Financial Makeover – Sally’s story

This year The Thrifty Issue is working with 4 people to help them improve their finances, get out of debt, achieve their dreams and create the life they want. Working with Kylie Travers, each month we will have an update on each person/family who is involved and you can comment any tips or suggestions you might have for them as well. This is Sally’s story. (Her name has been changed.)

Sally is a single mum of two under 10 who accrued her debt trying to help her now ex partner when they were together. Currently, her children don’t do any extra curricular activities and they are living with a friend while she gets back on her feet. She relies mostly on Centrelink, with the odd cleaning or babysitting job here and there. She is essentially starting her life over.

Income: $29,964
Expenses: Working on exact amounts

The Thrifty Issue Money Makeovers - Sally

What are your goals for 2016, particularly finance goals?
I want to clear my debt, increase my income and get back on my feet. To start with, I need to save up bond and everything to get a house, then settle in, pay off the debt as I save and I want my kids to start extra curricular activities again. I have a few things I am in the process of selling to get the bond money and we have been looking at homes. It’s hard to think past much when you are living with friends and looking for somewhere to live instead of in your own place.
I would like to retrain and get a new job/career and take my kids on a family holiday.

What debts do you have?
I have a personal loan of $19,900. I owe my parents $2,600 and have a $2,500 debt to Centrelink which they take out of my payments each fortnight. My income at the top is after these payments are taken out and I don’t have to repay that money immediately. My first priority is the personal loan.

How did you accrue those debts?
The personal loan was for a car and legal fees. The loan from my parents was to cover some bills when I left and the Centrelink debt is being reviewed as I should not have incurred it. It is taking months though and I have pretty much given up. I was successful with the last time they did this. I am grateful for the safety net we have here. I look forward to the day I no longer need their assistance though.

What skills and interests do you have?
I have basic admin skills, computer skills, I have a certificate in childcare, my working with vulnerable people card and home skills such as cleaning, ironing, gardening etc. I take on ironing and babysitting jobs now when I can.

As for interests, I love to travel, it’s not something I see happening for a while though.

Sally’s starting plan
1.) Start tracking expenses. Sally is unsure of her budget as she doesn’t track expenses and until recently didn’t have to cover them all herself.
2.) Look at free activities for the kids
3.) Call and follow up with Centrelink
4.) Look online at Airtasker and other places to get some extra income
5.) Work out what she would like to do to retrain and get a career in
6.) Select some holiday destinations then research how to do them for free or cheap

What tips do you have for Sally?

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1 Comment

  1. A place to start could be seeking advice on adult education (ie Tafe). Speak with Centrelink to find out possible courses and whether or not they (Centrelink) will be able to sponser you. Find a course that would enhance your current skills or create new ones, whilst also being interesting to you. For example, you could study disability support as this job would allow for you to be social.

    Something important to remember though would be to manage your learning alongside your personal life. Set time for learning and time for attending appointments, house hunting etc. and turn to family, friends and mentors for support.

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