In­creased bud­get­ing ad­vice sought

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By LAURA McLEAY

Loose coins are scarce with petrol, food and ex­penses on the rise, leav­ing peo­ple des­per­ate for help.

Mata­mata House­hold Bud­get­ing Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice tem­po­rary co-or­di­na­tor Wanda (who asked for her sur­name not to be used for safety rea­sons) said they have had a big in­crease in the num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing ad­vice with record num­bers since De­cem­ber 2009.

‘‘We are notic­ing the dif­fer­ence as we are a lot busier and get­ting a big­ger num­ber of re­fer­rals from com­mu­nity links and the banks,’’ she said. ‘‘This is be­cause what used to work in a bud­get now doesn’t and peo­ple do not know how to man­age it.’’

Mata­mata Food Time co­or­di­na­tor Raewyn ( whose sur­name also can­not be dis­closed) said in the past, the food bank on av­er­age made two bas­kets a week, now they were mak­ing close to one a day and they have to down­size the amount go­ing into each bas­ket to stretch their re­sources.

‘‘There are a lot more peo­ple than nor­mal strug­gling. Be­cause of the price of things, if a big medi- cal bill or some­thing comes up, they can’t af­ford to buy food,’’ Raewyn said.

The stress of not hav­ing enough food on the ta­ble or hav­ing no money for the doc­tor is af­fect­ing the way peo­ple in­ter­act at home and in the work­place.

Wanda said that fam­ily fi­nan­cial wor­ries tended to lead to fights and ar­gu­ments.

‘‘So our ser­vices are here to give peo­ple the tools to man­age their money and take away the stress.’’

Re­tail Food­stuffs gen­eral man­ager Rob Che­maly who over­sees Mata­mata New World said they had seen strong trends in buy­ing pri­vate la­bel brands such as Pams and Bud­get, and go­ing back to home-style cook­ing to save money.

‘‘Since the start of the re­ces­sion there has been a trend to­wards home bak­ing. The flour cat­e­gory grew 14 per cent be­tween 2009 and 2010. We have also seen an in­crease in oil sales com­bined with an in­crease in fresh pro­duce and meat sales.’’

With the win­ter ap­proach­ing, Mr Che­maly said they were ex­pect­ing an in­crease in slow cook meat cuts be­cause of their af­ford­abil­ity.

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