Aussies are sitting on a gold mine of stuff: What you've missed this week

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Australia moves further away from cash, and cash grants for flood-affected businesses.

Here are five things you may have missed this week.

Relief for flood-affected businesses

making money from selling second hand stuff

The NSW government is offering $50,000 grants to sole traders, small businesses and non-government organisations (NGOs) directly affected by storms and flood from March 10.

Funds of up to $15,000 will be provided to eligible, approved applicants, without the need to provide evidence of payment at the point of application, while funds of between $15,000 to $50,000 will require evidence of payment at the time of application.

The funds have to be used to pay for flood and storm-damaged buildings or grounds to be cleaned, repaired or rebuilt.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of regional communities, and the Australian and NSW Governments are committed to ensuring they receive the best possible support for their long-term recovery," says Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud.

"These grants will put up to $50,000 in the till of small businesses affected by these devastating floods to help them get back on their feet."

Applications can be made through Services NSW.

Aussies to save their tax refunds

Research from Finder has found that 35% of Australians - equivalent to 6.8 million people - plan to put their tax refund into savings.

Given the average tax refund sits at $2600, Finder estimates that will equate to a $17.6 billion collective boost to savings.

The research also found that 12% of Australians will use the extra funds to pay for household bills, while 7% will put it towards the mortgage.

"Most people have worked hard throughout the year for this extra cash, so it's promising to see that just over a third of Aussies aren't planning to spend it all at once," says Kate Browne, personal finance expert at Finder.

"I'd recommend using the cash to add to your savings, consolidate debt, or get your bills under control.

Australia abandons cash

Australia is sixth in the world when it comes to replacing banknotes and coins with digital payments, according to money.co.uk.

90% of Australians aged over 15 own a debit card and 60% aged over 15 own a credit card.

James Andrews, a senior personal finance expert at money.co.uk, says the move away from notes has advantages for both consumers and retailers.

"Cashless payments will allow for quick and easy transactions when international travel fully resumes, and the creation of digital paper trails could help reduce tax fraud and money laundering."

"From the retailers' side, it means less time spent sorting out a float at the start of the day, quicker transactions and fewer trips to deposit takings in the bank - as well as less risk from theft."

Employees want greater benefits

Less than a third of Australian employees (28%) are satisfied with their current employment benefits, according to the latest Hays Salary Guide.

Employees are increasingly looking for regular flexible work practices (79%), career progression opportunities (52%) and training (50%).

"The challenges of the past year prompted many skilled professionals to pause and consider what they truly value in their life and career," says Nick Deligiannis, managing director of Hays in Australia and New Zealand.

"As a result, certain benefits have become increasingly important to staff attraction and can help an employer stand out from others to secure the top talent."

Gold mine in the closet

Research from Gumtree reveals savvy Aussies stand to make about $5300 per household, with around 21 pre-loved, unwanted or unused items in the average home.

Clothing, shoes and accessories topped the list of most unloved items at 60%, followed by books (47%) and music, DVDs and CDs (42%).

"The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on many Australians emotionally, and financially. 53% of Australians who experienced a decrease in revenue or income due to COVID-19 have bought or sold items through the circular economy to supplement the income or revenue they lost during this time," says Gumtree managing director Mark Kehoe.

"We know that when we trade together, we save together and our hope is that the findings in our report can go some way to encourage more communities across Australia to discover the financial benefits of the circular economy while, at the same time, making better choices for the planet."

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine and is one of the hosts of the Friends With Money podcast. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.