Reduce financial stress to improve your mental health

So often with our busy lives we miss easy opportunities to tidy up loose ends with our finances. Those little things we think “yeah I should do that but another day.” It is funny how putting a bit of effort in now can really save in the long-term.

We often talk about mental health and what can make a difference. The usual conversation surrounds therapy, exercise, diet, medication etc. For good reason, all of these things can potentially help.

Yet it is very easy to overlook just how management of our finances can have an impact on our mental health. Think about our current economic times. The property price has come way back in Sydney and is now dropping in Newcastle. The changing economy presents challenges for families as they seek to manage their finances and see them grow.

So, did you know there some very easy ways to save money – simply through government offers and rebates? There are many around, particularly for families! I have narrowed down my top 3 that can really make a big difference.

1.      Energy Switch

This is up there with one of my favourites. Have you ever looked at your electricity bill and simply found it confusing? Well the government has started up this comparison website which simply tells you what the best deal is for you. All you have to do is upload your latest electricity e-bill and it automatically compares the best prices. We have done this just recently and found out we’ll save around $200 a year just by making a simple change.

Here is the link

2.      Fuel Comparison

Before you even leave home for the day for work it is as easy as a simple search to find the best fuel price in your area. Simply go to to draw a comparison in your suburb/surrounding suburbs for the cheapest fuel.

While writing this I’ve just done a quick comparison in the Warners Bay area for the cheapest fuel. The most expensive fuel was BP Whitebridge 137.7c for Unleaded 91 and the cheapest is BP Boolaroo 129.7c for Unleaded 91. That is an 8c difference per litre!

On a standard 60 litre tank that is a saving of approx. $5 every fill up

3.      Concessional Parking Fees at NSW Public Hospitals

If you haven’t seen there has been quite a bit of media coverage over the expense of parking fees at NSW Hospitals – particularly John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle. See

The good news is that if you are a patient or a carer for a patient the cost is dramatically reduced.

For example, the usual rate to visit John Hunter Hospital (JHH) for up to three hours is $7.50. However if you ask for the concession rate (if you are a patient or carer) you will receive the first 3 hours free.

Don’t think you need it? We didn’t either until the birth of our first child which didn’t go the way we planned, so we had to stay 1 week at the JHH. Visiting twice a day we could have easily spent $70 for the week. Instead we didn’t pay anything close to that because of the carer concession fee.

So there are some simple tips. Treating psychologists should be mindful of financial stressors on families. I could tell you of many times when I have spoken to children and adolescents who worry about their families finances. It is hard for parents to hide financial difficulties from their kids. While we are not financial advisors it is important we give you the best assistance possible to direct you to someone who can help you get your finances under control.

If you need further support, please look into another free service that can benefit you.

National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007

Legal Aid NSW 1300 888 529 or 02 9219 5000

Lifeline 24 hour Crisis Support Service 13 11 14

Dr Andrew Wilkinson

Clinical Psychologist