"There have been more than enough times when we've been incredibly short of money, especially in the early stages of our business.
"Not having enough money becomes all-consuming and emotionally draining.
"It means there's fewer choices, and that's an incredibly difficult position to be in."
Lisa King, founder, Eat My Lunch and AF Drinks.
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.
Eat My Lunch founder Lisa King believes all Kiwi kids have the right to eat lunch at school, rather than go hungry.
As a spender, King says her biggest weaknesses are shoes and eating out. But she also believes in investing, which provides the added bonus of learning how business works. Investing can also create opportunities for people to make a difference.
Her best saving tip is to learn to live with less, and she reminds people that it's what they do with the money they have that counts.
1. Are you a saver or a spender?
I'm more of a spender. I like to reward myself for the effort I put into my work.
But I only spend what I actually have; I'm not a fan of borrowing for discretionary purchases.
Admittedly, shoes are a big weakness of mine. I don't think one can have too many shoes!
I also love eating out.
Although I'm not really a saver, I will invest money. It's important to ensure the money I'm earning is working hard, and not going backwards.
2. What's been your biggest financial lesson, success or failure?
I learnt to take complete responsibility for myself at a young age, and this has extended to how I think about money.
I rely on no one other than myself for my financial wellbeing. This lesson was reinforced when I became divorced after 13 years' of marriage.
Having this sense of responsibility ensures I always have money available when needed.
It also means I won't borrow money unless it is for a well-considered investment.
3. What do you know about money now that you wish you'd known sooner?
The difference between saving and investing.
Whilst saving is useful and should be encouraged, investing creates more opportunities.
People who invest learn about how business works, and how money is earned and lost.
I think Kiwis shy away from investing in things they cannot see or touch, preferring investments such as property.
It's a shame, as it's created a lopsided investment industry in New Zealand.
My preference is to invest in business - my own as well as others. That way, I can make a real difference.
I've also learned that investing can do good beyond simply making more money.
Eat My Lunch has always been about giving more to society rather than taking from it.
4. A recent purchase you consider was value for money?
My most recent short holiday - the only holiday over the last 12 months - was spent in Queenstown and the wider Otago region.
It was simply stunning. It seems every turn revealed a stunning new view of Lake Wakatipu or Lake Dunstan. We are so lucky here in Aotearoa.
I enjoy going to a new place each holiday, discovering parts of the world I've never seen or experienced before.
5. How does it feel not to have enough money?
There have been more than enough times when we've been incredibly short of money, especially in the early stages of our business.
Not having enough money becomes all-consuming and emotionally draining.
It means there's fewer choices, and that's an incredibly difficult position to be in.
One key lesson from those experiences is about backing yourself to find a way through. Because there's always a way through.
6. What words of wisdom could you give to families who are struggling?
Reach out to others: Don't suffer alone.
We have some wonderful communities in New Zealand, and many are willing to help.
I'd also encourage struggling families to be open to learning and teaching children about finance from an early age; learning how to earn, how to save and how to set goals for the future.
Saving for a purpose can be inspiring and rewarding.
7. What's your best saving tip for Kiwis wanting to get ahead?
Don't live above your means. Learn to live with less.
There's a lot of pressure to 'keep up with the Joneses'. Maybe they're buying a nicer car, upgrading their house, or taking expensive trips.
If you're not in the financial position to keep up, don't try.
8. Does having more money increase happiness?
More money does not directly increase happiness.
Money isn't a measure of success and is never my end objective.
I view money as a vehicle to provide more choices and freedom.
What people do with their money and the impact they have is far more important than how much of it they earn.
The views expressed in this article are personal and are not professional financial advice.