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Dinner or Lights Tonight? Budget Calculator

A recent survey of our welfare clients has shown that people who received government income support had $119 a week1 to live on, after paying for housing. We heard of one family who had to choose between either eating dinner or leaving the lights on in the evening, just to make ends meet.

What would living on $119 a week mean for you?

Enter your household's spend on the following, and see what you would have to give up:

What would living on $119 a week mean for you?

Utilities e.g. Electricity, Gas, Water


Communications e.g. Mobile, Landline, Internet


Car e.g. Petrol, Insurance, Registration


Public transport e.g. Bus, Train, Ferry, Taxi


Food & Drinks e.g. Groceries, Eating Out


Entertainment e.g. Movies, Concerts, Pay TV


Children e.g. School fees, Books, Activities


Other e.g. Medical, Gym, Clothes, Travel


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These aren't the only things our clients have to give up. Many aren't able to afford medical or dental treatment, prescriptions, or presents for friends and family. Things like a holiday, or savings in the bank for emergencies are almost unthinkable.

And believe it or not, many who come to The Salvation Army for assistance are left with much less than $119 a week. New Start recipients were worst effected, with only $107 a week2 to live on after paying for housing. It's no wonder many people living on the poverty line are having to choose between dinner or lights for the evening.

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1The Salvation Armys Economic and Social Impact Survey, 2016. Median per week, rounded to the nearest dollar

2The Salvation Armys Economic and Social Impact Survey, 2016. Median per week, rounded to the nearest dollar

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The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

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