"My biggest success was buying an apartment on my own in the (then) peak of the Auckland property market in 2015 and paying off my sizable student loan in the same year.
"These were two things I never thought I'd do."
Rikki Swannell, sports broadcaster.
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 regular feature that investigates Kiwi attitudes towards money and what drives the choices they make.
Currently part of the Magic Talk's cricket commentary line-up, freelance broadcaster Rikki Swannell admits that books are her biggest spending vice.
Buying an apartment and paying off her student loan in the same year are among the things she's proud of. But she'd like to rein in her spending more and make her savings work a bit harder.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
Unashamedly, I love a good spend - as I can be a bit of a magpie, I eat out a lot.
My 'vice' is books - I love buying new books (which aren't cheap) and browsing independent bookstores like Unity and Time Out. But I refuse to consider book buying a true vice.
On the flipside, I always spend within my means. I'm sensible with my money and put some into a savings account every week.
2. Share a New Year's resolution about money
Last year, I had three financial resolutions (intentions), of which I've completed two.
The first was to save money for tax and GST in a separate account each time I get paid (I'm a freelancer and have lots of different places that I contract for). It's worked really well!
The second was to get a will. It's now almost ready to go.
The third was to plan my finances and get my money to work for me...I haven't quite got that one sorted!
3. What has been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
My biggest success was buying an apartment on my own in the (then) peak of the Auckland property market in 2015 and paying off my sizable student loan in the same year.
These were two things I never thought I'd do. I was able to build a house deposit using Kiwisaver and having a full-time radio job and TV commentary gigs on the side meant I had to make extra student loan repayments.
It was a very fortunate work position - but I certainly worked some hours!
4. Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider was great value for money
A Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner.
I couldn't stomach the idea of spending a lot of money on a vacuum cleaner, I bought the cheapest one going.
My last one was so bad that this one is a life changer (being excited by a vacuum cleaner really shows what age and stage I'm at)!
But onto something slightly more indulgent and exciting. After lockdown, myself and a group of friends bought a welcome back deal at Skycity Grand Hotel. Spending a night in the city together after all that time at home was such a nice thing to do.
5. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?
There's usually one impulse buy a week - often it's a book that I convince myself is doing my bit to support local/small business.
I unsubscribed to a lot of marketing emails because I find I've bought a new top or something before I've even got out of bed!
As I'm becoming more aware of the impact of where, what and how I spend, I'd really like to rein in this kind of spending. This will not apply to books though!
6. If you had spare cash to invest, what would you invest in?
At the moment I have some money sitting in savings but with such low interest rates, it's doing nothing. I have my eye on a bit of a lifestyle change in 2022 so would like to spend 2021 getting in a good enough financial space to do that.
This is why I need to get proper financial advice!
7. Does having more money increase happiness?
It does to a degree.
Financial stress can have a huge impact on mental and physical well-being, which therefore contributes to our overall happiness.
I'm fortunate to work in an industry where roles can be well-paid and I can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Because I've chosen to freelance, that comes with uncertainty at times. But I'm grateful I don't have to worry about putting food on the table.
8. The best money advice someone's ever given you?
A friend who is an accountant told me to apportion money for tax and GST each week and keep it in a separate account - that was a big one!
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.