The Government doesn't make it easy for you to find out whether there's money that should be yours, but a simple new guide shows you exactly how to get access to it.
Everyone from pensioners to students could be entitled to free money from the Government.
Grace Johnston is the author of ‘101 Ways to Get Free Money from the Government’, and as she sees it “there are pockets of money out there, so why not go and get it?”More stories from Today Tonight
“Whether you're single, or you’ve lost a partner, in a family, old, or young, or student, there's stuff in there for everybody.”
Johnston knows it's today's mums and dads that are under the most financial pressure.
“The person who is in the middle, who used to be really comfortable, is the person who's really squeezed.”Live chat
Her sell-out guide reveals Government schemes, rebates and programs that you may have no idea are out there.
School uniform shopping is often dreaded by parents, which is no surprise seeing as they can cost around $350. But some parents can now claim up to half the costs at tax time - up to almost $800. Just remember to keep your receipts.
Families facing unexpected costs, like a car breaking down, now have quick access to new Family Tax Benefit payments of up to $1000.
Parents raising teens who are in school could also get more money from next year through the Family Tax Benefit. That means for each child aged between sixteen and seventeen parents could receive more than $4000 per year on top of existing the benefits. For eighteen to nineteen year olds it's more than $3700 per child, per year.
Those with younger children currently receive up to 24 hours worth of Government subsidised child care each week, but under certain circumstances this can be increased to cover 50 hours a week.
Pensioners can now keep more of the money they earn from part-time work - up to $250 a fortnight before being subject to an income test.
If you're suffering a chronic dental problem but can't afford treatment, you could get over $4000 in Medicare benefits for services over two years, if you have a doctor's referral.
If you're a student living away from home you could be eligible to get a $1300 start-up or a $4000 relocation scholarship.
Students who suffer a temporary medical condition could receive a sick leave allowance while ill, as long as they have a job to go back to.
According to Alex Wilson, creator of the website Savings Guide Australia, “most Australians are very poorly informed as to what they’re entitled to.”
“It's not how much money you earn – it’s how smart you are with your finances,” he said.
Wilson says it's easy to get wrapped up in the now, but to retire comfortably nwe all need to think ahead.
“Use your savings within your home loan, and make sure you save and use the redraw function on your home loan - effectively it's tax free savings,” he advised. “Contribute more than your nine per cent to your superannuation as it's the only way you're going to get the compounding returns, to get the lifestyle you want when you retire.”
Hidden savings are there to be found. It seems you just have to look.
“There's a lot of money out there that's unclaimed. Whether it be lost super or entitlements that the Government probably owes you,” Wilson said.
And Johnston agrees. “Just get a thinking hat and an exploration hat on, and you'll find yourself across all little pockets of money, in lots of places.”Contact details
- Savings Guide Australia - www.savingsguide.com.au
- '101 Ways to Get Free Money from the Government' by Grace Johnson - www.wilkinsonpublishing.com.au
Check out more money-saving tips on the Yahoo!7 Personal Finance site.