Guest mumsie

Cost of living

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    Guest mumsie

    We have been in Australia for 17 months now

     

    My Australian husband has virtually lost his eyesight so he is on a disability payment from Centrelink

     

    I get a parenting allowance

     

    We have 4 young children....the youngest still breast feeding

     

    We find it very hard to make ends meet and really struggle....bills, rent, groceries etc

     

    Does anyone else find it the same

     

    Or have any tips?

     

    Thank you :sad:

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    I'm sure you've probably tried all the most obvious things - I always try and do my shopping a couple of hours before closing time (markets and supermarkets) and buy stuff when it is reduced, then put it in the freezer (bread in particular). The day before a public holiday is also good to do this as lots of meat etc gets reduced. You have to time it right - not leave it too late or the shelves are empty, but time it for when the lady with the 'reduced' stickers is going around and shamelessly follow her! Also, the cheap shops (Cheap as Chips, Best n Less etc) are the best place for stuff like toiletries, and Op Shops are good for furniture, kids books and clothes etc.

     

    Really feel for you, must be really hard specially with the four young ones.

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    Guest mumsie

    Thank you Diane for your kind response and sharing your ideas

     

    Yes.... we try to pick up reduced food at Coles and Woolies, although here in Victor Harbor theres not much reduced....unless we live on doughnuts:smile: which seem to be reduced daily

     

    We also get some free bread from a local church which is a great help

     

    And clothes and furniture all do come from the op shops and we have got some great bargains

     

    Its just the general bills......electricity $1400 last bill :shocked:(and we dont even have a television!)

    Water $362 etc etc

    Just seems hard to keep heads above water.

     

    My 11 year old daughter has just been told she needs dental braces in a few months (when a last milk tooth has come out) which could cost in excess of $5000 according to the dentist. So I'm concerned about that too. Are there any charities that can assist with dental fees?

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    Good advice from Diane I still do all that out of habit, love a bargain I do! so please do not feel embarrassed about doing such things, also charity shops help me get over any guilt feelings as I am helping charity, after all if we do not buy from them then they would close, we also donate a fair bit to them ( well the wife anyhow, when I'm not looking). To help keep your power bills down, switch things off at the plug when not in use, day & night, amazing how much power the standby lights, the clock on the microwave and the like use, wash dish's by hand not machine. all little things will add up to help.

    I wish you well

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    Someone I work with suggested maybe checking out the Royal Adelaide Hospital Dental clinic - they are in the public system so should be covered, but there might be a wait.

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    Guest mumsie

    Thank you for your reply Keith and Linda

     

    Yes I will try contacting the Royal Adelaide Hospital Dental Clinic thank you.

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    Do you use the School Dental Service? I think there is a branch at Victor Harbor, perhaps at the hospital. But the school would know.

    Have you asked for an energy review/audit ( http://aglsmarterliving.com.au/energy-efficiency-advice/energy-efficiency-schemes/) to see if you can reduce the electricity use or contact your provider for a better deal. I get 15% off on a two year contract, every cent helps.

    We have sponsored http://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/ in the past. They are a charity which helps families with school aged children. Maybe you could approach them.

    Or alternatively, try http://wyatt.org.au/. They are an Adelaide charitable trust which helps families. My daughter was helped through her university studies when she had to travel and live interstate to do her course, as we were going through a "low income" time. They paid her travel expenses for two years.

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    Guest patsmb

    There is a dental clinic at Collonades centre you need to enrol and if they can't do the work they will send you in to the city there is a waiting list though

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    Guest Guest12727

    Its just the general bills......electricity $1400 last bill :shocked:(and we dont even have a television!)

    Water $362 etc etc

    Just seems hard to keep heads above water.

     

    That is a horrendous electricity bill. We had one of $1800 once, and never again. We managed to get into a trial with an electricity company where they connected us with a smart meter that allowed us to monitor our electricity usage. This trial is now ended, but I recommend you look into a smart meter (about $250 to be installed). It is amazing how you can cut electricity usage just by seeing what power different appliances use. If you are renting, this may not be possible but you can purchase a devise from the hardware store that you attach to your plug and it tells you how much power the appliance is using. You obviously have to move this around yourself to the various appliances.

    For that sort of bill, I expect you are using around 40kWh per day. We cut our usage to below 20 kWh per day with the Smart meter. We also moved to a smaller house and now use around 10 kWh per day. We did become a bit obsessed about it, but now our habits are second nature and out electricity bills about $350 per quarter (family of 3).

    Also check with your electricity supplier that you are receiving the maximum discounts available. You can get discount for things like paying by direct debit, paying fortnightly, having gas and electricity with the same provider etc. Contact the company and see if there is anything they can do and if not move!

    Just some tips, minimise use of halogen lights, they eat electricity. If you have heater lamps in the bathroom, run them for the shortest time possible. We don't leave them on between showers anymore. use the microwave instead of the oven where possible. Basically, anything that produces heat seems to use the most, so keep their use to a minimum. If you have ducted reverse-cylcle, I will give you some tips for this too.

     

    Water has gone up a lot recently and we are getting similar bills to you, even though we think we are careful. We did have a leaking toilet cistern, which we have now had replaced, so we are waiting to see if that has made a difference.

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    Guest Guest12727

    I have been asked by PM about minimising power usage on reverse-cycle aircon, so I will put my response here for others who are not used to them benefit.

     

    The main tip is too not set your thermostat too high (winter) or low (summer). In summer, set the thermostat to about 25 or 26 degrees. This really is adequate to cool the house enough to make it far more pleasant than outside. If you set it too low, the motor will work continuously to try to get to that temp, but never reach it, as realistically they can only cool the air by a certain amount. So if it is between 35 to 42 degrees outside, you will not get the temp inside to below bout 25 degrees anyway. I hope this makes sense.

     

    There is a coolant that you can have put into the system too which cuts usage by around 30% I think. It costs a couple of hundred up front, but apparently makes a big difference on power consumption. We didn't try this, but would have if we hadn't moved.

     

    Similarly, in winter, set the temp to 19. This is enough for most of the time, with an odd tweak up on really cold nights - but when you see that electricity monitor spike right up, you soon turn it down again.

     

    Other things like using the zoning if you have it to only heat / cool rooms you are using. For example, we used to turn on the bedroom zones only for 10-15mins before going to bed and then turn it off when we were in bed. One thing with reverse cycle is it heats / cools pretty quickly. If you have ceiling fans in the bedrooms, these are adequate most nights of the summer - without needing the aircon. We probably left the aircon on two or three nights only through the summer, those really unbearably hot, still nights. But we do live in the foothills, so get the gully breezes.

     

    Also, remember to close the house up in the hot day time. All windows shut** with blinds / curtains drawn. As soon as it cools at night, open up everything, let the breezes through. If you have security screen doors, leave the solid door open at night - the security screen locked is all you need.

     

    **Only with refrigerative cooling, not evaporative - where you need to have open windows.

     

     

    Edited by Guest12727
    spelling

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    Guest mumsie
    Do you use the School Dental Service? I think there is a branch at Victor Harbor, perhaps at the hospital. But the school would know.

    Have you asked for an energy review/audit ( http://aglsmarterliving.com.au/energy-efficiency-advice/energy-efficiency-schemes/) to see if you can reduce the electricity use or contact your provider for a better deal. I get 15% off on a two year contract, every cent helps.

    We have sponsored http://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/ in the past. They are a charity which helps families with school aged children. Maybe you could approach them.

    Or alternatively, try http://wyatt.org.au/. They are an Adelaide charitable trust which helps families. My daughter was helped through her university studies when she had to travel and live interstate to do her course, as we were going through a "low income" time. They paid her travel expenses for two years.

     

    Thank you for your reply cliffy

     

    Yes we use the school dental service, it was them who referred my daughter to the orthodontist (part of SA dental service) for braces. The expected fee of $5000+ is via the public system, apparently there is no free services for this even within the public hospitals. I will certainly look into those charity links thank you for posting them.

     

    Regarding electricity....I signed up to a two year plan with AGL yesterday plus monthly payments which will reduce the bills considerably.

     

    Thank you again :smile:

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    Guest mumsie
    That is a horrendous electricity bill. We had one of $1800 once, and never again. We managed to get into a trial with an electricity company where they connected us with a smart meter that allowed us to monitor our electricity usage. This trial is now ended, but I recommend you look into a smart meter (about $250 to be installed). It is amazing how you can cut electricity usage just by seeing what power different appliances use. If you are renting, this may not be possible but you can purchase a devise from the hardware store that you attach to your plug and it tells you how much power the appliance is using. You obviously have to move this around yourself to the various appliances.

    For that sort of bill, I expect you are using around 40kWh per day. We cut our usage to below 20 kWh per day with the Smart meter. We also moved to a smaller house and now use around 10 kWh per day. We did become a bit obsessed about it, but now our habits are second nature and out electricity bills about $350 per quarter (family of 3).

    Also check with your electricity supplier that you are receiving the maximum discounts available. You can get discount for things like paying by direct debit, paying fortnightly, having gas and electricity with the same provider etc. Contact the company and see if there is anything they can do and if not move!

    Just some tips, minimise use of halogen lights, they eat electricity. If you have heater lamps in the bathroom, run them for the shortest time possible. We don't leave them on between showers anymore. use the microwave instead of the oven where possible. Basically, anything that produces heat seems to use the most, so keep their use to a minimum. If you have ducted reverse-cylcle, I will give you some tips for this too.

     

    Water has gone up a lot recently and we are getting similar bills to you, even though we think we are careful. We did have a leaking toilet cistern, which we have now had replaced, so we are waiting to see if that has made a difference.

     

    Thank you Howde for your response

     

    I changed to a better AGL plan yesterday that should make the bills a little less agonising (paying monthly, direct debit etc )

     

    We don't have air conditioning (glad it's going to be cooler today!!!!).

    Will certainly look into using microwave more and reduce useage of any halogen lighting.

     

    Thank you again

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    When we were first settling I found the cost of living here very expensive compared to the UK, however I subscribed to this website http://www.cheapskates.com.au/ for a year and got lots of useful tips on saving money. I think its about $12 annually to subscribe and there's lots of advice from budgeting to making washing powder. Kidspot Australia is also useful for handy tips with children...

     

    Hope it helps...

    Julie

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    Thank you for your reply cliffy

     

    Yes we use the school dental service, it was them who referred my daughter to the orthodontist (part of SA dental service) for braces. The expected fee of $5000+ is via the public system, apparently there is no free services for this even within the public hospitals. I will certainly look into those charity links thank you for posting them.

     

    Regarding electricity....I signed up to a two year plan with AGL yesterday plus monthly payments which will reduce the bills considerably.

     

    Thank you again :smile:

     

    A friend of mine at work got her son braces free on the public system because she has a health card. If you don't have a health card already you should definitely find out if you are eligible for one.

     

    We borrowed an energy monitoring thing (like Howde mentioned) from the local library. We didn't actually get round to using it before it had to go back but the instructions seemed fairly straightforward and could help to save money on electricity. The local library is also a great source of free entertainment and often run activities during the day for free.

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    Guest mumsie
    A friend of mine at work got her son braces free on the public system because she has a health card. If you don't have a health card already you should definitely find out if you are eligible for one.

     

    We borrowed an energy monitoring thing (like Howde mentioned) from the local library. We didn't actually get round to using it before it had to go back but the instructions seemed fairly straightforward and could help to save money on electricity. The local library is also a great source of free entertainment and often run activities during the day for free.

     

    Thank you NicF for that information

     

    Yes we do have a healthcare card, yet the SA school dentist/orthodondist at Victor Harbor Hospital told us that there would still be a fee, and suggested the $5000+ amount even through the public system.

    So I will re-check that information especially since your colleague got her son's for free.

     

    Yes will check out the monitoring devise at the library.....(we did borrow it and use it at our last property to check on the tumble drier etc)

    Edited by mumsie
    adding word

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    Guest mumsie
    When we were first settling I found the cost of living here very expensive compared to the UK, however I subscribed to this website http://www.cheapskates.com.au/ for a year and got lots of useful tips on saving money. I think its about $12 annually to subscribe and there's lots of advice from budgeting to making washing powder. Kidspot Australia is also useful for handy tips with children...

     

    Hope it helps...

    Julie

     

     

    Thanks julie-ruth

     

    Will look into that those ideas.

     

    Sounds very useful. :smile:

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    Guest Guest12727

    Not just an Adelaide issue?

    If it makes you feel any better, my OH was in UK recently and brought back a newspaper with an article which described exactly what we did re monitoring electricity usage. It seems power prices have skyrocketed in UK too, have just gone up about 10% and are forecast to increase by more than inflation for the next 17 years.

    "I've turned from a man who cared little about our electricity usage to a complete electric-dictator, who demands that his poor family turns off even the tiniest and dimmest of standby lights, and threatens terrible punishment if a hob is accidentally left on" It was an amusing read. Guy Walters, Daily Mail, Nov15, 2013

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