Kapiti Observer : January 3rd 2013
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Fully Insulated, lockable large window and ranch-slider, security lighting and power, curtains, carpet and smoke alarm, premium finish- inside and out, & even a deck. Visit the display cabin in Porirua. Order yours today phone or Txt 021333383 3 THURSDAY, JANUARY 3, 2013 Budget before you get into trouble STARTING AFRESH THIS NEW YEAR Tips from budget advisers Plan ahead: budget for all your likely expenses in the next year, from car registration to haircuts and school fees. Start saving for next Christmas now: even $5 a week will make a big difference. Spread your expenses: If you get paid weekly, put aside some bill money every week so you don't have to scramble at the end of the month. Try writing down every purchase you make -- it's easy to forget that coffee or train ticket. Withdraw your weekly budget in cash and limit yourself to that amount. Delay spending: Think about a purchase for 48 hours before buying. Pay yourself first: funnel savings into a separate account using an automatic payment. HELP IS AT HAND: FURTHER READING www.sorted.org.nz www.familybudgeting.org.nz www.cab.org.nz/vat/money Books (available at libraries) Live well, spend less: easy ways to save money in every part of your life by Sophie Gray Get rich slow: how to grow your wealth the safe and savvy way by Mary Holm Get ahead: get financially sorted by 30 the New Zealand way by Joan Baker and Annette Sampson Financial secrets: the New Zealand everything guide to everyday finances by Martin Hawes If you put your gifts and the festive ham on tick this festive season, the bills, and stress, will start rolling in this month. ANDREA O'NEIL talks to budget advisers about how to keep your wallet merry for next Christmas. Plastic not fantastic: Cutting up your credit cards is a good first step towards eliminating debt in 2013. Summer holidays should be about relaxation and fun but all too often a financial hangover from Christmas ruins the silly season. People who put presents and food on credit cards in December will feel the pinch in January, Porirua Budget Service manager Robert Antonio said. Bills start rolling in. Take now pay later? Well, the pay later is after Christmas. Make a resolution this sum- mer to get your money sorted for 2013, Mr Antonio said. It s so important to have a budget, so important, he said. When you have debt hanging over your head then you get nowhere. In the year to June 2012 the Kapiti Family Budgeting Ser- vice saw 770 clients -- 470 of them new clients -- owing a total debt of just over $4 million, nearly $5200 each client on average. Co-ordinator Chris Lloyd said this was a dramatic increase on the previous year when 383 clients were seen, 308 of them new, mainly due to Work and Income referring clients who applied for grants to the service. Kapiti budget advisers helped clear $35,000 in debt in the year to June 2012. In the greater Wellington region 4800 clients were seen by family budgeting services, owing a total $55 million, or more than $11,400 of debt each client on average. A good first step towards a healthy bank account was to visit a budget adviser, Mr Antonio said. They can be found throughout the Wellington region, and visiting one is free and confidential. People were often in a desper- ate situation when they visited a budget adviser, saddled with credit card debt and finance company loans, and spending more than they earn, Mr Antonio said. The majority sadly are all in debt, he said. The thinking is let s live for the now . You talk about savings -- well, for some of them they re far from that point. Clients have often simply stopped paying back their debt or have failed to pay rent because of loan repayments. A lot of people forget they re in a contract and they think they ll just stop paying because they don t have the money. Eighty per cent of clients are referred by Work and Income, many of them solo mothers. Maori make up 40 per cent of clients, and pakeha and Samoans make up 20 per cent each. The majority of our clients are Pacific Island and Maori, and sadly the financial literacy is not too good and so a big part of our work is education, Mr Antonio said. To deal with the crisis a budget adviser will ring creditors and try to negotiate reduced or delayed payments. Then the adviser and client will work through a budget worksheet, listing all sources of income and all planned expenses like rent or mortgage payments, vet fees, petrol and even the cost of clubbing. It was often a shock for people to see where their money went, he said. In the case of cars, people sel- dom plan for the cost of regis- tration and warrants of fitness. People think of cars as petrol only. Lavish weddings and funerals often derail Pacific clients budgets, Mr Antonio said. Some people are hearing the word budget for the first time when they come here. That tells you they haven t got a clue. You re going back to basics and teaching them those things. We ll deal with the crisis but we encourage everyone to come back and see us, he said. Come to us when times are good as well. People think of the Budget Service as the last place to go because you re in trouble. It s for everybody. Don t be frightened by the idea of somebody poring over your bank statements, said Annette Kennedy, a budget adviser at the Porirua office. We re not scary, we re not judgmental. It s all private, con- fidential. It s all just helping you find out what s happening with your money. Clients wanting to reduce their spending can get tips from a budget adviser, and can ask to learn how to read and under- stand an electricity bill state- ment, she said. Ideas for cheap or free Christ- mas gifts are available for clients to take away. Another tip for Christmas is to join a supermarket savings programme which pays interest, rather than putting money into schemes like Chrisco. But what- ever your savings method, start as soon as possible, Mrs Ken- nedy said. Start in January for Christmas 2013. You don t have to be poor to see an adviser, budget adviser Shirlene Manawaiti said. We re here to help anybody. People seem to have the percep- tion you have to be in trouble to see a budget service, but we can help people with money.
December 27th 2012
January 10th 2013