Managing money during the coronavirus crisis


This article was written and provided by UniBank.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused shocks to the global economy and turned our lives upside down. With no clear end in sight it is understandable if you are worried about your finances, particularly on a student budget.

You won’t be surprised to hear that even outside of the pandemic, many uni students are worried about their cash flow. 30% of Nationals 2019 Div 2 participants who responded to our survey questions about their top money concerns told us they often find themselves short of cash by the end of the month. Likewise, during Div 1, 34% of participants said that they aren’t saving enough.

To help you weather the ongoing financial uncertainty, here are some tips on managing your money so you can focus on your studies and health, instead of your bank balance.

1) Be realistic: set a budget you can stick to

To get started with your budget, work out your regular expenses (fixed) spending, and how much you’ll need for day-to-day (discretionary) spending. This is the perfect time to cut back on your discretionary spending to save money. For example, the money you would normally be spending on going out and travelling can instead be put aside for an emergency or savings fund.

Remember, a budget isn’t a set-and-forget plan. You should review it regularly and make adjustments when you need to.

Especially for students, UniBank Student Banking has been developed based on what you’ve told us is important to you – simple, convenient banking and help with managing money. Visit the UniBank website for more information on UniBank student banking.

2) Save money with meal prepping

Ordering takeout is tempting while you are stuck at home, but it can be a more expensive way to eat. Take advantage of the extra time you’re spending at home to plan and prepare your own meals for the week.

There are plenty of resources and recipes available online if you need some inspiration.

Here are some tips to get started:

· Pick a few core ingredients that you know are in stock at your local supermarket and build your meals around them for the week. This way you can buy in bulk and save on the per-unit cost.

· Batch cook a few meals you can portion out and keep in the freezer for busier periods.

· Chop your veggies and meats for the week and keep them in sealed containers in the fridge so you can mix and match to avoid getting tired of eating the same meal.

· Keep inexpensive staples like dried lentils, canned beans and frozen veggies on hand.

· Invest in durable containers. There are glass and stainless steel options available if you want to avoid plastic. You can also re-use take-away containers, or choose BPA-free plastic.

Aside from the time and money saving benefits, meal prepping is a great way to have healthy meals and snacks on hand.

3) Take advantage of student discounts and rewards

Being a uni student has its perks when it comes to the discounts and deals you can access with your student ID or university email address. You can score discounts on everything from clothes and meals, to electronics, travel, entertainment and transport.

Discount and reward sites such as UniDays, StudentVIP and Student Edge can help you save while you’re studying. Check with your software providers to see if they offer any student discounts; Microsoft and Adobe are two companies that offer discounts on their subscription-based products for students.

4) If you have lost your job due to coronavirus, you may be able to get help from the Government

Losing your job is scary, but there are some supportive measures that you may be eligible to receive if you have lost your job due to coronavirus.

You may be able to receive one of the JobKeeper payments, JobSeeker Payments or Youth Allowance made available by the Australian Government

The JobKeeper payment will come through to your workplace as an incentive for the business to keep their employees. The Government will provide $1,500 per fortnight per employee for up to six months. Before applying for Centrelink, call your employer and ask if you are eligible for the JobKeeper payment.

If you’re not eligible, you may be eligible for the JobSeeker payment, formerly known as Newstart, which is a payment for those who are unemployed or do not have enough work. Waiting periods and tests have been waived and a Coronavirus Supplement is a temporary additional payment being made available to those who are eligible.

Finally, Youth Allowance is available to provide financial help if you’re 24 or younger and a student who is looking for work.

5) Rental assistance during the coronavirus

If you are worried about your living arrangements, it’s important to get the correct information about paying rent and evictions. Online resources such as https://www.tenants.org.au/blog/renting-and-covid-19-information will have general information about renting during the pandemic. If you need further information give organisations such as the Tenants Union a call.

6) Financial Hardship assistance from your bank

If you are in financial difficulty due to a temporary loss of employment or reduction in your income as a result of COVID-19, you may be eligible for assistance from your bank in repaying any loans you may have.

For example, UniBank customers with home loans, personal loans or credit cards have options available to defer or adjust repayments during this difficult period. For more information on UniBank’s assistance package for borrowers, please visit: www.unibank.com.au/coronavirus

7) Stay safe and well

Stay safe and well. While you and your friends have enforced social distancing this is a great time to look at your finances and make your budget work for you. Set a regular review period, the end of each semester is a great time to review it against your goals and income and adjust as you need to.

UniBank is a division of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981.

Membership eligibility applies to join the bank. Membership is open to citizens or permanent residents of Australia who are current or retired employees, graduates and students of an Australian University or family members of members (i.e. Shareholders) of the Bank.

Any advice provided in this article is of a general nature only and should not be construed as providing advice on any of the topics discussed. Your needs and financial circumstances have not been taken into account.

Before you decide on any of UniBank’s products or services, we strongly recommend that you read both the Conditions of use Accounts and access and Fees and charges booklets. You can find these online at the UniBank website or ask at any UniBank office. UniBank has not considered your objectives, financial situation or needs. For further information call 1800 864 864 or go to the UniBank website.


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