Living with debt can feel like carrying a heavy secret around, day in and day out, and it makes getting help with debt feel even harder.
Society, by and large, teaches us that talking about money is taboo — an attitude that only perpetuates feelings of shame, stress and embarrassment over a problem that is actually quite common.
Whether you have credit card debt, personal loans, or auto loans weighing you down, seeking help to get out of debt is one of the fastest ways to become debt-free.
Getting help with debt repayments has many benefits. While it can sound counterintuitive to sink any money into getting out of debt, debt services provide more than just a practical solution.
Our attitudes towards money and how we spend it is often emotional. Having someone offering advice and guidance along the way can be priceless.
7 Services That Offer Debt Help NZ
Debt services can help you with:
- Understanding how much debt you have
- Knowing which payments to focus paying off first
- Teaching you the best ways to get out of debt
- Feeling less alone throughout the debt repayment journey
- Providing free or affordable advice for low-income earners
If you’re tired of always feeling like you are treading water and not making any progress, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to get help with debt in New Zealand.
1. Get free money and budgeting advice with MoneyTalks.
Struggling to pay your bills or get on top of debt repayments?
A great place to begin getting out of debt is by calling the MoneyTalks helpline. It’s free to chat, and they can get you started with budgeting advice on 0800 345 123.
MoneyTalks can help you understand your financial situation, organise your debt, plan for the future, and put you in touch with a local budgeting service.
Their website is also an excellent resource for finding budgeting services, food banks, articles on finance and getting out of debt, and finding a financial mentor no matter where you are in New Zealand.
They also have downloadable resources to help you stay on track:
- budget worksheets
- cashflow management
- debt schedules
- financial plan of action
- cheap ways to eat
- shopping guides
- code of responsible buying
2. Talk out your financial situation at a MoneyMates session
Talking about debt can be a hard step to take, and knowing you’re not alone in your debt repayment journey can be hugely helpful.
MoneyMates is a financial support group where people struggling with debt and finances can support each other towards financial independence.
This is an excellent resource if you feel more motivated to make changes when supported by others, have repeatedly experienced financial hardship or just want to feel connected to a community of people.
Through the group setting, facilitators help individuals:
- learn about how to get out of debt, how to pay off debt fast, how to create a budget, learn about cash flow management, financial products, safe low-interest types of lending and how to grow their resources
- learn from others in the group, share advice and experiences in a safe and supportive, non-judgmental environment
- share resources and teach you how to access online information, helplines and financial websites
3. Get help with debt through a financial mentor
Financial help doesn’t have to be expensive. Get help with planning, managing, and getting out of debt by enlisting a free financial mentor’s services.
The Family Services Directory lists financial mentors that are free or charge a small fee for some services.
These mentors can provide confidential money management advice, education and support to help you speed up the debt repayment process and learn how to pay off debt fast, even on a low income.
4. Understand your financial situation with the Sorted website
For those that prefer self-study, or just want a basic understanding of managing their finances the sorted.co.nz website is a great resource for getting help with debt.
It covers everything from budgeting, goal setting, creating a debt management plan, and savings and has many tools to help you get there.
The sorted booklets cover a range of topics and are free to download here.
If your workplace or community centre is interested in teaching financial freedom, there are free-to-download seminars designed for this purpose.
5. Consider simplifying your debts through debt consolidation loan or service
Debt consolidation involves moving multiple debts into one debt so that you only have one repayment to focus on (and not several).
While this sounds like a great option, some personal debt services charge very high rates for consolidation.
Consolidation might feel easier to manage, but it’s not always the most financially sound option to get out of debt. A great place to start with getting a debt consolidation loan is to see your bank.
Avoid high-interest personal loan services (payday loans) as these often keep people in debt for longer.
Through your bank, you may be able to apply for a personal loan or a balance transfer credit card. These have very low-interest rates or even zero rates and will mean that you can:
- Transfer multiple debts to one source
- Pay off your loan with one balance
- Accumulate less interest in the process
For debt consolidation to be successful, it’s important not to accumulate more debt in the process. We recommend using this option in conjunction with seeking help to pay off debt.
6. Join a budgeting clinic
Sometimes it’s the simple act of not understanding our incomings and outgoings that gets us into debt.
If your debt is small, joining a budgeting clinic can help you to learn the basics of setting up a working budget and start making repayments that make a dent.
The Citizens Advice Bureau’s community directory has lots of great resources for budgeting clinics in New Zealand.
7. Seek free assistance from a community-funded service like CAP
Not sure if a community support group, budgeting clinic or free advisor is right for you? Seeking help through a community-funded organisation might be the answer.
Services like CAP (Christians Against Poverty) offer free, non-judgemental advice that actively seeks to help you reduce and pay off your debts.
You do not need to be a member of the church or community to use these services.
CAP’s services include:
- Free, confidential advice that comes to you.
- Helping you build a livable budget that works for your family
- Negotiations with creditors, to help reduce your debts
- Ease of payments
- Expert advice and long-term support
- Free insolvency services
These seven services offer free or low-cost ways to understanding your debt and making inroads to paying it off.
The most important thing to remember before seeking help with debt is to know you are not alone. Debt is not shameful, and seeking help takes strength.
Choosing the best solution for you comes down to how much debt you have and who you feel comfortable sharing your situation with. It may even take a few tries to find the solution that suits you best.