Hints and Tips

Hints and Tips

On this page you will find some useful hints and tips that I have learnt over the years since becoming a single mum. They are related to issues such as money, day to day living and work life balance.


The Family Energy Rebate provides eligible households a credit on an energy bill of $150, or $15 if the household also qualifies for the Low Income Household Rebate. This rebate should be applied for each financial year. It is in addition to the Energy Supplement provided by Centrelink. You need to apply for this rebate through the NSW Government Department of Industry Resources and Energy. Centrelink does not mention this rebate.

To be eligible for the NSW Family Energy Rebate, you must:

  • be a resident of New South Wales, and
  • be an account holder of an electricity retailer, or a long term resident of an on-supplied residential community, or a resident of an on-supplied retirement village, or a resident of an on-supplied strata scheme, and whose name appears on the electricity account for supply to her or his principal place of residence, and
  • have been assessed by the Federal Department of Human Services (DHS) as being eligible for the Family Tax Benefit (FTB) A or B during the previous financial year, and have received a payment of FTB in respect of that eligibility.

Click here for more information, and to apply.

My top tip for not running out of the Child Care Rebate involves forward planning and is best set up before the start of a new financial year. Currently, the Child Care Rebate (CCR) pays 50% of child care fees and is capped at $7,500 per year, per child. If you are working more than 3 days a week and have children in child care, it is likely you will run out before the end of the financial year and will then be in panic mode with having to pay full fees (minus the Child Care Benefit (CCB), if you are receiving it). Follow these steps to stay on top of child care fees and not be faced head on with a huge financial burden:

  1. Set up a separate account which will be used purely for day care fees
  2. Calculate your total annual fees for child care and subtract the CCR and CCB
  3. Divide this in to fortnightly payments (or weekly, if you prefer) NB: I do fortnightly, because that is my pay frequency and also the frequency that the my day care fees get deducted
  4. Transfer the fortnightly payment into your new account each fortnight (or which ever frequency you decide)

If you do this, you will always have extra money in the special day care account that you set up, and when your CCR runs out, you will have sufficient money in that account to cover the extra cost.

If you are in a desperate situation, you can apply for the Special Child Care Benefit (SCCB) which is a component of the Child Care Benefit (CCB). The SCCB rate of CCB covers up to the full cost of child care and is available to assist:

  • children at risk of serious abuse or neglect, and
  • families experiencing hardship.

An approved child care service provider can approve up to a total of 13 weeks of SCCB rate in each financial year for an individual conditionally eligible for CCB in respect of a child. The SCCB rate can be up to the full amount of the usual fee charged by your service. Click here for more information.

Dinner time when working

When I started working 4 days a week, I found the rush around of day care drop off -> work -> day care pick up -> getting home -> dinner time -> bed routine etc quite stressful. I found I was always rushing from one place to the next. Although I still find it really rushed, one thing I learnt that definitely eases the stress is making dinner time easier. So what I like to do is, make my dinner after my daughter is in bed (but make enough for my daughter too), and give her those left overs the next night. This gives me time to play with her, and give her dinner in a more relaxed way, rather than getting home and having to cook straight away. On weekends, and my day off, I cook dinner for us earlier so we can eat together, but on work days, it does make the process easier and more relaxing.