“My first loan was maybe 10 years ago in Tasmania … I’d just had my son, so I was about 25, and I got a fridge because I was a single parent and I couldn’t afford to buy a fridge outright. NILS put me in a position to pay it off with no interest.”
Nicole first heard about the No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) from her local neighbourhood house in regional Tasmania. Ten years on and Nicole’s family has grown, she’s moved to South Australia and is about to start a career in community services, but NILS has remained a steady presence in her life.
“My house is actually looking beautiful because of NILS!”
“I got a fridge, a lovely big table to have dinner at, my kids have got a beautiful bed each, with a nice mattress, and I got a vacuum cleaner … I love washing clothes! Having a washing machine is a luxury. It’s what I need for my life to function properly.”
“I’ve had the privilege of purchasing new goods, instead of buying second hand. And when do you get to go and buy a nice table or a nice fridge or a decent bed without having to hesitate?”
The fridge Nicole purchased through NILS not only met her immediate need of keeping fruit and vegetables fresh, but also enables the her to plan healthy, affordable meals.
“It saves me money … I can go shopping and stock my freezer up with meat instead of providing it daily. I can actually plan my meals for the week – that way you can buy meat on special, put it in the freezer and use it over the week. I can plan my kids’ lunches as well instead of having daily to go to the shops.”
Over the years Nicole has also found value in the NILS application process.
“I guess anytime you look at your finances it causes you a bit of stress because it reminds you of how much money you don’t have. But on the NILS side of things, the consultants always make you feel comfortable and are helpful. They’re approachable.”
“When you sit down with a NILS consultant they go through the budget with you, work out your expenses and find out what’s affordable for you … I think a lot of people wouldn’t go for the NILS loan because they might feel like it’s a handout. But if people come to realise that it’s not a handout it’s actually just a loan with no interest, they might actually go for a loan.”
“With NILS there’s no catches, there’s no fine print. The amount you get – that’s exactly what you pay back.”
The No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) provides individuals and families on low incomes with access to safe and affordable loans of between $300 and $1,200. Loans can be used for essential items like fridges, computers and furniture, as well as education and medical expenses. For more information and to find your local provider, head to www.nils.com.au.