Nurch member survey 2022

2022 Nurch member stats

Who benefits from Nurch? The obvious answer is – everyone who attends a Nurch partner childcare centre, but who is that person? We recently conducted a survey to get to know and understand you and your needs a little more; this is what we found.

93% of Nurch members are Women:

Is your partner/ husband a part of a loyalty program, if so, I’m curious to know which ones? It was interesting (and fantastic) that we discovered that almost 7% of our members are male indicating that there are men who are taking the primary carer role for our little ones. In 2018-19 the ABS, reported that 93.5% of primary parental leave (paid or unpaid) was taken by women.

The latest data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency shows 60 per cent of large businesses offer paid parental leave, in which men account for 12 per cent of those taking the primary carer role.

78% of Nurch members are Millennials:

The bulk of our members are aged between 23-38 which means they’re Millennials. This generation are tech-savvy, stylish, outspoken individuals who live life by their own rules. Childcare is viewed as not just a place to mind children while they work. They care deeply about their children’s learning and development at every age and milestone, the childcare centre must meet their childs needs. Convenience and perks are always very well received, it’s no wonder our centres do so well with offering Nurch and all the perks like food, nappies, extracurricular activities. There is a lot more on what millennials look for in childcare but that is a blog in itself.

75% of Nurch members work for an employer:

We found that 40% are employed full-time. From our previous survey in 2020, we have seen a 6% increase in members who are working full-time now; which is no surprise with the staff shortages impacting Australian businesses. Further, according to the ABS, since the pandemic, the Australian workforce unemployment rate has fallen to a record low of 4%. Employment increased to 13,372,000 people with full-time employees claiming a 92% share. Over 35% of our members were employed part-time which again is no surprise as it’s often the preferred employment option for mums as it’s easier to juggle all the commitment it takes to raise a family while working.

80% of Nurch members voted Nurch as the most valuable rewards company:

It has now been a couple of years since Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards launched, so we asked members to compare the value they see in Nurch with other leading brands’ loyalty programs. It was excellent to see that 80% of our members see the value Nurch offers and voted Nurch as their favourite rewards program. The second highest was Woolworths rewards and interestingly Woolworths is the highest redeemed gift card.

Consistent with survey results from 2020, the majority of our member families reduce their household spending using Nurch points.

40% Use Nurch points to reduce household Spending:

Almost 40% claimed they buy essential household items, such as groceries; while equally nearly 10% said they purchase items their children need or treat their family. However, the popularity of saving points and redeeming them for Christmas is growing evident as a whopping $332,000 was redeemed by members during November and December 2021. This not only contributed 20% of the $1.61 million total Nurch points redeemed, but it helped to reduce the average $1232 per person Australians spent on Christmas in 2020. And elevating 55% of Aussies who use their savings to fund Christmas, or 23% who had to go into debt to cover their Christmas costs.

65% of Nurch members endorse Nurch to friends and family:

With incredible financial benefits to reduce household spending, it is no wonder that 65% of members are discussing the benefits Nurch provides their family. And whilst 11% are still learning about the benefits, we are taking onboard that almost 9% of members said they would love to see and use a referral incentive to invite friends & family to participate in the loyalty rewards program.

67% Says Nurch influence the decision to stay enrolled:

But, does Nurch influence the ultimate decision on which child centre you choose for your child?

In 2020, 54% of members said that the value Nurch provides their family after paying their childcare fees, it would encourage them to stay enrolled at their selected child care centre; or they would move to a centre that provides the Nurch program – with one important detail to note – “so long as the educational experience suited my child”. Our current 2022 survey indicates that there has been almost a 13% increase; bringing the total to 67%. The increase affirms that Nurch takes onboard suggestions on how to improve our loyalty rewards program.

One of the more popular feedback comments suggested introducing more rewards for staff. Approximately 5% of Nurch members are, in fact, childcare educators. Working closely with the 42 partner centres we currently have, we see firsthand the tireless work and care the talented educators provide children and their families. And while we have been working on a staff rewards program since the end of last year, it’s great to know that our values and ideals align with our members.

We love getting to know our members – past, present and future. Thank you to those who participated in the recent survey. However, if you missed it and would like to contribute any feedback, we welcome everyone’s input via the comments section of this article or by emailing the cofounder of Nurch directly on kara@nurch.com.au

childcare subsidy changes

New Childcare subsidy changes: What do they mean to your family?

As a parent who also works in the childcare sector, I love speaking with my mum friends on all topics relating to childcare, especially any childcare savers. What surprised me recently was that some of my friends were not aware of the changes or how the new childcare subsidy laws benefited or impacted their family (or growing) family. As you will see in this article, every family may be slightly different. If you think you know how it works, I might surprise you with the fine print.

New family income estimate

The Australian government has finally increased the Childcare Subsidy income requirements which are based on your family income estimate and work or study needs. If you have not previously registered for Childcare Subsidy, I highly recommend you ring Centrelink to begin the process today. If you delay this, you will not be eligible for any backdate of payments as it goes from the date of registration.  Once you are all set up and you have linked your Children’s childcare to your Centrelink account, you can manage most things via an app. But remember that the government will reconcile your family income estimate vs your actual taxable income and they will settle all debts shortly after you have lodged your tax return. They know that this is sometimes problematic so they withhold 5% of any eligible subsidy in case you have a debt. They will provide you with the 5% after you lodge your tax return if you are entitled to it. In my opinion, it is always a good idea to register even if you aren’t eligible for any subsidy as your ‘estimate’ may be more than your ‘tax’ return and you will be paid back.

Your family income Child Care Subsidy percentage
$0 to $70,015 85%
More than $70,015 to below $175,015 Between 85% and 50%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$175,015 to below $254,305 50%
$254,305 to below $344,305 Between 50% and 20%
The percentage goes down by 1% for every $3,000 of income your family earns
$344,305 to below $354,305 20%
$354,305 or more 0%

Source:www.servicesaustralia.gov.au/your-income-can-affect-child-care-subsidy

Higher subsidies for families with two (or more) children aged 5 or younger

From 7 March 2022, any family registered with Centrelink will automatically receive a higher subsidy for the second (or subsequent) child if aged 5 or under.  To get the higher subsidy, a family must:

  • Earn under $354,305
  • Have more than one child under 5 enrolled into childcare.

Eligible higher rate children will receive a 30% higher subsidy, up to a maximum 95%. You will be notified of the changes but its always good to check with your centre or Centrelink.

Some interesting things to consider with these new rules are:

Multiple births: 

The government will automatically decide who is the youngest child if born on the same date. If you are a type A, you may not get a choice on this sorry. You are welcome to contact Centrelink if you want this recorded in a specific way.

Blended families:

As with everything diverse, it is still a challenge for our government rules.

If your family has different CCS accounts for different children in your family,  then your higher subsidy will not be applied until July 2022. Any missed payments will be backdated.

If you want to receive the higher CCS amount before July 2022, you need to choose one member in your family to claim the CCS for all children. This would be like applying all over again and may not be a convenient option for your family.

But if you take up this option, you must update your enrolments at your centre to ensure you are compliant with the Subsidy Laws.

I can see this being problematic so be prepared to ring Centrelink a few times about this one! I don’t understand how because you need to register all relationships to your Centrelink account.

Different Centres:

If your children attend different centres than this may cause a delay in you receiving the higher subsidy also. I was unable to find anything online about this but this is a little industry knowledge of how the system works.

Centrelink Debts:

The government put a pause on any centrelink debts during COVID-19 so I see this biting a lot of good people in the you know what. If you have a Centrelink debt, you are provided with the total amount and 28 days to pay or dispute this debt. What people aren’t talking about is that your subsidy may stop until it’s been paid back.  I was unable to find anything concrete online but it is known that Centrelink will just deduct the debt from any  payments you’re eligible for. This is obviously very problematic as Childcare is expensive without funding and the Subsidy is there to help working families to offset the costs. If this occurs, it is not your centre’s fault as they just charge the fees after any subsidy is applied. If you are a Nurch member, you will earn points on all the gap fees you pay so you will see more points in your Nurch bank and it might be the childcare saver you need after all of this.

If you need any assistance with Centrelink Debts, please click HERE

As I am writing this, I am following the political race closely as every party has a ‘pledge’ on how they will make childcare more affordable or run a slander campaign on why their opposition’s pledge is not in the best interests of Australians. I can see why people get confused as to what the subsidy funding laws are.  Please be sure to understand that any government making ‘pledges’ needs to go through many hoops to have funding changed. I am confident that these new laws will stick around for at least a few years.

Picnic

10 Valentine’s Date Ideas with Nurch

Valentine’s Day is coming up this weekend and if you’re looking for some cool, romantic or active date ideas, you’ve come to the right place – and, if you’ve got Nurch points to cash in, even better!

1. Hot air ballooning

Love will indeed be in the air on a hot air balloon ride. See cities and winery regions from a completely different view with a Red Balloon experience.

Hot air ballooning Sydney

2. A romantic weekend away

Is there anything better than a weekend or overnight getaway? Explore some new local regions or jump on a plane in some of Australia’s finest home-stays, beachside properties or opt for a unique experience, glamping. Airbnb has plenty of options and inspirational suggestions. Or visit a luxury Ovolo Hotel for a magical stay.

Inverloch Glamping Co.

3. Couple’s relaxation massage

Only have the opportunity to swing a couple of free hours? Don’t fret, relax – literally! Thanks to our friends as Endota Spa you treat you and your loved one (or friend) to a nourishing massage that will leave you feeling revitalised and ready to take on the kids!

Couples relaxation massage

4. Picnic

The simple things in life! Pack a picnic – get your partner, friends, kids or fur baby and head to a local park for a relaxed lunch in the sun. Better yet, head to Dan Murphy’s to add a bottle of your favourite sparkling!

Family picnic

5. Camping trip

Get out and under the stars, cuddle up by a fire and spend the day’s adventuring in the great outdoors. Pick up your camping essentials from Anaconda or BCF.

Romantic camping trip

6. Movie date

When was the last time you saw a movie, that wasn’t a kid’s animation? (Although I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a kid’s film!) You could treat your lover to a movie date with HOTYS or take the entire family on a date to Event Cinemas.

Movie date

7. Sports or live tunes

Day or night, TicketMaster have you covered for all things live sports, music and theatre. Bond as your share a special immersive experience – with or without kids!

Live music

8. Gourmet Dinner

How great is it when you can eat an entire meal, out, without any interruptions or cleaning up? Gourmet Traveller has some fantastic restaurants to choose from, for a relaxed lunch or delectable dining experience.

Gourmet Dinner

9. Netflix & Chill

Kids or no kids, a night in can sometimes be just what the doctor ordered! Get your favourite delivered to your door with Uber Eats and chill with Netflix. Or, brand new to Nurch, try incredible dishes from some of the best restaurants Australia has to offer from Providoor.

Couple in bed

10. Adrenaline junkies?

For the adventurous couples, Adrenaline has you covered! Book in a day to swim with dolphins and seals in Mornington, Jet Boat in the Gold Coast, test your team working skills double kayaking in Jervis Bay.

Double Kayaking in Jervis Bay

Now that you have some ideas, what are you planning?

In need of a babysitter? Our wonderful friends at Kiddo App have lovingly gifted Nurch members and fans a 10% discount on babysitting. Use NURCHLOVE valid until February 28 2022.

Want to win a $200 gift card to spend how you want this Valentine’s Day? Head to our Facebook page or leave us a Google Review by 11.59pm February 12 for your chance to win! Full details, click here.

Romantic ideas

Back to school

Back to School Plan

It is just three weeks until we see our little ones go to school or back-to-school. Navigating school and childcare over the past two years has been mind-boggling with the constant hurdles and changes COVID has thrown at us. So, let’s make your life a little easier with some handy tips on getting ready to say ‘goodbye’ to summer holidays and ‘hello’ to a new school year!

Table of contents

  1. School shoes
  2. Exercise & text books
  3. Get your kids into a routine, now
  4. What to buy and do
  5. Start talking scenarios
  6. Be prepared to go virtual

 

School shoes

They’re expensive and you need multiple pairs, but do you really? The simple answer is, no. If we’re talking primary school, take advantage of being able to opt for a black leather running shoe. This meets the leather shoe criteria to meet uniform requirements, and it can be used with the sport uniform too.

Where to find them: Rebel Sport, Myer, David Jones, Big W, Target, K-Mart and Athlete’s Foot all sell these types of leather running shoes. Better yet, cash in your Nurch points at one of these stores and enjoy the perks of free shoes.

Exercise & Text books

Apart from uniforms, the next kicker is stationary and textbooks! The school will provide a list. You can now get these from Big W and K-Mart, although Officeworks is one of the best stocked options. Purchasing books and stationery can be a tedious process; some schools offer a service that will arrange this for you for a small fee so be sure to ask!

Hint: If you’re in the position, at the end of the year, donate unused exercise books and textbooks to other families. Or, help fund the following year by selling them.

Get your kids into a routine now

Did you know it takes 21 days to make or break a habit? In this case, introducing a new routine. Wake your kids up as they would wake up for a school day. Play and entertain them for the amount of time they’ll spend at school. Introduce an afternoon routine of snacking, concentration-time (i.e. homework) before dinner and bed routine.

Sit at a desk or table and read books with your child. Grab some flashcards from K-Mart – if you’re a Nurch member – or find some Reading Eggs or age appropriate activity books to get their little brains ready for the year ahead. Concentration is key; nurture their skills that encourage it; you’ve got a creative kiddo? Drawing, playing with lego, board games and even painting is great too.

What to buy and do

Overwhelmed or unfamiliar with back-to-school processes? Maybe your son or daughter are a past child in our care or just graduated kinder at our centre – we understand this process can be overwhelming. Check out a great printable ‘Back-to-School Checklist’ provided by our loyalty rewards partner, Nurch, that includes just that; along with a few other things you might not have thought of!

 

Back to school checklist
Image: Back-to-School checklist by Nurch. Click image to download

Start talking scenarios

Conversations with your child can help mentally prepare for situations that can occur, and help ease any anxiety that might come with being in a new environment.

– How can Kinder differ from primary school, such as class etiquette
– If your child is feeling unwell, unsafe, uneasy, who can they talk to and where can they go for help?
– How can your child best manage different personalities and kids who like different things
– What is the best way to deflect unfavourable behaviour?

Be prepare to go “virtual”

Virtual learning could quite possibly be around for a while. Prepare a space in your home where your child could participate in classes with minimal interruptions (easier said than done for some, albeit!). Make sure that if there is a snap lockdown that you have the technology to press ‘go’, asap.

If your son or daughter graduated Kinder at our centre, and you have a brand new preppie this year – (we definitely want to see photos!  Add the hashtag #NurchPerks on Facebook/ Instagram!

Good luck and welcome to 2022!

Mother and daughter playing together

$332,000 Reasons to Join Nurch

Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards has expressed their whole-hearted admiration and gratitude as families cash in over $332,000 in childcare loyalty reward points in preparation for Christmas.

There was an overwhelming response to Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards members redeeming their rewards through November and December. In the lead up to Christmas, families cashed in their points to the value of $134,000 during November and almost $199,000 through December.

It seems, families opted to gain assistance with their groceries for the exciting holiday with $65,000 worth of points redeemed as Woolworths vouchers and $46,000 at Coles. Kmart and Bunnings were also popular choices, collectively contributing $53,000 towards the total redemptions.  After a reminder text message from the young startup to members two days before Christmas, saw families redeem an incredible $29,149 in reward points in just 30 minutes.

‘’We projected around $250,000 worth of Nurch reward points to be redeemed by members from November to December; To hit well beyond that target is a phenomenal feeling’’, says Kara Smyth, Cofounder at Nurch. ‘’This is what Nurch is about; rewarding families in ways that truly help our members out; ways that they can choose what is best and when will make the most difference for their family.’’

Summer holidays are in full swing and Nurch is predicting another $100,000 in reward points to be redeemed. By February 2022, they also expect to donate $15,000 worth of unclaimed points to Ashton’s Place Charity; a foundation to support parents and caregivers of children with autism to help children find their ‘place’ in the world.

Nurch currently has 35  partner childcare centres across four States that helps to reward Is 3500 Australian families. They have recently partnered with South East Queensland group, AMAZE Education. And have a further 10 Imagine Childcare centres coming on in the first half of 2022.

To find your nearest Nurch centre or to find out more visit www.nurch.com.au

Emily on Money

$50,000 per year from side-hustles

Mum of three, earns an extra $50,000 per year while working full-time and balancing home life, in a bid to become financially free by 50.

ROCKHAMPTON, Queensland -: Emily Keable, age 29, has figured out the key to early retirement without compromising her family lifestyle.

“We have found a balance where we will be able to retire by 50 if we want to, and can still spend money on experiences and small luxuries now,” says Emily, mum of three.
Emily and her husband Brendan, of four years, have three young children under four years old, and despite both working full-time, juggling home-life, children and a 24/7 rotating roster the couple manage to earn almost $50,000 by financially focussed side-hustles.

Emily’s winning formula is broken into three sections –

  1. Saving money, and
  2. Making money for the now
  3. Investing money, for the future

Despite being on maternity leave for the past eight months, Emily has managed to renovate their forever-home by adding a mudroom, almost entirely funded by Childcare Loyalty Rewards startup, Nurch, which she says would’ve taken the young family over a year to save up to complete.

“Childcare for three children isn’t cheap! To keep costs down, we have enrolled the kids three days per week. This leaves us around $600 out of pocket per week, $30,000 per year, after the gap fee”, says Emily, “Little Zebra Rockhampton offers a program called Nurch. We earn points based on our childcare fees which we can then redeem for retail gift cards – like FlyBuys for childcare. Through Nurch we have been able to focus our budget savings elsewhere while buying bulk kids clothing every six months and next year will be using Nurch points to pay for my daughters’ school shoes and supplies. Each year, it adds up to about $1000 per year in savings.”

Emily makes extra money for her family doing pet-sitting at their residence in Rockhampton which she says is the largest income stream apart from the couple’s rental property that they purchased at just 21-years-old.

“Our rental property was the best and biggest investment we made to date”, the young mum says,
“It is cash-flow positive, and the extra money has helped to create a comfortable lifestyle for my family and allows us to reinvest funds. We also regularly invest in shares, mostly exchange-traded funds and listed investment companies, such as AFIC (Australian Foundation Investment Company), which is paving the way to a financially free future”.

To those who are thinking about starting a side-hustle, Emily gives this advice –

  • Your side hustle should be something you enjoy doing
  • Side hustles are a lot of work – they are a means to an end and usually not the passive income “money while you sleep”, we all want
  • Have a goal for the money earned from side hustles. It means all that extra work is going directly toward something you want.

About Emily: Emily is a money-savvy mum of three children. She has recently returned to work as a Government Administration officer after eight months on maternity leave. Passionate about helping women understand and take control of their finances, she shares tips, information, and her own money journey on the Emily on Money Instagram and blog. Emily shares her personal experiences and is not a professional financial advisor.

 

For More Information or to arrange an interview with Ms Keable
Kiera Elliot-Pickett – kiera@strongdigitalmarketing.com.au
Phone: 0470 288 995

Emily Keable shelving

Smiling girl with flower

Interview with Centre Director Natalya Bryan

Natalya is the centre director at Little Zebra Childcare and Kindergarten Gracemere and I often seek her feedback on how we can improve Nurch for our families. It is with pleasure that I interview Natalya as she offers great insight because she is a centre director Nurch member. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with Nurch.  I am so pleased to be working with such an upbeat and vibrant centre and I can’t wait to visit your centre one day.

 

What do you love about working in Childcare?

I love being able to help little people grow and learn. I believe that strong relationships are the key to success in this world. I love being able to connect with each child and help them learn about the world around them.

 

As a centre director and parent, what benefits do you think Nurch offers the Childcare Industry?

I think Nurch offers a rewards program for something families already expect to pay for. Just like flybuys and Woolworths everyday rewards, it is a wonderful program that gives back to our community and can the rewards can be tailored to each family.

 

How did your staff respond to Nurch?

My Centre educators are very fond of Nurch and they refer to it as the ‘Flybuys for childcare’. The educators who have children at the Centre love having the extra funds like I do. I personally view it as a savings account for special occasions such as birthdays and Christmas for my children.

 

What about your staff who do not have children? How do they feel about the program?

They love Nurch. The educators who don’t have children see the value in the Nurch program and engage with our families regularly about how they are going to spend their rewards on pick up and drop off.

 

As a centre director, how do you advocate or show your appreciation for staff that go above and beyond for your centre?

As a Centre Director, I like to highlight appreciation between educators through regular open communications about their achievements as well as leave a surprise to thank them for something they have done.

 

Do you have any feedback from parents that you would like to share regarding Nurch?

Families have found Nurch to be a wonderful program with many of the families redeeming rewards during the COVID19 stage 1 restrictions to help the household out financially.

 

What are some of the issues/challenges with our program? How can we improve?

The only issue I have seen is when a family is attending two centres within our group. It did not allow 1 family to have two accounts with the same email and that was frustrating for families. This has been overcome with switch account feature!

 

What reward don’t we offer that you think we could add?

I think the rewards are very well balanced with many major retailers which allows everyone to be able to access the rewards in many different ways.

 

In partnership with our centres, Nurch offered 10 free points per booking to help our families during COVID while gap fees were $0. Gap fees are returning for most families, how would you like to see Nurch support our community further?

I personally don’t feel there is much more Nurch can do to support the community. The points really do add up I like having something to offer my families that centres don’t have.

I really love that any Nurch points not spent by the family go back into the community through charity donations. I think that families who do not wish to receive Nurch points and would like to all donate their points to charity could click a button to donate all the points automatically.

 

Thanks for your insight. I have been tossing up the idea of having a donate option on the portal. As always, you have been a great contributor to Nurch and we appreciate your work.

Mother holding child

MAMA + ME GIVEAWAY

It’s all about you! When was the last time you heard that? Apart from maybe Mothers Day or your birthday… Was it before bubs came along?

Now, I know you’ve heard it a million times but I’m going to say it again (sorry, not sorry) – it takes a village to raise a child (or two, three..). There are not many opportunities we Mama’s can switch off or reward ourselves for the outstanding jobs (24/7 jobs) we are doing to raise outstanding, respectful and talented children.

So, we have gathered some incredible mum-led businesses to give you the opportunity to reward yourself. But, not in the traditional “we’ve picked some brands and your prizes” kinda reward – but some genuinely talented Mama’s who have created incredible products and services that every Mama needs in her life.

Ok, ok… I can envision the little ones demanding your non-existent time right now, so I’ll get to the point! We are giving away $650 of gift cards to spend on however and whenever you want it!

  • $250 from Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards to spend at over 85 major Australian retailers (basically cash in your pocket or for your Christmas present!)
  • $200 to spend on natural skincare from annod.com.au
  • A-kiddo free day or evening from Kiddo Babysitting to the value of $100
  • $100 to spend on Mama apparel and breastfeeding products you can’t go past, from Goldmiilk

Excited? Head to Facebook or Instagram to enter!

Pro tip: make sure you’re following each of our four brand partners on either/both Facebook & Instagram to win!

You deserve this.

Entries close Saturday 27 November 11:59PM. T&C’s apply. Winner announced Sunday 28 via www.instagram.com/nurchchildcareloyaltyrewards at 8:00PM AEST (daylight savings people, that’s 9pm!)

Good luck Mama!

 

Mother holding child

Founders Brent Thompson, Glenn Noy and Kara Smyth

Nurch donates 2% of points spent to support mental illness

This October is Mental Health Month. The team at Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards, is participating in the One Foot Forward initiative, vowing to donate 2% of all points spent throughout the month in a bid to raise $3000 to support Australian’s living with mental illness.

Founders Brent Thompson, Glenn Noy and Kara Smyth along with three of their staff members have pledged to walk 400km’s in a team effort to walk in solidarity with a community of 34,828 people to support Australians living with mental illness. The Nurch team is participating in the challenge, One Foot Forward, organised by the Black Dog Institute which runs throughout October – Mental Health Month.  On the 1st of November, 2% of the dollar value of the points redeemed by Nurch members will be donated to our fundraiser page, the Nurch team.

More than 5 million Australians live with some form of mental illness, the most common are anxiety and depression; less than half experiencing symptoms of mental illness will not seek professional help and often with tragic consequences.

Recently, Kara Smyth, cofounder at Nurch, has lost a good friend to the terrible and tragic illness.

“This is a particularly sensitive and personal cause close to my heart”, says Kara, “two months ago, I lost one of my best friends to suicide. It was a shocking blow for everyone because we all knew her as a happy, upbeat and fiercely independent beautiful woman who was on her way to achieving all of her dreams. The implications of Covid were particularly hard for her. Her income was impacted, she wasn’t able to visit family or travel. It was a tough year but nobody imagined it would lead to suicide. Being a part of this initiative not only helps to raise money towards an illness that needs desperate attention but allows me time to reflect on the great times I spent with Sylvia”.

Sadly, 1 in 5 people experience symptoms of mental illness each year. In fact, every day in Australia, 8 people will die by suicide. Suicide  is the leading cause of death in people in Australia aged 15-44 years.

Funds raised from One Foot Forward will go towards supporting research into early detection, prevention and treatment of mental health disorders, as well as funding vital support services for those most at risk.

To help support Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards reach their $3000 target donate or share our page at https://www.onefootforward.org.au/fundraisers/nurchchildcareloyaltyrewards

 

About Nurch Childcare Loyalty Rewards

Created in 2019, Nurch is Australia’s first and only childcare loyalty rewards program. Founded by Glenn Noy, Brent Thompson and Kara Smyth the trio have over 15 years experience in the childcare sector. Nurch is implemented by childcare centres and is free for families to participate. The innovative program creates a consistent learning environment for families while increasing centre retention.

In June, 2021, Nurch, won the Queensland State Childcare Services & Supplies award at the Australian Achiever Award – and was also highly commended in the Computer Systems, Software & Internet Services category. Further, the young start-up has been named a finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards, Specialised Small Business category, and AusMumpreneur Digital Innovation category and People’s Choice – Product award.

To find out more about One Foot Forward visit https://www.onefootforward.org.au

For more information or to arrange an interview with Kara or the team, contact Kiera Elliot-Pickett, kiera@strongdigitalmarketing.com.au 0470 288 995.

Brightly coloured gift

How to Budget for a Debt-Free Christmas

You can’t believe you need to start thinking about Christmas already, can you? Does the thought of researching, organising, buying, and wrapping all those gifts and stocking stuffers make you excited or fill you with dread? Only a few years ago I fell into the latter category: Christmas was a big expense. I never knew what to get anyone, left everything until the last minute, and always seemed to enter the new year with a huge credit card bill.

In fact, one study found that around 4.7 million Aussies are still paying off their Christmas purchases at the end of January, and one in 10 of those with debt don’t expect to have paid off the debt within 12 months. This figure is crazy; going into the next Christmas season and STILL paying off last year’s purchases is not going to ensure a happy, relaxed time for you and your family.

Now that I have children of my own (this is my first Christmas as a mum of three!), the pressure to spend hundreds on toys and presents, as well as host a perfect Christmas day feast for my whole extended family is very real. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot since my days of putting the entire season on my credit card and I’m going to share my top tips to set you up for a stress-free, debt-free holiday season.

Set Your Budget
My mind was blown when I realised I could set a budget for Christmas and know how much I had to spend.

Gifts are an easy place to start: set your budget for adults and children, plus a couple of extra gifts (if you choose to) for your childcare educators, teachers, work friends, etc. The budget challenges me to find presents that are meaningful, useful, and, most importantly, mindful. I’ve also done away with stocking stuffers and little bits and pieces that my nieces might like initially but usually end up as clutter by February.

Make like Santa and write your list of gift recipients. Set your budget for each of them and add up each one to get a total gift budget for the year. I stick to $50 for adults and around $40 for children in my extended family. I budget a bit more for my husband and kids without going overboard.

Christmas decorations are another category in your budget. Many of us have a stack of decorations sitting under the stairs, but who can resist the gorgeous Christmas section at Target or Myer? Not me. Take stock of what you already have, and set aside some cash to replace any items that are worn or broken, and purchase a couple of new ones to add to your collection.

If you are hosting Christmas Day festivities, you can also create a budget for food and drinks based on the number of guests and your usual traditions. In our family, we have mimosas and a barbeque breakfast, along with a delicious cheese platter for afternoon tea, so those items are all budgeted for.

Bonus: If you’re old school like me, allocate some money in your budget for Christmas cards and postage.

Sinking Fund

So you’ve added up all your budget categories and come up with a huge number. Don’t get overwhelmed! We already knew Christmas was expensive, but this year we’re not hiding it on a credit card and dealing with it later.

Split your big number into chunks, such as the number of paydays left until Christmas. Don’t worry if this still seems like a lot – any money you can save before the Christmas rush will help! The good news is that you now have an idea of how much Christmas is going to cost next year as well, and when you break that large number down into a whole year’s worth of paydays, it will seem very manageable.

A Christmas Sinking Fund changed my life. I stash away $50 every payday and by the time I’m ready to buy presents and decorations, my little sinking fund has grown to almost $1,200. Considering Christmas comes around at the same time every year, preparing for it is very simple.

DIY Gifts

There is nothing wrong with a DIY gift, and the time and effort you put into it truly makes it special. Homemade sugar scrubs in some pretty glass jars, a wreath made from dried flowers picked from your garden, knitted items, the dry ingredients for your favourite cookie recipe in a jar. All these things are cheaply made, look fabulous, and are truly given with love.

Gifts for teachers or colleagues, in particular, don’t have to be expensive. Trawl through Pinterest or think about your talents and hobbies to come up with some gifts that don’t cost an arm and a leg. As a bonus, you’ll probably be giving a unique gift – how many mugs and candles do you think a teacher receives each year?

Shop with Rewards Points

Savings your rewards points from loyalty programs through the year is a savvy way of cutting your Christmas costs. When shopping regularly, like weekly grocery shopping at major supermarkets, your points could well cover your entire Christmas shop. Check your points are set to “Save for Christmas”, and make sure you take advantage of bonus offers or boosters.

For presents, programs like Nurch offer gift cards to a huge variety of stores. If you have a hard-to-buy-for sister, a gift card to one of her favourite stores (Pandora, Peter Alexander, Review, JB HiFi) could be just the ticket, and by using your Nurch points it will cost you nothing! Nurch also offers gift cards for larger experiences from RedBalloon, and services like Netflix if you want to give some out-of-the-box gifts.

Make a List

If your child mentions a gift they’d really like, write it down or take a picture of them holding the item. If they have lots of “wants”, you can cull some throughout the year by asking which item they would prefer at Christmas: the one they’ve just seen, or the one they have been asking for since January.

We can’t buy kids everything they ask for, and this type of conversation teaches young children about prioritising our spending and curbing impulse spending by remembering what they really want. The List is also a great way to collect gift ideas for the grandparents, who may ask what your little one would like for Christmas.

Additionally, when you find items at a discounted price, you’re able to refer to your list and purchase gifts throughout the year. Another way to avoid to December rush!

It Doesn’t Have to be Insta-Worthy

I’ll say it again: You Don’t Have to Style Your Christmas For Anyone Else.

Your decorations are special to you. The food you like might dictate a strange-looking Christmas dinner (fun fact: when I was young, my mum stopped buying a turkey for Christmas because we kids refused to eat it. To this day, our traditional family Christmas dinner is still homemade schnitzels and potato salad).

You don’t have to deck your house out with decorations or give everybody you know a gift. Christmas is meant to be spent with family, enjoying time together, and not stressing about whether your holidays measure up to the influencers and professionals on Instagram.

Spend money on traditions that are meaningful to you and your family. Decorate as much or as little as you want. Eat food you enjoy, not food you feel like you should have because it’s Christmas. Be mindful when it comes to gift-giving. My children are still young, and get just as excited over a new scrapbook and some felt-tip markers as they would over a giant remote-control monster truck.

This may change over the years, and only you can decide how much you are willing to spend for a Christmas season that is perfect for you. One thing I know for sure is buying for yourself and others feels even better when you know you won’t be facing a credit card bill come the new year.

Reference:
https://www.finder.com.au/christmas-debt

 

Author Bio

Emily Keable (@emilyonmoney) is a personal finance addict and millennial working mum from sunny Rockhampton, Queensland. Passionate about helping women understand and take control of their finances, she shares tips, information, and her own money journey on the Emily on Money page and blog HERE