Be Financially Fit – Kath Curran
On the Napier Family Centre website you’ll find an updated budget calculator tool. I have to admit it has been ages since I’ve worked through the detail of our household income and expenses so trying out Napier Family Centre’s new online calculator was a timely excuse. As well, there’s been a change in family life, being so-called ‘empty-nested’ and supporting the boys a bit through university. I know from friends and family with young adult children going from home straight into work-life there’s often some level of financially supporting young people in their transition to independence.
The online calculator gives a menu of just about everything that we earn from and spend on and ultimately gives you a results table of how that drops out as a weekly surplus or deficit. But back to that menu – it was brilliantly relentless in the honesty I could choose to bring to the exercise. None of the information is retained online – if you print it out or email it to yourself that is your prerogative.
Back to the brutal realities of where money is spent. Under the expenses list are the usual suspects of rent, mortgage, groceries, petrol, power, phone, insurance, school fees, vehicle registration and all the other things you’d absolutely expect. But I also had the opportunity (or not) to do the math on what I spend around personal cash, alcohol/cigarettes, gambling/lotto, giving, haircuts, debt repayment, court fines, presents, vet fees, pay tv, dental, medical, and more. I popped my contribution to my son’s upkeep under ‘child support’ – I could have used ‘children’s pocket money’ or I could use one of the ‘other’ boxes. It doesn’t matter; it is such a personal exercise and there’s no grade at the end, just the calculated results, plus or minus. One of the added bonuses was that instead of guessing at some of the items I decided to look at my bank statement as banking online means the spend history is easily researched.
Take up the challenge and have a go – the calculator is easy to use on your mobile or tablet or PC. If the results leave you feeling concerned or you want to talk over your budget contact us. Napier Family Centre’s financial capability coaches are free for advice and helping rework your budget in detail, help identify areas of over-spending and opportunities for savings, dealing with creditors and debt repayment plans and of course your sessions are completely confidential.
We have a saying on our website pages for our Financial Capability services. Be Financially Fit. The calculator tool is really easy to use and non-judgemental; the effort to confront spending habits can be a little uncomfortable – like that first work-out after not exercising for a while. Like anything to do with improving our wellbeing often the first step is the hardest. Then the benefits of gaining control kick in.