As the days pass with no new cases and with restrictions starting to ease, we find ourselves slowly emerging from the surreal fog that was COVID-19.
But what happens when the fog clears and things return to 'normal'?
What is going to happen to the 40,000 South Australians that have lost their jobs due to COVID-19?
Many South Australians are coming face to face with the harsh reality of financial hardship - something that they may have never experienced before. Ultimately, things that were affordable 3 months ago may no longer be affordable.
As the restrictions are lifted, the opportunity to spend money increases. Therefore if your financial situation has changed due to COVID-19, it is important to stay on top of your finances during this time.
If you feel like you are being engulfed by the fog of financial hardship and you can't see a way out, don't stress... there are people out there who you can talk to.
A Financial Counsellor can look at your overall financial situation and provide you with your options and can advocate and negotiate on your behalf if need.
For more information and services, visit the attached link to the Money & Finances section of Affordable SA.
Today, Wednesday 8th of July, is Math 2.0 Day.
Math 2.0 Day is a celebration of the blending of mathematics and technology. Think of calculators, cars, computer programs, airplanes, the self-serve check out at the supermarket …the list goes on.
As a financial counsellor, I use math every day - I have 2 calculators on my desk!
I use math when I complete a budget and when I analyze a person’s income and expenses. I use math when I go through statements, utility bills and when I work out affordable payment arrangements and hardship options. Math pops up everywhere during my day.
On this day, Math 2.0 Day, consider combining math and technology to help your financial situation.
On the Moneysmart website is an interactive Budget Planner where you can enter your income and expenses to create your own budget. By combining math and technology, the Budget Planner allows you to view your expenses annually, quarterly, monthly, fortnightly or weekly, to help you take the first steps towards getting on top of your finances.
To access the Moneysmart Budget Planner follow the attached link to the Moneysmart website.
Unscrupulous Pay Day Lenders have been caught out using the current global pandemic to market their products.
With many Australian’s facing ongoing financial uncertainty, some day pay day lenders have come to the party offering quick, short term loans to ease the financial stress brought on by COVID-19.
As a financial counsellor, this makes my skin crawl.
Along with paying back the original amount, pay day lenders also charge high interest rates, lender’s fees, defer payment fees, default fees, etc.
Within my role, I have seen pay day loans snowball into more than triple the amount originally borrowed.
If you are struggling financially and you need funds to pay for an expense, there are alternative options available.
Other options include:
- [NILS (No Interest Loan)](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/no-interest-loans-scheme-nils)
- [Speckle Loan](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/speckle-loans)
- [Step Up Loan](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/stepup-loan)
- [Household Relief Loan](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/household-relief)
If you are struggling to afford essential living expenses, it may also be worthwhile booking an appointment with a financial counselor to discuss your options. To book a free appointment, call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 359 or search for [Financial Counselling](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/financial-counselling-services) at the Affordable SA website.
For more information about how pay day lenders are targeting vulnerable Australians, see the attached article from ABC news.
At the end of April 2020, approximately 6.8 million Australians received the first COVID-19 Economic Support Payment of $750. On the 10 July 2020, approximately 5 million eligible Australians will receive the second COVID-19 Economic Support Payment of $750.
If you are one of the eligible Australians who is going to receive the $750 payment in July, have you decided how you are going to spend the money?
One way to think about it - what expenses do you have that have consequences if you do not pay?
- Credit commitments (e.g. mortgage, car loan, personal loan, credit card, etc.)
- Council rates
- Car registration
- Driver’s license
- Car repairs
- School fees, etc.
Everyone has different priorities about how they choose to spend their money.
If you are going to receive the $750 in July, it is important to have a good think about how you are going to spend these funds.
If you have outstanding debts for any of the above expenses and you feel overwhelmed just reading the above list, consider speaking to a financial counsellor to discuss your options.
Financial counsellors provide a free and confidential service. To find a financial counsellor near you, see the attached link to Financial Counselling Services on the Affordable SA website.