October 23, 2017

Author Archives: Marxa Dillan

About the author  ⁄ Marxa Dillan

Understanding Tertiary Education Fees in Australia

Since education fees continuously increase, many parents prepare for their children’s education early on. Some get an education savings plan to ensure that they’ll be able to provide for school fees and requirements up to tertiary education.

Higher education or tertiary education is provided by different universities and institutions in Australia. These include the Technical and Further Education institutes and Registered Training Organisations. The country’s higher education system plays a significant role in ensuring that students are equipped with skills that they need to have a successful future, and policies and programs are implemented by the government to support tertiary education. Of course, there are fees involved. In this article, know more about tertiary education fees in Australia:

Tertiary Education Fees for Domestic Students

Higher education involves choosing a course that you want to pursue, and where you want to get your degree. Another consideration is the cost of the course. In general, it depends on the fee structure of your chosen course.

Commonwealth Supported Place (CSP) vs. Full-fee Place – The tertiary education fees depend on your course as well as the qualification level and whether you will get it at a university or a private provider. If you’re planning to get a research degree, you don’t have to worry about fees. Government schemes fund students who are undertaking a master’s degree by research or a research doctorate.

Degree Loans – There are government loans available that can help you manage your tertiary education fees. The government can defer all or part of your fees, though this will depend on whether you get a CSP or a full-fee place. One loan type is the HECS-HELP that is for students who get a CSP, and is available at public universities and in some courses offered by private institutions. The other loan type is FEE-HELP that is available for those who receive a full-fee place. Bear in mind that only postgraduate students are eligible for this loan type.

Tertiary Education for International Students

The fees will depend on the level of study and where you want to attend. If you’re an international student, you will be required to pay fees before you study. Take note that there may be additional costs such as payment for course materials and access to facilities. To give you an idea, here are estimates for different types of qualifications:

  • School – from $7,800 up to $30,000
  • English language studies – $300 per week, depending on the course length
  • Vocational education and training – from $4,000 to $22,000
  • Undergraduate bachelor’s degree – from $15,000
  • Postgraduate Master’s degree – from $20,000
  • Doctoral degree – from $14,000

Got other ideas on child’s education and tertiary education fees in Australia? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Understanding Parenting Payment Support in Australia

In Australia, parenting payment refers to the main income support payment of the main carer of a young child. As a principal carer, you will be responsible for the care, welfare, and development of the child.

In this article, you will find out more about parenting payment support in Australia:

How can you be eligible for parenting payment?

You should have assets and income that are below the limits. You should also be the main carer of a child. If you are single, the child must be less than eight years old. If you have a partner, the child must be less than six years old. Also, you cannot claim the parenting payment before giving birth.

Aside from these, you should meet the principal carer rules, residence rules, as well as tests on income and assets.

How can you claim the parenting payment?

As a principal carer, you must be an Australian resident who is in Australia, and you must be a resident for 104 weeks. Also, you need to stay as an Australian resident if you want to keep getting the parenting payment.

There are some exemptions to the 104-week rule. You can claim the parenting payment if you were a refugee when you arrived in Australia, or you are a holder of a specific visa sub-class. It can also be that you just became a single parent in Australia. If any of these rules doesn’t apply to you but if the country you’re living or working in has a social agreement with Australia, you may use that setup to claim parenting payment.

Make sure that you’ve met the requirements before making a claim. Fill out the claim form then submit it together with other documents that may be required.

Here are other things that you need to know: 

  • If you’re single, you are no longer eligible to claim parenting payment if your youngest child reaches eight years of age. If your youngest child reaches six years of age, make sure to meet the requirements on part-time mutual obligation so you can continue claiming parenting payment.
  • Most main carers claim the parenting payment every two weeks, but you can do so every week.
  • Always adhere to the rules related to parenting payment to avoid any inconvenience.
  • Seek advice from a qualified individual so you can better understand the eligibility requirements and how to make claims.

Got other ideas on parenting payment support in Australia? Share your insights in the comments section.

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Simple Ways to Save Money on a Wedding Venue

Planning a wedding is an exciting affair.  It can also be stressful, and worrying about your wedding budget is one thing that can constantly stress you out. But this shouldn’t be the case, as there are so many ways to save money on your wedding.  If you’re money-conscious, look at the elements of the event and see where you can cut corners. For instance, the venue can put a dent on your wedding budget, but you can do something about it to save some cash. In this article, learn some simple ways to save money on a wedding venue:

1. Hold the ceremony and reception in one place

You can save a lot of money on venue hire fees if you keep your ceremony and reception at one area. For a budget wedding with a small guest list, consider renting out an entire house that has a large manicured garden or alfresco area.

2. Look for a venue that will allow you to bring in vendors

From caterer to suppliers of souvenirs and sweets, having the flexibility to have vendors that you prefer and can afford will enable you to save money.

3. Consider a wedding venue that doesn’t need much work

If the area is already visually appealing in itself, you don’t need to spend too much money on decorations. Think about venues with stunning views, or a garden filled with flowers. Just add some personal touches or lights and you’re good to go.

4. Be flexible about the time and date of your wedding

In general, getting married on a Saturday is so popular that supplier and rental prices go up. If possible, choose any other day to save money and have more venue options.

5. Choose a venue that comes with accommodation

You may get discounts when several guests will stay at the venue. Also, there are venues that offer a complimentary stay for one night to couples. Not only will you be able to save money, it will also be more convenient for you and your guests since you don’t have to travel to the venue.

6. Consider areas that are familiar to you

If you’re planning to have an intimate wedding with a small guest list, you can have a reception that is less traditional at a nice restaurant that is owned by a friend. Or maybe your relatives have a large backyard or outdoor area that is ideal for a casual BBQ party.

Do you know other ways to stick to the wedding budget? Share your budget wedding ideas in the comments section.

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The Importance of Creating a Household Budget

All types of families handle their household budget in different ways, though the main goal is to have an idea of how much to spend and how much to save on a monthly or yearly basis. It is highly important to learn how to budget especially when money is tight. Only through budgeting can you save money and not knowing how to do this puts you at risk of losing money when you didn’t have to.

A household budget calculator is an online tool that you can use to determine the amount that you can spend depending on your income. This is essential to families who are very serious about their financial future. Budgeting should be done to manage all of our finances because having this control has the following benefits:

You can monitor what is coming in and out every week or month

With effective household budgeting, you can see what your daily, weekly and monthly expenses are. You can see immediately what action is needed to be taken, or if everything flows smoothly.

Budgeting helps you adapt to different financial circumstances

For example, when your electric bill rises by a few dollars per month, you can check your expenses and see where you can cut corners to make up for this increase.

Reducing your expenses is always the best solution

Budgeting makes it easier to see what expenses you can slash or eliminate, or what you are overspending on. If you have expenses that are standing out in your list, you can identify them and make the necessary changes.

You know the difference between your income and expenses

A household budget doesn’t just determine the money you have versus the money you spend. It also shows the difference between your income and expenses. This shows you whether your budgeting strategy is effective, or ongoing expenses are much more than what you’re earning. The aim is to have leftover money for the things that you want, or save that money for your long-term plans.

Final thoughts

Managing your money will help your family avoid getting into huge debts, and household budgeting will greatly reduce your financial stress. The key is to never spend more than you earn, and this applies to all households, no matter how much the income and expenses are. You can stick to this rule by making a savings plan and you will certainly reach your goal of spending less which will turn into significant savings.

Do you have other ideas on creating a household budget? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Is Cheap Furniture Worth Buying?

Buying furniture for your home is an exciting activity, especially when you already have some specific items in mind. However, it can also be expensive. With so many furniture pieces that you need to buy, it will surely leave a hole in your pocket. For those who are money-conscious, they opt for cheap furniture. Some people associate inexpensive items with not being of good quality.

Is cheap furniture worth buying? In this article, let’s delve into buying budget furniture and things to keep in mind should you go to this shopping route:

How long are you going to live in the house

One of the main considerations is the length of time you plan to live in your home. If you know that it’s a possibility to move within a year then it may be better to buy budget furniture.

Identify the furniture pieces that you will use more often

If you seldom use certain items such as a coffee table, a nightstand or a set of drawers hidden in a closet, you may want to think twice about spending a lot of money on that furniture. In general, if you’re on a budget, divide your money in a way that a large chunk of it goes to buying furniture pieces that you will use on a regular basis.

Explore other shops

Look beyond your favourite furniture stores. Secondhand stores, auctions, and thrift shops are some of the stores that you can visit for furniture at lower prices. Sure, you will find a lot of stuff in there but when you visit regularly, you’ll surely find used furniture that will work well with your interior design in mind. You can also look at pieces offered by online retailers.

So, is cheap furniture worth buying?

It really depends on your needs and preferences. If you want to save some cash, there are several things that you can do to score great furniture deals. Take note that cheap furniture doesn’t mean that it’s of bad quality and it’s not visually appealing. The same holds true for expensive pieces – they don’t always guarantee durability. In the end, if you know where to look and if you’re creative enough to put different pieces together to form a cohesive look for your home, you can have the furniture that you want without breaking the bank.

Got other ideas on cheap furniture? Share your tips in the comments section.

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Simple Tips for Shopping at the Outlets

There are so many things that you can do to save money while shopping. One of these is to know where to go. For instance, outlet stores offer a range of products that come with discounted prices. You can also get great deals that will enable you to save money on amazing finds. Outlet shopping, in itself, can save you money, but here are several cheap tips for shopping at the outlets:

Do some prep work

If you’re serious about outlet shopping then you need to prepare your list of things to buy, as well as your budget. Just like in any shopping trip, having a list will save you a lot of time and energy. In outlet stores, you’ll find a lot of items at discounted prices, and it’s easy to get carried away with buying things that you end up not using. Also, keeping your budget in mind will help you avoid overspending.

Know when to shop

Expect long queues and crowded parking spaces, but you can avoid the crowd and have more time shopping than looking for a parking space by going to the outlet store on a weekday instead of Saturday or Sunday. You may also want to arrive early.

Wear comfortable clothes

Aside from wearing comfy shoes, you may want to go for clothes that are easy to slip on and off, in case you need to try some outfits in the dressing room several times. You surely don’t want to be bothered by what you’re wearing while looking at racks after racks of clothes, right?

Eat a full meal

Before going to the outlet store, make sure to fuel up by eating a hearty breakfast. Shopping all day is an exciting activity, but it can be really tiring, especially at outlet stores when you sometimes need to move quickly to get some great finds.

Invite a friend

Share the fun of shopping at outlet stores with a friend. You can help each other finding great deals. He/She can also help you decide on what items to buy. This can help save time and avoid second-guessing. It’s also great to have someone over lunch and coffee break. Who knows? Your friend may also have cheap shopping tips that can help you save more money.

Got other cheap shopping tips? Share your ideas on how to go shopping on a budget in the comments section.

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Effective Ways to Cut Down Your Monthly Car Costs

Cheap transportation such as buses, trams, and trains are available in major areas, many still prefer to buy their own car, whether for business or convenience, or both. True enough, having your own car has its own share of benefits. You can go anywhere, anytime, without having to worry about being late to work or meetings.

However, having your own car doesn’t come cheap. The monthly car costs alone can account for a sizeable chunk in your monthly budget. The good thing is, there are ways to cut down your monthly car costs. Learn how in this article:

Refinance to reduce your monthly repayments

Your existing car loan may have high interest rates, increasing your monthly loan payments. If this is the case, consider refinancing to reduce your payments. You may want to get a loan for a longer term for lower monthly repayments. Take note that no matter what the term is, refinancing your auto loan to take advantage of a lower interest rate can affect the actual cost of your vehicle.

Look for a vehicle that’s energy-efficient

When buying a car, it is also important to think about transportation costs in the future. Having said that, you may want to consider purchasing an energy-efficient car. The upfront price may be much higher compared to other models, but you can get lower transportation costs every month in the long term.

Keep your car in tip-top shape, and your car insurance updated

We need to make healthy food choices and exercise regularly to maintain the right weight and keep illnesses at bay. The same holds true for your car. It is important that your car is in good working condition at all times. Also, re-evaluate your auto insurance policy when you’re about to renew it, as personal circumstances may affect your car coverage.

Take the public transit

Reduce your monthly car costs by taking the bus or train whenever possible. It’s cheap transportation that’s also convenient. You don’t have to worry about parking or spend money on gas and other car-related costs. Going car-less one or two times per week will also be beneficial to the environment.

Consider ride sharing

Aside from public transit, you can try ride sharing or carpooling. Check if you have a neighbor who works in the same part of the town, or a colleague who lives near your house. Another option is to check carpooling sites that can connect you to drivers and other carpoolers.

Got other ways on cheap transportation and how to reduce monthly car costs? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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10 Facts About Your Superannuation Entitlement

A lot of people plan for their retirement as early as possible because in this way, time is on their side, meaning they have more years to save up and have a comfortable life upon retirement. In Australia, employers pay superannuation contributions on behalf of their employees to a super fund.

Here are other facts about your entitlement to superannuation in Australia:

  1. Your employer should make superannuation contributions that are the equivalent of 9.5 percent of your ordinary time earnings. This is the superannuation guarantee based on annual entitlement.
  2. You will be eligible for superannuation guarantee if you have a monthly income of at least $450.
  3. If you are under 18 years of age, you still need to have a monthly income of at least $450 and work at least 30 hours.
  4. Starting 2013/2014 financial year, individuals who are 70 years of age and older are eligible for superannuation guarantee.
  5. You should pay the superannuation guarantee at least every three months. Your employer must pay the super entitlement to your super fund at least every quarter. If this is not the case, you can file a complaint at the Australian Taxation Office.
  6. There’s a maximum contributions base for those who have a high income. Those who are earning a huge amount of money will have a cap or limit to their superannuation guarantee. For the 2017/2018 financial year, the super contributions are the equivalent of 9.5 percent of your ordinary time earnings, but only up to a yearly cap of $211,040.
  7. Understand your remuneration package. You should ask your employer if your salary includes your super, or if it is calculated after super.
  8. Know the salary sacrifice arrangements. When you’re starting with a new job, make sure to understand the salary sacrifice rules and negotiate carefully. You may end up with the employer cutting your superannuation guarantee because of your salary sacrifice arrangement.
  9. Self-employed individuals can still get superannuation guarantee.  You can receive contributions and still have your super contributions tax-deductible, when you’re self-employed for the 2017/2017 financial year.
  10. Contributions count towards the concessional cap. The superannuation contributions made by your employer count towards your concessional cap before tax.

Here are several things that you need to know about superannuation. You can calculate how much money you need upon retirement and how much should be added to your super fund on a regular basis by using a retirement calculator.

Do you have other ideas on superannuation in Australia? Share your insights in the comments section.

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Tips on Finding Your Lost Smartphone

Smartphones have become part of our basic necessities that it is hard to live without one. However, these high-tech devices that easily fit our pockets are also easily misplaced or worse, get stolen. Imagine putting your life in a small box then all of a sudden, you can’t find it, not to mention the amount of money you’ve invested on such device.

Luckily, modern technology has developed solutions to locate our lost smartphones. Google’s Android and Apple’s IOS are the two leading mobile operating systems that are continuously providing us with the newest smartphone technology. Both have given us ways, or apps, to retrieve and protect lost devices. When you compare mobile phones, you may want to check for features that will enable you to track your phone when you lose it or gets stolen.

You need to take some simple steps first to make sure that your smartphone can be tracked remotely.

For Android users:

Go to Google Settings > Security > activate “Remotely locate this device”, so when an unfortunate incident strikes, your phone can provide the information of its whereabouts. When that happens, you need log in at android.com/find and locate your phone at any given time.

“Find My Device” is a Google app that enables you to manage your smartphone remotely. It is built directly into your Android phone so all you have to do is activate it. When you search your lost phone through Google, you can change your password, or make your phone ring, along with other notification functions. If you’re unable to find your phone, this app lets you wipe it of your sensitive information. But keep in mind that these measures will only work if your lost phone is turned on and has internet access.

For Apple users:

If it is an iPhone that you’ve lost, the process is similar to that of an Android device. If your iPhone is still in your possession, make sure it’s ready for remote tracking. First, go to Settings > iCloud > activate “Find My Iphone”.

You also need to turn on your “Location Services” in the Privacy settings. iCloud helps you get your iPhone back and protect it from unauthorized use. With “Activation Lock”, your information is safe and usage of the device is next to impossible. The same with Android, your iPhone is displayed on a map. You can also make it ring or play a sound, and the best part, erase all of your personal information remotely. This IOS feature is also built-in on all IOS devices such as iPod Touch, iPad, or Mac.

Got other ideas on smartphones and how to keep track of them? Share your tips in the comments section.  

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Top 6 Common Credit Card Myths

Credit cards from different banks vary in so many ways. To get the best credit card deals, it is important to do your research and compare credit cards from two or three providers. After weighing the pros and cons of each, you’ll be able to choose the right one for your needs and preferences.

Some people may frown upon the idea of getting a credit card. However, by using it the right way, it can be helpful in managing your finances. In this article, let’s take a look at six common myths associated with credit cards:

1. Having a credit card will negatively affect your credit score

A high credit score will greatly help you when you plan to get a major loan.  Is opening a credit card a good idea? In this case, not really. It’s all about the timing. If you have a low credit score, it’s not wise to get a credit card, especially if you intend to get a home or car loan in the next few months.

2. Going beyond the credit limit will not be a problem

There may be instances when you have purchases that went over your credit limit. Your credit card company may let you off the hook, but not all the time. There’s a reason you have a credit limit in the first place, and if you overspend, you’ll end up having to pay fees. Your card provider can also raise your interest rate.

3. Leaving a balance on a card can improve your credit score

When you use your credit card, it actually helps improve your credit score, but it’s not the same when you leave a high balance on your card. Aside from having to pay unnecessary interest charges, lenders may think that you cannot pay your debts.

4. Balance transfers can help you save money

If you have multiple credit cards, you may be tempted to transfer balances to a credit card that offers much lower interest rates.  As with anything else that has a contract, always read and understand the fine print. Check if there’s a fee for transferring balances to a new card, or that the low interest rate will not apply to new purchases. When you compare credit cards, make sure to check details like this.

5. Get only one credit card

When you’re just starting to build your credit score, this is a good idea. But if you think it’s beneficial to get more than one card, and you’re confident and responsible enough to pay on time and in full, then by all means get another one. Get the best credit card deals in terms of rewards and benefits that are aligned with your lifestyle.

6. Paying only the minimum amount due every month will not hurt

While credit card companies always require a minimum payment per month, try to pay on time and in full on a regular basis. This indicates that you can manage your finances well, which will help improve your credit score.

Do you have other tips on how to get the best credit card deals? Share your ideas in the comments section.

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