Financial difficulties often leave clients floundering before they come to Citizens Advice Bureau Helensville.
However, empowerment is at hand with free budget advice available with trained and empathetic volunteers.
“Sometimes it’s just about having a listening ear first and foremost as we can provide the light at the end of the tunnel or different paths with options they’ve never thought about,” says Rani Timoti, manager.
Issues could be directly related to mounting debt from a lack of income, loss/reduction of employment or credit card overspending to missed payments for rent, tax and the “growing scourge” of afterpay.
And of course there’s the worrying surprises of unexpected bills and life’s events, not meeting ends meet or finances being a part of a package of problems people are going through.
Nationally, the CAB national office gets over 8000 enquiries each year relating to general financial difficulties or budgeting.
“Our volunteers understand, as we all experience or know family and friends who have gone through these trials, that our clients may be embarrassed, stressed, worried, angry and vulnerable,” says Rani.
Volunteers provide active listening skills, are not judgemental and confidential in their delivery of service. Clients are empowered and sometimes asked to write a timeline of events leading to their issues or given a budget worksheet.
Although referrals to the Budget Service or budgeting advisors are a main point of contact, volunteers can offer other suggestions- asking clients if they’ve spoken to their bank if they have a mortgage, approaching WINZ if they have rent arrears or asking family or friends to help with an interest free or low interest loan to clear debt.
As the festive season approaches it may be timely to prepare finances so families are not starting the year with major debt.
Budgeting burdens can be lifted by booking our budget advisor by appointment on Tuesdays, 10am to noon.