Families struggle to budget
DEMAND for budgeting help and food parcels is soaring as the cost of living continues to rise.
Budgeting agencies in central Auckland say need is at an all-time high.
Auckland Budgeting and Family Support Services chairman Darryl Evans says he has seen a 40 percent rise in clients and a huge hike in numbers needing food parcels.
He says the rising price of food and petrol is making it harder for families with debt to make ends meet.
Mr Evans says there is a three to four week waiting list for appointments at his office in Mangere.
“This time last year you could almost guarantee an appointment on the same day.”
Some families are paying an extra $80 to $100 in their weekly grocery bill.
He says food is often the first thing families try to cut down, which means children go to school hungry.
“We have families where children haven’t been going to school because the parents are too embarrassed they’ve got no food for them.” KidsCan Charitable Trust, which provides food and raincoats for low decile schools, also says demand has skyrocketed.
General manager Julie Helson says the number of children using their nationwide food service has risen from 4000 last year to 7000 this year, with another 12,000 on the waiting list.
Teachers identify the most needy children.
“They’re the ones coming to school consistently hungry. Most of the children we deal with can never be sure of getting three meals a day,” she says.
Auckland Central Budgeting adviser Glenys Michael says she has had customers from as far away as Manurewa coming to her office in Balmoral because south Auckland agencies are booked up.
She says there has been a huge rise in people aged 20 to 30, including young parents and individuals, who didn’t learn about budgeting at school and now can’t manage their debt.
“They’re the ‘I want this right now’ generation.”
But Miss Michael says recent media coverage about budgeting is making it easier for families who need help to come forward.
“People are becoming more willing to talk about it,” Miss Michael says.
She says families who, in the past, would have simply tried to manage by themselves, are no longer ashamed to ask for help.
“The little increases have hit them hard.”
For budgeting advice phone Auckland Central Budgeting on 631-5572.
What are some of the things you’re doing to cut back and save money? Share your tips with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.