"I am a saver by inclination, but my wife, Natalie, is a spender.
"We've both learned a lot from each other and now I enjoy spending a little more and she enjoys saving just an incy-wincy bit more.
"As an example, I used to be so tight it had to be instant coffee and homemade sandwiches."
Simon Bridges, finance and infrastructure spokesperson, the National Party.
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.
Talking to Newshub about his money habits, Bridges says he started his working life packing bags at Foodtown (now Countdown). After working as a lawyer, he started his political career in 2008.
Formerly a strict saver who insisted on instant coffee, after being married to a spender, Bridges says he's learned to relax a little.
His preference is to invest in property, as it's the area he's most familiar with. He advocates setting a budget and sticking to it, and aiming for a balance, enjoying 'everything in moderation'.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
I'm a saver by inclination, but my wife, Natalie, is a spender.
We've both learned a lot from each other. Now I enjoy spending a little more and she enjoys saving just an incy-wincy bit more.
As an example, I used to be so tight it had to be instant coffee and homemade sandwiches.
These days, I can enjoy a takeaway from a café without guilt.
As for Natalie, she doesn't buy everything she likes from stores such as Zambesi anymore. She's learned to resist sometimes.
2. What's been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
Sometimes, to do well, you do have to splash out and take a calculated risk.
Spending money we didn't always have to set up Natalie's business was tough at the time, but has been well worth it in hindsight.
Investing reaps a dividend.
3. What do you know about money now that you wish you'd known sooner?
Paying off debt sooner (where you can), brings peace of mind and tends to be a good idea.
I know this isn't earth-shattering, but it's helped me a lot.
Every so often, I pay back some of the mortgage sooner than I have to. I enjoy seeing what I'm saving online.
That said, I also know when Natalie and I have had little disputes about purchases because she wanted to go a bit above and beyond what I wanted to, she tended to be right.
Buy right the first time and then be disciplined in paying it off.
4. A recent purchase you consider was value for money?
Things are running so hot at the moment, we haven't purchased anything flash in quite a while. It has been more of a period of consolidation.
Natalie (the spender) was keen to buy me an old Jaguar XJS for my birthday last year. I dissuaded her - we couldn't really afford it - but maybe I shouldn't have.
The price of old classics seems to be going higher, and higher and higher. She would've made us money and I would've loved the ride.
5. What's your preferred form of investment and why?
Like so many Kiwis, Natalie and I feel we understand property the best, so that's tended to be where our income has gone.
I have an older brother who has made (and lost) a lot of money on shares over the years. My financial investments haven't always been amazing either.
That said, when done through managed funds etc, it seems to go well. I am glad I'm in KiwiSaver (with Milford Asset Management).
6. Your best saving tip?
As a couple of my tighter mates in Parliament know, not taking a wallet tends to save money.
Seriously though, it's to set a budget and stick to it.
7. What's the best money advice someone's ever given you?
It's not exactly money advice, but my old man always used to say, 'I've never met a poor lawyer'.
Consequently that's what I became before politics.
As for actual money advice, what my answers imply is, everything in moderation.
Live a little, save and invest a little.
8. Does having more money increase happiness?
To quote my dad again, money may not make people happy, but lack of it certainly can.
I wouldn't get hung up on money as the only measure of worth or happiness. But being prudent with one's earnings has to be a good idea.
Getting through life with some disposable income makes things easier and provides more options.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.