Me and My Money: Wilhelmina Shrimpton

Newshub Late producer and reporter, Wilhelmina Shrimpton.
Newshub Late presenter and reporter, Wilhelmina Shrimpton shares her views about money. Photo credit: Newshub.

"Unlike many couples, my husband and I keep our finances and personal expenses separate. 

"I've found finances are an easy source of tension in a relationship." 

Wilhelmina Shrimpton, presenter and reporter, Newshub Late.

Money.  It's the driving factor behind many life choices, but is it the be-all and end-all?

'Me and My Money' is a new feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and how money drives the choices they make.

Newshub spoke to Wilhelmina Shrimpton about spending and saving, shopping online versus in-store, investing spare cash and whether money increases happiness.

Are you a saver or a spender?

I'm definitely more of a spender, but I've never spent beyond my means. 

When I started university, I had a credit card with a $500 limit which I maxed out pretty quickly, then took forever to pay it off.  Once I did, I chopped it up and I've never had one since. 

Visa debit cards are definitely my first choice. They allow all of the functionality of a credit card, but without the temptation to spend money that isn't [mine].

My husband and I are about to start the process of renovating our house, so I'm sure I'll start moving towards being a saver shortly!

You need a new dishwasher.  Are you mainly driven by quality, price or both?

Both. There's no point in finding an absolute bargain, and then having to fork out for another dishwasher six months' later because it's broken. 

If [people] in the market for whiteware and kitchen appliances are prepared to shop around and wait for sales, [there are] amazing deals on high-quality products.

Stores are so competitive with pricing and want business, so don't be afraid to bargain with them.  I haven't tried it myself, but I hear that appliance stores are open to a bit of haggling!

What's an example of a recent purchase that you consider great value for money?

My husband and I just bought a memory foam mattress topper. We bought it on sale at Briscoes (because they never have sales)!  

The first night we slept on it, I remember saying to him it's the best money I have ever spent.  It's top quality memory foam, and was reduced from $799 to $299.

The real value is the incredible amount of sleep I've been getting since we bought it. It was a seriously small price to pay, for a huge improvement in my health and comfort.

Have your buying habits changed from in-store to on-line?

I'm a huge fan of online shopping: it's convenient, lots of places do fast delivery and free returns, and more often than not there's always a discount code floating around. 

However [the choice to go online] depends on what I'm buying. 

I'll often buy cosmetics and clothing online, but I prefer a tangible experience for bigger ticket items, like furniture and homeware. 

It's good to have a sales person to talk to and iron out any concerns. They're also a wealth of knowledge, and it may result in walking out with an item that's better suited.

How would you invest spare cash?

Currently, it would be into property.  My husband and I are about to embark on the mortgage/renovation process. 

Depending on location, there's slightly more stability with property investment. 

In saying that, I'd be relying on prices to keep going up - and the real estate bubble not bursting!

What was your last impulse purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?

This was a pair of pants I stumbled across online. I'm a huge buyer of clothing and accessories, so this type of impulse purchase happens a lot! 

I don't regret this latest purchase yet, but it's currently making its way over from Australia, so that could all change when it arrives.

Do you have a household budget?

Not at the moment. Unlike many couples, my husband and I keep our finances and personal expenses separate. I've found finances are an easy source of tension in a relationship. 

I prefer both of us to be in control of our own accounts, and feel free to spend the money we each earn, on the things we desire. In saying that though, we do pool our housing expenses into one account, and if there's something costly coming up, like a holiday, we sit down to chat about how we'll fund that, and what things we'll cut back on to ensure we reach our target. 

My husband used to work in banking, so he's a big fan of budget spreadsheets!

Does having more money increase happiness?

To a point. From a salary perspective, as it provides access to a home, car, food, experiences and a few extra luxuries, then yes. 

Once these things are achieved and any financial woes, like rent, bills and debt are abolished, then I don't believe that more money increases happiness. 

It's friends, family and life experiences that bring the greatest joy. Money can't make people laugh, be a shoulder to cry on, share supportive words or provide company at night!

What is your golden rule for saving money?

Be realistic, crawl before running.

For people who aren't savers, [a snap decision to] squirrel away a huge chunk of pay every month won't work - they'll only end up dipping back into it.  I'm guilty of this! 

Start with saving a small amount and once it builds up, there'll be less temptation to access it. 

Have a goal in mind - whether that's travel, a big purchase or a slush fund for a rainy day. Deadlines provide the push and motivation to stick to a plan.

How much cash do you have on you right now?

Not much - I'm a card-user. I think I've got a few gold coins floating around in my wallet, just in case there's a vending machine I want to make use of! 

These days though, even parking metres and some vending machines don't take cash anymore, so I may be holding onto those coins for a while.