24 May

Tips for stopping the money leak

Published: 2016-05-24

Living on a tight budget is often stressful but it doesn’t always have to be.

So what’s the trick to being financially secure? The answer is to live within your means. How can you do this if you live in South Auckland and only make $15.50 an hour before tax? Well it’ll be tough for sure but here are some tips I have learnt for surviving life on a tight budget.

Pay your rent

The most important thing is getting the rent paid – we need a roof over our heads. Not paying the rent creates a lot of stress down the line – no landlord will let you get behind in your rent. If you’re on a benefit, ask Work and Income to pay your rent directly to Housing New Zealand. And if you’re working, ask your employer to pay your rent directly to Housing New Zealand. If you’re struggling to pay your rent, contact a reputable budgeting service or call Housing New Zealand on 0800 801 601 and tell them why you’re struggling. They’ll help you get back on track. 

Use cash

Cash only – this means paying for everything with the money in your pocket. We spend more if we don’t see the money we’re spending, like putting stuff on store or credit cards. Spending cash from our wallets lets us see what we’re really spending.

Be careful with your money

“A penny saved is a penny earned.” Saving your money is the best way to make sure you have enough when you really need it.

Cut up your credit cards or use them only for emergencies. Think about what you buy – if you can’t afford to pay cash for it you might not be able to afford it. Credit is very expensive. Buying now and paying later really doesn’t work for most of us. ‘Later’ comes quicker than you think and unless you know what the future holds, you should avoid paying interest on anything – by the time it’s paid off, you may be paying for it three or four times over.

Do it yourself

One of the best ways to save money is to do it yourself. There are many resources on the internet that provide free information on how to do anything from vege garden to repairing a puncture on a bike. It can be cheaper to do simple repairs yourself.

Prioritise what you spend your money on

Pay your rent, pay the power and buy your groceries, in that order. Then write a list of who else you need to pay, starting with the highest interest debt first and work your way down the list of creditors.

Set a budget

Set a budget or better still work with a budget advisor to set one up – and it has to be a plan you can stick to.

Remember there is no whakama¯ (cultural embarrassment) in asking for help. Putting your hand up and asking for help today means you’re creating a brighter future for yourself and your wha¯nau.

To contact a budgeting service close to your home, contact Mangere Budgeting Services Trust on 0508 222283 (0508 ABC Budget) and we’ll refer you to the closest service in your area. Now ask yourself this question – “Do you live within your means?”