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DAY 1 - Evening Monday 28 JAN - Adam's Newstart Challenge

So, the $42.24 I had at the start of my first day is now down to $27.24. From this, I'm meant to find enough for phone, internet, utilities, clothes, transport & car costs plus other regular costs, as well as get myself ready for a job.

How is someone meant to survive on this? It's no wonder I've been receiving messages like this from people who are really struggling:

"My rent is $360 a week which is way below market value for where I live. I pay $46 a fortnight gas, $38 a fortnight electricity, $150 a month car loan, $105 a month car insurance, $120ish a month on my maxed out credit card, $30 - $50 a week petrol (I do in home care so more work = more petrol required), $85 a month telephone / internet package. I have no house insurance and I buy groceries not when there is money left over after all the bills are paid but if there is money left over." [Jenny]

"It's not just less money, it's the increased stress, anxiety and social ramifications that come into play also. We don't all have family to help out, we don't all get the extra benefits that most articles imply, for some, our children have disabilities. Stress manifests itself in children too no matter what age and STRESS is a contributing factor to joblessness and lack of employment. How can anyone who is constantly stressed, tired and full of anxiety even think about going to a job interview?" [Carolyn

"I have long believed that ALL politicians, upon being elected, should be forced to live on a pension (or dole) for at least 3 months, during which time they must pay rent (even if they own their home) or the mortgage, pay electricity, telephone, fuel for car, and buy groceries. Then, and only then, would they be qualified to make decisions for those of us with no choice but to survive on such payments."[Martin]

"From my experience the current systems are forcing people into depression, poverty and crime. Please help." [Chris]

"I am hoping to move to an area with cheaper rent and better full time work prospects. However the cost of relocation is beyond my reach. I have 2 subjects left to complete a Bachelor of Business but will be struggling to include study and transport to Uni on this meagre allowance." [Mary]

"The 2 days pay covered my mortgage, we lived on the $80 per fortnight. You cannot manage, especially once the bills come in or extra expenses such as shoes needed, kids grow very quickly. Well I sold my jewellery, then took money from my super to get by, my home is now up for sale. Please keep pushing for welfare changes, poverty is not the answer." [Lea]

"Costs per fortnight: $80 strata fees, $30 elec, (negotiated discount) $40 car costs (green & pink slips & petrol etc) $30 council fee $15 water , $30 telephone, $66.70 , say allow $50 a fortnight for real emergencies ,making a TOTAL minimum of day to day costs $361.70 leaving the grand total to “live” on of $167.30 - this means that I have less than $12 a day to buy clothing, personal care products e.g. toothpaste, toilet paper, deodorant etc. AND oh yes – food." [Name withheld].

"I would recommend a large box of plain cereals or oats for brekky; 2-4 litres of milk (Coles) + cheap tea leaves/coffee or alternatively at least one litre of alternative dairy or fruit drink, but drink mainly water; cold baked potato/rice/pasta and cooked froz veg for lunch without dressing, packed into bags; a couple of large tins of fruit to last the week; dinners of spaghetti, a tin of tomatoes, tin of sardines and two or three serves of other veg, omelette with noodles and veg, tin of heinz soup including meat if you eat meat, bread roll or toast; rice cooked with two thinly sliced brussell sprouts and one mushroom, small tin of tuna or salmon, tin of beans or peas (beans taste better). Treat: packet of coloured popcorn." [Ruth]

End of day 1: $27.24 remaining

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