Reducing debts and expenses
One way to help balance your budget is to look at all your debts and expenses, and explore ways to reduce them. Although it can feel overwhelming to face a pile of bills, there are options available if you are having trouble paying them.
You may find it helpful to ask a trusted family member or friend to help you make any phone calls or fill out any forms, particularly if you are dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment. Some organisations may ask you to provide proof of why you are in hardship, such as a letter from your hospital, GP or treatment team.
Learn more about:
- Council rates
- Education expenses
- Income tax
- Loans and credit cards
- Medical and pharmaceutical expenses
- Travel costs
- Utility bills
It may be tempting to ignore your council rates, but if you do not pay them on time, the council is entitled to charge you interest on the amount you owe.
Many local councils have a rate assistance or rebate policy for people in financial hardship. You may be able to:
- claim a concession rate – available to holders of a Centrelink concession card or Department of Veterans’ Affairs Veteran Gold Card
- negotiate a payment plan to pay your rates in smaller instalments
- write off interest charges on overdue rates
- defer part or all of your rates and charges for a set period of time.
Contact your local council to find out about the help they offer ratepayers. Most councils will ask you to put your request in writing.
Podcast: Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
Rania Tannous, Head of Legal, Corporate, Legal and Governance, AMP; Patricia Troll, Senior Legal Counsel, AMP Financial Services Legal, Legal and Governance, AMP; Lynette Brailey, Program Coordinator, Financial Assistance Service, Cancer Council NSW; Stephen Bray, Financial Planner, FM Financial, TAS; Angela Daly, Senior Social Worker, Cancer Services, The Adem Crosby Centre, Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD; Sandra Hodge, Consumer; Sandi Johnson, Consumer; Antony Mitchell, Financial Counsellor, Financial Counselling Program, Cancer Council VIC; Lucy Pollerd, Social Worker, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Heather Richards, Consumer; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA.
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