Sometimes life can get a little stressful – especially in relation to our finances! But don’t worry, there’s a number of services in New Zealand that provide free financial help, like budgeting, debt consolidation and planning for the future.
If you find yourself anxious, worried or confused about your financial situation and you need help or advice, but are worried you can’t afford it; then take heart – there is free financial assistance out there – you just need to know where to go.
Free financial help in New Zealand
1. The Sorted.org.nz website
As a starting point, there is a brilliant free website available to you called www.sorted.org.nz.
Sorted is New Zealand’s free (government funded) independent online money management guide. It’s full of different calculators and information to help you manage your personal finances throughout life.
With loads of information on debt, budgeting, financial goal setting, mortgages, different types of fees, savings, investments, KiwiSaver, and planning retirement – it’s absolutely jam-packed with useful tips.
2. The awesome Pocketsmith app
Another great do-it-yourself option is to use the awesome Pocketsmith App. Developed by a bunch of clever Kiwis, Pocketsmith is one of the best family budgeting apps on the planet.
- Download bank feeds into the app to start tracking your spending.
- Compare your earning and spending trends over time to see where you may be overspending, and how to get back on track.
- Set up family budgeting and saving goals, to pay off debt faster, and start saving quicker.
The Pocketsmith App has a number of paid plans, that provide heaps of additional features. But you can use the Free version to create up to 12 budgets, from 2 accounts, with 6 month projections.
The developers of Pocketsmith say the families and people who use their app to save for a better future, inspire them to provide a better service,
Their inspiring stories have strengthened our resolve to provide the best possible assistance that we can in order to see them succeed.
And going by the growth of their app around the world, we believe them!
3. National Building Financial Capability Charitable Trust
If you feel that you need more individual, or personalised help, then check out the national directory of budgeting services on the Building Financial Capability Trust‘s website to find a free local budget service.
There are 100s of budget advice services spread all over the country. So there should be one close to where you live.
Budget services help a family in debt crisis every 5 minutes! Budgeting services help both individuals and families, and they’re free and non-judgmental. They specialise in debt management, and have access to resources and support throughout the community.
So if the credit cards and hire purchases have gotten of out control, ask for help. It will make such a difference to your family.
4. The good people at Citizen’s Advice Bureau
If by chance you don’t find a budget service available close by, then I’d suggest you contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau for some more contacts in your area.
You can also ring the CAB freephone 0800 367 222. Some Citizen’s Advice services offer budgeting advice as well. But even if they don’t, they know all the community organisations in your area that do.
5. The Insolvency and Trustee Service
If things are much worse for your family financially, and you think you’re past the point of no return, suffering in a mountain of debt, you still have options. The Insolvency and Trustee service, another government funded service is where you need to go.
Yes, they deal with bankruptcy. But a few years ago they created 2 new services that may help you stave off a full bankruptcy.
The first is a Summary Instalment order (SIO). It’s a way to pay back your creditors less than the full amount you owe (eg paying all your creditors back half what you owe them, or at 50 cents in the dollar).
The second service is a No Asset Procedure (NAP). It’s a special ‘light’ form of bankruptcy for people who owe less than $47,000, have no real assets (you’re still allowed a cheap car, etc.), and no real way to pay their debt back on their current income.
Always remember, if you’re in debt, then your bank, finance company, or credit card company will be happy to help you. They’re used to this, and will usually bend over backwards to help you come up with a plan to keep your repayments on track.
In fact, if you’re worried or struggling with your financial situation, they would much rather you approach them early rather than later, so they can work with you to develop a plan of action.
And that’s the key point really. This is your life. So take hold of it, and take action.