Budgeting Services

When your money just doesn’t go around or you are caught in a web of debt and increasing bills, it can be a relief to know that there’s someone who will help you.

People in all sorts of situations and from all walks of life can find household budgeting and money management difficult. We offer FREE, confidential and non-judgemental advice. The earlier we can see you, the better the outcome will be. Contact us today.

What we do for individuals/families:

Setting a budget (click to read)

Setting a budget is the baseline service provided for every client. In the first appointment with a client we will determine all income, expenses, debts and other outgoings to reveal the current financial situation.

Here we will check our clients are receiving the correct entitlements (e.g WINZ/IRD). The length of time involved in setting a budget depends on the complexity of the client’s situation but often we’ll make good progress in the first meeting.

These meetings show us where else we can help improve our client’s current financial situation.

Negotiating with creditors (click to read)

Our budget advisors are able to negotiate with creditors on our client’s behalf. This means we are often able to bring payments down to fit into a realistic budget thus avoiding penalties and further debt.

Often this means the debt is spread out over a longer period and we can sometimes freeze interest.

Help with WINZ and IRD entitlements (click to read)

Applying for WINZ and IRD entitlements can be complex and confusing. Our budget advisors are very experienced with the processes and have up to date knowledge to ensure our clients get what they are entitled to.

We can talk directly with WINZ and IRD on our client’s behalf.

Advocacy Services (click to read)

We can also support our clients by advocating for them with other parties. This may mean sourcing emergency housing, food parcels or clothing for instance.

Or it might mean talking with Kiwisaver (for hardship withdrawals), banks, power companies and many more.

Summary Instalment Orders (SIOs) (click to read)

Our budgeting services manager is Napier’s only SIO supervisor who is court appointed and qualified to initiate and supervise SIOs.

A SIO is a formal arrangement between a debtor and creditors that allows you (the debtor) to make regular repayments to pay back all, or an agreed part, of your debts of up to $40,000 over time.

An SIO supervisor is someone who will administer the SIO. This debt must be unsecured (In finance, unsecured debt refers to any type of debt or general obligation that is not protected by a guarantor, or collateralised by a lien on specific assets of the borrower in the case of a bankruptcy or liquidation or failure to meet the terms for repayment) and can include credit cards and personal loans, but not child support, student loans, court fines/reparation or any debt incurred after applying for an SIO.

SIOs are a good option for people who are able to pay all or a percentage of their debt. An SIO also stops all interest and penalties which means people plan and work towards an end to their debt.

Referrals for Support (click to read)

Napier Family Centre has a range of services that are often utilised by an individual client or family.

We also have good relationships with other support agencies such as Problem Gambling Foundation, Foodbank, Quit smoking etc and can refer our clients to one or more of these.

Food Parcels (click to read)

We are sometimes able to make referrals to Foodbank if a client has no entitlement for a food grant/assistance at WINZ.

Food parcels from Foodbank can be picked up at our offices.

What else we do:

Educational Talks – Our budgeting services team offer educational talks to groups such as addiction centres and prisons.

Workshops – We offer workshops for companies or organisations that have made redundancies or layoffs. These workshops offer advice and support to those whose income has suddenly reduced.

Collaborative Work – We have a budget advisor at WINZ in Taradale (two days per week) so clients can quickly see a budget advisor when requested to by WINZ. This budget advisor can discuss your assistance/entitlements directly with your case manager.

We also have a budget advisor at EIT who offers students advice both, one to one and via classroom talks regarding Studylink, consumer tips, financial literacy, tax refunds etc.

Who are we?

Our team of five have over 65 years of experience in budgeting and are all accredited members of the NZFFBS. Napier Family Centre budgeting services is an affiliated member.

Our budget advisors receive training twice per year and attend regional meetings to ensure their knowledge and advice remains current.

How do I get to see a Budgeting Advisor?

Our budgeting service is open Mon-Thurs 8.30am-4.30pm. Appointments are essential.

To book an appointment contact us. Clients are often referred to us by a third party (e.g WINZ).

Tips to prevent budgeting blowouts:

  • Steer clear of ‘buy now, pay later schemes’ – They are a budget blowout trap because if you don’t pay off the item in that initial free interest period and wait until the date that first payments required the interest soon piles up making this ‘great buy’ very expensive in the long run.
  • Mobile shopping trucks – they will give easy credit and come to your door, the convenience and instant relief is often welcomed. Goods are often far more expensive than what is available in the main stores. The interest charged on the debt will soon become overwhelming.
  • Read the fine print before signing anything – better yet get some help to read it and interpret the jargon. Community law groups will provide this service for you free. You have a right to understand what you are signing.

Budgeting Case Studies

Case Study One (click to read)

Client A approached our service asking for food. He was fearful of his safety and unable to return to his home.

We arranged for a food parcel as he had no food entitlement remaining at WINZ.

Returning for a scheduled appointment at a later date, he arrived in a distressed state. His desperation was due to a complicated, crisis situation where his 17 year old son was not able to be released on home detention to his fathers current address because of their situation.

We contacted Housing New Zealand (HNZ) and the police on his behalf which unfortunately did not return a satisfactory result. It was agreed Napier Family Centre could fund four nights accommodation in a backpackers to ensure his safety until we could work with HNZ to relocate him.

Through working with HNZ we were able to relocate client A to another city by the next week. Client A was happy, relaxed and felt he had something to live for. His son was in the process of being released to his address on home detention.

Case Study Two (click to read)

In July 2014 a ‘responsible lending’ discussion paper was released which will help introduce changes to the New Zealand credit legislation. Within days, Napier Family Centre (NFC) received a visit from one woman whose loan agreement with a local lender made us wonder how some lenders view their responsibility.

Young, free and single, this woman’s life could have easily been turned upside down by some ill-thought out lending. The loan for a relatively small $13,500, before fees, resulted in the client’s mother needing to act as guarantor and secure her house against the loan.

A loan for such a small amount held against a $215,000 house is excessive and a responsible lender would have used the clients care collateral instead.

What was even more concerning to us was that the client would have been left with just $75 per week after rent and the $109 loan repayment to fund food, petrol, power, car and other expenses. That isn’t affordable and the loan company would have known that.

In addition the loan agreement included some Work and Income debts and court fines which didn’t incur interest until they were amalgamated into the new loan agreement. That isn’t sensible and this lender acted irresponsibly.

Under the new legislation lenders have a responsibility to the borrower that, in essence, means they can only structure a loan one can afford to repay.

That means asking about the borrower’s income, expenses, credit history and personal circumstances. In this situation the client was not asked to provide any information of a budget, what she paid in rent, or for essential proof of her financial situation.

Because NFC Budgeting Services became involved before the grace period of three days lapsed a phone call and email put a stop to this loan.

Had the budgeting services team not got involved at the early stage, the borrower would have been liable for $28,340 after interest, over the five year term of the loan plus hefty penalties had she not met the repayments.

The result was a happier client with a more manageable $46 per fortnight agreement in place with a new and better structured loan through an alternative lender.

“Our mission is to provide services that help families along life’s journey. Our values of integrity, teamwork, innovation and compassion guide our actions and decisions.”