How’s your cash flow? Are you hoping a tax cheque will save you?
Many of us have been out of work for a while, be it forced, or choosing to take a VR offered during the downturn. After a holiday period, and a few purchases, reality kicks back in. Perhaps you were good with your money, or only recently lost your job? Money can run out pretty quick when the pay cheque stops. (Who gets a cheque anymore??)
You start to think: “Hmm better go back to work.”
A lot of people are finding that is easier said than done at the moment. Money gets tight, bills still come in, kids keep growing and we all have to eat. Did you know you can’t even go on the dole (or whatever it’s called now) until you are proper broke? So much for your hard earned taxes helping you in times of need!
The cost to apply for new jobs these days is crazy.
There is a whole industry based around the training and induction processes that have become pre-requisites for working on a mine site. In Qld. you need Standard 11, coal board medical, and various extra inductions depending on which mining company you are working for, like BMA. Other states have their own requirements, like a HR licence in W.A. I believe. You may even have to fork out for petrol to drive to site, or fly to a capital city for an interview.
Your first week, or perhaps 2 weeks’ pay is actually just to get back your own expenses, but you have an income again right? At least some of those expenses are tax deductable.
There are still some jobs around, but many have changed hours, rosters and pay rates. If you have gone from working on a salary, with regular income, sickies and holidays for many years, to contract labour hire paid weekly, you will notice alot of changes. Some weeks you only get a 1-2 day pay…ouch. Hardly any rain this year has helped contractors to continue working, instead of being sent home due to wet weather, one blessing I suppose, but not to the farmers…I digress.
Perhaps you are now on a “Mummy Crew?” (Crib Staggers only.) The hours sound freakin awesome I must admit, but less hours equals less money…hmmm
Maybe you still are not working, and the stress levels are rising fast?
It’s time to have your bills and other money needs planned out, a “budget” as they say. Are you up for that, or will you just spend it when you get a good pay, and struggle on the short ones?
Do you have any toys you can sell?
Look at your shed, and ask your self these questions:
- “How often do I use this?”
- “Do I NEED it?”
- “How much could I sell it for?”
- “Can I buy another one when I’m a rich miner again?”
I sold my prized ride on mower to get through some tough times. It was heartbreaking until I answered those questions. I bought it with a coal bonus a few years ago anyway! In case you were wondering, yes she went to a lovely home.
Did you know how fit you can get actually pushing a mower?
This activity now helps me to earn my beer, instead of riding the mower with one in hand, waving to the tourists as they walk past my property. Lucky we are coming into winter, and in Qld the lawn stops growing, for a few months anyway, before growing behind you as fast as you’re mowing!!
You can also help dig yourself out of a few holes,
Or prevent from falling into one, by staying in contact with your bank.
Make some arrangements for payments such as mortgages to go interest only, let them know you are on a tight rope, for now. My bank has been fantastic during this time, as each month for a while there I had to call up and make a payment plan for my house repayments.
I know someone who went to the bank for some hardship support. They reduced a few repayments, stopped some others, but they also froze their credit card! That was how they planned to stay afloat in the short term whilst looking for work.
Who is yelling the loudest?
Pay them first, keep your credit rating intact, and believe that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not “Another bloody train!”
Who is yelling the loudest? Pay them first, keep your credit rating intact, and believe there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not “Another bloody train!”
I had a loan for my solar that I was struggling to keep up with. When I rang to talk to them it turned out I was heaps in front and could stop repayments altogether for 6 months before falling into arrears. That was a happy day, and a call I was pleased I had made. It was rewarding to have bitten the bullet, swallowed my pride, and rang up for a chat. I began to think, right…whose next?
Foxtel gives you a 3 month, $5 holiday period every year. This worked great for me during the footy off season, and saved me hundreds without cancelling my contract. Now I am working again, I have Fox back on for my beloved footy season. I have also reduced the package I need, and am saving $40/month.
What about your phone and internet bills? Plans change all the time and just last week I rang to get more data because I actually ran out for once and was slowed down. Geez after having the NBN to slowed service whilst at camp I thought my computer had broken! Turns out I am now getting heaps more “gigs” free calls, pictures and it’s costing me $30 less a month. I could also have chosen a new phone as I was out of contract. I’m happy with the one I have so I didn’t choose that option. My point is that it’s good to bite the bullet, wait on the phone and have a yarn about your finances even when you’re not in dire straits.
It has made me reflect on how much money I used to waste.
How over rated gourmet food is, and how much I threw out to the chooks!
Free eggs were an added bonus-until someone’s dog ate them. (The chooks, not the eggs.) I don’t need an ice coffee every time I jump in the car, I can drink cask wine, and I don’t need a counter meal every time I go shopping.
In the past it was me who saved the money day for the kids, it’s like you’re a bank.
Have you ever felt like that?
When “the bank” gets de-funded the whole tribe struggles too. Who pays for the counter meals now? One bonus of my struggles was my adult children becoming more independent and understanding the value of money more. My daughter even shouted me lunch at the new Paleo restaurant grand opening day in Mackay. Made it taste even better!
What about holidays? I have cut back heaps, and now a little free camping is fun, and actually more inspiring than a 5 star resort with all you can eat brekky. (Just like camp food anyway. Breakfast is always the best meal on site. Who can bugger up bacon and eggs right? Then again….) An occasional hire car has changed from a big fast one, to the smallest, cutest, cheap economical one. Reality checks can be a good thing.
I have discovered a great site for resources to help in these tough times. www.FIFOFamilies.com.au
As one of their guest bloggers, I have become friends with Nicole Ashby who started FIFO Families. Although Nicole herself is based in WA, the FIFO Families community is Australia wide. Many groups are based in Qld. You can connect on line, and they also have meet ups and much needed support in tough times. Of course it is always acknowledged that DIDO and BIBO come under the FIFO Families philosophy.
I admire her passion for helping families get through the ups and downs of living a mining lifestyle. She was recently invited to take part in the WA inquiry into FIFO lifestyle mental health and suicide issues. Nicole’s passion to help is sure to continue for many years to come.
Please do look at her site for your closest group and sign up for discounts through many large, much used brands to help save you some money. There are financial tips, webinars and of course awesome guest bloggers like Mad Mumzie 🙂 discussing the ins and outs of our mining lifestyle.
I can also personally recommend www.Bantacs.com.au for all your tax needs.
You may have seen Julia Hartman from Bantacs in Central Qld during Tax time? Well known as a co-author with Noel Whittaker, she now takes off with her 3 dogs and big van on a yearly sabbatactle to help us miners get our act together!
The website has a regularly updated booklet just for miners. Check it out here:
Numbers are her passion, and she has been trying to inspire me with my finances for many years now. I much prefer footy or writing as a passion, but each to their own. Tania Read runs the Mackay branch, Read Advisory, tell them Mad Mumzie sent you! Head to the website for heaps of free, current money and tax info, if your that way inclined?
As we draw to the end of the 2015 Financial Year, I am hoping Julia can weave her magic with me once again. The V8 needs an overdue service, but at least she’s still running. I am planning on receiving a tax cheque to give her some much needed attention, and pay back some money to a special person who helped me in my tough times. How about you?
Yours in mind, body, spirit and money in mining.
To read the shortened version of this article, and the full Shift Miner Magazine click here.