In the grip of budgeting blues
A NEW survey has found 36% of Bundaberg residents are worried about their budgets — more than any other community in the state.
By contrast, on average only 26% of Queenslanders are worried about paying their bills week-to-week.
The independent survey, commissioned by Suncorp, found as Bundaberg residents start a new year they are more concerned about paying their bills from week-to-week than the performance of their superannuation (18%) or paying off a home loan (15%).
But the Lee family is bucking a trend of Bundaberg residents worried about paying their weekly expenses.
Colin Lee and wife Felicity, out grocery shopping yesterday with son Daniel, 20 months, said paying the weekly bills did not worry them.
“It’s a question of priorities,” Mr Lee said.
“I don’t smoke, neither of us really drinks, and we don’t play the pokies.”
Mr Lee said buying some necessities for Daniel, such as nappies, did push up weekly expenses.
“We don’t really budget,” he said.
“We usually buy in bulk and divide the stuff up then store it or freeze it until it’s needed.”
Their disciplined approach to spending puts the Lee family among the lucky ones.
Bundaberg Lifeline general manager Richard Johnson said the organisation experienced an ongoing demand for help with financial planning.
“On a daily basis we would see people struggling to make ends meet, and living from hand to mouth,” he said.
“We have two financial counsellors working beyond capacity to keep up with demand.”
Mr Johnson said it was not just the unemployed who were struggling to cope.
“People who are employed are coming to us for help with their finances,” he said.
“There is a lot of hidden poverty out there, when people might appear on the surface to be functioning quite well.”
Mr Johnson said people without the financial capacity to cope with a sudden emergency could face disaster.
“All you need is for one refrigerator to go bad,” he said.
“They could be one crisis away from tragedy.”