2 February, 2017

Kate Fischer and Homelessness

Former model Kate Fischer has helped to bring homelessness into the spotlight with her candid interviews about her life amongst celebrity and the billionaire jet set to living in a homeless shelter in Melbourne.

Kate now named T'ziporah Malkah after reclaiming her Jewish roots and faith, has revealed to the tabloids and TV, her journey from the limelight, to needing support. T'ziporah, daughter of the always outspoken Pru Goward, a TV and Radio presenter turned Politician, was born in Adelaide and moved to Canberra where she grew up amongst a backdrop of a family life steeped in Politics and media. No stranger to the Political elite dropping in for dinner or hearing Mum on the radio grilling the finer points of Political Policy with Ministers as well as laughing with the touring celebrities. So it was no surprise that Kate could hold her own in a high profile world with the likes of Jamie Packer, once her fiancé

Like her Mother, T'ziporah (pictured above in Womens Weekly interview) is a strong and outspoken woman declaring that she is happier than ever working as an aged care worker and now making her way back into the limelight with her entry into the reality TV world of "I'm a celebrity..get me out of here". The telling of her story reinforces the issues faced by many experiencing financial hardship. Hardships that can happen to anyone from every walk of life.

Homelessness is not a choice. The majority of people are homeless due to financial and emotional hardship. The biggest cause of homelessness is family and domestic violence, followed by financial difficulties. There are around 105 000 people experiencing homelessness every night in Australia, and many more living in insecure housing, one step away from being homeless. If you are homeless or at risk of being homeless, the Homeless Gateway Service can help you. Ring the Homeless Gateway on 1800 003 308.

Many people will experience financial hardship throughout their life and require some form of assistance from housing to financial help. We are all one life changing event away from needing help. Redundancy, separation and illness including mental illness can have a huge financial impact on our lives and getting the right assistance early can save years of financial and emotional hardship

There are many organisations there to assist you if you need help in South Australia. To find them download the Affordable SA App as a pocket reference to find the right service for your situation or join in the conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/affordableSAapp/

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19 January, 2017

Post Christmas Dues

We are head long into the start of 2017 and for most the Christmas holidays are well and truly over.

As we come out of the Christmas haze some of us will cringe at the thought of the credit we have racked up over the season. Many bills using Christmas options have made Christmas shopping easier at the time but only delayed the inevitable. These "Christmas dues" are coming in just when those with Children are gearing up for the back to school purchases such as books, uniforms, fees and new computers. There is also the quarterly utilities payments such as power usage which over the summer heat are likely to be higher than average.

Dont let the Post Christmas Dues give you the Financial blues for the rest of the year.

Make a plan to reduce the impact of your debt so that you can manage your finances better over the entire year. It is worth investing some time and effort in planning and assessing your situation. Basic budgeting - understanding what income or money you have coming in against expenditures, what money you need to spend. It will also let you know what you can manage when paying off your debt in installments.

Long term credit card debt impacts on the money you have now and in the future. Over time you may end up paying much more than you need. Planning to pay off debt as early as possible or finding ways to consistently make payments reduces your overall expenditure.

Debt consolidation can be a good way to bring all your debts into one more managable basket rather than paying off a variety of smaller high interest loans or credit. Be careful as there are a lot of money lending promises and in most cases it is best to use a recognised financial institution such as a bank or if you are in hardship a benevolent instutution such as Good Shepherd Micro-Finance. NILS - No Interest Loans schemes cannot be used for paying off debt.

Consider payment options using monthly or even weekly instalments for such things as insurance, utilities or other regular bills. This can help manage your income and expenditure by smoothing out the financial highs and lows over the year.

Always examine the fine print and make sure you are getting the best rate of interest and be aware of any penalties for over due amounts. These can lead to high interest rates being applied.

Stay in touch with the Affordable SA App and explore the Programs and regular articles. This can help save you money by indicating the programs that can best help you and provide information about the latest assistance programs and advice.

Remember, if you need help ask for it. Many people experience some form of financial hardship at some point in their life.

The Financial Counselling Helpline on 1800 007 007 is a free and confidential service that can help start your new year on the right financial foot. They analyse and assess your financial situation and give you ways of dealing with a range of issues including credit and debt. They work with you to develop a plan to improve your financial situation.

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16 January, 2017

Affordable Banking

Start your 2017 by getting smart with your banking needs with help from, believe it or not, the Banks?

Banks have accounts incurring a wide range of fees and associated charges for just maintaining and using everyday banking accounts as well as penalties for maintaining accounts that dip below thresholds. This is a problem for disadvantaged and low income earners dealing with greater variance of their account balances each month and making many small transations for everyday needs. These fees quickly add up and can be surprisingly expensive over time.

Currently, some Australian banks offer ‘basic bank accounts’ that are suitable for disadvantaged and low-income customers. A basic bank account is a transaction account that does not charge many of the standard bank fees other accounts typically do. These fee-free features provide eligible customers with an account they can receive their government benefit payment into and access free banking transactions.

The ‘Affordable Banking’ website lists the basic bank accounts offered by retail Australian Banking Association member banks. It names the transaction accounts, lists their features, and indicates if there are any eligibility criteria, so that customers can review and choose an account suitable to their needs.

Generally, to qualify for a basic bank account, a customer will need to hold a Pensioner Concession Card, Health Care Card or Commonwealth Seniors Health Card. If a bank requires a customer to hold a Concession Card or Health Care Card, they will typically require that income support or family assistance payments social security benefits be paid into this account.

Some banks do not have any eligibility criteria and offer a free transaction account to all customers.

Check out the related website listed on the Affordable SA App and website or go to http://www.affordablebanking.info/Which-Australian-banks-offer-a-basic-bank-accounts-

If you are having financial difficulties a financial Counsellor can help. Financial Counselling is free, independent and confidential.

Ring 1800 007 007 and arrange an appointment. It will be your best step forward in managing your finances.

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19 December, 2016

A Partridge in a pear Tree

Well its almost here. Less than one week to go untill Christmas. Time to start feeling the warmth and love of family.

After what seemed like a troubling winter in South Australia with sheeting rain, hail and a shortage of power, we jumped from a rainy spring to the longer summer nights, warming us up and letting us forget some of our winter blues. Christmas is almost here with a new year just around the corner.

Whilst some of us still desire more time at the shops and others fight off the urge to splurge on last minute buying some face a very hard Christmas. Despite many organisations doing their best to help bring some joy to those in need there are many with financial and personal problems overshadowing the joy of the season. Christmas is a time to connect with our loved ones and celebrate the gift of giving but for many people it can feel the opposite. Being separated from family and loved ones – either due to work, loss, or conflict – can make Christmas a time of unhappiness and loneliness. We might feel disconnected from others, as though nobody really understands us, listens to us, or values our company.

The holidays can be a difficult time if we are feeling like this and don’t have supportive people in our lives. There are several good guides that can offer some help if you are feeling this way and organisations or professional help if needed. See our article on "tips to managing loneliness this Christmas" in the Affordable SA App and accompanying website https://affordablesa.com.au/news/three-tips-for-managing-loneliness-this-christmas

Christmas is also a time for us all to reach out. To share the true spirit of Christmas and although connecting with people can sometimes seem daunting and possibly awkward it can also be the most rewarding. A simple "Merry Christmas" or chat in the neighbourhood can be a gift in itself. Everyone has a story to share and deserve to feel valued.

Hopefully most of us will be with friends and family this Christmas and we need to treasure this time most dearly.

Have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

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13 December, 2016

Two Turtle Doves

Two weeks to go till Christmas.

If you have been following our Christmas countdown and our guide to making it an affordable Christmas this year then you are on the down hill leg and well on your way to being ready and relaxed for Christmas. If not then its still ok. Check out our 12 ways to making it an affordable Christmas for some last minute ideas and hints to getting ahead early in the new year. See link below for the original article or look in the news section of the App.

Over the holiday season many services are closed so if you rely on payments you may find them altered from their usual routine before and after this period. Make sure you plan out your income and payments for the break with this in mind.

https://www.humanservices.gov.au/customer/public-holiday-reporting-dates-and-payment-arrangements

Our Financial Counsellors have also warned us that there are still many families thinking that they will receive the Schoolkids Bonus and relying on this payment for buying the kids their technology needs for when they return to school. The Schoolkids Bonus was phased out in July 2016 so there will be no payments next year. If you were eligible but did not receive them before this closure of the program you need to apply by 30 June 2017. If you received payments for the appropriate period you will not be receiving any further payments.

We would like to thank all the organisations available within the Affordable SA App and leave you will this video by Canadian group Walk Off the Earth below which we believe not only celebrates Christmas but demonstrates the Teamwork needed to make fantastic things happen with each doing their part. We wish you a merry Christmas too.

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9 December, 2016

New Online Tools from MoneySmart

Money Smart (ASIC) has released several new online tools. These are part of a swag of calculators and tools on their website that can assist your in managing your money and assets. Mapping out and properly understanding your financial situation is an important part of getting through financial difficulties and planning for your economic future.

SIMPLE MONEY MANAGER - Is a budgeting resource to help households with everyday budgeting and managing their finances.

The resource is available in English, simplified and traditional Chinese, Italian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Somali, Dari and Sudanese Arabic. The design includes an in-language audio function to help users, especially those with lower levels of literacy.

DIVORCE and SEPARATION FINANCIAL CHECKLIST

In such times of stress and an ongoing complex relationship environment the last thing you need is to make poor choices when it comes to separating your money. This online tool prompts you with the important things you need to focus on in separating your finances. Our Financial Counsellors can also be a great help in getting your finances back on track through and after such problematic scenarios. Ring the National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007 and make an appointment to speak to a Financial Counsellor near you.

ASSET STOCKTAKE CALCULATOR

Making the time to take stock of your assets is an important step in making better financial decisions.

For more information please go to ASIC’s MoneySmart website.

If you need more direct financial help please contact the National Debt Helpline 1800 007 007 to speak to your nearest Free Financial Counsellor. Financial Counsellors are there to help you to make your decisions about the financial matters that surround your situation and may be just the start you need to get yourself on a better financial path. Download the Affordable SA App or go to the website version of the App https://affordablesa.com.au for more valuable information.

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29 November, 2016

The Nightmare before Christmas.

With only a few weeks to go it is no surprise that our Christmas anxiety levels are through the roof. At a time when we want to be turning our minds to family and friends it seems that the pressure of paying for Christmas is first and foremost in our minds. For many Australians it has been a really tough year but it seems that the hard yards are still to come with the financial impact of Christmas set to play an overwhelming part well into our New Year.

New research released by the Salvos reveals just how worried we are about Christmas and what many will need to do to get through the holidays and beyond. The new Roy Morgan research commissioned by the Salvos reveals:

• Approximately half a million children under 10 are likely to receive no presents this Christmas.

• 8.4 million Australians (equivalent to 45% of survey respondents) believe „Christmas is a financial nightmare‟.

• 12.2 million Australians (equivalent to 65.3% of survey respondents) know people who will be lonely this Christmas.

• 1.8 million Australians (equivalent to 10.1% of survey respondents) believe Christmas will leave them in worrying debt.

• 2.4 million Australians (equivalent to 13% of survey respondents) are worried about how they will pay for Christmas.

• 611,000 Australians (equivalent to 3.3% of survey respondents) said they would need to sell things to fund Christmas.

• 2.8 million Australians (equivalent to 15.5% of survey respondents) know someone who will need to sell things to meet the cost of Christmas.

You can read more about the findings at:

https://salvos.org.au/about-us/latest-news/media-newsroom/salvation-army-poll-reveals-worried-australians-about-cost-christmas/

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