November 13 2023
Member News

Cost of living: In tough times, every little bit helps 

House keys and a children's bowl and spoon

The increasing cost of living means many Australians are struggling to make ends meet. Between paying rent, buying groceries, or even affording your trip to work, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what to prioritise. Taking a few steps now may help you save a few dollars today, and be better prepared for tomorrow.


I can’t afford my rent

Chat with your landlord or rental agent and see if they can help, and speak to a financial counsellor as soon as possible. You may be eligible for rent assistance from Services Australia or visit the National Debt Helpline website to find your nearest free tenancy advocacy service.

I can’t afford my mortgage repayments

Chat with your bank and see if they can help with a payment plan to buy some time. Speak to a financial counsellor or get free advice and counselling at

I can’t afford any housing at all

If you’re homeless or about to be, Services Australia can help point you in the direction of support in your area. If you need immediate housing support in your area, Homelessness Australia links to government and not-for-profit services across the country that can help.


If you have personal loans or credit card debt you can’t cover, it’s important to tell your lender that you’re experiencing financial hardship. Learn more about managing debt at

I need help with debt

The National Debt Helpline is a not-for-profit service that helps Australians tackle their debt problems. They’re not a lender and they don’t ‘sell’ anything or make money from you; their independent financial counsellors offer a free and confidential service. Call 1800 007 007 or visit


I can’t afford to buy groceries

Visit the Department of Social Services website to find food relief programs in your local area.

Bills and utilities

I can’t afford my energy bill

You might be eligible for government rebates, concessions or one-off assistance payments depending on your state, visit

I can’t afford my water bill

Each state has different help available, search your water provider online followed by “help with my bill”.

I can’t afford my phone or internet bill

Visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority website.


I can’t afford childcare

You may be eligible for a government subsidy to help cover costs, visit Services Australia to learn more. Your state may also have a scheme for ad-hoc or occasional assistance. Alternatively, some local libraries, community and/or religious organisations offer childcare assistance. 

Getting around

I can’t afford petrol

Check for the cheapest petrol in your area with one of the many fuel price apps available, you can use most of them for free and most states are covered. You could also try carpooling or rideshare apps to help reduce your costs.

Speech bubbles

Financial hardship can have a real impact on our mental health. If you or your family need someone to talk to, help is available.


Call 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website for 24/7 crisis support.

Kids Helpline

Call 1800 551 800 for 24/7 support for people under 25.

Employee Assistance Programs

Many employers offer free EAP counselling services, check with your manager or HR contact.

This information is general in nature only and is not intended to influence readers’ decisions about investing or financial products.

Any advice is general and does not take account of your own objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice, consider if it’s appropriate for you.

Before deciding whether to acquire a Rest product, consider the PDS and TMD at Product issued by Retail Employees Superannuation Pty Ltd.