"I'm petrified about money - not having enough, even when I do.
"I've done a lot of jobs to get by and pay rent. I've been a nanny, lifeguard, toilet cleaner and dog walker.
"I've been flush and I've borrowed $5 from a friend to put gas in my tank to get home."
Bree Peters, actress and performer.
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.
As a self-employed Kiwi actress on TV shows such as Mean Mums, Home and Away and Shortland Street, Bree Peters lives off her savings until the next gig.
She's experienced the highs and lows of having enough money, going without and taking on extra jobs to pay the rent.
Rather than splash out on a new cell phone, Peters saves money by buying second-hand iPhones from her friends.
But although expensive, she considers her dog good value for money.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
I've saved and always have a mind to save, but I guess I'd say I'm a spender.
In my industry, it's taken years to cotton on to the fact that no matter how much money is made, it's not known when or where the next job is coming.
I save and live off those savings until the next gig. It's not a great or particularly sustainable way to live and I'm now figuring out how to make my money work for me.
In saying that, I recently bought a new surfboard and a dog. They don't seem to be making me any money right now. Baby steps.
2. How has COVID-19 influenced your attitude to money?
I don't think my attitude has changed much.
I'm petrified about money - not having enough, even when I do.
I've done a lot of jobs to get by and pay rent. I've been a nanny, lifeguard, toilet cleaner and dog walker.
I've been flush and I've borrowed $5 from a friend to put gas in my tank to get home.
My level of anxiety around money is always the same.
COVID-19 just made me more anxious in an already extremely uncertain career path.
3. What's been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
Tax, GST and all that. I hate it.
I get stressed, I cry, I need someone to hold my hand through it.
My biggest success of late is getting on top of it all, getting an amazing accountant and taking control of my finances.
4. Your mobile phone dies - what do you think is a reasonable amount to spend on a new one?
As much as I'd love to have a new phone, I'm someone (as we've learned) who worries about where the next paycheck will come from.
I buy my friends' old iPhones when they want to upgrade. They usually sell them to me in the hundreds (at a slightly lower price than advertised on Trade Me).
5. Give an example of a recent purchase you consider was value for money?
My dog, Maude.
I paid through the teeth for that loyalty and ridiculous face.
I've traded trips to Glassons for stuff I don't need, for trips to Animates for crap she doesn't really need. And I love it. She's teaching me heaps.
6. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?
Oh god... I actually bought one of those things off Instagram that shocks muscles into getting swole.
When I put it on my abs, it gives tiny electric pulses. I tried it once and I was like, 'Ow'.
It felt like the time I touched the fence up north while my feet were still in the tide. No thank you.
I felt like a dumb arse. But also...I may give it another go.
7. If you had spare money to invest, what would you invest in and why?
Property - I guess.
I know nothing about investing.
8. Does having more money increase happiness?
When I have it, I feel relieved. Then I start to worry about when I won't have it.
Therefore, it would be dumb of me to say that money doesn't make people happy.
Knowing you can look after yourself and others is a wonderful feeling.
9. The best money advice someone's ever given you?
During Auckland's second lockdown, my friend saw me freaking out about getting work.
I was having a bit of a breakdown, pretty much calling myself a loser for not having enough and not knowing where it would come from next.
She said, 'It will be OK, you'll find something, you always do'. You've never been without. So why worry about something that hasn't happened yet?'.
It was simple support. But sometimes that's all you need.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.