Managing your money
What budgeting is about and the types of help you may be able to get. We've written this together with the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services to help you manage your money better.
Budgeting gives you control of your money – and your life. It lets you see how much money you have, what you spend it on and how you can make your money go further.
By budgeting, you can:
- pay off your debts faster
- keep up with your bills
- save for the things you want
- pay for those extra unplanned expenses
- buy little luxuries every now and then.
Do you need a budget?
To find out if you need to budget, ask yourself:
- do I worry about money?
- do I often have no money to pay my bills?
- does talking about money with my family cause arguments?
- am I unable to afford the things I want?
- am I always in debt?
- have my costs increased for some reason?
- have I given up hope of having money for holidays or retirement?
If your answer is YES to any of these, read on – it may be a good idea to start budgeting.
Some budgeting ideas
Starting a budget is a big step – it takes good planning and a bit of discipline. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Regularly put money aside whenever you get paid. That way, you know there’s money to pay your bills. It’s also a great way to save for a goal – like a holiday.
- open a separate bank account and make an automatic payment into it every time you get paid – ask your bank about this, or
- take out a set amount of money every time you get paid and leave the rest in your bank account. A good way to save but you need a lot of discipline.
Pay off your debts as soon as you can because the longer you have a debt, the more interest you’re charged, and the more money you owe.
An easy way to pay off a debt is to put a bit towards it every time you get paid (but only after you’ve paid your bills). You can organise to pay it straight from your bank account so you don’t have to think about it – and you’re not tempted to use the money for other things. Ask your bank about automatic payments.
Only buy the things you need if you really want to pay off your debts and get closer to reaching your goals. The good thing is – when you’re closer to where you want to be you’ll be able to afford the little luxuries more and more often.
Talking with a budgeting advisor
A budget advisor is someone who can help you set up a budget for free. They will help you to:
- set up a budget
- draw up a plan for your future
- find ways to make budgeting easier
- work out how to save money and reduce debt
- get ideas on how to make more money
- deal with banks and people you owe money to
- find other people who may be able to help.
They’ll also offer encouragement and support as well as give you the right advice for managing your money.
You’ll find a budget advisor at a local budget service on:
These services are members of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services and their advisors are fully trained to help you. Anything you discuss with your advisor will be confidential.
You could also ask your local Work and Income service centre for a budget service close to you.
When you meet your advisor, please bring these things with you so they can help you work out a budget immediately:
- details of your household income
- bank account statements
- your regular bills
- details of any money you owe such as mortgages,
- hire purchases and credit cards
- details of any other expenses.
Remember, a budget advisor’s job is to give you advice and support – they’re not counsellors, and they won’t control your money or give you money to pay off your debts. If you need help with these things, your advisor will be happy to give you details of people who may be able to help.
Extra help with costs
If you’re finding it hard to meet your costs there are a lot of ways we may be able to help. Talk with us or see:
Budget worksheet to help you get started
My income each week (after tax)
If your income is once every two weeks, divide by 2
Wages or salary
Work and Income payments
(include benefit payments and any extra help such as the Accommodation Supplement, Temporary Additional Support, Disability Allowance, etc).
Call us free on 0800 559 009 if you don’t know what your payments are.
Payments from Inland Revenue
(such as Working for Families Tax Credits or Child Support)
(such as interest or dividends, rent or board payments)
Total costs each week
(add all amounts)
Box A $
My costs each week
If your costs are once every two weeks, divide by 2
(include groceries you buy separately from your weekly shopping such as milk and bread)
Rent or board
Transport fares or petrol
Spending money (such as cigarettes and entertainment)
Child Support payments
Weekly debt payments (include benefit debts and hire purchases)
Other costs (such as donations and children’s pocket money)
Add all amounts, times by 12 and divide by 52
Box B $
My costs each month
(include mobile and toll costs)
(include vehicle, house, contents, life and medical)
Credit and store card payments
Monthly debt payments
(include personal loans and hire purchases)
Rental of goods
(such as computer, TV and washing machine)
Add all amounts, times by 12 and divide by 52
Box C $
My costs each year
If your costs are once every six months, times by 2
Rates (include water rates if any)
(such as lawns, repairs and renovations)
(include registration, WOF, maintenance and repairs)
Fees and subscriptions
(such as schools, clubs and magazines)
(such as doctors, prescriptions, dentists, opticians)
(such as vet fees, dog registrations and catteries)
Clothes and shoes
(such as kitchen items and bedding)
(such as holidays and gifts)
Add all amounts and divide by 52
Box D $
Your total income each week – insert the amount in Box A $ minus your total costs each week – insert the amount in Box B $ minus your total costs each month – insert the amount in Box C $ minus your total costs each year – insert the amount in Box D $ Your total income/costs = $
If your weekly total is:
- positive – great! You are meeting your expenses and can start saving. Some budgeting advice could help you move faster towards your goal.
- negative – your expenses are more than you can afford. But it’s not all bad news – your budget advisor will show you ways to reduce your expenses or even increase your income to meet your costs.
You may also qualify for extra help from us. For a list of the kind of things we can help with, see: