If you have a debt with your phone provider, or bank, contact them and tell them that you’re currently experiencing financial hardship. They should put you through to a hardship team to renegotiate your repayments. If you have trouble paying your electricity or gas bill get an energy account payment assistance voucher (https://www.ewon.com.au/page/customer-resources/help-paying-bills/eapa-vouchers). This might reduce your debt or delay the deadline for payment.

Consider what you need the loan for and if there are better alternatives.

TALK TO THE PEOPLE YOU OWE MONEY TO

If you have a debt with your electricity company, phone provider, or bank, contact them and tell them that you’re currently experiencing financial hardship. They should put you through to a hardship team to renegotiate your repayments. This may include giving you more time to pay, reducing the repayments for a period of time or other options.

INTEREST FREE LOAN

You might qualify for an interest free loan from the University. Contact Financial Assistance Office to ask for details. Similarly some community organisations offer interest free loans for essentials, e,g whitegood replacements, if you meet certain criteria. You will still have to repay this money, but no interest is charged, meaning you only pay back the amount you were loaned. The University’s Financial Assistance Office also offers bursaries (money you don’t have to repay) to current students. Ask them for details.

CENTRELINK PAYMENT ADVANCE

If you’re on a Centrelink payment you may also be able to apply for an ‘advance payment’. You could also consider setting up Centrepay, which is a free voluntary bill paying service available to Centrelink customers. With Centrepay you can nominate an amount to be deducted automatically from your fortnightly payment, which is automatically sent to your biller. This means you’re paying your bills in advance as you go so you don’t have to pay a lump sum when the bill comes through at the end of the billing period. This could spare you any ‘bill shock’ and give you more control of your spending.

PREPAY BILLS

Have a look at your bills (electricity, water, gas, phone) and work out the average cost per fortnight. If you’re not receiving a Centrelink payment, check out whether your can make periodic payments in advance, or consider putting money aside (either into another account or put some cash aside) to reduce the impact of your bill at the end of the billing period. Even $10 a fortnight can take the sting out of your bill when it arrives.

Check out https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money This website has some really practical budgeting advice and tools.