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Founder's Weekly 10th June 2022: 5 tips to beat the rising cost of living

We share 5 ways to beat the rising cost of living + QLD students to get free period products and help with menopause for NSW women

Dear remarkable community,

It’s expensive to be a woman right now.

We know women spend more on presentation, as well as health and medical services. And they do this on a wage or  salary that is 13.8% lower than what is paid to men.

On top of that, rising interest rates, higher prices for petrol and groceries, and an inflation rate that is running at 5.1%, means some have to give. I certainly hope it isn’t your investment in yourself and your future.

When the cost of living rises, caused by a wide variety of factors from the pandemic to the war on Ukraine to massive supply issues, taking control of your money is more important than ever to build assets and shore up your security. Did I mention that women also retire with 42% less superannuation than men!

A little bit of good news for our community in NSW – the State Government will today announce a new Return to Work Program that will provide unemployed women with $5000 for financial assistance, mentoring, advice and training to help them get back into the workforce.

This week, I’m sharing five tips with you for making your money go further and work for you.

But, right now can I say, avoid buying lettuce!

5 tips to beat the rising cost of living 

Ouch! Filling up the car with petrol, or the shopping trolley with groceries, is definitely starting to cause financial pain.

As I watched the numbers click over, fast, at the petrol station yesterday, I realised I was paying more than $1 for every half a litre. If you’ve always said you should walk, or cycle more and leave the car at home, now is the time!

I’m sure you’ve also seen the social media chatter about the price of lettuce – up to $12 in some places. Even KFC has stopped adding them to their burgers! 

To compound everyone’s money stress, interest rates are on the rise, with the Reserve Bank deciding this week to  raise them a whopping half a percentage point, taking the cash rate target to 0.85 per cent. That is double what most people were expecting and the single biggest interest rate rise in 20 years. If passed on in full by the banks, the rise will add $133 a month on a home loan worth $500,000 over 25 years, and $265 a month on a loan worth $1 million. 

But I know it is possible to take control of your money with some smart financial strategies that don’t rob your life of small pleasures like that mid-morning latte.

Here are my five best tips. 

  • 1. Do a quick audit

Do your budget and you'll be surprised what you are mindlessly spending without control of your finances. Those UberEATS really do add up!  And you know what, even if you make more money, you're still going to lose it if you're not aware of where it goes. Knowledge is power. For Signature Members, we have an easy-to-use budget planner to do the hard work for you and allows you to keep changing things around to work out how much you can save or how it affects your budget. It puts the power in your hands to make the best move for your financial future. 

  • 2. Review your services

It is always possible to save money by switching telco, power, or insurance providers. Simply comparing deals and asking your provider for a better deal alone can result in cost savings. Try services such  www.finder.com.au www.comparethemarket.com.au or  www.iselect.com.au.

  • 3. Pay yourself first

Even though money is tight, the person you don’t want to be short-changing is yourself. Having savings automatically deducted is the smart way to build an emergency fund, a nest egg, a home deposit, or a holiday fund. It can also help cushion you against economic factors such as interest rate rises. In times like these, having a look at where you are putting savings is also key. A financial adviser can help you make decisions about investments while, for everyday savings, shop around for the best interest rate. Paying extra into your mortgage, when you have it, is also a great way to reduce mortgage costs and provide yourself with some budgetary insurance. 

  • 4. Be flexible about food purchases

Varying your menu according to  what’s affordable right now can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of a month. Shopping at produce or local markets, rather than supermarkets and delis, can also substantially reduce your food bill, a major drain on the household budget.

  • 5. Put your prices up, or ask for a raise

If you’re a gig worker, it’s time to acknowledge that the cost of everything, including supplies, has escalated and pass on an increase to clients. If you’re an employee, and you haven’t had a regular wage or salary adjustment, work on making your case to your boss. Preparation and confidence are key and, then, you’ve got this! 

I completely understand how daunting it is to ask for your worth in money but coaching and self-belief can help you ace that difficult conversation and come out knowing your financial wellbeing is secure. Signature Members, reach out to our remarkable mentors on Mentor Connect or watch the short video lesson ‘How to Renegotiate Your Salary’. 

Queensland students to get free period products 

Public high school students in Queensland will finally get free period products from July.

The state government has been trialling vending machines stocked with tampons and sanitary pads and will now fund them in 276 schools at a cost of $13.3 million. 

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the free products would help girls and young women with the cost-of-living pressures. In March this year, the NSW government announced its plan to roll out free period products in public schools across the state,  joining Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania in the movement.

Making pads and tampons free in schools has long been a top priority for women’s health advocates in Australia. I hope free period products help all girls and women to have access to essential health products, as research has shown those in lower socio-economic brackets experience “period poverty”, and assist in dismantling the taboo around women’s health issues. 

Young females shouldn’t be made to feel embarrassed by something that makes them healthy and human. Nor should they be economically penalised by having a female body.

While free period products should have happened a long time ago, better now than never.

What is also better now than never is a NSW state government commitment to spend $40.3 billion setting up 16 expert hubs and four new services offering help to women at the other end of their reproductive cycle with severe menopause symptoms. 

A further $300,000 will go towards a statewide education campaign on perimenopause and menopause symptoms, and education for GPs and employers.

Are women the more generous sex? 

Maybe it’s the way women are raised, with value emphasis on caring for others.

Or perhaps they, as well as low-income earners who are more likely to be female, have more empathy for others who are suffering? 

Numerous scientific studies and reviews, including  this one, have shown women compared to men show higher emotional responsivity and mirroring responses to others’ pain, as well as better emotion recognition abilities. Females also tend to show more prosocial, altruistic behaviour.

Now an  Australian Red Cross study has shown that, in recent times of crisis, women and low income earners have been the most generous donors although men have also contributed substantially to helping others through hard times.  

The study revealed that between January 2019 to April 2022, 183,940 women donated a total of $91.37 million. By comparison, 129,539 men donated a total of $88.96 million. 

Data also showed that residents in low-income areas were just as generous as rich Australians, giving more than middle-income earners. People in low-income and high-income areas donated 0.13 per cent of their area’s median incomes, while those in middle-income areas gave only 0.11 per cent of their area’s median incomes. 

Shocking sex abuse in sport

Women take part in sports to feel healthy and strong. What they don’t expect is that they will also be disrespected by sexual abuse. But, sadly, those who compete professionally have often had to put up with predatory coaches.

Surf lifesaving was one sport identified in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and millions of dollars have already been paid out in compensation to victims,  according to the ABC while, in 2021, the Australian Human Rights Commission laid bare decades of abuse in gymnastics. 

Now 90 girls and women in the United States who were sexually abused by disgraced former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar have submitted a claim for more than $U1 billion (AU$1.4 billion) to the FBI, saying investigators could have  stopped Nassar’s behaviour and protected other victims.

The claims allege that FBI officials had knowledge that could have prevented the doctor from abusing a greater number of young women but did not act on them for 421 days. They also allege that officials “conspired with the highest-ranking officials within the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and USA Gymnastics, Inc to conceal this known sexual abuse from foreseeable victims.” 

A Justice Department inspector general report has already found gross failures by the FBI to properly investigate complaints from gymnasts, who told the bureau in 2015 about the abuse. 

Nassar is serving a 60-year sentence in federal prison on child pornography charges. He also was sentenced to a 40-to-175 year state prison sentence in Michigan after pleading guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. 

If the allegations are proven to be true, this is extremely disturbing and these women deserve justice and healing.

Until next week,
Shivani

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