A year ago Rose Nair was hundreds of dollars in debt and her bank account was always in overdraft.
Now, thanks to the changes she has made after attending our peer-led financial well-being course, Good Cents, the sole parent from Porirua East is debt-free and saving $190 a week.
“Before I was frightened of money but now I feel really empowered. I know where every cent is going and I’m really happy that money is sitting in my account.”
The 8-week Good Cents course is not a traditional budgeting course where a professional budget advisor tells people what to do. Instead, Good Cents participants lead their own journey, taking ownership and control of their finances and supporting each other to identify and make the changes that work for them.
“Before I was frightened of money
..but now I feel really empowered.”
For Rose, one of the key aspects of the course was the support and encouragement she got from the others in the group.
“We all came from different backgrounds, but what we had in common is we wanted to know where our money was going,” she says. “It was really helpful to talk it through with other people who were having the same issues.”
The group came up with some really useful tips about how she could save money on food, including buying $60 meat packs from The Mad Butcher instead of buying her meat at the supermarket.
She also joined the Porirua Fruit and Vege Coop, which means she gets a great selection of fresh produce for just $12 a week. “My kids really love the carrots – they eat them before I’ve even had time to cook them!”
Even more importantly, support from the group gave her the courage to have some difficult, money-related conversations with whānau members. The first was with her older son who had moved in with his partner but was not contributing anything towards the household costs.
Encouraged by the others in the group, she asked him to leave which has made a big difference to her financial situation. The group members also encouraged her to talk to her extended whānau about how much she could realistically contribute to family funeral costs. “We’ve now agreed that we will contribute what we can afford.”
Rose also used her new-found confidence to ring up her power and internet provider to find out why she always seemed to be in debt to them. It turned out that she was misreading her bills and, rather than being in debt, the company owed her $1005. That unexpected windfall allowed her to clear her debts.
Rose has now stopped smoking which saves her about $65 a week. More recently she joined the Porirua Wealth Pool based at Wesley Cannons Creek. It’s a savings pool, where members pool their savings which can then be used to provide interest-free loans.
She contributes $40 a week to the wealth pool, and saves another $150 a week into her own account. It means she’s been able to do things such as replace her ancient microwave and she hopes to eventually buy a car.
“I thought I was on a dead-end street, I couldn’t save a thing,” she says. “But now me and my kids are celebrating the fact that our money lasts the whole week and we’re also saving. I can give them pocket money and if they want to go and hang with friends I can give them $20 to go and do that.”
We run Good Cents courses regularly through the year.
Contact Wesley House in Cannons Creek to find out more: 04 237 7923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.