Back to School Frenzy

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28 January, 2020

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And just like that the school holidays are over.

If you have children, the back to school frenzy is probably the next big financial thing in your life.

Whether a child is starting Reception or Year 12, the cost of education can have an extremely large impact on household finances.

Uniforms, bags, textbooks, stationery, school fees, camps, excursions, school photos, swimming carnivals, laptops, lunches…the list goes on.

Here on the Helpline, particularly this time of year, we hear many stories of families who are trying to juggle everyday living expenses in an attempt to buy laptops, school jumpers, school shoes or any other extra cost that may surface for the new school year.

For more information about how to reduce back to school costs, see the attached link to the Moneysmart website.

The Affordable SA App also has a dedicated section for Education. See the following link for more information https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/education


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Bushfire recovery and COVID-19

Those effected by Bushfire in South Australia have been hit with a double whammy. Hit hard by the fires in Kangaroo Island and Woodside, the COVID019 crisis has wiped out any confidence of recovery for a lot of people and businesses in these communities.

In response, Governments are now announcing more support to help get Bushfire effected communities through the coronavirus pandemic and the Bushfire recovery agency has put together a combined list of assistance and options available covering these crises. It includes bushfire, drought, flood and COVID-19 support from the Australian Government and links to state government assistance.

From help for mental and domestic violence to property clean up and support for ongoing living costs including where COVID-19 assistance may provide more benefit. This information site quickly defines what is available for individuals, small business including not for profits and primary producers.

Click on the list most relevant to you:

- [Combined list of support for individuals](https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-assistance/combined-individuals-and-families)

- [Combined list of support for small business and not-for-profits](https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-assistance/combined-small-business)

- [Combined list of support for primary producers](https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-assistance/combined-primary-producers)

Keep in mind that governments are announcing more support as things change, and check back occasionally with the [Bushfire Recovery Agency](https://www.bushfirerecovery.gov.au/recovery-assistance/combined-individuals-and-families) to see what’s new.

If you are struggling there are Financial Counsellors available on Kangaroo Island and in Lobethal. financial counsellors are free, independent and confidential. They are there to help you manage through the cost of living pressures. Check out the Affordable SA App, website or ring the Affordable SA Helpline 1800 025 539 to book an appointment with one of the financial counsellors based in these communities or find out what other assistance is available.

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How much do we care?

The release of 1.1 Billion dollars by the PM was less about “how we are managing” coronavirus and more about “how much we care” for those that will be thrown into financial chaos and personal hardship.

It will help to provide protection for the frontline Doctors and Nurses who have shown their stamina and courage and who will be put under even more pressure in the weeks and months to come. So much depends on these people and the outpouring of genuine appreciation for their efforts continues to grow as we learn about the day to day struggles they face in managing patients and what could happen.

It will help people that will find it hard to cope with these times. We know that many people will suffer mental health issues as anxiety and fear will cross our paths at some point through this crisis. We know that financial hardship undeniably creates a spike in domestic violence. We know that people will need support for the basics such as food and money and many wont know where to turn to find the help they need.

The SA Government has for many years provided for a network of support agencies across the State that can help you with the basics such as food, financial help and support. We call this Network, [Emergency Relief](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/food/emergency-relief). It supports people in need with food, financial and material assistance. Fuel vouchers to be able to travel to work or out of harms way. No Interest Loans, access to cheap insurance, the basic essentials and free Financial Counselling to help you manage debt. Organisations such as [FoodBank](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/food/foodbank), Oz Harvest, Second Bite and even your local supermarket form an important supply chain for this Network.

This network is now set to ramp up to support even more South Australians, not just in Adelaide but across our regional areas with the SA Government releasing 1.6 million dollars to the charities, food relief organisations and online and phone support programs. Businesses too have jumped in to lend a hand with chefs, restaurants and major commercial kitchens cooking up meals to supply Foodbank and meals on wheels. These Emergency Relief providers have re-invented the way they work in order to follow the guidelines that are helping to keep us safe and to flatten the curve.

Check out the South Australian Emergency Relief providers in the Affordable SA App, website or speak to the [Affordable SA Helpline](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/affordable-sa-helpline) on 1800 025 539 to find the services that can help you and in your local area.

For the immediate future, Emergency Relief will continue almost entirely as a phone-based services. Working with the SA Government to deliver help and keep people safe by minimising exposure to the COVID19 virus.

It’s going to be a long haul and these charities and agencies no matter how big or how small will be pushed to their limits. Many have been forged during war or tough times. Many are driven by their volunteer’s enthusiasm and personal knowledge of hardship. All will need to draw on every once of their tradition and unity to successfully stand with those that will be in need and show just how much we really do care.

by[Graeme](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/team/graeme-hinckley)

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