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Understanding money and finance

There is so much advice and information on how to increase your income, how to invest it, and how to spend it! In a perfect world we would all live within our means: spend no more than we earn. And if there's any left over after bills and other essentials, we would save some of that for a long-term goal, like a holiday, kids’ school/uni fees or a deposit for a house.  

Making a budget is a good first step to controlling your family’s money. The Sorted website has calculators you can use to start managing your money.     

Credit

Most of us use credit cards or loans. Be careful to ask or read about the conditions, penalties, fees, term (how long you'll be paying), and interest rate charged.  You could end up paying twice as much as the cost of your purchase, once they are all added on. Is there a chance you will miss a payment or be late paying? If you do this even once the penalty fees can be big, making the debt even harder to pay off. 

Beware of spending extra to get frequent flyer or reward scheme points: will the extra costs be more than the savings you get? If you have a credit card, try to pay it off in full by the date shown on the bill.

Saving

Talk to your bank about putting some money into a savings account – often if you leave the money alone each month you will earn extra interest.  

The Kiwi Families, NZ Families and Understanding Money websites have some helpful ideas about managing your money and budgeting with a family. Another helpful site is Australia's FIDO.

Tax

To find out more about income tax, see the Inland Revenue website. You may be eligible for tax credits through Working for Families.