Stretch­ing your bud­get: we’re here to help

Central Otago Mirror - - FEATURES -

It’s a tough world out there and mak­ing that house­hold dol­lar stretch to cover all ex­penses, is an in­creas­ing chal­lenge for peo­ple to­day. Ser­vices such as the Cen­tral Otago Bud­get­ing Ser­vice, lo­cated in ‘Church House’ at 20 Cen­ten­nial Av­enue, Alexandra, are not only there to help, but are find­ing that more and more fam­i­lies are turn­ing to them for sup­port and ad­vice in this cur­rent cli­mate. Pam from the Cen­tral Otago ser­vice says that their clien­tele have change in re­cent times, and now add the mid­dle in­come earn­ers into those they are meet­ing with and as­sist­ing. ‘‘Pre­vi­ously they have been able to man­age on what they have earned, but for some now, its catch up time and strug­gling to make that dol­lar stretch fur­ther.’’ ‘‘Many go from pay­ing one bill or the next and then buy food with what lit­tle is left over, while oth­ers buy food, and then try and pay the power bill or it’s left un­til next pay, and then it be­comes ‘catch up’ and the prob­lems start aris­ing.’’ ‘‘There is also pres­sure put on fam­i­lies for things they may not be able to af­ford. Five dol­lars here for a school trip, a do­na­tion for a mufti day, some peo­ple do not have this ready change.’’ ‘‘What is shrap­nel on a wal­let for some peo­ple is a life­line for oth­ers and can make the dif­fer­ence be­tween buy­ing a loaf of bread or a litre or two of milk.’’ The Cen­tral Otago Bud­get Ad­vice Ser­vice is there to help peo­ple find ways of ‘get­ting over that bump’. ‘‘It is very try­ing out there for peo­ple,’’ Pam said. ‘‘For some peo­ple it is cir­cum­stances that has got them to this dif­fi­cult time; for oth­ers it’s choice. Some could cut their costs to meet their means, but pride gets in their way as they feel they have got an im­age to up­hold.’’ ‘‘And it’s peo­ple of all ages and from all walks of life who need ad­vice. You can’t put them all in one bas­ket,’’ she said. The Cen­tral Otago Bud­get Ad­vi­sory Ser­vice has its main base on Alexandra, but cov­ers Queen­stown, Wanaka, Ran­furly, Cromwell, Roxburgh, down to Raes Junc­tion and any­where in be­tween. If help is needed, then Pam at (03) 4488072 is the first point of con­tact. Of­fice hours are 9.30am – 12.30pm, but out­side of these a mes­sage can be left which will al­ways be fol­lowed up on. All re­fer­rals for ad­vice and sup­port are done through Pam, and she says she is for­tu­nate to have ex­cel­lent trained vol­un­teers across Cen­tral Otago who can help peo­ple. ‘‘Bud­get ad­vice is a very per­sonal thing for peo­ple to ask for,’’ Pam said. ‘‘While some peo­ple are happy to talk about that, oth­ers have their pride and keep it very se­cret.’’ Co-or­di­nat­ing the bud­get ad­vice session with the client and ad­vi­sor is part of Pam’s role, and it de­pends very much on the client, their cir­cum­stances, their abil­ity to travel and their lo­ca­tion where this takes place. ‘‘We will travel to meet peo­ple, and this meet­ing can take place in their home or at a neu­tral place, or they could meet some­where such as the Cromwell Re­source Cen­tre if that was more suit­able.’’ ‘‘When we meet, we look at ev­ery­thing for the client on the fi­nan­cial side,’’ Pam said. ‘‘Some peo­ple we can’t help, as they are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can for them­selves and get­ting ev­ery­thing they are en­ti­tled to.’’ ‘‘But most peo­ple we can help to make a dif­fer­ence and help to make their dol­lar go fur­ther.’’ The sup­port of sev­eral busi­nesses and fund­ing groups in the district is very im­por­tant to the ser­vice Cen­tral Otago Bud­get Ad­vice gives, Pam said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.