As many of you know, I started a money challenge last week in an effort to understand poverty and those having to live on Centrelink income. If you want to see the income I worked on and the distribution of it, please see last week’s blog
This week I am actually closing that Challenge down
I hear you ask is it because I found it too hard and I can’t cope any longer? Good question but before I answer I will give you a summary of my findings.
Living with a food budget of $150 per week was tight and took a bit of planning but I have managed it and had money left over. My biggest challenge was the lifestyle. I had allowed myself $64.25 for the month for entertainment/ clothing/coffees/beauty etc which meant that it worked out to be $16 per week. That was hard, it seems that I am a lot more sociable than I realised.
I love to go out for coffee with my friends and my daughters and Friday evening is a much cherished dinner out with my husband. Also there is no spare of the moment gift buying or acts of generosity without careful thought so that was the area where I struggled the most but I consoled myself with the thought that I only had one month to last and of course a person on Centrelink doesn’t have that comforting thought!
But then I got a pay rise!!
Thanks to the wonderful Fiona, who knows about these things, I got an email to say that I would have been entitled to another $302.66 per fortnight and that because of my receiving Centrelink I would also be entitled to a reduction in my bills and help when I had medical expenses. So the cost of living dramatically went down. On top of this at the end of every financial year I would receive $737.30 – a lump sum supplement per child if our combined income stayed below $80K
So my new position suddenly took a turn for the better and I was able to increase my food budget to $250 per week and still have $206 per fortnight for those extras I enjoy.
For me that no longer presented a challenge because I aim for those amounts every week/fortnight anyway!
So then I have to beg the question, is the reason for the poverty within Australia really the result of people trying to live on a Centrelink income or is there more to it than that?
I would love to hear your thoughts???