Stress less with effective budgeting

Pacific Trust Canterbury (PTC), the largest provider of Pacific health and social services in the South Island knows all too well how making ends meet can be challenging, stressful and a huge burden on your well-being. Struggling to re-pay debt, pay everyday bills like rent, power and groceries, meet the costs of school fees and uniforms, vehicles and cultural obligations can all mount up and add to your stress. Whatever your financial situation, budgeting can benefit you whether you’re in debt or saving.

 


A budget is a plan for your future income and your expenses that you can use as a guideline for spending and saving.
 

If you’re spending less than you earn, use your budget to work out how much you can put aside each pay to improve your financial position. This is sometimes referred to as ‘paying yourself first’.
 

If you’re spending more than you earn, use your budget to see where your money is going. Then see if there are any ways you can cut your spending or increase your income.
 

The key to spending within your means is to know your expenses and to spend less than you earn. A good monthly budget can help ensure you pay your bills on time, have funds to cover unexpected emergencies, repay debt faster and reach your financial goals.
 

How to do a budget

  1. Add up your income

    To set a monthly budget, you first need to know how much income you have. Make sure you include all sources of income such as your salary or wages, benefits, pension and any other income, including a spouse's income if you're married.
     
  2. Estimate expenses

    The best way to do this is to keep track of how much you spend for one month. Fixed expenses are those that generally do not change from month to month, such as rent. Flexible expenses are those that do change from month to month, such as food or power.
     
  3. Figure out the difference

    Once you've totalled up your monthly income and your monthly expenses, subtract the expense total from the income total to get the difference. A positive number indicates that you're spending less than you earn. A negative number indicates that your expenses are greater than your income. This means you will need to trim your expenses in order to begin living within your means.
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CLICK HERE FOR A FREE BUDGET WORKSHEET
 

Money-saving tips for families


There are many simple things you can do to ease the strain on your finances:
 

Borrowing from the wrong lender can cost you a lot. If it’s not paid off before interest is charged, high-interest debt like credit card and hire purchase debt can become very expensive. Research your options and choose wisely. Always ask yourself if you really need to borrow the money and make sure you understand all the fees that may be charged to avoid nasty surprises. Use a debt calculator to work out what the loan will cost you each month and in total, and make sure you have the money to pay on time every time.

  1. Plan your meals

    By planning family meals, you will remove the excuse and temptation to resort to fast food or convenience options. This will save you money and is a healthier option too.
     
  2. Shop Smart

    Make a list so you get only the things you need and don’t over spend. Look out for special weekly deals and always buy fruit and vegetables in season. Shop around for good deals and do your homework online for the best prices.
     
  3. Buy Second-hand

    Buying previously used items can definitely save you some money. Books, clothing and big ticket items like bikes and scooters you can pick up a lot cheaper from garage sales and op-shops.
     
  4. Be Energy Smart

    Save money by saving power. Turning off lights, timing showers and preventing damp can all lower your power bills, and Energywise has heaps of tips on how to save power. You could even try GLOBUG – a pre-pay system that always knows what you are spending. If you see your power is getting low, you can pre-pay online, over the phone or in store. Find out more about GLOBUG https://www.globug.co.nz/how-it-works/

  5. Consider consolidating debts to repay faster

    If you have several high-interest loans / debts and you’re having trouble keeping up with payments, it could be worth looking into a debt consolidation loan. They are often at a lower interest rate and can save you money, but there are also risks so always seek advice from a trusted advisor.
     
  6. Avoid high-interest finance deals

    Borrowing from the wrong lender can cost you a lot. If it’s not paid off before interest is charged, high-interest debt like credit card and hire purchase debt can become very expensive. Research your options and choose wisely. Always ask yourself if you really need to borrow the money and make sure you understand all the fees that may be charged to avoid nasty surprises. Use a debt calculator to work out what the loan will cost you each month and in total, and make sure you have the money to pay on time every time.

Need more help? Access PTC’s FREE budgeting service for families


Pacific Trust Canterbury’s Budget Advisor Samuga Poliko Vili supports families to meet financial and employment needs through effective budgeting. Services are free. Just contact PTC to make an appointment.
 

Find out more

 

Pacific Trust Canterbury is the largest provider of Pacific health and social services in the South Island. They provide affordable, holistic care to the communities of Canterbury.
 

Click here to view the Pacific Trust Canterbury website

 

 

 

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