Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Budgeting tips

On the back of the Living Standards report showing it's not just about income, Big News has some tips for beneficiary budgeting. From working with people on benefits I can add some I would never otherwise have known about;

- Don't take out APs on Clothes Trucks. This is an insidious practice by companies who visit low income people with their trucks (which sell more than just clothes). They appeal to people's instant gratification impulse. The purchaser authorises an automatic payment so they can purchase but when the item is paid off the AP continues. If the customer attempts to get the money back in cash they are told no, you can only use your credit on the truck. At which point the company may throw in a sweetener of a bit of extra credit. But the goods are well over-priced. The APs tend to just turn over.

- Resist offers to up your bankcard credit limit.

- Don't think having WINZ pay you a small weekly amount for a cellphone is better than having a landline. You can be contacted but will quickly use up your outgoing allowance. Looking for jobs is virtually impossible if you can't make outgoing phonecalls. In fact, your everyday life is extremely restricted. Better to pay your phonebill in the first place.

- Don't hoard advertising throw-aways "just in case you miss a bargain". If you haven't thought about it first you don't need it.

- for females, use contraceptive injections which stop you menstruating. Saves you know where.

- for males, use condoms. They are much cheaper than child support payments, even at the beneficiary level of about $12 a week. Over the life of a child you will spend $11,232. What's a packet of condoms worth?

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