"Last year, I earned more as a self-employed freelancer than I ever did in a full-time salaried role.
"That felt like an achievement."
Niki Bezzant, writer, speaker and consultant
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 weekly feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make.
Newshub spoke to Niki Bezzant, founding editor of Healthy Food Guide turned food and health columnist, about her transition into self-employment, the virtues of investing in a quality wardrobe staple and saving money by shopping second-hand.
What's an example of a goal that you've set for 2020?
It wasn't a conscious goal but last year, I achieved a personal milestone: I earned more as a self-employed freelancer than I ever did in a full-time salaried role (I've been self-employed for three years).
That felt like an achievement. Of course, in self-employment you never know how the next year is going to be. Fingers crossed!
Are you a saver or a spender?
I used to be a full-on spender. Now I'm on my own, I've turned into a saver, although I still enjoy spending. You [don't] ever lose that habit fully, I reckon.
You need a new dishwasher. Are you mainly driven by quality, price or both?
There's no room for a dishwasher in my tiny apartment, so this is a moot question. But with any large purchase I am an obsessive researcher, so I'd look at as much information as I could find; I'd be driven by quality, price, environmental impact and frankly, also appearance.
Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider was great value for money:
I rarely buy new garments, as I sew my own clothes and buy vintage or second-hand for almost all of my wardrobe.
But last winter, I bought a fabulous World coat; it was expensive but its been incredible. Not only did I wear it almost every day of the winter here, but I wore it non-stop on a recent work trip to China, Austria and Japan. Everywhere I wear it, I get compliments, and everywhere I wear it, I feel totally fabulous. I'll wear it constantly this coming winter, too. It's a quality, special thing that's going to last me for decades.
Have your buying habits changed from in-store to online?
I like online shopping for mundane things: tech stuff, household items. It's easier than going to a mall.
But there's nothing like in-store shopping somewhere special, like a vintage store or a book shop, where it's about more than just what you're buying; it's the whole experience.
If you had spare money to invest, what would you invest in?
Spare money...what is that?
If I did, I suppose I'd put it into KiwiSaver.
What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?
I bought a set of six vintage Poole demitasse cups and saucers from an op shop.
I kept four and gave two to a friend for a housewarming gift. She loved them, so that made me feel really good.
Does having more money increase happiness?
Having enough money reduces stress, in the sense that you feel more secure. Not having to worry about how you're going to pay the bills is a pretty good feeling.
I suspect when people have a lot of money they probably have other stresses, but that would be a nice feeling that I wouldn't mind experiencing!
[However], if you're not a happy person, no amount of money [is] going to change that.
What are your golden rules for saving money?
In general I'm not a fan of any kind of life rules.
I don't have one for saving, just like I don't have one for eating. I just try my best.
How much cash do you have on you right now?
Normally it's zero, I just EFTPOS everything. But right now it's $15.
I got cash out to go to a flea market, where cash still rules.