Late nights and total management help money woes

Julie Gaudin and Erica Strand are there to help anyone get their money $orted.
JANE MATTHEWS/STUFF

Julie Gaudin and Erica Strand are there to help anyone get their money $orted.

There are people in Hawera living off just bread and noodles, says Julie Gaudin.

She is the co-ordinator for the Hawera Budget Advisory Service and said that  for people with money issues the hardest part of getting help could be walking through that door. 

The Hawera Budget Advisory Service has been helping people with money issues from Midhurst to Waverley and around the coast for years.

The service is free and confidential and has recently started offering two new strategies to help people in need. 

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Gaudin said they now have a late night every second Monday and offered a programme they called total money management that she described as a stepping stone. The late nights are an opportunity for people who work to get to an appointment after hours.  

Total money management means a financial mentor will take part, or all of a client's money and pay their bills and organise allowances while working with them the whole time. 

"It just means they can't sneak into their account," Gaudin said. 

"Then we have a weekly education programme and they come in. Ultimately they get their money back and do it themselves."

Overall the service focuses on looking at people's spending, reducing dept, advocating for them, helping educate them and working on what needs and wants are. 

Gaudin said people often came in and think they're going to get in trouble for the debt they've booked up.

"But that's not what we're here for," she said. 

"We're a helping hand.

"They think we're going to say 'you have to' - but it's all about what they want.

"We offer suggestions and it's their choice," Gaudin said.

"We're not here to judge them," Erica Strand, a financial mentor and community educator for the budget service, said. 

"Whatever is done is done - we're not worried about that - we're just there to help them get through whatever they've got themselves into." 

Strand said the service also had connections that meant they  could sometimes offer interest-free loans and refer clients onto other services if need be. 

"If they need Pregnancy Help clothes for baby, or they need help with smoking or whatever, we can refer them on to other services," she said. 

The service is open to absolutely everyone but bookings are essential. Phone 0800 333 048. 

If walking through the door is your biggest fear, the mentors do home visits too.

 - Stuff

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