Inflation is sky-high, there's more rate rises on the way and the cost of everyday things like fuel, groceries and school supplies just keeps going up.
Cost-of-living is shaping up to be one of the biggest issues this year, at the March NSW election, for the federal government and at home.
For many households, that means it's getting harder to make ends meet.
But, if you're reading today's news and looking with despair at your family budget, it could be worth combing through the NSW government's various schemes, rebates and vouchers to see what you might be eligible for.
For instance, on advice of a friend, I recently realised that I can get a $42-a-week discount on my eldest child's daycare fees.
Starting from January 2023, some families may be eligible for up to $4,220 fee relief if their child attends a community or mobile preschool or $2,110 fee relief if their child attends a preschool program in a long day care service.
You just have to fill out a form supplied by your centre to get the funds.
With school going back this week, there's been a big focus on rising school costs - and there are plenty of government vouchers designed to help ease some of these.
But did you know that your child doesn't actually have to be attending school to receive these? They just have to be enrolled.
With enrolments at many public schools starting from May, there'll likely be time for me to apply for the $100 Creative Kids Rebate, the 2 x $100 Active Kids program before the cut off in June even though my daughter won't stat school until 2024.
Another good trick I got from a savvy friend is that your children are eligible for the Child Care Subsidy until they turn six.
IN OTHER NEWS:
That means, if they attend Out Of School Hours care (OOSH) in their first year of school, before their 6th birthday, you can keep getting the second child subsidy if you've got a younger child in day care.
For me, that's a $168-a-week saving compared to not getting the second child subsidy - and likely more, as Labor's increased subsidies kick in this July which will mean more money back for most people.
As a parent of young kids, these are the things that will make the biggest difference to my budget as everyone looks to tighten their belts.
But it's worth spending some time looking at what applies to you.
There's a Q&A tool on the Services NSW website where you can answer simple questions and see the list of rebates and schemes you could be eligible for.
Some of the different programs include:
- Family Energy Rebate: A credit of $180 on an energy bill for families receiving the Family Tax Benefit.
- Toll Relief provides 12-month's free rego for NSW drivers who have spent $1300 or more on tolls in the last year.
- First Lap provides $100 for children aged 3-6 years to have swimming lessons