Coming out of the COVID-19 fog

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1 June, 2020

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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.

  • What are your 'essential' living expenses and 'non-essential' living expenses?
  • Are you able to afford your 'essential' living expenses? If not, have you discussed hardship options with your credit and utility providers?
  • Are there any 'non-essential' living expenses that you may need to think about, due to the financial changes brought on by COVID-19?

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.

Call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to book an appointment to speak to a free Financial Counsellor or search for Financial Counselling Services on the Affordable SA App.

For more information and services, visit the attached link to the Money & Finances section of Affordable SA.

By Sam

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Foodbank on the road in SA

Foodbank, South Australia’s largest distributor of donated produce is hitting the road and heading to the North of the state. The new mobile food hub service will be available in Clare, Kadina, Riverland and Port Lincoln, as part of a new pilot program.

This service is due to roll out from the 1st July and service the community every two weeks within these regions.

[Foodbank](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/food/foodbank) SA is a not for profit Food Rescue organisation, assisting the community with affordable, low cost groceries as well as reduce food waste. They have warehouses where welfare agencies can purchase low cost groceries to feed their communities and clients in [Whyalla](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/whyalla-foodbank), [Riverland](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/riverland-berri-foodbank), [Mt Gambier](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/mount-gambier-foodbank) and [Edwardstown](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/edwardstown-foodbank).

There are also Food Hubs that are smaller stores across the state in Mt Gambier, [Elizabeth](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/elizabeth-foodbank), [Bowden](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/bowden-foodbank), Edwardstown, [Christies Beach](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/contact-us/christies-beach-foodbank) and Whyalla. People in need can access these stores via referral from agencies such as [The Salvation Army and those funded by the SA Government for Emergency Relief](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/news-articles/sa-funded-emergency-relief). Importantly these Hubs offer a dignified shopping experience and clients can have up to 15kg of free fruit and veg, 1-2 loaves of bread for free and then all other items have a small price. These items include dairy, frozen, meat, sanitary and hygiene items, non-perishable food, every day essentials and animal food. Ready made meals are also available for those unable to cook.

Port Lincoln and surrounding regions don’t have access to [Foodbank](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/food/foodbank) Food Hubs and those in need had to travel long distances to obtain food assistance, often spending more on petrol than they could afford. Local regional agencies such as [The Red Cross](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/news-articles/the-australian-red-cross-in-regional-sa) would help to bring packages to charities in smaller towns in these regions but this new program will provide a better, more direct solution.

This low cost food assists people to save money on their shopping bills. Money they can then put towards other expenses. These savings combined with other services such as [Financial Counselling](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/financial-counselling-services) and personal support programs can make a real and lasting difference for the future of someone struggling to make ends meet. Having these mobile hubs visiting regional SA areas will help charities provide the same level of food assistance that is available in Adelaide.

Foodbank is currently identifying other key areas of which the Mobile Food Hub can visit in the future.

For more information about how to contact the services that can help you with cost of living issues ring the [Affordable SA Helpline](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/money-and-finances/affordable-sa-helpline) on 1800 025 539 or browse the [Affordable SA website](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/). You can also download the free Affordable SA App to help you access this information from the palm of your hand. Affordable SA has been developed by South Australians and proudly staffed by South Australians, for our communities.

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

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Getting back to the Shed

Appropriately during Men's Health Week we are hearing the sounds of bolts sliding and the creak of the shed door opening again as COVID-19 restrictions are cautiously being relaxed in South Australia.

Not just four walls holding up a tin roof, the Men's Shed has been a success in unleashing mens need to create, learn and have a chat about it. This week many sheds are reopening after a tools down forced tea-break because of COVID-19.

Many men go fishing, help a mate fix a car or watch the footy with a mate (about all we can do at the moment). We men seem to need a prop or a cause in order to have a chat and open up to our fears and what's really going on in our lives. The Men's Shed has given many of us a place to share stuff happening in our lives and help each other. It's not just a place for the tool skilled, there is a wealth of knowledge and life experience to be shared at your local Men's Shed. To be honest it has got many through a rough period of their lives and most likely saved quite a few lives by simply having a mate lending an ear.

During Mens Health Week I have been catching up with the latest shed's podcast "theshedwireless" which believes that by getting a few blokes together we can fix anything from a wobbly flat pack bookshelf to relationships, our health as well as the ozone layer. A special shout out from the boys at the shed to the Men's Shed at Quorn in South Australia. There is most likely more saw dust than substance but a few good chips of common sense will always prevail.

While your here browse through Affordable SA website and download the App to find the many services that can help men specifically and many other services that can help manage the problems we all face with money and finance, food and everyday living expenses or ring the Affordable SA Helpline 1800 025 539.

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

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A little bit more...

The Coronavirus Supplement will be paid automatically up until the 24 September 2020.

Is the extra $550 per fortnight from the Coronavirus Supplement giving you a little bit of extra wiggle room in your budget?

If it is, it might be a great time to get ahead on your essential living expenses.

Essential living expenses don’t go away. As long as you keep lighting your gas stove, switching on your kettle and turning on your shower, these costs will continue to incur.

Electricity, gas and water have usage costs. Each time you receive a water, electricity or gas bill, the bill will tell you how much you have used in the last 3 months. Keep in mind that we are heading into winter, so your usage costs may increase.

If you contact your utility provider, they may be able to provide you with your fortnightly usage cost ($) (e.g. the amount of electricity, gas or water you use within a fortnight).

From a budgeting point of view, many people set up[fortnightly payment arrangements](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/programs/utilities/paying-energy-bills-weekly-fortnightly-or-monthly) to cover the ongoing cost of their utility bills. By setting up fortnightly payment arrangements, this can help to reduce the effect of what we call “bill shock” – the large unpleasant bill you receive every 3 months that leaves you scrambling for money.

If you know the average fortnightly cost of your electricity, gas and water and you have a bit of extra wiggle room in your budget, it might be worthwhile putting a few extra dollars per fortnight on top of your usage costs, towards these expenses. The extra contribution per fortnight may help to offset the effect that September may have on your financial situation.

For more information about the energy market, energy efficiency, contracts, bills and prices see the attached link to Energy Made Easy.

By [Sam](https://www.affordablesa.com.au/team/sam)

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