The surging costs of living and inflation reaching 5.1%, combined with people bogged down with buy now-pay later debt have prompted increased calls for help to the state’s affordability helpline.
Affordable SA program manager Sharon Maslen said “What they’re calling about is often the buy now, pay later. They’ve entered that and it’s gotten out of hand for them,”
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Cost of living: how to save money
from adelaide now
Surging costs of living, combined with people bogged down with buy now-pay later debt have prompted increased calls for help to the state’s affordability helpline.
Affordable SA program manager Sharon Maslen said higher prices on household items and petrol in recent months have kept her team busy answering calls.
“What they’re calling about is often the buy now, pay later. They’ve entered that and it’s gotten out of hand for them,” Ms Maslen said.
“That, combined with an increased cost of food and the increased cost in petrol, is what we’re seeing calls about.”
New figures revealed the inflation rate hit 5.1 per cent this week, the fastest rate prices have risen in more than 20 years.
In the January to March quarter, Affordable SA received 3500 calls for help, 500 more than the previous quarter, and the team will only get busier, Ms Maslen said.
“You could almost draw a connecting line between the increase in petrol, that’s when we started to see an increase in calls,” she said.
“I’m really not expecting things to get better in the short term. I think we’re in for a bit of a storm.”
She said budgeting was important in keeping your finances healthy.
“See where you can make some cuts, and maybe you were planning on making dinner that had broccoli in it, and you go to the shop and broccoli is $9 a kilo, chose something else,” she said.
She urged anyone struggling financially to call the Affordable SA free helpline.
“If people are struggling now, don’t put your head in the sand, reach out for help early, because the earlier they reach out the more options they’ve got,” she said.
EAT LOCALLY FOR LESS
Knowing what fruit and vegetables are in season is key to saving money on food bills, a local growers group says.
Market Fresh SA spokeswoman Penny Reidy said Adelaide Hills apples and pears were currently in season and affordably priced.
“One thing consumers can do, if they know what’s in season, they can swap things out,” Ms Reidy said.
Last week, Ms Reidy conducted a supermarket experiment, purchasing 20 items of fruit and veg that were brought in from outside the state, which cost her $97.
The same amount of locally sourced produce, currently in season, cost $47.
“We’ve got such a rich produce bowl here in SA with so much locally grown food, there’s that ability to switch things out,” she said.
In the Central Market, Michael’s Fruit and Veg owner Saiul Kazi said tips for savvy shopping include bringing a shopping list and buying what’s in season, for example the store has locally-grown apples for $4/kg, or two strawberry punnets for $5.
“It’s cheaper (to buy local) and allows us to have great specials for our customers. New season apples and mandarins are just starting. It also means less food miles, so it’s better for the environment,” Mr Kazi said.
“The market also has lots of extra specials on Tuesday mornings before 11am, with two hours’ free parking.”