a nice dose of sleep and relaxation. Sound familiar? Superannuation is essentially us gathering food for the winter (retirement).

The winter of our lives (many would call the golden years), is a time to relax after 40 years of hard work. For rejuvenation and epic holiday naps. However, for all these perks, much like the bears, we do need a hefty nest egg of moolah to equal a stress-free hibernation.

So, taking bears out the picture, superannuation is essentially an effective way to save for your retirement. It’s a pool of money you cannot dive into until you’ve hit that sweet retirement age. Lucky for us Australians, our employers are legally required to contribute to our super. We can also make are our contributions to our little nest egg if you’re feeling generous towards your future self.

How does superannuation work?

Essentially your employer contributes to your superannuation every paycheck. Legally your employer must pay superannuation as part of your salary. The laws guarantee that your employer will contribute 9.5% of your earnings into your superannuation. If you’re a low-income earner (if you earn less than $37,000), then the government will also contribute an extra 15% of your income per year.

How to contribute to your superannuation

Of course, your employer’s contributions are the minimum requirement for superannuation. Don’t be afraid to chuck a couple of bucks in your fund for your future self. After all, getting older doesn’t mean you won’t want to treat yourself! Here are a few ways you can personally contribute to your superannuation:

  • Salary sacrificing: If you wish to salary sacrifice for superannuation, then your employer will direct some of your pre-tax income into super. From one loanpal to another doing this will also save you tax come tax return time!
  • Personal contributions from your income: You can also ask your employer to contribute a portion of your post-tax income into your superannuation
  • Straight from the bank: If you love to save then superannuation is the ultimate prize. If you feel like your savings account is looking healthy, then why not transfer some of the future savings?

What’s the role of your employment in super?

As mentioned above, your employer is required to contribute The Superannuation Rate Guarantee (9.5% of your income) to superannuation. Precisely when your super is paid depends on the employer. They are required to at least make contributions quarterly. However, they may make the contributions every pay. You must be paid superannuation no matter what contract you have. Whether you’re working as a casual, part-time, or full-time employee, or a contractor, you are entitled to super. Even temporary residents are entitled to superannuation payments in Australia.

Self-employment and superannuation

If you’re self-employed you have no legal requirement to pay yourself super. However, it’s obviously essential for your retirement. If you need some motivation to contribute to your future self, then, good news, because self-employed superannuation contributions are tax deductible!

What to look for in a good super fund?

Now, we know why we need superannuation and how it works, however, much like bears, we have many caves to choose from when it comes to storing food. For bears, they know exactly what to look for when they choose a cave. It should feel safe for the bears and the food. Same goes for us humans for superannuation. You want a fund that keeps your future money safe and protects your current finances. A trope many Australians conform to when choosing a superannuation fund is paying too much in fees. Apart from low fees, there are plenty of other good things to look for in a superfund:

Things to compare when searching for a superfund

  • Fees: the lower fees the better. You don’t want to waste too much retirement holiday moolah on storage fees. Even the slightest difference in fees can eat into your grey-hair-wandering funds
  • Extra benefits: For certain superfunds, your employer may volunteer more than 9.5% to contribute to your superannuation
  • Performance: Select a fund that has seen regular returns in the last 5 years. Look for solid consistency, not necessarily the best performer from the previous year
  • Insurance: Some people opt for insurance with their superannuation. Some super funds offer life insurance, total & permanent disability insurance (TPD) and income protection insurance. If you’re interested in taking out insurance with your superannuation fund, then perhaps consider a fund that offers cover that works for you
  • Service: Do they offer everything you’re looking for in your super fund? Your superannuation is your money, so you need to find a fund that works for your needs.

Loanpal tip: To help guide your senses towards the right superannuation fund, devise a checklist of all the things you are looking for in your super fund.

When it comes to searching for the right superannuation fund there are many options to explore. Like most things, the internet has made superfund searching easy. There are several sites that offer tools to compare super funds, such as Canstar.

Industry super funds

When mulling over superannuation funds, also consider an Industry Superfund. We’ve all seen the ads, encouraging us to be part of a superfund that understands your industry. Industry Super Funds is the largest collections of funds in Australia, with 5 million workers already opting for one of their funds. In some cases, your employer may already have a default super fund in mind. If that’s the case, check if it’s relevant to your industry. Industry relevant superannuation funds are a great option if you’re looking for a fund catered to your needs.

Here are a few major funds in the Industry Super Funds group that cater to a variety of industries:

  • Australian Super: Largest superfund in Australia, works for a wide variety of industries
  • Cbus: Perfect for workers in building construction and related industries
  • Hesta: Dedicated to employees in health and community services
  • Hostplus: Perfect for young workers in short-term jobs, such as hospitality and retail
  • Media Super: Long history working with the media industry, including print, digital, entertainment and arts
  • Maritime Super: Perfect for employees in the maritime industry
  • Legal Super: Dedicated to helping employees in the legal industry
  • REI Super: Perfect for employees working in the real estate industry and other related industries

So, as you can see there are plenty of options for your superannuation fund. Research and choose carefully, you don’t want to put your food in the wrong cave!

How the market affects your super fund

To understand your superannuation, keeping up with the volatile market is important. It may seem a little foreign to anyone who doesn’t work on the stock market. However, the market can affect the state of your super fund. If you see your super fund drop a little, don’t panic! Your superannuation is a long-term investment and it will most likely perform well in some years and fall in others. That is the fate of our capitalistic market, so, keep track of the market to avoid unnecessary panic attacks.

What about the government pension?

In Australia, the government provides us with a government pension on top of our superannuation. On average, a pensioner may receive around $410 a fortnight as single and $310 each for a couple. This may be enough to survive, but certainly not enough to thrive. That’s where planning for your retirement and superannuation comes in handy to give your retirement the star treatment it deserves.

How super do you need to retire?

On average retirement lasts 25 years – that’s over half of your work life! That means you need a lot of moolah to sustain a comfortable lifestyle. However, before you enter your golden years, it’s important to decide what you define as comfortable. It’s best to begin planning what you want from your retirement. It’s time for a vision board! A physical or digital one will do and begin visualizing what you want from your retirement. Ask yourself,

“What do I want from my retirement?”

Do you want to travel the world? Monkey about with your grandkids? Or invest your time in a much-loved hobby? The sky’s the limit, however, you need to find the right funds to reach that limit.

The Super Guide has calculated the ideal retirement package for anyone looking for a comfortable lifestyle. If you’re a couple you can expect to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with an annual income of $60,457 with a superannuation sum of $620,000. In addition, add a lump sum from your age pension and you and your partner are ready for a comfy retirement.

If you’re livin’ it up as a single you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle if you generate an annual income of $44,011 with a superannuation sum of $590,000 in conjunction with an age pension.

Of course, you know you best, so decide what necessities you need to survive the next 25 years and work that into your superannuation contributions.
If your dream retirement is just out of reach, why not consider easy loans to get you cruising around the Caribbean.

Let’s be Pals

Unlike bears, we don’t sleep through our retirement – we have to live and live well! So, keep reminding yourself to treat yo’ future self. You’ll thank yourself one day!
When it comes to financing, we can find the right lender that works for you, so get in touch today! We are 100% online, so we’re always there to help you on your loan journey. Simply hop onto our website and send us a quick message and our loan finding specialists will get back to you.

Want more of Personal Loan Pal? Great! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and also keep up to date with the latest personal finance and lifestyle trends via our blog.

Have A Case of Bad Credit? Learn The Best Remedies To Improve Your Credit Score

credit score

Measuring the quality of products and services is something is that deeply entrenched in today’s thinking. We measure and draw conclusions from our income, jobs, homes, cars etc. Well, the same goes for borrowing and how you handle your finances. A credit score measures and displays how you handle your finances.

Your credit score is a very powerful ally when it comes to your borrowing a few bucks (or quite a few bucks). A credit score is a metric in which a lender will judge whether you’re eligible for a personal loan, home loan or car loan. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to maintain a good score, to make borrowing easy and hassle-free. However, life doesn’t always go to plan and sometimes our finances can go off track. A bad credit isn’t a death sentence, you can always rebuild for a better financial future. So, let’s divine into the world of credit score and see how to rebuild one when things to south.

What is a credit score and who looks at it?

A credit score essentially represents your reputation to a financial lender. Without a credit score, they wouldn’t know your past financial history and how you handle your financial commitments. Furthermore, it’s really important to keep your score squeaky clean. Typically, the health of your score will affect how much moolah you can borrow from a lender.

A credit score is rated in between a calculated range that ultimately demonstrates your ability to keep financial obligations and repay the credit. When you’re applying for any type of credit, including a personal loan, or credit card, the lender will include your credit score as part of the assessment. The state of your credit will affect whether or not you are approved for a personal loan or credit card.

Calculating a credit score

Your credit score is akin to a school GPA. It simply calculates how your finances fair compare to others. Lenders will typically assign different interest rates depending on the quality of your credit score. Furthermore, if you have a poor score, they will deem you a risky investment and will increase your interest rates. Therefore, keeping your credit score healthy will save you money in the long run. Make sure you know the relationship between your credit cards and your credit score.

The most widely sourced score is calculated by FICO and ranges from 300 to 850. 850 is the top (virtually unattainable) score and 300 is considered a bad credit score. The slightest change in your credit score (even by 10 points) will affect the interest rates you are offered by a lender.

In general, any score over 740 is excellent and will give you the best interest rates. If your score is below 660 then it’s like you’ll be offered poor rates compared to other customers.

To calculate a credit score, FICO examines your credit report. A credit report is a document containing all the information of your past financial interactions. Your credit score is made of different facets and each is weighted differently. Here’s a breakdown of how FICO calculates your credit score:

  • 35% payment history
  • 30% amount owed
  • 15% length of history
  • 10% new credit
  • 10% types of credit used

And the greatest of these is…payment history. Payment history largely dictates the result of your credit score. Payment history is a record of whether you’ve paid your bills on time. So, when you’re looking to improve your credit score, repaying your loans on time is a key factor. More on that later on.

Payment history may be the heavyweight, however, FICO examines all the listed components of your finances and calculates them into a credit score.

A Bad Credit Score

Having a good credit score is extremely beneficial when it comes to borrowing credit. Therefore, when you have a bad credit score it can significantly damage your ability to borrow credit and also incur higher interest fees. There are many contributing factors that could hurt your credit score. Here’s a list of top culprits that can topple your credit score (so, keep an eye out!):

  1. Late repayments

    If you are late to pay any of your loan or credit card repayments, it can heavily affect your credit score. Furthermore, it’s vital to stay on top of all your repayments and to not commit to a loan you cannot repay.

  2. Top tip: To avoid late payments, always make sure you have your repayment funds in a separate account to eliminate the temptation to spend.

  3. Loan Defaults

    Loan defaults are just as detrimental to your credit score as late repayments. Defaulting on your loan demonstrates a lacking in financial stability and will generally incur higher interest fees.

  4. Having an account charged off/sent to collections

    If your lender has reason to believe you’re not going to repay your loan, they will charge off your account. Sometimes they might send your account to collections. Lenders often use third-party debt collectors to collect payment from you. Both of these actions deeply affect the health of credit score.

  5. Filing for bankruptcy

    Bankruptcy is the last resort for most people after they have exhausted all other options. Before filing for bankruptcy, it’s a good idea to seek alternatives, such as debt consolidation.

  6. Receiving a judgement

    If a case of late repayments involves the court, then you’ll receive a judgement. It’s important to pay your judgement, as an unpaid judgment will further worsen your credit score.

  7. High credit card balances

    Your level of debt is extremely important when it comes to calculating a credit score. Level of debt is measured by credit utilization, having a high credit utilization decreases your credit score.

  8. Closing credit cards that still have remaining balances

    Stopping a credit card that still has a remaining balance could imply that the credit card maxed out, causing your credit score to drop.

  9. Closing old credit cards

    The length of your credit card history makes 15% of your score, so, it’s important to keep all your credit on the report. Closing old credit cards implies that your credit history is shorter than it really is.

  10. Applying for credit cards and loans in bulk

    Credit inquiries only account for 10% of your credit score, however, it’s an easy 10% to maintain. Simply limit your loan and credit card applications. So, shop around for the best personal loan for you before applying (having trouble finding a loan? That’s where we come in!).

  11. Only having one type of credit on your history

    Only applying for one type of your credit will look poor on your credit history. Diversity in credit accounts for 10% of your credit score, so keep an eye on the type of credit you apply for.

How does bad credit affect you?

Unfortunately, having bad credit does affect how lenders see you when you apply for a loan or credit card. Typically, an applicant with poor credit is viewed as a riskier investment. With sufficient evidence that you’ve struggled with repayment or finance in the past, it may be hard to be approved for new credit.

When you apply for credit with bad credit, you’ll likely to (unfortunately) encounter a sea of rejections and extra costs. You’re also likely to run into problems with renting apartments. Some landlords may not approve your application due to poor credit history or simply demand a higher security deposit. If you’re looking to rent, see how to rent with bad credit.

Other essential expenses that may increase with bad credit is insurance premiums, car loans, utilities, cell phone contract. So, if you have a poor score, account for the potential increase in these expenses in your budget.

From this testimony, you may be thinking that bad credit is a death sentence. Well, it’s not. Life happens and the most important thing to pick yourself up when you’re down.

So, dust yourself off and listen to this!

The power of the internet has forged a path for a generation of money lending online sites that are more lenient than traditional lenders. We are one of them! We find you the loan that is suitable for your financial circumstances. So, whether it’s bad credit or you’re receiving Centrelink payments, we would love to help!

How to improve your credit score

We told you there was light at the end of the tunnel! When there’s a problem, there is always a solution. You simply have to find it. So, to help you on your credit score cleanse here are some top tips on how to improve your credit score.

Admitting and seeing that there is a problem is the first step to solving it. The second step is to start paying your bills on time. It may seem obvious, however, it’s the most important step to start repairing your credit score. 35% of your score accounts for payment history, so it’s a vital makeup of your score.

Other remedies that can rebuild your credit score include:

  • Not applying for new credit: Focus on repaying your old credit on time. Set up goals, charts and rewards for when you make repayments on time.
    Paying off any outstanding loans and debts: Again, focus on repaying your old debt on time. Set a goal on your calendar to be debt free and count down the days until the celebration can begin!

  • Keep credit card balance low: Refrain from borrowing more money on your credit card. Credit card debt can be like a cotton wash cycle that never ends.

  • Keep your debt-to-credit ratio balanced: For example, if your credit card has $2,000 limit and your credit card balance is $300, then 15% debt-to-credit ratio. Furthermore, if you tend to spend a similar amount of your credit card month-to-month consider applying for a card with a higher limit to lower your ratio.

  • Diversify your credit: If your credit history was a movie it should look like Hidden Figures; inclusive of all types of credit!

Personal Loan Pal and bad credit personal loans

At Personal Loan Pal we believe that you don’t plan emergencies, that’s why you need a quick Plan B that will see you through a tough time. We will pair with you a lender that is suitable for your financial needs. Someone who can understand the situation and help get your finances back on track. Bad credit personal loans are a variable option when you have bad credit and need a tiny boost in your funds.

Let’s be Pals!

We are 100% online, so, unfortunately, we can’t be there in person, however, we’d love to help you on your loan journey.

Have questions about our loan service or about bad credit personal loans? Simply hop onto our website and send us a quick message and our loan finding specialists will get back to you.

Want more of Personal Loan Pal? Great! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and also keep up to date with the latest personal finance and lifestyle trends via our blog.

Private health insurance: Is it worth it?

private health insurance

The question of whether to get private healthcare insurance is something that Australians debate often. Even one of Australia’s largest private health insurance companies, Medibank, are asking Australia the same question. Is private health insurance better? Their latest ad campaign asks the question “who is private health insurance right for?” The ad tackles a variety of issues for and against private health insurance. Sayings like,

“I don’t need health insurance. I’m fit as a fiddle.”

“Good to know the public health system is always there.”

“Health insurance is quick – if you need it now you can get it now.”

Every Australian has their own reason for either taking out private health or forgoing the expense – and it is a notable expense. So, let’s dive into private health insurance, what is it and why it’s worth considering, and does cheap health cover Australia exist?

Firstly, let’s look at the types of hospital costs

As you can imagine when you delve into hospital costs, there is plenty you don’t think about, which is why many opt for private hospital health insurance. Unfortunately for us, staying healthy can sometimes be a costly experience (whether you have health insurance or not).

Here’s a list of costs you might encounter at the hospital:

  • Intensive care
  • The difference between the doctor’s fee and Medicare payment (that’s where private health insurance comes in)
  • Hospital accommodation (some surgeries require patients to remain in the hospital for several days)
  • Operating theatre fees (doesn’t involve films or popcorn)
  • Blood tests, x-rays, or CT scans
  • Any required medication
  • Extra doctors’ fees (cause doctors don’t get paid enough)

If you are treated in an emergency unit in a private hospital (without insurance) you may be required to pay more as this unit is not covered by Medicare.

Private health insurance: basic facts

What does Private Health Insurance cover?

The flexibility of choice is the main argument for private health. Opting for private health means you’ll have access to private facilities. For example, if you’re a private patient at a private hospital, you’ll have a choice of hospital and doctor. However, if you’re a public patient at a public hospital you are limited to public hospitals (or suffer the terrifying costs) and have no choice in a doctor.

In therapy, private health insurance should cover that extra 25% of MBS for associated medical costs. Never heard of MBS? Well, it stands for the Medicare Benefits Schedule. Medicare will cover 75% of the MBS fee, and the patient pays the remaining gap. Furthermore, private health insurance should cover over 25%, depending on which cover you choose.

This last sentence is key. When it comes to private health insurance, it all hangs on how much you pay. The variety of plans that cover everything from the basic emergency hospital cover to nerve treatment (or other terrifying surgery you can think of).

Some private health insurance providers can offer the age private health insurance, so essentially health plans that are age-appropriate.

What is the best private health cover for singles?

So, let’s imagine your a single private health patient in a private hospital and you’re selected the base level of private health insurance cover. Your plan would most likely cover:

  • Ambulance services
  • In-hospital medical services
  • Overnight accommodation in private hospital or shared room in public
  • Same-day admission
  • Intensive care
  • Theatre fees
  • The minimum benefit for surgical implant prostheses included on the Australian Government Prostheses List (benefits for prostheses depend on what you require)

Now, to look at surgeries that are included in most basic plans:

  • Appendicitis
  • Rehabilitation services (only partially some plans)
  • Accidents sustained after joining
  • Removal of tonsils and adenoids
  • Wisdom teeth
  • A hernia
  • Palliative care (only partially some plans)
  • Spinal fusion
  • Colonoscopies
  • Pregnancy and birth related services

Note: This list was compiled from looking at Bupa, ahm and Medibank and the services they cover on their basic plans. It is not a complete list of surgeries that each company covers.

Top Australian Health Insurance Providers

In case you don’t watch TV, go on the internet or commute on a train, let’s take a look at private health insurance comparison to help find what suits you best:

Medibank: known for adding value to standard packages

Bupa: known for value packs, such as optional pharmacy saver

Ahm: “the cheap one.” Offers $200 off hospital plans for couples and families until 30 April

HCF: known for My Health Guardian chronic condition program

Australian Unity: known for granting freedom to tex mex for your hospital covers

Teachers Health: known for developing new programs that provide more cover

Defence Health: known for providing discounts on glasses (common though, in the field of private health). Strictly for the defence community.

CBHS: known for access to their Best Doctors network

Nib: known for offering a 30-day guarantee to new customers. You can cancel your plan within 30 days without losing your premiums

HBF: known for flexi-options that give you the freedom to update your cover

What are the benefits of private health insurance Australia?

Gap cover

You may be thinking, “Medicare covers 75% of my medical costs, so why private health insurance?” Well, depending on the surgery or procedure that 25% gap can seem like an abyss of endless payments. So, that’s when private health insurance gap cover.

Gap payments are the outstanding amount of what a hospital or specialist charges and what Medicare covers. Depending on your level of private health cover and costs, your private health may not completely cover your gap.

Gap cover is when your private health insurance provider has an agreement with the hospital or doctor to cover out-of-pocket expenses. When you’re on the hunt for a private health provider, look at gap cover and see what plans provide it. It can certainly help to reduce hefty expenses if you have any specialist appointments you’re GP urges you to book.

Avoid hideously long hospital waiting lists

When you require scheduled surgery, private health insurance no waiting period comes in handy. Scheduled surgery or elective surgery is a surgery that is not particularly urgent. It can include anything from cataract removal to joint replacements or appendix removal.

In the public health system, the waiting list for elective surgeries can be long and gruelling. Some surgery lists are years long. However, the average waiting list length in 2016-27 was 38 days. So, the waiting period and whether it’s worth taking out private health insurance would depend on the surgery required.

Another aspect of the public health system is priority patient order. Priority patient order gives priority to urgent cases in the public system. Therefore, you can have surgery scheduled months in advance, yet, if another patient needs surgery urgently, your surgery may be pushed back.

So, you guessed it, health insurance eliminates the priority patient order. You’ll be granted a surgery time and date with the doctor and hospital of your choice.

Luxury hospital accommodation (a.k.a you have access to a private room)

Being covered by private health insurance also entitled to the 5-star hospital experience. Well, actually just a private room (you can’t expect too much for a hospital). If you opt for the public health system, you’ll often have several roommates while you’re recovering.

Dental cover

Living in the public health system will give you GP visits, surgery at a public hospital and discount medications, however, for the dental care you still pay the big bucks. A dentist is considered a specialist and isn’t covered by Medicare. Even the most basic treatments like a checkup or clean are very expensive. There are state-run public dental clinics available, however, they are typically for pension or concession cardholders. In addition, paying for private health will save the stress of saving your hard own moolah for a dentist appointment.

Selecting your doctor or surgeon

When your doctor delivers the bad omen; you need surgery, you have the freedom with private health insurance to find and select your own health insurance. Having your surgery in the public system means the doctor on duty will perform your operation.

Avoid Medicare levy Surcharge

Now, despite how to may seem, the public health system isn’t free. We pay for through tax and higher-income earners contribute more through the Medicare levy surcharge. If your income is $90,00 a year single or $180,000 as a couple you may pay an extra 1% surcharge on your income. That equals about $900, and, in addition, if your income is higher the surcharge increases to 1.25% and 1.5%.

The levy was introduced to tempt higher-income earners to health insurance to take the pressure off the public health system. So, any private health insurance hospital plan with an excess of $500 or less for single, or $1000 or less for couples is the ticket to escaping the pesky levy charge.

The costs of health insurance

Like all forms of insurance, private health is a balancing act. A weigh up between risk and cost.

When you’re applying for health insurance, you’ll be quoted different rates, depending on whether your a single, couple, family or a single-parent family.

So, when it comes to health costs, it’s important to know what you have to pay.

When you have to undergo treatment at a hospital, there are three questions to ask in regards to costs. Here are three essential questions to ask your doctor or hospital staff:

  1. Does my health insurance cover this treatment?
  2. Are there any waiting periods, exclusions or minimum benefits on my health insurance policy?
  3. Do I need to pay any excess or co-payment?

Avoid unexpected medical costs by knowing what you’re in for.

So, know your plan.

Therefore, understand exactly what your private health covers and how much extra you are required to pay. If you do find yourself with an overly steep medical receipt, take a look at our medical loans to help carry the burden.

Who does health insurance work for?

The athlete

If your weekends are overrun with rugby games and gym, then perhaps consider private health insurance. Some private health insurance plans cover physio appointments and also any surgery you may require.

When you’re Mental Health is struggling

Who doesn’t fall into this category?! One in five Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental health illness in any year. Most of these illnesses being depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. Under Medicare, everyone has access to 10 sessions with a psychologist. However, for higher-level care, private health insurance can help to combat extra costs.

Specialists junkies

If you can’t get enough of chiropractic appointments and specialist massages, then consider health insurance. Of course, it’s best to punch the numbers and calculate how much you spend on appointments compared to the cost of private health insurance premiums.

The Sugar Obsessed

If you can’t stop snacking on sweets, consider health insurance, as dental appointments will cost you on average $288. So, if you find yourself with regular trips to the dentist, perhaps consider paying that money into private health insurance and receive more benefits!

Addicted to the latest specs

Need to wear glasses and love having the latest look? Well, health insurance may be right for you! Most private health insurance Australia plans cover eye appointments and contribute money towards a new pair of trendy specs.

Taking a look at Public Health

Approximately 45% of Australians don’t have public health. So you’re not alone if you’re thinking, you don’t need it. With our excellent public health system, we can see a GP, have surgery in a public hospital, or buy PBS medications. The system covers the basic medical expenses that an average, relatively healthy person requires. Check out benefits that can be claimed for childcare.

Already decided on Private Health? Here’s how to compare plans

Furthermore, there are different services that provide private health insurance comparison. Here’s a handy list of services if you’re looking to check out private health costs:

iSelect

Canstar

Compare the Market

Finder.com

Different private health insurance funds offer different types of cover, so shop around to suit your needs, before buying.

Ensure that if you’re struggling with financial hardship that you choose the correct loan provider.

So, that’s the complete lowdown on private health insurance. When all is said and done it comes down to how much you spend on your health and whether having private health insurance will save you money.

If you find yourself in a sticky situation with medicals and you’re not covered, chat to us and apply for a fast loan for a quick fix.

A Personal Loan And Budgeting For Dream Holiday

personal loan

Are you sitting at your desk right now, reading this article and thinking to yourself, “Man I wish I could be on holiday somewhere”. We’ve all had those daydreams! Sometimes when it seems like the day is dragging and your workload is never getting smaller and all you really want to be doing is sitting on a beach somewhere, sipping a cocktail. Well, here are some nifty travel tips that won’t break your bank account, so you can enjoy a lovely holiday and a much-needed break. And don’t forget to budget for the possibility of a personal loan!

Start saving!

Begin your travel plans with a savings budget. Whether it is $5 or $500 put it away in a saving account, every little bit counts and helps towards paying for a holiday. Taking out a personal loan can also help to boost your funds, especially if you need a holiday asap.

Of course, when you’re saving, it can be easy to take a dive into your savings for the latest smartphone or a new car. So, keep your goals in mind, remember the reward for all your hard-earned savings.

A great way to make sure you don’t dip into your holiday savings account is to open up a bank account that is just for your next trip. Calculate how much you can afford to save and pay that into your holiday savings account every payday. Saving for a holiday is never a priority unless you make it one.

Be a meticulous planner, it saves you money!

So, you have decided on an oasis getaway, now you need to plan, plan, plan! Searching for the cheapest plane ticket is made easy with apps like Skyscanner. Even with time-saving apps, plan fares can still be steep and drain your spending money. So, consider a personal loan simply for your airfares. Then, you’ll have more moolah to spend on cocktails and fine food!

Another top saver trick is to get down on the ground and do your research. An easy, free tool is Google Street view! It’s an amazing way of planning a holiday.

Google street view will help you save money in that you can work out how far away the various attractions are from where you are staying and if you can walk there or if you will have to pay for transport. It is also advisable to check out various specials happening in the area, is there a restaurant that offers a discount on a certain day? Or is there a buy on get on free option happening? These are all things that will help you make the most of our your hard earned savings. And making your money work hard for you.

You can never have too many vision boards

Vision boards are the embodiment of future exciting endeavours. They will become your sole motivation for saving for a holiday you are yet to experience. You can either opt for a physical vision board, all you need is a cork board, some pins and some amazing photos of your destination. With the blessing of the internet, we now have Pinterest, where you can design virtual vision boards.

Your dream holiday is not out of reach with a personal loan

Personal loans are your ticket for any sticky financial situation. You may be deciding to take a holiday for any reason. Maybe you need an escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life? Or you’re daughter has decided to have her wedding in Greece? Whatever the reason, a personal loan can be the wind beneath your wings!

Another thing to look into is if your holiday is ATOL protected. ATOL is a scheme that is operated by the Civil Aviation Authority whereby if you book a holiday package that includes your plane tickets then the money you spent on that holiday is protected by the ATOL scheme. Do some proper research on ATOL, it can really save you and make you feel like you can holiday in peace.

Treat yo self!

Overseas trips don’t come around often (if they do, lucky you), so when you are on holiday the whole point is to treat yo self! Budget for the things you know you need and want to do if you plan on spending your days in the spa getting unlimited massages find out if there are packages deals that you can buy, as they are usually cheaper.

Booking all-inclusive packages at resorts is also a great way to save money, that way you can eat and drink all you want and hey, don’t forget you can take out a small loan to pay for all those sneaky cocktails at the end of your holiday!

Consider an indirect flight

Flying direct is obviously preferable, however, sometimes 5-hour layovers are the price we pay for an amazing getaway. And hey, you can check another country/city of your travel list (airports count!). Indirect flights do tend to be much cheaper than direct flights, so they are an easy option for budget travellers, or if you simply rather spend your savings on sipping cocktails or on a city tour.

Treating friends and family back home

Bringing home something from your destination for your loved ones is a lovely thing to do, but don’t fall for the tourist traps. When buying gifts to take home, chat with the locals. Locals will know the best spots to acquire unique gifts that really speak to the destination you are visiting.

The perks of going to local spots, removed from the beaten tourist traps, is gifts will usually be cheaper and will be unique to the destination.

Being able to travel does not need to be a luxury afforded to the super wealthy. If you plan well, do your research and make smart choices you can have the holiday of your dreams and it can all be within your budget.

So now the question is, when are you going to start saving for a holiday, and where are you going to go? That’s the easy bit!

We would love to hear about your holiday tips, let us know if you have any more to add to this list.

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Save on a budget! How to make your monthly income work for you!

save on a budget

Not all of us are born with huge trust funds like Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton. Sadly, some of us (most of us) have to work very hard and at first, for very little. The most responsible of us will start saving from very early on, and work out very quickly how to make your money work for you, because really anything and everything is possible, even being able to save on a budget.

There is no sexy way to talk about saving. Saving doesn’t seem like a sexy thing, but you know what is great about saving? Security, saving now will come in handy in the future and we think that is sexy. But how does one, and especially how does someone save on a very tight budget? When funds are few and you are living from pay cheque to pay cheque, putting money aside for a rainy day doesn’t seem like it’s something that is feasible.

We put together a few small tips and tricks that really help when trying to save on a budget, but remember the biggest tip of them all is that you should only be saving what you can afford, whether that is $1 or $10 000 every little bit counts and it all adds up.

Here are some tips to save on a budget:

Workout your monthly income

Knowing how much you are earning is important – make sure you’re looking at all incomes and removing tax! Make sure you are not overextending yourself and will allow you to be able to make decisions and choices that will allow you to stay within your budget. Knowing exactly how much money is coming into your account is important if you want to be able to live a life where you can enjoy things, splash out a little bit and have some fun whilst still being able to save on a budget.

Work out your expenses

If you know how much you are earning, the next most important thing to know when trying to save on a budget is how much your expenses are. If your expenses are less than your income then you are lucky and you can afford to save right from the start, if your expenses are more than your income then you need to start making some changes.

There are two types of expenses

Necessities

Food and housing are necessities, these are expenses that are non-negotiable and have to be accounted for. Look at your necessary expense and see where possible you may be spending too much money, if you are shopping at luxury grocery stores and living in a high-end suburb there are simple changes that you can make like changing grocery stores, only buying items on your shopping list, or moving to a different area. Even your most necessary expenses could be excessive and looking at them properly with a “savings lense” on will really allow you to see where you are overspending and how to can fix that, so you can still save on a budget.

Luxuries

Luxury expenses are items that you like and bring you great joy but you can do without. Luxuries are things like going out for dinner, buying a chocolate at the grocery store and getting your hair highlighted. There are all “nice to haves” and nice to haves will not make or break your life if you go without them for a while in order to stick to a budget. Making little sacrifices with your luxuries is just one of the things you can do to be able to save on budget.

What’s coming in and going out?

If your expenses are more than your income then, “Houston, we have a problem”. If that is the case then you really need to take some serious action, this could mean changing jobs if you are feeling underpaid or taking on another job to help you cover your expenses, however not all hope is lost if you have already made drastic changes and are still feeling like there is just not enough money to go around. Here are some more really great and easy lifestyle tips and changes that you can help you keep to your budget, and save money:

Grow a vegetable garden

Not only is homegrown vegetable better for you health wise in the long-term, you can sell the excess. An added benefit is that the cost of seeds is substantially cheaper than the cost of buying Vegetables weekly.

Turn off the lights

It may seem like a frugal thing to do, but switching off lights in rooms that no one in, is an easy way save a little bit on an electricity bill. When you are on a tight budget, every little bit helps.

Eat less meat

Meat is very expensive, and if you want to save on a budget it is a good idea to eat fewer meals in a week that include meat. It’s an easy way to save money on your weekly or monthly grocery bill.

Ditch your car

If you live close enough to your place of work that you can cycle or walk, then do it. Wake up a little earlier and get peddling or put on your trainers and get walking, not only is it better for your health but it is also a great way to save on petrol.

Pay with cash

Instead of relying on Credit Cards to pay for things, switch instead to only using them in dire situations or in times when unexpected expenses come up that can’t be avoided. The great thing about using cash is you are more aware of the money that you are spending, and it allows you to have a daily amount that you set aside and when it’s done, you can’t buy anything else or make any unplanned purchases. Another way to save on a budget when you are using cash to pay for things is to save the change for your daily purchases.

Take advantage of online deals

There are often great deals online, the trick to buying items online is to only buy the deals that you know you will use or that you need.

Buy in Bulk

When you see a good deal on items that last for an infinite amount of time (the likes of toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo etc) buy them. Bulk deals are a great way to save in the long term, there is a reason why the TLC show “Extreme Couponing” is so popular, everyone loves a great deal!

Ready to save on a budget? Here’s how to get going

The thing that seems so daunting about trying to save on a budget is not knowing where to start. Don’t let not knowing how or where to start put you off. Our suggestion is that you start small and work towards a goal amount that you want to be saving towards. Once you start seeing where you can save money and how easy it is to make small changes, we are pretty sure that you will want to save more and more.

Saving on a budget is doable. It does not matter how much money you do or do not have anything is possible if you are strict with yourself and your family. Nothing worth having comes easy and the same can be said for saving. Michelle Obama’s beautifully toned arms were not achieved in a day and the same mentality can be applied to saving. You just need to keep on keeping on at it!

You’ve got this

Saving isn’t always easy. Stick with it and when you have been saving for some time you will see the amount of money growing. It’s then that you’ll see that the security of having some money for a “rainy day” really is worth it.

PayID is about to knock your socks off.

PayID

Before we get into the juicy stuff about why PayID is about to make your life a whole lot easier, it would probably be a good idea to start with what PayID is.

Well, if you ask the fish – yes, there’s a talking fish – he’ll tell you it has been developed for Australian banks. The New Payment Platform Australia company, aims to make getting and sending money from your bank account easier.

Having developed the platform with SWIFT, the New Payment Platform product, PayID, is set to revolutionise the Australian economy. How? By giving consumers access to an easy to use, super simple payment system – yep, even easier than mobile banking.

So what, exactly, is this PayID thing? It’s a single password that’s used to unlock a multitude of payments. Depending on how you set yours up, collecting cash from your buddies could be as easy as making sure they have your phone number. How’s that sounding? Good? Ok, let’s figure out how to get a PayID.

How do I get a PayID?

Your bank or credit union will let you know when they’re ready for you to set up your own PayID. They’ll probably pop up a notification when you log into your internet or mobile banking account.

Here’s the catch – you’re going to want to create an ID that is simple and easy to remember. No, not easy to remember like that super clever password you came up with and could never get right, and probably not your date of birth, either. Come on – you can do this. Of course, your financial institution may restrict you in terms of what you can use, limiting the options to things like your mobile number, email address or ABN.

There will be a quick confirmation of information ownership, and the PayID will be linked to your account.

If you’re worried that your bank is a little behind the curve, don’t start stressing just yet. Business Insider says 60 Australian financial institutions have launched PayID, and the official New Payment Platform website has a handy list of the 13 New Payment Platform participants, including:

  • Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ)
  • Australian Settlements Limited (ASL)
  • Bendigo and Adelaide Bank
  • Citigroup
  • Commonwealth Bank of Australia
  • Cuscal
  • HSBC Bank Australia
  • Indue
  • ING Australia
  • Macquarie Bank
  • National Australia Bank (NAB)
  • Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)
  • Westpac Banking Corporation

How do I use my PayID?

Once you’ve set up your new payment platform ID you’ll be able to send it to people who owe you money. They’ll just need to log on to their mobile or internet banking and make a PayID payment. Selecting PayID is done much like how you would choose to pay a BPay or payee from internet or mobile banking. This new payment platform embodies what is real time payments – and it’s all super easy to use.

Whenever a person pays you using your PayID, your name will appear. All they’ll need to do is confirm that it is, in fact, you that they’re shipping their hard-earned moolah off to. If it’s an Osko payment, you’ll have the money within a minute – how good is that? What is real time payments? This is it, right here.

We loved how treasurer Scott Morrison put it to Business Insider:
“Gone will be the days of frustrating three-day waits for transfers between accounts of different banks. Customers will be able to securely pay businesses, split restaurant bills with their friends, and pay a tradesperson instantly.”

It gets better – according to ABC, it seems like not even weekends and public holidays will stand in the way of you getting your cash transfers!

Now, you’re probably going to have a bunch of concerns about the new PayID system and, most importantly, how to make sure this new payment platform keeps your data locked up and safe.

How can I protect my PayID?

If you’re anything like us, you’ll have already wondered how to protect your PayID and keep it safe from cybercrime. Your bank will never ask you to provide your PayID via email links, or phone calls, or ask you to provide your internet banking username or password. If you’re ever unsure about some communication, rather call your bank and check if it’s them, and if it’s really necessary!

The New Payment Platform Australia company has used the highest data security standards, which they monitor 24/7, according to BeyondBank. Furthermore, your PayID can only be used to make payments to you. Someone in possession of your PayID cannot withdraw money from your bank account.

In short, it’s a one-way payment system that you have complete control over. Only you can release funds from your own account.

When a person sends money to you using your PayID, they will only see the name you have provided, not your banking information, account number or contact details – unless they have those already.

To keep it all super secure, there are a number of verification steps and stops that will be required in order to set up a PayID. This is to make sure that no one can set up a PayID using your information.

What is real time payments to businesses?

Here’s where it really starts to get good. If you’re a tradie, or work for yourself in any way, you’ll know that one of the biggest stressors can be making sure your clients pay you. In the past, you’ve probably issued invoices after finishing up a job and had to wait for a whole month, if not more, for clients to pay their bills. You may have even had to make those excruciating calls to people asking if they could please, please pay up.

Now, picture this – you finish a job, write out an invoice quickly and hand it over to the client. They quickly log into their mobile banking and, using your simple PayID – which could be your phone number or email address – can pay you there and then. The best part? The payment should clear in a few minutes, after which you can be on your merry way.

According to Scott Morrison, consumers will also be able to attach extra info to their payments, like invoices or instructions for how the payment is to be used. This means businesses will have a streamlined method of making and receiving payments. This should hopefully ease the ‘what was this payment here’ conversations that go on near the end of each financial year.

You can find out more about PayID for business here.

Ready to give PayID a go?

Say goodbye to waiting for someone’s BSB and account number, or someone pretending not to have received yours. At the same time, you can kiss that lengthy payment process goodbye. If you’re like us, your routine probably involves at least 6 checks to make sure you’re paying the right person.
The New Payment Process and PayID just went ahead and made our lives so much simpler.

Setting yours up is all that’s left for you to do!

Don’t believe us? Just ask the fish.

Of course, if you’re looking for a way to afford something a little out of your reach right now, you could also look at taking out a personal loan with us. Head over to our home page to get started!

Good spending habits: 6 useful ways to control your spending

Budget

Good spending habits begin with learning how to control your spending. But how can you be good with money? How can you manage home finances, control your spending and start saving?

Sometimes the hardest part is starting! Good spending habits, like any habits, take time to cultivate and hone. Even if you’re not overspending, it’s important to have these skills to ensure you’ve saved enough for a rainy day. We’ve collated 6 useful ways to control your spending, including instructions on how to set up a budget and stick to it! However, at the end of the day, you’ll need to adapt these strategies to best execute your household finances tactics.

Budget

Starting good spending habits

Spending money is pretty easy, even if you don’t have the cash! It’s exciting to get new things because they are presents that we give ourselves. Unless you have crippling buyer’s remorse, most of the time, it’s exactly what you want! Maybe you already have a budget, which accounts for some flexibility with spending cash. If so, that is a great place to start! However, expenses can quickly creep up on you if you’re not actively saving. For example, the price of groceries can quickly inflate depending on different factors. This means that you can quickly burst your budget without even realising it or buying anything extra.

That’s why it’s important to watch both your big and small expenses. Your small expenses can quickly add up and your big ones can put you in the red in a blink. There are many free apps and tools available to help you track your spending and your income. One excellent tool is the Pocketbook app, which syncs with your bank account and generates monthly reports. Find out more about this app here https://getpocketbook.com/. Apart from these tools, there are several skills you’ll need to master if you want to get good spending habits under your belt.

  1. Be disciplined

    It’s not easy to say no to an extra serving of guacamole for $2, but how to control spending and start saving begins with a commitment. You’ll need to make tough choices, but if you persevere, saving will soon become second nature. Plus, this will force you to scout out the best happy hour drinks in town so that you get the best bang for your buck.

  2. Revise your budget regularly and stick to it

    When you plan out your budget, it’s important to allocate every single dollar. Either save, invest, spend or pay off your debts. If you don’t have a guide, there are many tools and financial planners to help you with managing household finances.

  3. Keep a wish list

    There will always be a few unexpected things that you will need to buy each month. However, follow the 30-day rule. If something stays on your wish list for 30 days, you’re allowed to buy it. If not, or if your desire for it has waned, you’ve just saved yourself some buyer’s remorse!

  4. Give yourself a cash allowance

    While using a credit card can be very useful in tracking your spending, what if you find yourself consistently overspending? Put yourself on a cash allowance. You can even adopt the envelope method which essentially means you split your cash into separate envelopes for different purposes.

6 good spending habits

How to manage home finances? Spend your money in a smart way because this will make each dollar stretch further. Here are some good spending habits that you can adapt to control your spending!

Create a plan

Decide what’s important to your budget and your goals, be it saving for a holiday or paying off an old debt.

Study before you shop

Got a big expense coming up? Do some research on the best value buy, when to buy and where to buy it!

Avoid things, people or places that make you want to overspend

Have you ever walked into a shop like Typo and had an overwhelming desire to buy everything you see? That’s the kind of trigger you need to avoid. This could even be a baked goods shop or coffee shop! Those $7 hand-crafted morning coffees can quickly put you over your budget.

Don’t browse online shopping sites

It’s very tempting to ‘casually’ browse through your shopping apps while waiting around. You could even be in the queue to buy something and be browsing through another store’s online store! If you’ve already got your credit card out to pay, it’s almost too easy to treat yourself to two new presents.

Wait out the itch to buy

We’ve gone into a store and seen something we feel we need more than life itself. However, rarely is this feeling real. Telling yourself to grab the item before it disappears is a trap and you know it. Don’t worry, the item will most likely be there tomorrow unless you’re shopping on Black Friday. If you can’t wait a whole 30 days to decide to buy something, wait at least 7 days!

Find a savings partner

There’s nothing shameful about wanting or needing to save more. Good spending habit can only be cultivated if you’ve got some form of accountability forcing you to stick to them! Pick someone you trust, they need not follow the same savings plan as you but they’ll need to keep you honest. This is the person you’ll need to discuss a big purchase with and have them lend an objective opinion. For example, they should be able to say, “no Sarah, you do not need a life-sized statue of a horse in your living room”.

How to be good with money

Good spending habits can start with trimming away the unnecessary costs in your budget. Here are some ways how you can control your spending and start saving today!

  • Movie tickets can be an expensive luxury. Unless you’re catching a must-see movie, wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it at home instead. Alternatively, you could sign up for on-demand TV sites like Stan or Netflix and cut out the costs of going to the movies and cable together!
  • Revise your internet or phone plan for a cheaper one.
  • If you have the time, visit different grocery stores. Sometimes certain things are cheaper at different stores. If you do your research properly, you could walk away with tons of savings!
    Buy store brand household items instead of the branded stuff. This doesn’t just apply to groceries or household items, but to clothes and accessories as well! Do you really need those $430 Prada sunglasses? If you really do, can you get them second hand?
  • At the restaurant, stick with water. Get your drinks for cheap at a bar later!
  • Aim for happy hour for cheaper drinks!
  • Make your own coffee instead of paying for a cup every morning.
  • Buy frozen seafood and vegetables, especially during off seasons.
  • Avoid convenience stores, which are always more expensive.
  • Keep your tyres full and your car regularly serviced for long-term savings.
  • Walk or take public transport instead of your car.
  • Bring your own lunch to work instead of buying out. It’ll also be healthier!

Good spending habits apps

There are many great apps out there to help you manage your money. Here are just a few free ones for you!

Control your spending

Mint syncs up with your bank accounts to track what your income and expenses! It’ll tell you when your bills are due and what you’ve got left over.

The Acorns app tracks your expenses and invests whatever is left over!

PocketBook will tell you how much you have at your disposal right now and how much you can afford to spend at any exact moment.

Good Budget helps you split your budget into different categories and monitors how much you have available to spend throughout the month. Perhaps the best bit about this app is that it analyses your spending patterns. This way, you can check if you’ve cheated on your budget plan.
Managing household finances

Money Manager Expense & Budget is a useful app for families or share homes who need to see all their bills at once.

Splitwise helps you share your bills with others, like your family members or roommates. You can add people to a bill, create different groups and send reminders to others. It’ll even calculate the tax on bills for you so you don’t need to worry about being short-changed!

Fudget is a short-term bill tracking app, perfect for those holiday expenses. However, you’ll have to manually add your purchases because it doesn’t sync up to your accounts.

Money management

TrackMyGoals lets you set and track your savings goals, by allowing you to enter in every expense you make.

Expensify is an excellent tool for people who prefer to use cash but find it a hassle to constantly input their expenses. The app scans your receipts and collates your expenses in an excel sheet, which is excellent during tax season!

Level Money is for people who simply cannot decide on a budget. The app will look at your income, regular expenses and calculate a suggested daily, weekly and monthly budget!
Good spending habits start with having a budget and knowing what your money is going towards. Controlling your spending doesn’t have to be a stressful or shameful task. Focus on a short timeframe, like a week. If it goes well, try out a full month.