Increased budgeting advice sought
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.