21 March, 2021

COVID-19 impact helping people become more money-aware

ME Bank
As COVID-19 continues to affect our daily lives, Australians are becoming more aware of their spending habits and more motivated to have meaningful conversations about money.

Here, we look at how the COVID-19 pandemic is changing our approach to personal finance and discover some new ideas for making cash when things get tough.

Motivated for change

In June 2020, ME Bank found that more than 50 per cent of Australians are talking about money more than they used to. Seven out of ten Australians say this is because of the economic impact of COVID-19.

Around a quarter also said they feel the need to improve their financial knowledge, suggesting the pandemic has motivated us to become more aware of personal finances.

Savings tops the list of money topics 

‘Savings' is the number one issue being discussed, accounting for a massive 68 per cent of money conversations. This is followed closely by household spending (53 per cent) and paying bills (51 per cent).

Issues around welfare assistance such as JobKeeper or JobSeeker are also on people's minds, accounting for around one in four money chats.

The benefits of talk 

More than half (52 per cent) of Australians surveyed said they have reduced household spending to improve their financial situation during COVID-19. One in three have also set up a budget.  

Having control of your cash, and being able to access emergency savings, can make it easier to handle a crisis. Improving your financial knowledge and skills can also set you up to be more financially stable and to bounce back sooner when things get back to normal.  

Being pro-active in tough times 

During times of uncertainty, being pro-active about managing your cash flow is incredibly important. Here are five ways you can continue to achieve money-saving goals in tough times.

  1. Explore new job options 
    Not every business has shut its doors. For example, the big supermarket chains are busier than ever and might be hiring.  It's a good idea to check online job boards regularly.
  2. JobSeeker payment 
    If your employer is forced to close, you may be able to claim JobSeeker payments. It's worth up to $790.10 per fortnight 1 depending on your situation, and you could also be eligible for the Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight 2. Check out the Australian Government's website for the latest information. 
    If you're an employer who needs more details on the JobKeeper Payment, check out the Australian Government's website for the latest details.
  3. Help with your home loan 
    Several lenders are offering support to home loan customers who may be struggling to afford their repayments. Consult your bank for more details – their website is a good first point of call. It's best to act early.
  4. Join the gig economy
    Keep your cash flow ticking over by exploring opportunities in the gig economy. Make, craft, or write your way to extra income. Just think about what you're good at and take it from there. Who knows? It could be the start of a successful small business that you continue in the long-term. If you're not confident about going it alone, head to websites like Airtasker for a range of options to earn extra money.
  5. Sell some stuff
    According to Gumtree's latest Second Hand Economy Report 3, Australians can pocket around $5,300 just by selling their unwanted household items. That makes it worth clearing out the cupboards to see what you could offload. Gumtree says the biggest sellers are furniture, home décor, clothing, and accessories.

Free resources to manage money

We could all use a little extra help when it comes to making the most of our money. Not surprisingly, 40 per cent of Australians are heading online for ideas on how to manage personal finances.  

With more people on the lookout for simple but effective money tips, ME Bank recently launched a special COVID-19 online learning module as part of its free Ed School of Money.

It is designed especially for those who have had their finances negatively impacted by COVID-19, and it covers useful topics like budgeting and managing expenses. It only takes 15 minutes to complete and could be the key to get you back on top of money matters. 

To get started, head to  

Tap into every available source of cash. The COVID-19 crisis will pass – and with a little creative thinking, you can get through it with your financial well-being intact. 


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