Written by Barbie Cail

Guest Ponderer & Social Enterprise Advocate


25 years ago, when I separated from my husband with two small children, I struggled to get a bank loan and finances were tight.

I realised to secure the future of my family; I needed to be smart about money.

My goal was to one day be in a financial position to retire early. 

Hard work and determination (and a lot of fun along the way) resulted in my retirement last year at 54. 

As the economy of our country and the rest of the world are impacted, financial care is more important than ever. 

My mindful budget tips during Covid19

Ok so you may be getting paid less than before. What now? 

This is the best time to look at your budget. It is either a priority or you may simply have a little more time to get all your expenses in order. Allocate a couple of hours and review all of your bills.

First, list all of your necessary expenses. This would include your mortgage or rent, car payments, insurance, rates, body corporate fees, energy bills, phone/internet contracts. 

Research online to see if there are any better deals available. I know this can take time, but you will be in a better position to negotiate if you have done enough research.

  • Talk to your bank and ask for a better deal after reviewing the offerings for new home loans. If you don’t ask you will not get the best rate. 
  • Make your repayments match your income, e.g. weekly, fortnightly. 

If you’re like me, you will be excited with the savings you can make by increasing the frequency of your mortgage repayments or just paying a little bit more.

Remember loyalty is NOT rewarded. Instead, you pay a premium for staying. Doesn’t seem fair, but that is the way it is.

  • Contact all of your suppliers to see if you can get a better price. Insurance agencies, energy and phone/internet suppliers will often give you a better deal if you ASK. 

  • Set up direct debits and make the repayments to match your income e.g. weekly, fortnightly. This will spread your bills over the year and avoid the stress of trying to find money all at once. 

Next look at your discretionary expenses.

This would include your car/travel expenses, groceries, streaming services like Netflix, Spotify etc., clothing, takeaway food/coffee/alcohol.

This is the most important area for you to review thinking seriously about the difference between a need or a want. 

Be honest with yourself about what is adding value to your life. 

  • When I think of groceries, all I want to say to you is PLAN, PLAN and PLAN. Write a shopping list and stick to it. 

Grocery wastage is crazy because the shops are open almost every day of the year. Only buy what you need. Buy in bulk only if it will save you money. 

  • Streaming services – be mindful of what you are paying for and whether you are getting value for money.


Swing in and out of the streaming services, but keep track of them. Can you get your music/podcasts in the same streaming service as your movies? Worth checking out. 


Finally, we get to my favourite topic – Superannuation. This is your pot of gold at the end of your rainbow when you retire!


  • The opportunity to withdraw money from your Super is tempting (more than one million have registered to do this during this current crisis). However, there is a high price to pay in your future. Promise yourself that if you do withdraw money from your Super, you will replace it when your finances improve!

Remember that your budget needs to suit YOU and your lifestyle.

If you do not manage your money, you will never be able to live the life you want to.

Make some tough decisions now that your future self will thank you for.

Written by Barbie Cail Guest Ponderer

Writer, adventurer and social enterprise advocate Barbie Cail gives us inside tips on saving some moula during COVID. Her career has included Small Business Project manager as well as field auditing roles. Her positive outlook on life and people is infectious and we welcome her to the Ponderings fold.

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