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COVID-19 and your money: 7 things to do right now

26 August 2021
Reading time: 4 minutes

Posted , 13 Comments

The virus continues to upend our working lives, our kids’ lives, and our money lives as well. That said, there's a lot we can do: here are 7 things to do straight away.

1. Avoid decisions based on fear

We’ll get through this together, so no need to panic. Emotional situations tend to lead to poor financial choices, so be sure to get the help you need as you make financial decisions during an emergency. Take the time to get information and advice on what you would like to do.

2. Find out what financial help is available

The government is acting to support the economy, including leave and self-isolation support, subsidised wages, and business cash flow and tax measures. Find out more on the official COVID-19 government response site

3. Make a crisis money plan

Especially during an emergency, creating a money plan is key. Financial stresses can cause considerable hardships for you and your family – so having a plan helps bring peace of mind.

  1. Work through a scenario for reduced income. In order to best manage your money, it's important to identify your incomings and outgoings.
  2. Focus on your immediate “needs”; cut back on any unnecessary “wants”.
  3. Give every single dollar a job to do. This means you decide what all of your money will be used for and prioritise what’s most important.
  4. Set aside any extra money you have – even just $5 or $10 – into a safety net.
  5. If things are too tight to manage, check if help is available. 

The tool to help you plan ahead

4. Find out all your options before taking on more debt

If you don’t have an emergency fund, consider putting some money aside each time you’re paid if you can. Depending on how the situation evolves, you may need to rely on your safety net sooner than expected.

If you feel you need to borrow to get by, it’s important not to run to the easiest money available. A short-term payday loan online or a KiwiSaver hardship withdrawal may first come to mind, but there may be other options are likely to be better: government support, temporary loan or mortgage deferral, or consolidating your debt to a lower interest rate with more manageable payments.

The goal is to get through and create as little debt as possible.


A good way to learn about your options is to get personalised help. Reach out to the great team at MoneyTalks (even anonymously) by ringing  0800 345 123, texting 4029 or email:

Get personalised help 


5. Can’t make repayments? Talk to your lender as early as possible to make arrangements

The earlier you talk to your bank or lender, the better. You might be surprised how they’re willing to make things work with you and your loan. The sooner you get in touch, the better placed they are to help you deal with financial stress. After all, they deal with this sort of thing all the time. Depending on what you’re experiencing, your lender could:

  1. Temporarily suspend loan repayments. It's important to know that even though your repayments are on pause, the interest will continue to add up – a loan deferral makes the debt more expensive.
  2. Move you to interest-only payments
  3. Restructure business loans
  4. Consolidate loans to make repayments more manageable
  5. Provide short-term funding

6. Consider carefully before withdrawing your KiwiSaver

You may be thinking about a KiwiSaver withdrawal and make a 'significant financial hardship' application, but you want to make sure it's a last resort. It's important to know that your KiwiSaver money can generally be withdrawn to meet everyday expenses, but not to repay debt. Tapping your KiwiSaver is a big decision and will shape your future in one way or another, so you want to be sure it’s a smart choice. Here's what to consider before you do.

7. Stay safe from COVID-19 scams

Crises tend to bring out the best in all of us, but unfortunately the worst can also be seen if you look carefully. Frauds and scams related to coronavirus are popping up like poisonous mushrooms, especially online, so make sure to verify every call, link and email that comes your way – it could easily be a fake. A good way to check is to make a separate call to a published number to make sure something’s the real deal.

Need financial help?

Money can be tight, but there are options available.


Kia kaha to you and your whānau – we’ll get through this!


Sorted teamed up with TVNZ for a half-hour show that helps us all take a breath – and move forward with our money after the lockdown.
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Sorted teamed up with TVNZ for a half-hour show that helps us all take a breath – and move forward with our money after the lockdown.

Comments (13)


  • Gravatar for Frances

    29 August 20

    I've heard that we can not send money to Australia from New Zealand because of Covid19 Pandemic. I'm not understanding why.

  • Gravatar for Linda

    28 July 20

    Now that the banks are paying almost negligible interest, it is very hard to find something without risk to invest in. For those of us who have gone without and saved all our lives, the returns are not keeping up with inflation. It pains me to see the endless help/ handouts that folk who have never saved are getting, and the savers and workers penalised.
    May 9th comment was very relevant.

  • Gravatar for Lyriq

    24 July 20

    Don't give up COVID-19

  • Gravatar for

    9 May 20

    When we were kids we all had an orange post office savings book. We took a sixpence to school each, where the office lady banked it for us weekly. That's long gone now. Now there is no interest paid by the banks on savings below $2,000. Next, we now are taxed on all interest. That never happened when we were kids. WHERE is the incentive to SAVE?

  • Gravatar for

    9 May 20

    The Key/English government passed a law called Open Bank Resolution. GOGGLE IT AND SEE. It says in times of hardship they can steal your term deposit. Reserve bank deliberately cut rates plus taxing on the interest leaves some of us POOR! Plus bank savings are always at risk. Time to take your cash OUT.

  • Gravatar for Jatinder singh

    9 April 20
    Jatinder singh

    Hii I lost my job month ago ND m still find the job then country lockdown nd I couldn't find ND I still pay ird last 5year nw my money finish ND i didn't get any benefits. What m do nw

  • Gravatar for Tom from Sorted

    5 April 20
    Tom from Sorted

    Thanks Elizabeth, we went back to JDB directly and recommended personalised help from money mentors at MoneyTalks. They do a great job of being in your corner when you are working through options with your bank. See above for their contact details, and you can even use that service anonymously if you like. Cheers

  • Gravatar for Elizabeth

    4 April 20

    Anyone at Sorted got any advice for JDB???

  • Gravatar for marry @financesage

    2 April 20
    marry @financesage

    Nowadays, we all have to save money and try to make a plan for law expensive. these all are the best tips for money saving. it would be very useful to us. thanks and keep sharing.

  • Gravatar for Karl

    29 March 20

    Thanks Sorted
    Iv been using your tools for a few years now to budget, and have managed to create a decent safety net money wise, this is now going to be put to the test, wow hope I make it through!

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