Some pensioners are resorting to desperate measures to pay their bills, with just a few dollars a day left over after covering their living expenses.
Some are relying on fast cash loans to get by – a system the Federal Government is now looking to overhaul.
Perth pensioner Robyne Anderson lives on just $40 a fortnight.
That works out to less than $3 a day.
Once she’s paid her bills, it’s all she has left.
Life is proving tough.
“If something crops up you’re just going to have to wait until you can budget for it,” she told 7NEWS.
She deals with unexpected costs – like her pet’s vet bills – by borrowing money from Cash Converters.
In the past decade, she’s gone to them 82 times for cash advances and personal loans.
According to Cash Converters, more than three million Australians rely on services from small loan lenders – often called “payday loans.”
Often, those people are turning to these lenders because they are unable to get credit cards or bank loans.
But the way we borrow money is about to change, making it harder for people like Robyne to access money when she needs it.
Cash Converters says proposed changes to consumer credit laws will be disastrous for people like Robyne.
‘If something crops up you’re just going to have to wait until you can budget for it.’
The Federal Government says it wants to protect the vulnerable and crack down on cash loan lenders who charge exorbitant fees.
Small cash loans can be deposited into bank accounts quickly – often on the same day – but they can cost.
There’s no interest, but there are often high fees.
To borrow $300 from Cash Converters costs $60, then $12 per month.
For bigger loans, the interest is up to 48 per cent a year.
Financial counsellor Sarah Patterson says the number of people who need help is soaring, but there are better ways to get out of trouble.
Patterson said all people need to do is reach out and ask for help.
“Financial counselling is free, and there are opportunities to come and speak to people to look at alternate options,” she says.