Where can I go for free budgeting advice?

There are several non-profit organisations that can help you with budgeting advice.

Your local Citizens Advice Bureau can help you find a budgeting service that suits your situation. Some CABs also run regular budgeting clinics.

The Financial Capability Trust website and the Family Services directory also list budgeting services and financial mentors around New Zealand.

You can also get budgeting and debt management information and advice on the Sorted website. 
You might be interested in joining a local MoneyMates groups. These are support groups for people wanting to improve their budgeting skills. 

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How do I avoid getting into unmanageable debt?

It mostly boils down to living within your means – in other words, spending no more than the amount you earn and only borrowing money (e.g. a student loan) if you are confident of your ability to pay it back.

You can do this by putting together a budget which lists your total income and all of your expenses. You can download a budget worksheet for free from the FinCap website or the Work and Income website, or use the online budgeting tool on the Sorted website.

A budget advisory service (see above) can help you put a budget together and work out ways for you to reduce your spending or increase your income.
The Sorted website also has advice to help you manage your debt.