Living with mental ill-health can mean making ends meet can be difficult – especially if you’re trying to get by on a low income.  

Money can be a big worry, but there’s a lot you can do to make it a smaller worry once you decide to take control and take action. This includes:

  • making a budget and trying to live by it
  • finding ways of cutting costs
  • contacting an organisation that helps you manage debt
  • call the people you owe money to, be honest about your situation and ask them to work with you – they often will
  • making sure you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to.

Here’s a link to some great tips about budgeting and making ends meet if you’re struggling:   

Making a budget

Making a budget

Making a budget is an important part of staying in control of your money. Knowing where you stand allows you to make decisions about what you spend your money on.

Making a budget step-by-step

1. How much money’s coming in?
Pick a time period, say a fortnight, and, for that period, work out how much money you have coming in.

2. How much money’s going out?
Over that same period, work out how much money you’re spending.

3. Compare what’s coming in with what’s going out
Now you can see your fortnightly balance. Whether you’re spending more than you thought or less than you thought, you can use this information to make a plan.

4. Make a plan
If you decide you’re over-spending and you want to do something about it, you could have a think about the things you buy that you need (maybe food and utilities) and the things you buy that you want but don’t need. That will help you to make decisions about your spending.

If you’re worried about being in debt, there’s a lot that can be done to help you manage that debt in a way that’s OK for you and for the people you owe money to.

The National Debt Helpline is free to call on 1800 007 007  (9:30 am - 4:30 pm Monday to Friday).

Benefit entitlements

Benefit entitlements

Benefits exist for a reason, and finding out what benefits you can get is well worth doing as you may be able to boost your income. But working out whether you’re entitled to them and how you go about claiming them isn’t much fun, especially if you’re unwell.  

There are tools that make checking what you’re entitled to a lot easier, such as Centrelink’s Payment Finder.

The Australian Government has also published a handy Guide to Australian Government Payments.