Rebecca Maher, Managing Director and Co-Founder of MoneyHappy offers money-saving and career tips if you are worried about finances – whether you're working full time or looking for a new career.

5 financial tips if you’re working

1. Prepare for uncertain times

Even though you’re working now, it’s a good idea to have a plan of attack if that changes. Start by trying to save as much as possible, because when you have savings, it won’t be as earth shattering if you do lose your job.

Look at how and where you’ve spent your money over the last six months and create a budget that helps you save more.

2. Jump start your nest egg

If you’re in quarantine or working from home, you’re saving money on petrol, public transport, tolls, parking, clothing, coffee, lunches, after-work drinks and not going out on the weekend.

Put that money into savings, because as the world comes through the other side of this situation, there’ll be opportunities for those who have money to spend, such as on discounted travel and property.

3. Let technology do the work

Use free budgeting apps such as Pocketbook or the budgeting tools on your banking app to analyse your spending quickly.

4. Set a grocery budget and plan your meals

If you’re used to ordering takeaway or eating out, save money by setting a grocery budget and working out a meal plan for the week.

5. Restructure your bank accounts

If you’ve only ever had one bank account, consider setting up separate accounts to have more control over your spending, creating accounts for:

  • savings
  • bills
  • personal spending.

Once you go back to being able to spend more freely, you’ll be set up with good habits that will make it easier to manage your money.

4 money and career tips if you’re out of work

1. Create a battle plan for the money you can access

It’s very helpful to have a short-term cash plan to help you manage the money available to you. Try the following:

  • Make a list of all your expenses, starting with mortgage or rent, and debts.
  • Add food and other basic expenses. These are the non-negotiables that will cause you financial distress if you don't get on top of your finances.
  • Go through recent bank account statements and list other recurring expenses – work out which ones you can do without for a while, and which financial commitments you have to meet.
  • Cut back on non-essentials such as streaming services, food delivery and online shopping.
  • Work out the minimum you need to stay afloat for the next few months.

2. Find out if you can push the pause button on some financial commitments

Contact your bank and other service providers and find out if you can pause or defer payments. The good news is that during this crisis, the answer will most likely be yes.

3. Make the most of your downtime to improve your career opportunities

If you’ve lost your job, try and focus on the fact this is temporary. Update your CV, and consider upskilling through free online courses such as:

When the job market picks up, you’ll be ready to go!

4. Be prepared for the new world

Whether you’re employed or not, when the downturn is over, you’ll have had several months of going without things you previously felt you couldn’t live without.

This is a great opportunity to say goodbye to old spending habits. Reflect on how your life has changed and how much you’ve saved as a result.

Where to get help if you think you need it?

Money wories are one of the main sources of stress in Australia, and can lead to relationship problems, depression or anxiety.If you, or someone you know needs help and are not coping through, here are some links and numbers to contact.

  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) Phone: 1800 18 7263
  • Beyond Blue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) Phone: 1300 22 4636 or chat online
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) Online help
  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) Phone: 13 11 14 or chat online
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) Phone: 1300 659 467
  • 1800RESPECT (National sexual assault. Domestic Violence Counselling Service) 1800 737 732
  • Foodbank Australia (food for people in need)
  • Headspace (mental health assistance)
  • Kids Helpline (confidential counselling service for young people) 1800 55 1800
  • MensLine Australia (for men looking for counselling and support) 1300 78 9978
  • MindSpot Clinic (a digital mental health clinic) 1800 614434
  • National Debt Helpline (for those looking for free financial advice to help manage debt) 1800 007 007
  • ReachOut (mental health service for young people and their parents)
  • Rural Financial Counselling Service (free financial counselling to farmers, fishing enterprises, forestry growers and harvesters, and small related businesses experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship)

As part of MetLife 360Health Virtual Care, eligible MetLife customers* can access Mental Health Assist, which provides access to mental health specialists for second opinions and treatment planning:

  1. Visit MetLife 360Health Virtual Care
  2. Register your details and create a login with your eligible code
  3. Start a ‘Mental Health Assist’ case.