By Michelle Shearer
What does the Abbott Government’s first budget mean for families? It’s not for the faint hearted. Here’s a rundown from ABC News:
The Budget 2014: How it Affects Families
- The Government has reduced the cut-off for Family Tax Benefit B to $100,000 from $150,000.
- Previously the Family Tax Benefit B extended to families with children under 18; that will now be cut off for families where the youngest child is six or older.
- All family benefits will also remain on hold until either 2016 or 2017, resulting in a loss of income in real terms, as it will no longer take in account increases in inflation.
- Families will also be negatively impacted by increases in the petrol excise – which will now be indexed to inflation every six months.
- From July 1, 2015 families previously bulk billed will be negatively affected by the introduction of a GP co-payment of $7 ($5 of which the Government will take), for the first 10 visits to the GP per year ($70). After 10 visits patients with concession cards and children under 16 will be exempt from the fee.
- Hospitals will also be allowed to charge for visits to emergency rooms by patients with ailments that only require a visit to a GP.
- Medicines on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme will also be more expensive, with patients paying a $5 fee – or 80 cents for those on concession cards.
- Families will also be expected to provide greater financial support for adult children for longer, with the age of eligibility for Newstart to be raised from 22 to 25, and school leavers being forced to wait 6 months to eligible for Youth Allowance.
- Furthermore people on NewStart under the age of 30 will only be eligible for payments 6 months out of every 12 months they are unemployed.
When Does it all Come into Effect?
From 1 July 2015:
Single parents who receive the maximum rate of FTB Part A and do not receive FTB Part B will be able to access a new $750 supplement every year for each child aged six to 12 years the end-of-year supplement will return to $600 and stay the same every year.
There will no longer be a per-child add-on amount used to calculate a family’s higher income-free area.
Families with four or more children will continue to be eligible for the Large Family Supplement, but not for the third child. Families with three children will no longer be eligible.
Families receiving FTB/B with a 6+ yr old already, will continue to receive it for three years.
“From 1 July 2015, families whose youngest child is aged six or over will no longer be entitled to FTB Part B. However, existing arrangements will continue until 30 June 2017 for families with a youngest child aged six years and over and already receiving FTB Part B.”
Whatever your view is on this (we have ours, and if you can stomach more views and discussion, you can see our lively and robust discussion thread and how it affects real families, here), we are going to need to pull in our belts (more?! I can’t breathe…!). Here, we hope, is a helpful survival guide for families in this time of austerity.
Budget 2014: The Family’s Survival Guide
1. Start Budgeting
If you don’t budget in your household, now is a good time. Here is a budget planner to get you started.
2. Grow Your Own
Start growing your own food – start with herbs in containers and research how to branch out. A great website for a food growing community and mountains of resources for you, here.
3. Put Things you Don’t Use to Work!
Rent out things you don’t use e.g. a spare room on the weekends with folk like AirBnB. Got tools in the she you don’t really use that often? Rent them out to others for a small fee with Open Shed.
4. Sell or Swap Items you Don’t Use
Trawl through the house and have a good clear out. Post unwanted items on EBay or on one of the many Buy and Sell pages on Facebook etc. Join local swap groups on Facebook too to see if your trash might be someone else’s treasure and vice versa.
5. Get Frugal with Food!
Get your grocery bill down even more – check out our Frugal Food guide, here.
6. Make Your Own Cleaning Products – it’s Easy!
Make your own household cleaners that aren’t full of nasty, harmful chemicals and are easy and cheap as chips to make. I use an old spray bottle with water, white vinegar, baking soda and some drops of essential oil. Cheap and very effective.
7. Bake from Scratch!
Get organised and make certain food items from scratch: $4 dough=2 loaves/4 pizza bases and 6 bread rolls | baking powder | home made healthy sweet treats for the kids (and you!) | Toothpaste
8. Put your leftovers to Work!
Don’t throw away things like coffee grinds, tea leaves and eggshells – see how they can do more for you.
Seriously, of course we are going to say that, but seriously. Get together! You can save money by buying in bulk, you can have a variety of dishes on the menu for the week than nights and nights of savoury mince, and you have wonderful mama-comradery as you build strong friendships with other mums with the bonus of actually getting stuff done at the same time! Here’s how you can start your own MamaBake group.
10. Make Your Own Home Remedies!
Check out this handy guide with recipes.
11. Frugal and Thrifty as a Way of Life.
All our frugal guides, here.
12. Make Your Own Pest Control
Pest control is expensive and full of crappy chemicals that are not good for us. Go here to find out how to make your own using stuff in your pantry right now.
13. Get the Electricity Bill Down
Here are 52 suggestions to get the electricity bill reduced.
14. Bulk Cook and Freeze Meals
If you are able to bulk buy food items and make meals with them, see what meals can be frozen and what can’t, here. Here’s some ideas of make-ahead meals you could make.
15. No More Take-Aways
Make your own! Try our home made Butter Chicken, make-ahead mini pizzas, Chicken Nuggets, Fish Fingers, Thai Chicken Curry, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Noodle Sauce, soft drink substitutes, Pulled Pork, home made KFC, Vegie Burgers,
16. Cut out Meat for a While
Meat is expensive and we don’t have to have it every night. Here are some meatless family meal ideas to get you started.
17. Take Care of Yourself
For many, we are heading into tough times which can take it’s toll on our mental health. As mums, we can’t afford to go down – ain’t no-one replacing us when we call in sick! Be sure to spend time with good friends, start or join a MamaBake group, get outside, do things that make you feel happy and good, breathe properly, go to bed earlier than usual, cut out the wines. You know what to do. x
18. Tighten Family Ties
Research shows that those who spend more time with family and community are happier. Make more time for family time all together. Do more together that doesn’t cost anything: go to the park, the beach, the forest, visit the library. Make a beautiful ritual out of meal times: flowers from the garden gathered by the kids, a little candle, lay the table, talk about the day, work together to pack away. If you have good relations with extended family, draw them in more.
Get together regularly with friends and family in a gorgeous location and have a BBQ. Feel the love of family and friends!
More ideas here to help save you money.
Check out all our free MamaBake recipes, here.
..and if all else fails, you just gotta laugh (below is from the US but perhaps more than relevant to Australians at this time):
*Image sourced from here.