From homeless single mum to award winning CEO (Plus: How to Survive on Centrelink) with Kylie Travers

We Talk Cents Podcast

Kylie Travers tell us her remarkable story of hope - from homelessness to award winning CEO (with 3 investment properties in Vanuatu!) Kylie also shares her tips on surviving on Centrelink (or a low income) and how you can bring in extra cash with some creative side hustles and she even covers off how to handle debt collectors.

The following is a transcript taken from episode 43 of the We Talk Cents podcast. The transcript is created by AI software so it might not be perfect - please forgive any imperfections or grammatical errors.

Blaize Pengilly  00:09

Personal finance, budgeting, cash flow and investing don't have to be scary words. The We Talk Cents podcast is here to help you learn more about money and take control of your personal finances. We Talk Cents podcast is not a financial advisor. This podcast is made for entertainment and educational purposes only. All information shared is of a general nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for your needs and where appropriate seek professional advice from a financial advisor. 

Dan Jovevski  00:45

For more information, please check out Hi, everyone, welcome to episode number 43 of the We Talk Cents podcast. Today is Monday, the 23rd of August.

Blaize Pengilly  01:00

Your name is Dan Jovevski. My name is Blaize Pengilly. And we are here to chat money. Dan, how are you today?

Dan Jovevski  01:09

Blaize I'm feeling good. We have seen some rays of sunshine here in Perth, Western Australia - 24 degree days I've never thought that summer even existed as the season but my faith is restored. So very happy that the weather's getting a little bit warmer. How about you?

Blaize Pengilly  01:24

Well, you know what they say they there's that song and it goes? What's that song and it goes Heaven is a place on Earth. I'm starting to think that heaven is a place on earth. And I think it might be Perth because yeah, we have been really spoilt with the sun and with our freedoms lately. So yeah, the situation in many parts of Australia pretty dire. Right now with lockdowns and rising case numbers impacting a lot of the nation, we thought that you could do with a story of hope that could inspire you and remind you that even though sometimes things might be really bad, if you're not living in Perth right now, you're stuck down in one of the lockdown states that sometimes when things are bad, you have to remember that they will get better. So we'll be diving into a remarkable story that touches on homelessness and domestic violence. But it has a very happy ending. Before we press play on that story with our special guests. There has been so much money news this week, Dan, especially involving my favorite bank not sponsored. I just love them. Dan, did you hear the news about Up?

Dan Jovevski  02:29

I did. I did. Blaize? How could you ignore it. And probably a lot of people don't know this because it was kind of squirreled away in a Bendigo Bank, presentation and release. And maybe for people who have been following the business news, it's a big deal. But yes, Up or the holding company that is in a partnership with the Bendigo Bank, Ferocia. has sold their shares completely to the Bendigo Bank, which effectively means that Up bank, for all intents and purposes has been acquired completely by the Bendigo Bank, which is super interesting that you know, we've seen all some of neobanks come some neobanks go, some neobanks get acquired 86400 - The first to get acquired, now Up, I think we've only got one neobank left, obviously Xinja didn't work out and that company ended up ceasing operations. But Volt is probably the only Australian neobank, retail neobank that's currently in existence. So big news, big news across the ecosystem. But it sounds like, Blaize, that it is going to be business as usual. Inside the releases there's a lot of talk about the independence of Up and the brand towards the Bendigo Bank side of things, which I think should comfort a lot of people. That's the magic of the business, I think. They've got a separate culture, a team a philosophy of how they want to approach managing money, which should remain intact, but how Holy moly, 400,000 Members, that's a staggering amount of people.

Blaize Pengilly  03:57

Yeah. Yeah, it's pretty, pretty cool to see if you're scratching your head going or what is Up and what is the neobank? Well Up is. I think the way that I like to think of Up is that they're the bank that made banking cool. There's probably other banks that made banking cool, but for me, they're the bank that I use, and I went oh, they've actually made banking really cool. You can do various things and even send memes to your friends through Up when you are transferring money, which kind of makes money sharing money and owing someone money a little bit more fun where you can send a meme along with it. So yeah, it'll be interesting to see hopefully they still like you say remain independent because I think what they're doing is is pretty special. There was some other news this week in the money in the money room, Dan that it's not a drop my jaw to the floor, but I don't know if it I don't know how legitimate it is because I saw this article and the headline caught my attention, but then there wasn't many stats in the article. So this is the headline: Aussies paying bills with Bitcoin doubles in 2021. I mean, well, that kind of blew me blew my mind. I didn't even know we were able to pay bills with Bitcoin. But then when I read the article, I couldn't actually find the figures of how many people are doing it. So I'm not 100% Sure. Maybe doubles. It's gone from 1% of Aussies to 2%. Who knows? But I thought that was pretty interesting. Were you aware of the I guess this happening Dan? Aussies paying bills with Bitcoin?

Dan Jovevski  05:29

I wasn't to be frank plays, but you know, we're not when I say the word doubles, does it mean doubles from you know, one person was paying their bill with Bitcoin now two people paying withBitcoin? Or was it 100,000 and now 200,000. I think the number in this is relative and very important, but I think what you could probably see Blaize, I'm not sure if you feel the same way, is that crypto now has certainly become the mainstay of anybody that is a Gen Z on Millennial certainly the awareness has increased the participation in terms of opening up a Coinbase account or opening up an account that has dipped your toe into the crypto world has increased. And we've certainly seen that in plenty of evidence of seeing different transactions in the different uptake of cryptocurrency wallets in Australia increase almost exponentially during the COVID period, which would mean that alright, boy, you've got these accounts. Now you've got the crypto, and what are you gonna do with it? And so naturally, the payment mechanisms may also look to be taking off, which is fascinating. I think this is the start of the crypto revolution. People think it's like ah the end that we've been through to crypto winters, where you see a massive rise of crypto and then a massive fall. But the more that people talk, think, interact with something that is new, the more likely it's going to become a thing of the future. I think this article may be representative of crypto becoming more into the mainstream.

Blaize Pengilly  06:57

Bitcoin has been so volatile that I would be worried to pay a bill with Bitcoin. And then, you know, in three years time be like, Oh, I didn't pay my $200 electricity bill back then with Bitcoin, I'd have four and a half million dollars or something. Because I've seen such a crazy growth. And there's that there's that fun website that we talked about in an earlier episode, I apologize for my swearing there, but that's the that's the website, where you can go and see, if you hadn't bought a silly piece of garbage really, back in 2012, how much money you'd have in Bitcoin now. And it's, it's pretty phenomenal. So highly recommend, if you want to have play around on that website. I'll chuck a link in the show notes. Download a bit of personal news for me, I received my car insurance premium to renew this this month. And I did my research. And I suppose this is this is goes into the Blaize's homework section, I did my research thinking, you know, am I getting the best deal if I renew with my existing provider, I got myself a new quote from the from my same providers website. I also got a quote from another provider. And I was pleasantly surprised to see that my provider had offered me the lowest rate in the renewal premium. So something that doesn't seem to happen often. But I'm not getting taxed for my loyalty from this provider, which is very, very nice. So a bit of a win there even though it is a bit of a pain when you do have to pay those bills when they come in.

Dan Jovevski  08:32

Absolutley Blaize. And that's so cool. That you're surprised that you didn't have to change anything and you know, that means that you don't have to do one more finance had been tasked this year which is pretty cool.

Blaize Pengilly  08:41

Yeah, that's right, avoided that loyalty tax. Very happy with it. Alright, Dan, shall we get into our interview today with Kylie Travers?

Dan Jovevski  08:49

Let's do it Blaizey This episode contains content that may be alarming to some listeners. There are mentions of abuse and domestic violence. If this episode brings up anything for you, that you need to chat about to somebody then call Lifeline on 13 11 14. It's a free 24 hour crisis support hotline that can help you through anything to do with any issues that you might be experiencing.

Blaize Pengilly  09:25

Now considering at the time of recording that half the country is in lockdown with many people either out of work working reduced hours or currently relying on government support to get by, this could not be a more appropriate time to have our next guest join us. We all love a good Underdog Story. I know Dan, you are a huge fan of an underdog story. And our guest today has one that will blow your mind. She went from being a homeless single mom to now an award winning CEO. She's also an author, a consultant and a public speaker. She was awarded the inaugural Plutus Foundation Service Award for her work in ending homelessness and domestic violence. And she's also won the Best International personal finance blog award twice. She's passionate about sharing ways to make and save money, which is exactly why she's joining us today to talk through how to survive on Centrelink. tuning in today from what looks like an incredibly sunny Noiosa in Queensland is Kylie Travers from the Thrifty Issues. Welcome, Kylie. How are going?

Kylie Travers  10:27

Hi, good thanks. Thanks for having me. 

Dan Jovevski  10:29

Welcome Kylie.

Blaize Pengilly  10:30

Thank you so much for joining us. Now, Kylie. Like I said, in the intro, we are super keen to hear your tips about surviving on Centrelink. But it would be completely remiss of us not to ask about your backstory. Would you share the elevator pitch or the spill the shortened spiel with us today?

Kylie Travers  10:49

Sure, I left an abusive marriage in 2012 and ended up homeless with my two young daughters. My oldest has autism, both of them had PTSD because of what we've been through. And so I was starting over from scratch. And then within a couple of years, managed to found a company, won a bunch of international awards. And then right at the peak of that I became paralyzed and had level 10 pain, which is pain so severe that you black out. So had that going on for seven months. And then managed to sort of overcome that as well and then sold my company. And if you fast forward to now I now have re partnered, I have a newborn son, a stepdaughter. And up until COVID hit we were traveling full time as I ran the Thrifty Issue. So sort of had a little bit of a roller coaster over the last few years.

Dan Jovevski  11:41

Roller Coaster at the very least, Kylie. That that is just unimaginable in terms of what you've been through and such a different variety of health impacts, family impacts, children impacts, living arrangement impacts, and on top of that, also becoming a successful business owner. How do you feel right now, I mean, looking back at your, your life and what you've been through?

Kylie Travers  12:07

For me, it was just, that was my life. And we kind of just went with it. During the most intense periods, I was obviously living in survival mode. Within a week of actually leaving my ex husband, I was robbed of everything, including my underwear. So I was literally starting from nothing. But you kind of just have to take each thing as it comes in. So I don't think about it too much now because my life now is so far removed from what it was. And um yeah I'm really grateful for all the things that I went through, because it's really made me who I am today. And it sent me on a completely different path to what I was on before.

Blaize Pengilly  12:42

It really sounds like you've your life has had a complete 180 - being robbed of everything, including your underwear is insane. And to see how successful and how well you are thriving now is clearly a testament to your strength and perseverance to to have gotten through that. And just from you know, having a little stalk through your websites, you've gone from an abusive relationship and being homeless to now - did I see that you have three investment properties in Vanuatu. Like those two things could not be more far removed. 

Dan Jovevski  13:17


Kylie Travers  13:17

Yeah, we've got, yeah, we've got three investment properties in Vanuatu, and we've got a couple of businesses, and that sort of thing. So my partner now and I together do really, really well as a team. It's completely different to what my my first marriage was, and completely different for him to his first marriage as well. So we, we feel fortunate to have found each other. And yeah, it's quite quite different to what life was before.

Blaize Pengilly  13:41

That's really beautiful. Kylie, when you were let's start let's we're talking about Centrelink today. And I'm super keen to hear because I know you run the Thrifty Issue, right. You're the you're the woman with all the information about ways to save money and and to live frugally, and also still get what you want out of life. When you were - were you on centerlink when you were homeless?

Kylie Travers  14:04

I was. So when I left, I went on the single parenting pension. And yeah, relied on Centrelink at that time for a while until I managed to found my company and sort of get back on my feet.

Blaize Pengilly  14:14

So in that time, when you were living on Centrelink, how much money did you have coming in every week? And what were your expenses, like?

Kylie Travers  14:22

I think it was about 700 a week that I had coming in because my daughter having autism meant that I got an extra payment and there was rental assistance and that sort of thing. But my expenses were really high because my daughter's speech therapy and other therapies cost more than my rent. I paid for rent and then couldn't live in that house. And then I was also still having to pay for some of the mortgage. My ex husband wasn't paying any child support and that sort of thing. And so my expenses were far outweighing anything that I was getting from Centrelink at the time and I had to look at you know, alternative ways to make money. But around my kids being one being in preschool and the other one not even at school yet and obviously not being able to afford childcare... Yeah, was a bit of a mess. Even though I had a decent amount coming in, the expenses were way more.

Blaize Pengilly  15:08

So how was it you to decided get to be creative about making money? How did you make money? And what is for someone that's living off Centrelink? Or whether maybe it's not something maybe it's a reduced wage? Or maybe someone has no income coming in? What are the things that you did to make the dollars stretch further?

Kylie Travers  15:28

Do you mean in terms of saving or in terms of making money?

Blaize Pengilly  15:32

Oh, shall we start with making?

Kylie Travers  15:34

Sure! So for ways to make money at the time, one of the easiest things for me to do is find things to resell. There were some really good op shops near me that sold brand name clothing for like $1, I was able to get bags of clothing for $1 sometimes and books and Tupperware and all those sorts of things, and would just list them on Gumtree and eBay. Now, I would use Facebook marketplace. And when I've actually been consistent at that, I have actually made up to $10,000 a month, like over $10,000 a month doing it.

Blaize Pengilly  16:06

$10,000?! From reselling from an op shop. 

Kylie Travers  16:08


Dan Jovevski  16:09

Was that profit or was that tevenue?

Kylie Travers  16:11

Now that was profit. 

Blaize Pengilly  16:14

You are joking!

Kylie Travers  16:15

No, and I got, I got it down to being about less than three minutes to list. I more often list on Facebook marketplace now, or niche Facebook groups. I don't do it as much right now, because it's harder with people not going out as much and not looking to buy as much because we all tend to not have as much money. But yeah, when I've really focused on it, it's been mainly rockabilly clothing, travel items and books that did best for me. When I focused on on doing that, I also did everything like online surveys. I started freelance writing around then, which did really well for me, and I still do now. And it's also about then that I started doing more with my blogs and making more money through blogging, and then consulting and sort of anything that came up. I've even tested out like medical trials. So medical researchers, like mystery shopping, basically, anything that was viewed as something that you could do to make money. I've tested it.

Blaize Pengilly  17:12

Okay, so medical trials, I thought they were only a thing that happened in American TV shows... How do medical trials actually work? And are you - I mean, this is probably a silly question, but are you actually putting your health at risk when you're doing these trials, like, Are you worried that you're going to come out with I don't know, horns coming out of your face? Or I don't know, like, what, what a medical trials like? Is it? Is it like a little holiday? Or do you actually experience pain or risk? Or?

Kylie Travers  17:38

Yes, you do experience pain and risk, it depends what you're doing. So the trial that I was doing was actually for a condition that I had. And it was based on a medication that was already out. And so we knew the risks and that sort of thing. I've actually written a whole article about it. Because if you're going to do medical trials, which I too, also thought was an American thing, not necessarily a thing, but there's a company called Nucleus Network, that do it do it here that well, that's the company that I would trust to do it. I'm sure there's probably others, but they're linked with hospitals and things, so they do well. But basically, if you make sure that you're not like in the first lot of groups, so I was in the 10th group when I was doing mine, and as I said, it was very conditioned that I had, and it was for a known medicine, that are similar to a known medicine, that reduces your risk. But if you're in the first few groups, they're not entirely sure what's going on. And your risk is much, much higher. You do have to sign a waiver, I wouldn't get tested for anything that I wasn't sure about. If that makes sense. This one felt really safe, and I wasn't worried about. But there's also psychological trials and things like that as well. There's not just having your body pumped full of stuff. There's different sort of trials that can be done, but mine paid $4000. I was in hospital three nights, twice. So six nights total, and how to do a few blood tests. But But yeah, it was it was relatively easy. It was broken up - the group I was in with was great. But you do have to be aware that at times, it can be a bit like a frat house, because you are kind of all in one room. 

Blaize Pengilly  19:09

Sounds fun. 

Kylie Travers  19:10

Yeah, if they're doing a whole males test at the same time, you're all lumped in there together. And yeah, one of my nights was like that. And I'm like, never again, I'm done.

Dan Jovevski  19:20

Interesting, it's incredible. And I love the variety of also the side hustles that you've been doing, and especially the identification of little groups that you can sell stuff into that are really passionate about certain things. And there's a report from uh, it's pretty old, about 2019, but people have on average about $5,300 worth of things. They don't need in their house, i got this from a Gumtree report. And it's really interesting to see that you've made the most of that and you like you picked up certain areas or categories that you were doing well wasn't quite just just out of curiosity. It was a quite like a strategic process for you or do you just trial for things and to double down or just kept on trying random stuff?

Kylie Travers  20:00

Yeah, it was sort of, I try out a bunch of different things. And then when I realized the rockabilly clothing was doing really well, and really easy for me to find, I could get it for one or $2 most of the time, but resell it for 50 to 70. I'm gonna stick to it. Yeah,

Dan Jovevski  20:16

Well, what's very, very efficient. Kylie, moving on, what are your top tips for surviving centerlink or reduced income?

Kylie Travers  20:23

Yeah. So if you're on a reduced income, look at what you can get from Centrelink is generally my first tip, because often people won't realize that they're eligible for more than they might think. When you are applying for anything with Centrelink make sure that you check for everything, they aren't always overly helpful. In terms of there's usually a payment that you can get, rental assistance, there's other supplements, there's advanced payments, depending on your situation, you know, if you've got kids there's Family Tax Benefit, you might be eligible for even a health care card and a small payment, that alone can help. Some electricity companies and other companies will still give you a discount with the healthcare card alone, it doesn't have to be the pension card, whereas others will be the pension card only. If you have a child with any sort of disability, speech issues, those sorts of things, look into the carers payments available to you. And if you do have that, also look at the companion card. I was not told about that. And that can save you 1000s of dollars and give you free entry into the movies and things like that being their companion. I didn't actually find out about that until another event. Facebook groups with you know, different ways to make and save money can be great to join and great communities.

Blaize Pengilly  21:36

Sorry, Kylie can I just interrupt because when you say make sure you're getting the most out of Centrelink. Centrelink, even just saying the word puts me into a bit of a headache. I'm like, Oh, no, the website, it's such a - How do you navigate Centrelink? And how do you find out what you're actually eligible for? Do you use the website itself? Do you use a blog? Is there some sort of tool, how can you make it easier and as headache free as possible to find out what you are entitled for?

Kylie Travers  22:06

On the Centrelink website, they do have a thing called the payment finder where you can put in all your details and then at the end, it will show you all the different things that you could be eligible for. I've also written a bunch of articles about it and a guide on how to live on Centrelink and gone through every payment that I could find what makes you eligible for it and those sorts of things that's at It can take a bit of time and effort going through all those things. But I also recommend CommBank actually has a process that can go through that will show you not just that, you know you're eligible for certain things from Centrelink, but also from other organizations. And so I recommend checking both of them. And then yeah, just applying for all of them. I mean, the worst thing they can do is say no, or reject it. But if you also genuinely believe that you're entitled to it, you can still you can appeal that and apply again. And if they if it ends up being granted, you can be backdated to the original date as well, which might not help you in the time that you're appealing. But it will be nice to get that lump sum later. So yeah, the centerlink website and CommBank are the two that I have used for the most part without but it's it can be incredibly frustrating to doing the applications and dealing with Centrelink in general, is a massive headache in my experience and a full time job.

Blaize Pengilly  23:21

A full time job indeed. And a lot of time spent on hold. I know in my uni days when I was living off the student survival. What's it called, is it Student Youth Allowance? Yeah, I spent a lot of time with my head to the phone with that Centrelink waiting music playing out in my head?

Kylie Travers  23:38

Oh, yeah, yeah, I recommend if you're going to have to call Centrelink to be prepared. So find different things that you can do. Because it's probably going to take you an hour or two to deal with them. And you'll be on hold for most of it. So if you've got like washing or cleaning, or, you know, even home work or whatever, if you're studying to catch up on those sorts of things, it can help ease the stress that you can have from sitting there on hold for so long as well. Because you know, you can just put it on speaker do what else you need to do. And then yeah, when you hear them go, Oh, yeah, hang on. I'm here. And then dive for the phone. Exactly, exactly.

Blaize Pengilly  24:16

The We Talk Cents podcast is produced by WeMoney. And WeMoney is a smart money management app that lets you see all of your bank accounts in one simple app. There's also a community feature so you can see money tips and tricks and WeMoney has a tool that helps you track your spending and manage your money. It's free to download and use get it from the Google Play or Apple App Store. And if you use the code word podcast on sign up, you'll earn $5 when you connect an eligible bank account.

Kylie Travers  24:45

So Facebook groups there's a lot that are about have ways to make and save money that can be really useful and they're a great community. You get a lot of tips in there. And I also recommend just going over all your expenses so reviewing them thoroughly comparing everybody that you have a service with whether that's electricity or your internet or your phone, and making sure that you're getting the best deal on everything. And also making sure that you signed up to all the things such as cashback programs, so if you're shopping online, they'll pop up and let you know how much money you can get back from whatever it is that you're spending on. And those sorts of things.

Blaize Pengilly  25:18

We do love CashBack. 

Kylie Travers  25:19

It's so good. 

Blaize Pengilly  25:21

Such a great way to shop. I love cashback I talk about all the time, I'm so addicted.

Kylie Travers  25:26

Yeah, it makes such a difference. And then yeah, making sure that you sort of work out a budget, that can often be the hardest part because you're usually behind on bills, and sort of feeling a bit stressed about things and playing catch up. But the sooner you work out what your expenses are, and focus on what you need to do, and make a bit of a plan to get out of it, the better your finances will be.

Blaize Pengilly  25:47

Kylie, something we talk about. We've talked about a couple times in the show is having an emergency fund, which is obviously fantastic having for when a rainy day comes along. But when you're in a scenario, like you have been in, you know, being being homeless, having two young children surviving off a really low wage that where your expenses are totally outweighing your income. Do you have an emergency fund in times like that? Or is it full survival mode? Are you still putting cash aside, just in case something, you know, God forbid, even worse happens? Or what are your thoughts in emergency funds in situations where you're already really stretched?

Kylie Travers  26:25

It felt next to impossible to do. Honestly, a lot of the time in that situation, I would start to build it and then have to pull it back out again for various purposes. Particularly because it just felt like it was one thing after the other after the other, which most people when they're in that situation with either whether it's job loss, or they're unsettling, because they're a single parent, relationship breakdown, health issues, whatever it is, it often feels like that your bills are piling up, and you're constantly dipping into whatever emergency fund that that you have to sort things out. I felt much more comfortable when I was able to maintain an emergency fund for sure. Every time I sort of depleted a bit, I would really focus on putting my money back in there. It was sometimes it would take weeks, there was one time where I think it took me about four or five months to get that replenished. And I really felt like a failure at that time. Because everybody talks about how you have to have an emergency fund. And it's so important. It's just like, yeah, I can't even pay my bills this week. Like, yeah, but I did always try even if it was only $10 there to put something aside at the time. And then once I sort of got that happening more and was more on top of my finances, I saved more but also looked at investing fairly quickly. Even if it was only five or $10 here, you know, extra into my superannuation, or whatever it was that I decided at the time. That was really important to me, because I knew long term, the compound effect of that would be huge. Even though it was only five $5 there, it makes a difference long term. But yeah, when you're in the thick of it, it feels pretty much impossible to have that. But if you can do it, it's amazing. Uh for me, it was about selling stuff and selling more things to replenish that at the time because obviously when I started buying things to resell, I was not making $10,000 at that time. It was really hit and miss as I was learning about it. But yeah, it was important to try and have one.

Dan Jovevski  28:16

Just talk to us a little bit about debt and if what you do, if you have a debt collector that's on your case, you have no idea how to repay your debt or whatever impossible for you at the time, have you experienced that? Or do you have any tips around that?

Kylie Travers  28:28

I've never personally had debt collectors ask me, but my father was one. And so as a kid, we got the stories about it. And as that something that comes up a lot is how to repay your debt, I actually asked my dad for tips on it. And I've spoken to a few other debt collectors, the main thing for them is that they want to know that the debt is going to be repaid. And so when you're avoiding them completely, that to them says you're not going to pay it. So you're much better off answering the phone call. If you have everything with you, so your paperwork, and you can see what everything is, and all that sort of thing, then that's great. If you don't say to them, you know, I do want to pay, I do want to talk about it. Can we discuss it at x time x date, you know, whether it's an hour later or something like that? And either they you call them back or they call you back, and make sure you answer that phone call, like do not say that and then dodge the phone call. And so so that - prep yourself have everything there already if you can afford to make a goodwill payment on the day, that helps a lot. If you can't obviously make that clear.

Blaize Pengilly  29:34

So is a goodwill payment, just a token payment that you can say yes, I'm good for it. There's more coming is that kind of payment.

Kylie Travers  29:39

Yeah. So even even as little as like $50 or something like that can make a difference depends obviously on how much you owe. If you have a decent amount of money aside, not necessarily the whole amount but like if you've got some savings, you may be actually able to negotiate down your debt. You can say to them things like look, I've got  $500 that I can pay if you want to clear the debt today. Otherwise, it's gonna be, you know, $10 a week until next time, because I'm on Centrelink that sort of thing. make it really clear your financial position. There's plenty of people that I know that have actually had their debts wiped completely, because they were in a position where they were never going to be able to repay it, or they didn't have a job. Or they were, there was one that was going for a mission for church, the church that they're a member of, they'd had a three car pileup with no insurance. And so obviously, huge bill, their car was a bomb, the other two cars were not bombs. So it was it was quite a large bill. And when they rang up to go about it, they said, you know, I'm going on a mission in two weeks, and the insurance company went, oh, okay, well, nevermind. And their parents had been willing to pay for this debt. But because that wasn't mentioned. 

Blaize Pengilly  30:48

No way!

Kylie Travers  30:48

Yeah, the debt was completely wiped, and they're gone. Alright, we're not we're not gonna get the money because you're, you're going for 18 months, and then we'd have to chase you in who knows when you're going to have any money again. So it was wiped. And there's a few other cases like that. But yeah, so make your your position clear. Be calm, be polite, don't get angry at them. Do not swear. Like that's a big one as frustrating and rude as they can be. Like, don't swear, but just make it really clear. Yes, you're willing to pay. This is what you can offer. And don't agree to anything that you can't afford. They will try to pressure you for more because that's their job. But just be firm and just go - No, I can only afford this much a week. And yeah, be genuine about it. Like, do try to pay off your debt. So if you can't afford $20 or $50 a week, then pay that. But yeah, otherwise something is better than nothing. They just want to know they're gonna get their money.

Blaize Pengilly  31:35

That's interesting. I never thought about being able to negotiate your your debt. We actually we discussed negotiation and the art of negotiation with guest Ben Byth back in Episode 12. So if you're listening now going, Hey, I want to do some negotiating myself, I highly recommend tuning in to Episode 12. Because I learned a lot in that episode. And I feel like combining your knowledgem Kylie with Ben's tips in Episode 12 would be a pretty good combination if you if you needed to, if you needed to use that.

Kylie Travers  32:04

Definitely, definitely those tips will help heaps like having those skills behind your negotiation skills before getting started, makes a huge difference.

Dan Jovevski  32:10

Nice Kylie. As we wrap up the show, what are some words of wisdom that you share to listeners right now who are struggling to make ends meet or even just wondering where their next meal is going to come from? What would you say to them?

Kylie Travers  32:22

That it does get better. It might feel really difficult right now. But you will be amazed at how strong you can be. One of my favorite quotes that got me through my hardest times is: I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become. And just sort of having a mantra like that to repeat to myself helped me so much when I was looking at everything going, I can not afford my life and I've got no idea what I'm going to do. And then also reach out for help. Whatever that help is whether it's just calling Lifeline because you know, everything's mentally too much. Or whether it's going back to Centrelink and checking everything that you can can to see what you're eligible for or even just venting in a Facebook group. Reaching out for help, you will get it and it makes a huge difference. Don't be too proud to ask for it. 

Blaize Pengilly  33:08

Here, here -  asking for help. 100% back that that recommendation. Kylie, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing your story and your tips for surviving on Centrelink and dealing with debt collectors. It was really fascinating to learn more about you. If our listeners want to find out even more or read your blog, where should they go?

Kylie Travers  33:29 is the main website. It's also The Thrifty Issue across all social media. But if they go to that's where I've got all the links for all the articles I've written specifically about Centrelink and there's a guide on how to survive on Centrelink in there as well.

Blaize Pengilly  33:47

Perfect. Thank you, Kylie, so much for joining us. You have a fabulous day ahead.

Kylie Travers  33:51

Thank you. You too. 

Dan Jovevski  33:53

Thanks, Kylie. Thanks for pressing play to another installment of the We Talk Cents podcast.

Blaize Pengilly  34:01

We hope that regardless of the situation that you currently find yourself in that you found something useful and beneficial from our chat with Kylie Travers.

Dan Jovevski  34:09

And if you've got any feedback and you want to get in touch for requesting a topic or something that you'd like for us to discuss on the show, then send us a message directly at our handle on Instagram @getwemoney - slide into our DMS and let us know what you want to hear about. And it would mean the absolute world to Blaize and I if you share this episode with a friend anybody that you feel needs help with money, awesome support. Helping promote the show helps us reach more people and helps us spread the word about better financial education.

Blaize Pengilly  34:38

If you don't want to tell a friend about it, why don't you tell Apple podcasts how much you love us? Leave us a review and give us a couple of stars. We would love it because this helps other people find us too. Don't forget to hit subscribe, and we'll see you next Monday for more money chat. Have a good one. 

Dan Jovevski  34:54

See ya. 

Blaize Pengilly  34:55




The author is not a financial advisor and the information provided is general in nature and was prepared for information purposes only. This article should not be considered to constitute financial advice. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on this article as the basis for making an investment, financial or other decision. This information does not take into account your investment objectives, particular needs or financial situation.

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