Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Money Saving Tips for Nepalese in Australia

Living in Australia is quite expensive and it is often challenging to manage the expenses even when you have a job. Sometimes you are earning enough to meet the expenses but you want to save some money so that you could go on a trip to Great Ocean Road or a movie with friends. Whatever the reason, you can save hundreds of dollars each year by being little bit smarter in the major things you do. Below are some of the tips I think will be useful for anyone who wants to minimise the expenses so that they can increase their savings.

Shop smartly to save hundreds of dollars

Shopping is an indispensable part of life in Australia. You shop for your every needs and therefore we engage in shopping almost every day. If you can save money on your everyday shopping you'll be able to save a lot. There are numerous ways to save money while shopping:

1) Shop fruits and vegetables from veggie shops. Look for a fresh fruit and vegetable shop near your residence which sells fruits and vegetables at almost half the price charged by supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths.

2) Use "Coles App" to see items on special each week. Items on special are usually 20% to 40% cheaper than the regular price. Each week there are more than 10 different items that are on specials in every stores. It is important to plan and shop for your future needs in advance when something is cheaper such as toothpaste, and other toiletries. I always try to look for something that is half priced (i.e., 50% off). Timing the shopping is really important. Coles app makes it really easy to track specials in your nearest coles store.

3) Use the discount coupon while shopping in Indian shops. We Nepalese need to buy rice, lentils and spices from Indian shops. Indian shops provide 5% discounts if you show the receipt from previous shopping. Some even provide discount if you pay by cash! So, talk to the shopkeeper, to see if you can save some money. While a 5% discount on a 50 dollar purchase is only 2.5 dollars, the savings add up each time you shop and if you purchase around 1000 dollar worth of goods you'll have saved 50 dollars in discount in a year, which is a decent amount.

4) Use loyalty card to get specials. Coles flybuys and Woolworths reward cards not only provide points which can be converted into cash, but also send you emails regarding the items on specials. This is particularly helpful if you don't like to use the app.

Using Myki Pass to Save almost 80$ each month

If you need to travel regularly for more than 4 days a week, then you are better off using monthly myki pass rather than topping up myki money. Myki is a public transport ticket in Victoria.

Lodge Tax Return Yourself to save 40$-50$ every year

It's easy to lodge your own tax return. All you need to do is to create a my.gov.au account which is free. There you link a service called Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Then in your ATO service, you'll need to first verify your identity and account. For that you typically need your TFN number and then details of bank account where you earn interest (your netbank saver kind of account) and your PAYG Summary. If you don't have interest earning bank account, you can use your superannuation details to confirm your account.  It is important that you have updated your TFN number in your bank account.

Then the rest of the things are easy, and usually you will find your tax information already updated in the service. You just need to check the information to assure that it is correct and follow the instructions to provide missing information. For the first tax return it is little bit difficult and takes more time, but for the subsequent returns it is super easy as most of your details have been saved from previous application. Also if you have worked in more than one places you might manually need to enter your multiple PAYG summary details by clicking edit, before you lodge. After you are done, you'll have saved more than 40 bucks every year.

Lodge your own VISA application to save few hundred bucks

Migration agents charge you somewhere between couple of hundred dollars to one thousand dollars to lodge a new visa on your behalf. However, if you do that by yourself, you'll end up saving the whole money. You frequently need to apply for visas, for yourself and for your family members. If you do the job yourself, you'll save the money each time you lodge visa yourself.

Update your Student status to avoid bank account charges (Save $48 a year)

Commonwealth bank charges 4 dollar a month as a service charge which can be waived if your account is an student account. However, the student expires almost every year and you get an email notification regarding this matter. Just go to the nearest branch and tell them that you are still an student. You need your student ID card, and in some cases your COE to show that you are a current student! You can save 48$ a year.

However, this is not the end of the list. There are many other ways you can save.
  • Follow the traffic rules properly to save a lot of money in fines.
  • Switch to energy (gas and electricity) providers who charge less or provide more discounts
  • The list goes on and on..
If you know of any other ideas please share in the comments below.

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