New budget advice campaign as debt levels rise

Published: Wed 16 Sep 2009 11:40 AM
New budget advice campaign in Christchurch and Palmerston North as debt levels increase by 25 percent
The New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services is teaming up with ANZ for a pilot budget advice awareness campaign in Christchurch and Palmerston North - as the number of people who are under financial stress and struggling looks set to increase.
Family Budgeting Services Chief Executive Raewyn Fox said the pilot campaign encouraged people to take action and address their situation as soon as possible by phoning the free and independent budget advice help line 0508 BUDGETLINE (0508 283 438). BUDGETLINE is supported by ANZ as part of its Financial Wellbeing programme.
“Our latest statistics show that the average debt levels of our clients increased by over 25 per cent since last year. The recession is really hurting families and households, and with unemployment set to continue rising, we are not yet out of the woods. In fact things may get worse in many of our communities before they get better,” Ms Fox said.
“Many people are struggling to pay the bills and make ends meet. They might have lost their job, or had their hours or their overtime cut.”
“At Family Budgeting, we are finding that it’s best if people act sooner rather than later – to avoid digging themselves deeper into debt. They might be embarrassed to talk about their problem, or they might simply not know where to turn.”
But it’s actually easy to get help. Our independent budget advisers on the helpline 0508 BUDGETLINE (0508 283 438) can help by:
Giving immediate advice or information over the phone
Informing people about their entitlements, rights and legal options
Guiding  people in preparing a budget and cashflow using website or paper based tools
Referring people to their local budget service for face-to-face, in depth and ongoing assistance
Some tips for managing money problems:
Put all income and spending, commitments, debts etc down on paper so your situation is clear
Look at the big picture of your financial situation to put problems in perspective
Act early, talk to creditors, renegotiate contracts as soon as problems occur
Examine all spending items to see if any can be reduced to free up money
Plan ahead – develop a 12 month plan which balances income and spending
Set goals and targets to work towards
Celebrate your successes.

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