How are on a regular basis Kiwis dealing with the price of dwelling because the Price range
As inflation continues to eat into people’s finances, we go back to the Kiwis we spoke to just before the budget to find out how they are dealing with the ongoing cost of living crisis.
Jericho Rock Archer/Stuff
Rose Gerrard has just got the cost-of-living payment.
Rose Gerrard – Cannons Creek social worker
Though grocery prices have continued to climb, Gerrard has knuckled down on budgeting and debt and is still managing to keep her head above water financially.
Last time we spoke to Gerrard in April, her weekly rent jumped from $500 to $750, and her weekly food bill was now $340.
Her weekly income was $1400, but she was now looking after another young person for the state, which had boosted her income slightly.
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“I’m doing okay, I’m keeping up with my payments, but that’s only because of the children I have in my care.”
“Things have got better around budgeting. I’ve really had to be strict around food and spending. Going back to basics has made it easier and less stressful.”
The Wellington social worker has a weekly income of $750, income from a boarder of $400 and $925 for caring for three teens. She was just able to maintain the household and pay all the bills for five people.
Gerarrd had just got the first of three installations of the Government’s cost of living payment which she said had been a big help.
“$116 may not seem like much to some, but it’s a lot of help to get bills that I have down.”
Charnae Pyke has set up a facebook group to help struggling parents get what they need for their kids for school. A single mother with four children, Charnae knows how tough the financial situation is.
Charnae Pyke—Sockburn single mother
Like many people in her position, Pyke was feeling increasingly financially squeezed since the budget was announced in May.
“It’s actually got worse, I’ve struggled a lot more since then.”
The Christchurch mother-of-four had a constant battle to make sure her family had everything they needed within the weekly budget.
“Food prices have been a killer with me having four kids… and we really have to bite the bullet, to the point where I’m almost having to skip some bills just to get through.
Pyke gets $1000 a week from the Government, which may sound like a lot, but by the time $530 goes on rent for her home in Sockburn, Christchurch, $200 on groceries, and $75 on power, she has just $255 for fuel and car expenses , phone bills, school fees and clothing for her children.
“I don’t really go anywhere any more. I used to be quite social and take the kids out, but now the gas (petrol) is too much. I put $20 in my car and it’s on E faster than I can blink.”
The additional $31.82 weekly winter energy payment they received from the Government from May to October was quickly absorbed into the day-to-day expenses.
“The thing I did like about the budget that comes in next year is that they’ve changed child support.. we’ll now be getting child support instead of it going to the Crown.”
Eliot Forrest wishes they had enough money to get their groceries delivered.
Eliot Forrest—Riccarton youth advocate
No longer able to afford to have groceries delivered, Forrest had to pick them up with their wheelchair.
“Things have certainly got tougher.
“I’m asking my healthcare for help, I’m asking WINZ for help and unfortunately there’s nothing more to give.”
They believed it wasn’t fair that those on a supported living benefit were not able to get the $350 cost of living payment that was currently being given out to those earning under $70,000.
“As someone who is trying to advocate for everyday Kiwis, it feels really unfair.”
Forrest said $350 may not sound like a lot to many people, but for those struggling to make ends meet, it could make all the difference.
They lived in a damp, moldy flat in Riccarton, Christchurch with four other people with disabilities or special requirements and had noticed prices had increased since the budget in May.
They got an increase in their supported living payment in April, which is now $430, but that extra amount had already been eaten up by inflation.
Rent was $140 a week and Forrest and their partner spent between $100 and $150 a week on groceries.
With another baby on the way, the Eva family of Te Atatu are having to think about steady sources of income. Picture from left, Sophia, Kristy and Samuel Eva.
Samuel Eva – Te Atatū middle income family
With another baby on the way, the Eva family of Te Atatū, Auckland are making adjustments to cope.
Samuel Eva wound up his business as a mortgage adviser a few months ago to return to teaching, because it provided more stability of income.
His wife Kristy was a kindergarten teacher, and she would soon be going on maternity leave with their second child due in a few weeks.
He said they were coping with inflation, but they were chewing through some of their savings that they had diligently built up over the years.
“Living on a wager, we don’t have much left, Samuel said
“We’re lucky that we have built strong savings, but unfortunately we’ve had to use a lot of our savings maintaining the lifestyle that we have.”
Last time we spoke to the family, their food bill had increased from $250 a fortnight to more than $300.
“Now that’s $350. Over the last year, the price of the shop has really taken off.”
Keith Blair is worried about the rocketing price of fresh fruit and veggies, and has cut back on driving to save on fuel expenses.
Keith Blair—the Spreydon pensioner
Cutting back meat one meal a week, and the number of pieces of fruit in his weekly shop – Blair is finding savings where he can.
The Spreydon pensioner was still happy enough with his mortgage-free home and community activities to keep him occupied.
He said he’s certainly noticed prices going up since he spoke to stuff a few months ago.
“I’m a bit more thrifty and not buying the same volume as I used to.”
On the fixed income of New Zealand Superannuation, one of the ways he was reducing the weekly food spend was cutting back to three meals with meat a week, instead of four, and cutting back on fruit.
Blair certainly didn’t want to give up his car, because it gave him the freedom to watch kids’ sport and catch up with friends, but with continued high fuel prices he used his vehicle sparingly.
He said a lot of people he knew faced varying financial woes.
“Some of them have lost their jobs, some others are under pressure from family members to sell up the house and free some money up.”