The cost of getting your kids ready for the school year seems to increase every year. Books, uniforms and even young sporting or musical aspirations can have a huge impact on the family budget. Computers have become the big-ticket item that has added to traditional education needs and "bring your own technology" is the new buzz words for saying "you’ll need to pay for these required technologies from your own pocket".
These extra costs at the start of the year combined with the recent flurry of Christmas credit card spending can see many families disappearing further down the financial black hole of debt. The Affordable SA Helpline has as you would expect been flooded with calls from families in need of assistance, many regarding managing these extra educational costs.
Highly recommended by our Financial Counsellors is the Saver Plus Program made possible by ANZ Bank and local community organisations (supported by the Australian Government). Saver Plus is a matched savings and financial education program and provides an opportunity to have every dollar saved (up to $500) matched with an additional dollar for your own family’s education-related expenses.
You may be eligible to join Saver Plus if you or your partner:
The program will set a 10-month savings goal with help from your Saver Plus Worker after you open an ANZ Progress Saver account.
The program also includes 10 hours of fun, informal financial education workshops.
If you successfully complete the program, ANZ matches your savings dollar-for-dollar, up to $500. This money can be used for education costs (either your children's or your own) such as computers, uniforms, books and sports equipment.
Over 32 000 people have previously participated in the program which is available in 60 locations around Australia. The Smith Family manages the program in South Australia with several face-to-face “Saver Plus” workers in locations around Adelaide to assist you in every aspect of the program. These locations are:
- Adelaide Northern region.
- Port Adelaide, Enfield and Charles Sturt.
- Salisbury and Playford.
- South Adelaide
To access the program please phone 1300 610 355 or SMS your name and postcode to 1300 610 355 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
You can find more information about this program and other cost of living services that can assist you on the Affordable SA suite of services via the Affordable SA app, website and Helpline. Or mingle with us at http://www.facebook.com/affordableSAapp/
Please remember. If you are struggling with debt a Financial Counsellor can help you take control.
Financial counselling is free, confidential and independent. These services are provided by not-for-profit, community-based services and available to people in Australia experiencing financial difficulty. See the Affordable SA App "Financial Counselling" for more details or phone the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
An emu up a gum tree?!
It feels like the Christmas season starts earlier every year, with shops, online stores and businesses putting up decorations and holding promotions in the months leading up to Christmas day. But, did you know that the Christmas season and the 12 days of Christmas actually begin on Christmas Day itself?
The 12 days of Christmas is the period in Christian theology that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25 (Christmas) and runs through January 6 (the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day).
The 12 Days of Christmas song that most of us are familiar with comes from an English composer named Frederic Austin. In 1909, he set the melody and lyrics (including changing 'colly' to 'calling') and added as his own flourish, the drawn-out cadence of 'five go-old rings'. The earliest known version first appeared in a 1780 children's book called 'Mirth With-out Mischief'.
Learn more about the history of the '12 days of Christmas' in this interesting article: https://www.vox.com/21796404/12-days-of-christmas-explained
Australian lyrics of the 12 Days of Christmas: https://www.thechristmastreefarm.com.au/australian-12-days-of-christmas-lyrics/
It’s Christmas Day – time to spend time with family and friends. To be honest, I’m not even sure why you are reading this? Go, get off your phone or computer and enjoy Christmas.
If you're alone this Christmas for any reason, take a moment to pick up a phone and connect with a friend or family member.
If you don't have access to a phone or wi-fi, all Telstra pay phones are free to use over Christmas till New Years Day: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-23/telstra-payphones-made-free-for-christmas/13009548 - This includes Telstra Air wi-fi access points.
Here's some tips from the ABC if you're in isolation or alone on Christmas Day: https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/tips-for-spending-christmas-alone/100004504
Lifeline provides a 24/7 helpline for crisis support and suicide prevention on 13 11 14.
From all of us at Affordable SA, we wish you a safe and very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for 2021
Where does the time go? Only 7 Days until Christmas!
Time to pick-up last-minute gifts and prepare for celebrations with family and friends. There’s presents to wrap, food to make and lots and lots of little jobs that can make it a very busy time.
The tricky thing about the festive season is that life doesn’t stop. Your real estate agent will still direct debit your rental payment, your electricity company will still want your quarterly bill paid and your telco company will still demand your BPay payment on a set day of the month.
With the added expense of Christmas, the end of the year can put a lot of pressure on people’s financial situation and unfortunately here on the Affordable SA helpline we tend to see the aftermath at the start of the new year.
Being part of the billion-dollar Christmas debt hangover is no way to start the New Year. If you are struggling with your expenses call the Affordable SA Helpline on 1800 025 539 to speak to a Financial Counsellor.
You can also find a range of programs that can help here:
Food for Christmas
Have you got enough food for you and your family this Christmas?
There's still time to access food pantries and emergency relief, but be quick as services may be closed, providing limited service or have different hours during the Christmas and New Year period.
A food pantry offers free or low cost food and groceries to the community. Find a local Food Pantry here:
You can find local, emergency relief here:
You can also call the Affordable SA helpline to be connected to services near you that can help. Call the helpline on 1800 025 539
A Christmas Together
It's also an important time to check in on people you know who may be experiencing loneliness or hardship.
Spare a thought for your elderly neighbour who lives alone, your friend who is experiencing financial hardship, your relative who is going through a separation or your co-worker who is struggling with depression.
If you know someone who finds this time of year especially difficult, consider reaching out to them to show that you are thinking of them.
If you or someone you know finds this time of year especially difficult, services such as Lifeline are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take your call on 13 11 14
Have a Merry Christmas South Australia
From everyone at Affordable SA, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2021!
Christmas is meant to be a time of celebration and joy, but if times are tough it can be challenging and isolating.
If you are unsure if you have enough food for Christmas, or you don’t know how you will afford presents for your kids, please contact your local Salvation Army. COVID-19 and other challenging circumstances may have you facing unexpected financial difficulties. The Salvos are committed to giving you non-judgemental and confidential support to help you through this season.
Every year, local Salvation Army centers and churches give hope to individuals and families in need by providing food hampers and gift assistance. Christmas hampers are prepared with care using donated goods and shared with those in the community who have fallen on tough times and during the Christmas season.
Registrations for Christmas Cheer close soon!
Each Salvos Centre and Corp organises 'Christmas Cheer' slightly differently, but the overall practice is much the same. You contact your local Salvos to register for Christmas Cheer. You would normally then go to the Centre for a brief interview and fill out some forms. You will be given a timeslot to attend to collect the hamper/vouchers and toys.
This year things are being done differently due to COVID-19. Contact your local Salvos or the Salvos Assistance Line on 1300 371 288
More information is available on the Salvation Army website: https://www.salvationarmy.org.au/christmas/need-help-this-christmas/food-hamper-and-gift-assistance/