Me and My Money: Heather Keats, radio host

Heather Keats
Referring to her student loan, host of The Sound workday Heather Keats says just because a loan is interest-free doesn't mean it's 'free money'. Photo credit: Supplied.

"Don't use your student loan for unnecessary living and course-related costs. 

"I'm still paying that sucker off almost 20 years later (thanks to an additional science degree later in life). 

"Just because a loan is interest-free, doesn't mean it's 'free money'." 

Heather Keats, host of The Sound workday, co-host of The Morning Sound.

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.  

Newshub spoke to The Sound workdays host Heather Keats about why using a student loan to pay for extras is the true 'student hangover', splurging on vinyl records and why it's important not to be lured into spending just because something is 'on sale'.  

1. Are you a saver or a spender?

This may sound like a cop-out, but I'm both. It just depends on what's going on around me. 

Lockdown helped me work out exactly what we were spending as a household and how to cut down expenses. 

But old habits die hard...I seem to be thoughtlessly spending again. I really must stick to a weekly household budget. 

2. What's been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure? 

Don't use your student loan for unnecessary living and course-related costs. 

I'm still paying that sucker off almost 20 years later (thanks to an additional science degree later in life). 

Just because a loan is interest-free, doesn't mean it's 'free money'. Taking out thousands of dollars in loans while studying is a headache to have to deal with for a long time after. 

It's the true student hangover. 

3. Give an example of a recent purchase that you consider great value for money 

My SodaStream. 

Seriously, why did I wait till 2021 to get one of these? 

As a big drinker of carbonated drinks, it's value for money. I'm also glad to be adding less cans and plastic bottles to the landfill.

4. What was your last impulse or 'fritter' purchase and how did you feel about it afterwards?

My Rega Planar 2 turntable...and fifteen of my favourite albums on vinyl. 

I carefully planned which turntable to get, but I got carried away in the first week of having the damn thing: I spent so much money on records! 

But I don't regret it. The whole music experience is worth the money. 

I've now written out a list of the albums I want to get and will slowly add them to my collection. 

5. If you have spare cash to invest, what's your preferred investment and why?

Property seems to be a comfortable and reliable option, so if you can get on the property ladder, that's great.

But for the younger generations - especially those in the major centres - that's becoming increasingly difficult. Maybe it's time for our education system to deal with economics in a more practical sense. 

If I'm being honest, I have zero knowledge about shares, managed funds or any other 'unconventional' forms of investment. 

Actually, now that I think about it, even my Kiwisaver is set at the default.

6. Does having more money increase happiness?

Not at all. 

More money doesn't increase happiness, but money in general sure helps to reduce stress. 

I vividly remember the first time I managed to make it to payday without being overdrawn in my account. 

I recall the feeling of relief that for one month, I hadn't gone backwards. 

Money offers security and stability which contributes to happiness. But it's only a small part of overall wellbeing.

7. What's your best saving tip?

Have one bank account that 'cashies' go into. 

For example, if you're selling something on Trade Me or someone owes you money and pays online, ask them to put it into a separate online bank account that has no EFTPOS card.

This removes temptation to use it for an impulse buy, letting the dollars slowly add up. 

8. The best money advice someone's ever given you?

Don't buy something just because it's on sale. The idea that you 'save so much money' is ludicrous. 

Sales go hand-in-hand with impulse buying, which can inhibit financial responsibility. I'm speaking from experience...unfortunately.

The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.