Moneycare gave Jasmine the reassurance she needed
When Jasmine came to Moneycare, she had recently fled a violent relationship with her young child and was struggling to make ends meet on a single income. Moneycare financial counselling provided her with options and guidance as she adapted to a new life.
It can happen to anybody.
Jasmine had her life planned out and thought she was in financial control – but overnight everything changed.
“The family violence started when I was pregnant,” says Jasmine. “The relationship didn’t start off like that – I’d known him for a few years. I had no idea he was the way he was behind closed doors.
“He had been the primary earner after the baby was born but I needed to leave the relationship and home for our safety and wellbeing.”
As a newly solo mum, only just returning to work after maternity leave, Jasmine found it difficult to survive on her part-time income. Although childcare was subsidised, the gap she had to pay was still significant and barely made working worthwhile. Despite this, Jasmine thought it was wise to keep up her skills by undertaking paid employment.
In the course of her former relationship Jasmine had accrued some debts and while they were manageable with two incomes, they felt completely overwhelming as a solo parent with a low income.
“I owned my house, but it wasn’t safe to return there. My pay just covered the mortgage and bills with not a lot left for anything else. Sometimes it was a choice between having petrol or food,” she says.
“I was overwhelmed and terrified that I had thrown my child and I into poverty by leaving. I questioned whether I could manage this on our own and whether I had made the right decision to leave at all. Going home, I would face a volatile relationship, but what good was leaving if I couldn’t afford a safe roof over our heads or to eat properly? It’s a sad situation that many people in situations of domestic violence face. I couldn’t work more because the childcare costs would outweigh the benefits. I felt trapped.”
Empowered to take control
Jasmine’s case worker from The Salvation Army Family Violence team referred her to Moneycare for financial counselling.
“I was embarrassed [at first],” Jasmine says. “In my mind, I had thought that financial counselling was only for people who were homeless, or who didn’t manage their money well or who had gambling problems and the like. I didn’t want to take up resources meant for people worse off.”
But Jasmine soon realised this wasn’t the case at all – financial counselling was for anyone who needed it. “It only takes a relationship breakdown, a loss of job or an illness to throw life upside down and that can happen to anyone, no matter how well you plan.”
As Jasmine discovered, financial counselling was a sensible step to take – enabling her to be informed of her options and to manage her financial situation.
“I was traumatised [by the domestic violence], my sense of self-worth was shot. I was completely overwhelmed and just really needed a second set of eyes to look over things and tell me what my options were – if my budget and plan of attack were going to be enough and if there was anything I could do better.”
Jasmine’s Moneycare financial counsellor empowered her to feel in control of her finances again. “It turned out, I was actually budgeting really well and hearing there were other options to access if I couldn’t manage was a relief. It empowered me. It made me feel like I could do this and we could have a safe future on our own. It was the reassurance I so desperately needed at the time.”
This did mean that there were times when Jasmine had to swallow her pride and access food banks when they needed it. As a person who had worked hard her whole life, she found this difficult to come to terms with but says she got through and has since been able to give back more than she received. “That was important to me.”
A brighter future
For Jasmine, a sudden change in circumstances meant that she needed to look differently at how she managed her finances. Moneycare financial counselling not only provided her with new options, it also helped her to discover that she was on the right track, giving her the reassurance, and sense of security, she needed to get through a really tough time.
“I felt like there was light at the end of the tunnel and I could get through this patch. It gave me hope for a better future,” she shares. “I was truly impressed. I felt hopeful I had backup and support if I needed it.
“We’re in a much better place financially. I have paid off all my debts (aside from my mortgage) and I fairly regularly donate to the local food banks. In fact, I now work within one!”
Jasmine urges others who may be experiencing financial stress to reach out to Moneycare and get the help the need – “that’s what they’re there for,” she says.
“Don’t be embarrassed. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Reaching out for help when you need it is one of the most responsible things you can do for yourself and/or your family and their financial future. It might not be better today but if you follow the financial counsellor’s advice, it will be much better in the future. You’re not on your own.”