Top tips for budgeting on a pension

Jul 09, 2022
Budgeting on a pension can be a tricky task; especially for those who have relied on their steady income for years prior. Source: Getty

Budgeting on a pension can be a tricky task; especially for those who have relied on their steady income for years prior. However, when it comes to pension planning, there are a number of tips, tricks, concessions and cost-cuts that could help you to create the retirement of your dreams.

Joanne Edwards, Chief Risk and Data Officer at Wisr has some simple pension-friendly budgeting tips to streamline spending and help prepare for a financially secure retirement.

Name your Non-Negotiables 

A key part of budgeting your pension is working out your weekly non-negotiables. These essential purchases may include groceries, weekly social activities or entertainment expenses.

Once you identify and calculate these regular expenses, you can factor the average cost into your budget, to ensure that you have ample cash each month to make them happen.  

Direct those Debits 

Direct debiting your bills is a simple way to stay up to date, keep your credit scores in check and your budget hassle-free. Direct debiting your internet, insurance, phone bill and other utilities could streamline your bank account, ensuring that you don’t miss a payment or have to set a pesky reminder. It’s worth noting that while direct debiting these payments won’t impact your credit score, a dishonoured payment can, so it’s best to keep up to date! 

Be a Goal-Setter 

Working out your financial goals is a key part of budgeting. If you know that you want your retirement to be filled with idyllic weekend road trips, you could consider factoring additional money into your savings for car rentals, petrol, hotels and dinners. You may even be eligible for discounts on these items, which leads me on to…

The Golden Ticket

Across Australia, the Concession Card for pensioners can save you some serious cash. Businesses around the country run featured deals through these cards too, providing offers spanning from new flooring to a new hair-do, restaurants, hotels and tech.

This nifty little card can also help you cut costs on your Vehicle Registration, Public Transport Fare and even entertainment costs, such as movie and gallery tickets.

Alongside the savings on non-essential items, eligible pensioners may receive a rebate on their regular amenities, such as their water and gas bills, and their property rates. Each Australian state has its own guidelines for eligibility and discount rates, but many Aussies over 65 will have access to cost-cutting concessions, keeping you cosy in winter without breaking the bank. 

Commonwealth Seniors Health Card

Health is wealth, but healthy living can be pretty costly!

Through the pension concession health card, older Aussies may have access to cheaper medicine, bulk-billed doctors appointments, dental and eye care. With the average cost of a GP visit in Australia coming to $50, the Seniors Health Card could help you save hundreds each year.

Put Your Spare Change To Work 

Consider turning back the clock with the original savings scheme: the humble piggy bank.

Wisr’s Round-Up app could help you to put your digital spare change to good use. This app allows you to round up your daily purchases to the nearest dollar. You could then put this difference aside to pay your bills (electricity, internet etc.), grow your savings or pay down debts. Your everyday transactions, such as groceries and meals out could help you save hundreds of dollars each year without any additional budgeting. 

Empty Nest = Full Wallet

If you’re still living in a family home, with available spare rooms, consider renting these spaces out on Airbnb or via a holiday-letting site. If you’re saving for something in particular, temporarily moving into one of the smaller bedrooms and renting out the master bedroom could earn you hundreds per week. 

Bake in Batches

Amidst the rising cost of living, groceries and meals out continue to become more and more expensive. A simple way to cut costs on your weekly food shop is to buy in bulk, and bake in batches! 

Making large serves of your favourite wintery meals, be it chili con carne, soups or curries is a great way to stay on top of your budget, without compromising on quality or taste. 

Community Classes and Courses  

If you’re keen to use your spare time to get stuck into a hobby, but you’re feeling the financial pinch, look to your community resources for free or discounted options. 

For example: if you’re wanting to become more tech-savvy, have a browse at the complimentary courses available to Aussie seniors. BeConnected is an Australian Government program with a range of free courses and hobbies to improve your software skills. 

Fee-free TAFE courses are also available for eligible Aussies, and with classes spanning from coding to photography, you could enrich your mind, without breaking the bank. 

Barter your Bills 

Asking your providers for a better deal could help you save hundreds of dollars every year. Make this a yearly ritual, to see what deals your providers can offer you. Doing your research on competitive rates and potential savings could put extra cash back in your pocket for dining, traveling or home improvements.

Disclaimer: This is factual information only and is not general advice or personal advice.

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your financial or legal situation, objectives or needs. That means it’s not financial product or legal advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a financial or legal decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get independent, licensed financial services or legal advice.

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