A 26-year-old beauty salon owner who has been on the JobKeeper allowance since the beginning of the pandemic in Australia in March has revealed how she is spending her cash, and her top budget tricks.
Kirsten Laurie-Rhodes, 26, from Melbourne, said she has had to rein in her spending dramatically since the onset of the pandemic, when her business The Lash Squad was forced to close.
Kirsten told FEMAIL that while she has been lucky to be on JobKeeper payments for several months, the pandemic has forced her to re-think her spending in a big way.
‘I have cut back on so many things including groceries, utility bills, clothes and food delivery,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘I’ve also stopped buying what I don’t need. Prior to COVID-19, I reckon I would throw out at least $40 of groceries per week.’
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Kirsten said she made $86,000 last year.
What are Kirsten’s monthly expenses?
Rent: $550 personal, $2291 commercial.
Ordering in: $100.
Health insurance: $150.
She is currently living on product sales from her store, $7,000 from her superannuation and JobKeeper allowances.
JobKeeper was reduced to $1,200 per fortnight for full-time workers and to $750 for people working 20 hours or less per week on 28 September.
‘Each day now starts the same. I make coffee at home for 40 cents per cup instead of buying takeaway for $4,’ Kirsten said.
‘I also work out at home on Zoom with my trainer, which is free, so I don’t have to spend on gym membership.’
Kirsten has moved in with her partner in order to save some money, and has also cut back drastically on frivolous purchases like fashion items for new events and new outfits.
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‘I had so many expenses that I just didn’t need to be spending money on pre-COVID-19,’ Kirsten said.
‘Buying outfits every week was a huge dent in my salary. I have completely stopped that now.’
Elsewhere with her savings, the 26-year-old said spending less on groceries has been key.
‘Small things like buying in bulk, buying frozen produce rather than fresh where possible and refashioning anything and everything left in my fridge has been instrumental in saving,’ Kirsten said.
‘Before COVID-19, I would throw out at least $40 worth of food each week. Now, I use all of my leftovers and make entire meals of what I have left.’
What was a typical day of spending pre COVID-19?
Workout at the gym: $50 per week or $7.15 daily.
Breakfast: Homemade smoothie ($5) and cafe-bought coffee ($4).
Lunch: Leftovers from the night before ($5).
Salon purchases: Supplies etc ($50).
Dinner: Local restaurant eat out ($30).
Last minute top purchase: For event ($50).
TOTAL = $161.15
What is a typical day of spending during COVID-19?
Workout at home on Zoom: Free.
Breakfast: Protein oats ($3) and homemade coffee (40 cents).
Lunch: Tuna, rice and spinach ($1.50).
Dinner: Homemade fish and chips ($8).
Business expenses for online training academy: Web hosting and fees ($10).
TOTAL = $22.90
Kirsten said she has deleted her UberEats app to avoid temptation and swapped utility providers and insurances over, which was time consuming, but now means she has a better deal.
‘All up, I estimate that I’ve saved about $20 a week between switching my car insurance, health insurance and other service providers,’ she said.
‘I now also just do one big weekly food shop and stick religiously to my list. Before, I was a shocker for chucking things into the trolley.’
Finally, Kisten said she has paused her car loan and had a rent-free period granted to her by her landlord at the salon:
‘This alone is one of the main reasons I have been able to survive this long,’ she said.
Kirsten is the owner and founder of the Lash Squad salon, and the Lash Squad academy, an online training academy for eyelash extensions.
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How have the support payments changed since September?
* The $1,500 fortnightly wage subsidy continued until 27 September – covering 3.5million workers.
* Until December 31, JobKeeper has been reduced to $1,200 for full-time workers and $750 for people working 20 hours or less – with 1.4million workers eligible.
* From January to March, the full-time rate will be $1,000 and part-time will reduce to $650 – with the scheme covering 1million workers.
* Businesses turning over less than $1billion will have to show a 30 per cent drop in revenue in the previous quarter.
* Businesses with more than $1billion in turnover have to demonstrate a 50 per cent fall.
* The elevated unemployment benefit remained at $1,100 a fortnight until September 24.
* From that date until the end of the year the $550 coronavirus supplement has been cut by $300 to make the overall fortnightly payment $800.
* People will be able to earn up to $300 without having their payment reduced.
* The mutual obligation rules requiring people to search for four jobs a month will restart on August 4.
* Penalties for people refusing a job offer will be reintroduced.
* Job search requirements will increase in September when the assets test will also return.