How to manage money while looking for work

We can help you stay in control of your finances while you look for work.

Changes to your income

While you look for work your income might change. Make a plan, so you have enough money set aside to pay your bills while your income is low. To get a complete picture of your finances you can use the simple money manager.

Remember to think about your regular bills as well as other expenses you have. For example:

  • mortgage, corporate fees and rates
  • car registration and insurance.

Planning your expenses

If you think you can’t pay your bills on time, talk to the hardship teams at companies, such as:

  • your utility providers
  • your bank
  • other places you have loans with.

They may want to help you and suspend, reduce or waive debt repayments depending on your situation.

Talk to someone

Another place to get help with your planning is the National Debt Helpline. They provide a free, confidential and independent financial counselling service.

Financial Counselling Australia provides a free, confidential and independent service.

You can find a financial counsellor on the Financial Counselling Australia website.

They can suggest ways to:

  • improve your financial situation
  • negotiate repayment options
  • get help from other services such as a gambling helpline, personal counselling or community legal aid.

They can also provide advice about:

  • repaying debts
  • debt collectors or debt recovery through the courts
  • house eviction or disconnection of electricity or phone
  • uninsured car accidents
  • tax debts
  • unpaid fines.

If you’ve got a redundancy, you can speak to one of our Financial Information Service officers. They can help you make an informed decision about how you use your money. Talking with someone can help you make the best choice in the short term and the long term. They also help people prepare financially for retirement.

Other help

There are a range of tools you can use to help you manage your money while you’re looking for work.

Our payments and services

Centrepay is a free voluntary bill paying service. Deductions come from your Centrelink payments. You can use them to pay many types of bills, such as child care, electricity or rent.

The weekly payment option can allow you to get your income support payment weekly. This can help if you find it hard to budget for a fortnightly payment.

Concession or health care cards can help eligible people get cheaper health services and medicines.

Use online tools

Use the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s MoneySmart simple money manager on the how to budget page. It’s a great start in helping you set a budget.

ASIC’s MoneySmart Cars app can help you work out if you can afford a car. Sometimes having a car is easier to get to interviews or a new job.

Speak to someone

Our social workers can help you with counselling, support and information, during difficult times.

The National Debt Helpline offers free financial counselling. Don’t wait to call them if your money is worrying you.

It’s worth getting free expert advice to get a clear picture of your finances. You can use the find a counsellor map on the Financial Counselling Australia website to find help in your area.

Fair and affordable loans

Check if you qualify for a no interest or low interest loan from Good Shepard Microfinance. These loans provide safe, fair and affordable credit for essential goods and services.

Page last updated: 12 October 2018