During the 1990s and 2000s, New Zealand and other developed countries around the world experienced a huge increase in personal and credit card debt. But the times have certainly changed, the recession has forced us to take a step back and take a good look at the way we live, and the way we spend. By necessity the 2010s are likely to become an era of budget balancing as attempts are made to reduce debt from both a government and individual level.
According to Sorted.org.nz, the average New Zealand adult is in debt of around $4,400, not including mortgages or student loans. And collectively Kiwis owe more than $12.7billion in personal debt. $5.2billion of this is in credit card debt, $3.8billion in hire purchase schemes and store cards and $3.6billion in other types of loans. This debt is in addition to the$167.9billion we owe in mortgages and housing loans, or the $10.2billion owed in student loans.
Sorted has identified five warning signs to help Kiwis identify they are overspending:
• Is your credit card is maxed-out, or close to it, and you’re only making the minimum payments?
• Are you having difficulty paying all your bills at least once every three months?
• Do you have no idea how much your regular bills are every month?
• Do you have no idea how much spending money you have every month?
• If you lost your job, would you be in financial trouble within a month?
If you answer yes to three or more of these questions chances are you need to get your spendingback under control.
So the first simple step is to work out a budget, to determine whether you are spending more than you earn. David Kneebone, manager of Sorted.org.nz says “Sorted.org.nz has a free budget calculator that makes putting a budget together easy, all you need is details of your current spending and income and it does the calculations for you. Make a budget to avoid a blow-out. Knowing what money you’ve got to spend is a great way to take charge of your money.”
not altogether accurate Written by AlphaDolphinz, on 14-07-2010 15:30 I would have to say, that another option to "getting your spending under control" would be to find a way to earn more money! Even though I only answered yes to two of the above questions (the 1st one and the last one)
After being made redundant; being unemployed for 6mths; having to sell my home (and ending up owing the bank money!) and using all my savings as WINZ wouldn't allow me to go on a benefit when I had savings; I took the very first job that was offered to me irrelevant to what it was!
It was just nice to be working again, albeit on an income that was less than half of what I was used to getting.
I have learnt to live very frugally - I don't have any option - I'm lucky if I have even $30 left each pay after all my bills have been paid. the luxury of a coffee a day is definately a distant memory! And goodbye to even getting in the car to go for a drive somewhere other than where I absolutely have to go!
Being on your own, and having all the bills associated with living to contend with on one small wage, is not easy. You can only cut back so much, my biggest outlay, is my rent. I tried living in a place that was cheaper, however, it was a dump, a disgusting place to live, in a terrible part of town and I hated it. So I have moved to a place that I'm happy to live in, where I feel safe and where I actually do want to go home!
My solution out of my predicament, is to find more lucrative employment - preferably back in my chosen field and might I say the field that I'm qualified in. Currently, I have a little part time job that I do evenings and weekends that pays me double the hourly rate of my full time job. So I'm on the way back . . . slowly . . .