Living on a benefit is tough, often with not enough money to live on and pay the bills, Kerri of Dannevirke and Districts Home Budgeting Service says.
And with Christmas just around the corner, those pressures are building for many in the district.
Administrator and budget adviser Kerri and co-ordinator Deanna are the face of budget services in this district. They know how to help people and advise on their entitlements.
"There's a lot of pressure when it comes to finding money for food, fuel, accommodation, monthly bills and healthcare," Kerri said.
"When seasonal work finishes we help with online benefit applications which can be quite complex and we find people aren't always aware of what is available for them."
The budget service, which now comes under the Tararua REAP umbrella, is part of the Building Financial Capability Charitable Trust.
"This alignment gives us clout," Claire Chapman, Tararua REAP general manager, said.
"People aren't always aware of what is available, but Deanna and Kerri know how to help and what people are entitled too.
"It's important people don't try to hide their problems. For instance, someone borrowing $500 from an instant loan service, had to repay $100 over 15 weeks. That's what desperation does to people, but they just need to come in and see Kerri and Deanna to help navigate the way through."
Kerri said the organisation has some great successes.
"Being able to talk about things takes the weight of people's shoulders," she said.
Visiting budget services early allows people to take a step back and have someone else look at their financial capability.
Chapman said when people have clarity they can see their options.
"For some it's a lack of financial knowledge and part of Kerri and Deanna's job is navigating the way for people," she said.
"They've both lived and worked here forever and are very aware of all the services available. Dannevirke is very lucky to have them."
Kerri has worked for budget services for 10 years and Deanna for eight.
Kerri said the service is becoming more focused on financial capability, with help given on preparing CVs and job applications.
"We're offering more holistic help, decreasing expenses and growing income," she said.
"We're non-judgmental, offering help and a guide to where to from here because sometimes life gets on top of people."
With 90 referrals to food banks last year, Chapman said Dannevirke is lucky to have a wide range of services for those struggling.
"With budget services based in the Tararua REAP office it's a way for people to come in and get advice and help," she said.
"With a number of services under one roof, we can offer so much more."
Kerri said the service "doesn't have a money tree", but there were ways to help people get through stressful times such as Christmas.
"Both New World and The Warehouse offer Christmas clubs and REAP will be running a 'Christmas on a budget' session to help with cost-effective gifts."
• Dannevirke and District Home Budgeting Service offers free and confidential advice for individuals and families.
• The service is considering reinstating their budget volunteers. To volunteer, call Tararua REAP on 374 6565.
• Training will be given, but volunteers need to be caring, have some financial nous and be computer literate.