Tuesday, July 11, 2006

living standards is not just about income, but also about budgeting

The Living Standards report out today shows 60 percent of beneficaries with kids are living in hardship, and 26 per of beneficaries are living in severe hardship - rising to 34 percent for those with kids. Most of the ones with kids are on the DPB.

One wonders how some beneficaries - especially those with kids - can focus on looking for work if they are too busy wondering how then can pay their bills, let alone their debts. The majority of sole parents are on benefits, and it is these parents who are likely to be suffering severe hardship.

However it is not because of income, it is because of how they spend their money. If you are a beneficary reading this and want some suggestions on how to live on your meagre income, heres a Big News Community Service.

Food shopping: Cook your food rather than buy it. Avoid fast food outlets, make your lunch and shop on the specials - you`ll save about 25 percent of your food budget if you maximise the specials. Go to the markets. Cut down on alcohol and cigarettes, junk foods, newspapers or magazines. Read magazines at the shop or newspapers at the library. Apply for food grants when you have to or utilise foodbanks.

Phone: Use as many 0800 numbers as you can, rather than ringing landlines or cellphones from your own cellphone - and you all have flip-top cellphones, don't you. Change to prepaid.

Internet - If you are looking at this you probably have an internet conection. Go to the library where many main sites are free, (unfortunately not blogs, though) including media and job sites and use their connection. Jetstream is not a necessity. Use Trade Me and the trade and exchange book for some purchases.

Entitlements: Find out what you are entitled to through Work and Income. You will be amazed at the extras you may be entitled to when you need them, such as power advances, food grants, free CVs,free study costs for those on the DPB, contributions to dental bills, school uniforms, furniture, rent and bond when moving house. You can even get up to $250.00 worth of clothes to go to a job interview - and you don't have to pay it back. So, get some job interviews - you may even get a job.

Children: Don't have kids to get more family support - your disposable income - if you have any - will lower, even though you get more family support payments. Spend your family support money on supporting your family. Join the local toy and book library instead of buying expensive toys for your kids. Use cloth nappies, buy toddlers and baby clothes second hand and save heaps.

Hire Purchase and loan sharks: - avoid them like the plague. You`ll get screwed. You don't need hire purchases any more than you need Sky TV, Play stations or two cars.

Electricity: Insulate your home - at a cost of $300.00. You may be able to add that amount towards your assessment for your accommodation supplement the following year if you are still on a low income. If you save 20 percent of your food budget as above, you should have $300 saved up in no time and your house will be warmer as well. Don't use your dryer or your dishwasher more than you have to.

Finally this data was collected before the Working For Families package, so we should expect less hardship in the 2008 report.


john said...

Brilliant satire Dave.

BB said...

The ashburton district has almost zero unemployment.. those who are unemployed here are unemployable. The dairy industry here is always screaming out for workers even if they are unskilled, most farms offer full training.. with salaries around 30-40,000 and free rental accommodation thrown in, jobs are available to those who are seeking. Those livign in Auckalnd should take note.. you do not have to choose to live where there is little employment..
Sometimes being a beneficiary can be a lifestyle choice.
But you are right Dave, there are many ways to cut corners and save money.
I supported five children on a domestic purposes benefit for some years. Whilst there wasn't an abundance of spare money we never went without. Wise budgeting meant my children still had the best of everything.. computers, playstations.. family holidays.. and the mortgage and rates were kept up. I didnt have a huge social life, chose not to drink except on special occassions, didnt smoke.. bought second hand clothes for myself..grew some of our own fruit and veges and kept a couple of hens.. cooked at home..doing these things meant I could direct money to where it was meant to go.. the well benig of my children..
Real poverty comes whe we choose to live in a high cost rental area, choose to party up.. choose to smoke and drink..choose to eat out.. blow our money on unecessary items etc..
When I chose to rejoin the workforce my income dropped by $100 per week. It was harder.. we still managed and I still saved, to treat my children with great birthday and christmas gifts.
In all of this I never felt poor.
I believe people develop a poverty mind set.. they look at what they havent got, rather than rejoicing in the things they do have.
It all about choice.

Child Support Reformer said...

I think many people make the assumption that the figures are talking about those on the DPB.

I found out how that is NOT the case first hand.

You see, a couple a years ago, I found myself on the unemployment benefit with 2 children. (My ex was and still is on the DPB). Trouble was, the 120 days that my Family Court mediated custody agreement was not recognised by the state. Worse, I had child support payments deducted so I actually got less than if I had been childless. (see more info in my blog)

While I agree poverty is often caused by mismanagement, I found out first hand that the system contributes to poverty as well.