I OWE MYBUDGET $ 1250
Hey Barefoot, I signed up with money-managing agency MyBudget because I felt that some financial structure and discipline would be good, and also to make my parents happy.
Unfortunately, the model did not work for me. I do not think it is OK for someone with mental health issues to be told they cannot see their psychologist because there is no money for it, or they cannot have their prescriptions filled at the chemist for the same reason.
At the time, I signed a contract for 12 months but I found it far too restrictive and inflexible, and started managing my money myself again after a few months. The trouble is, I ended up owing MyBudget $1250 in fees and charges.
I was asked to pay within a time frame but I never did, as I couldn’t afford it. Now I am following the Barefoot steps, I don’t think I can say I am truly debt-free and don’t owe a cent to anyone until I clear this.
So I would like your advice as to what to do — pay up, or assume that MyBudget have written off the debt?
Hi Tara I wouldn’t pay them. Then again, I don’t think anyone should pay them. First, because they’ve built their business on the back of broke, vulnerable people (for those who don’t know, MyBudget is the financial equivalent of having a personal trainer come around, lock your fridge and dish out the food to you). Second, because they charge too bloody much (over a thousand dollars upfront, as well as ongoing fees).
Quick quiz. If MyBudget are running your budget, guess who gets paid first? If you answered “my psychologist”, or maybe “the chemist for my prescribed medicine”, you would be wrong.
Third, because no one should hand over the responsibility of managing their money.
Seriously, if what you’re saying is true — that their budgeting person said you should scrimp on mental health and prescriptions — that’s kind of ... crazy. So I’d write a letter to them explaining your issues and saying that you got awful service and because of that you’d like them to write off the debt (and provide you with a letter confirming they’ve done it). And if they say no, I’ll take it up on your behalf.
Note to readers: If you’re having problems with debt, you should ring 1800 007 007 and speak to a community-based financial counsellor. They offer an independent service, and best of all they don’t charge $1250 ... they do it for free.