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Budget, be prepared and always ask for help

Hello, my name is Carlatina Urquhart and I am 21 years old and I used to be in foster care.

I believe that the hardest part about having a foster care experience is the transition from care and one of my biggest troubles has been finances.

This year has been the most stable I have been with money since living independently but I thought I might start with discussing my journey from when I finished foster care and talk about how I overcame these and some tips to ensure that you are ok with your finances and how to live on low income.

I started to live on my own when I was 18 years old, I moved out four months after I had finished foster care. I had a casual job where I would earn $50 a week and I was studying my Certificate III in Children Services at Launceston College. One of the advantages of living with a care experience is you receive money until your 25 years old to assist with finances. However my issue was that I used the money for furniture for my new place and it didn’t arrive until four months after I had moved in. However there are people who are not fortunate enough to have funds for furniture or white goods and these are few things that I did until my furniture arrived that may help you.

  • *I slept in a sleeping bag on the floor
  • *I hand washed my clothing
  • *I kept my food in an esky.

Because of the struggles over moving out on my own, I was unable to perform to the best of my ability and I was getting behind at school and work and I lost a job opportunity. By this time I was living on $200 a fortnight, I was young and foolish I would spend $50 on myself a fortnight for groceries and then I would waste it on DVDs, and clothing because I had started this habit when I was living with my foster mum and I didn’t have to worry about anything else.

I would beg all my friends for money for the bus, but other than that I would not beg for food because I was too proud.

Because of my spending habits I had put myself in a bad position. When I obtained a vacation job in a vacation care centre I spent $200 on birthday dresses and again the $50 on my groceries. This left me starving a week before my 19th birthday and I was forced to eat play dough because that was on the only ingredients that I had in my house and I was broke.

It was disgusting, but from this I had learnt my lesson and since November 2013 I have not starved or have been broke since. I learnt the hard way.

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