A single mother with three kids has gone public with her household budget – and it’s got a whole nation talking.
New Zealand mum Ebony Andrews works as a learning support teacher. She also receives child support and some government assistance, bringing her weekly income up to $968.80. But by the time she’s paid rent ($460), power and water bills ($80), car loan/expenses ($115), petrol ($100), phone and internet ($32.50), insurance ($85) and school costs ($15), she only has $81.30 left for food.
This is how she spends it:
$9.20 for milk
$10 for bread
$1.50 for margarine
$10 for spreads
$1.75 for cheese
$35 for fruit
$12.55 for vegetables and meat
Bread - cheap and filling. Photo via iStock.
Andrews went public to dispel the myth that parents who send their kids to school without lunch must be jobless, wasting their money or bad at budgeting.
"If you have seen my budget, I can't waste," she told NZME. "I think they are just assuming. They don't actually see it, in real life, how we run our own budgets. It's really hard."
Andrews doesn't drink or smoke. She says the family can't afford treats, and she hasn't taken her kids to the movies in four years. She sometimes turns to NZ charity KidsCan for food, clothing and shoes.
Her decision to share her household budget so openly has sparked off a big discussion in New Zealand about poverty. KidsCan chief executive Julie Chapman says 40 per cent of kids living in poverty have at least one parent working.
Andrews has had a sympathetic response since going public. One woman offered to shout the family a trip to the movies. Others donated money, with one person in Japan offering $1000.