One of the main ongoing issues for young parents (and most families) is managing finances. Many young people are reliant solely on centrelink benefits. Budgeting on such a limited income is difficult at the best of times, but even more so if the young person has an already chaotic lifestyle. A common issue in the substance using cohort is that often payments are spent within a day or two of receipt, spent either paying back money already owed, or lending to peers.

The young person may not have had positive financial role modelling, or be firmly stuck in the “I’ll have fun today, and worry about tomorrow later” mindset.

Encouraging young people to pay for essentials first can assist in maintaining their accommodation, utilities and household necessities, such as food. Organising centrepay from their centrelink allowance is a great way of doing this – rent, bills etc. are paid automatically every pay day. Knowing where and how to shop, and what to buy when you are there is also important. In terms of grocery shopping, bills can be significantly reduced by purchasing home brand items and staying away from pre packaged food.

A bit of investigation can save heaps of money on whitegoods, baby stuff, household goods and clothes. Shopping around and buying things when they are on special are also ways of saving money. Other things can be put on layby, which breaks up the cost into more manageable amounts. Ebay, op shops, the classifieds, the Trading Post and discount retailers are all great options to investigate.

Finances summary

  • Organise centrepay to pay rent and bills
  • Draw up a budget. Make it realistic, or it won’t work
  • Refer to a financial counsellor. They have some great ideas about money management, and can help if young people get into debt
  • Investigate cheaper options for household goods, clothes, food etc. Some places offer great discounts
  • Show the young person how to “smart” food shop
Further Reading