Chapter 1: Introducing the Spendy Saver

08 May 2020

If you’d asked me 10 years ago what I wanted to be when I was older, I would have said something like a hairdresser or actress on Shortland Street.

Ending up in the world of finance definitely wasn’t on the cards.

So, it’s still a bit of a surprise to me that I’ve been working in the financial services industry now for just over 6 years. Possibly even more surprising is just how much I enjoy working in this industry.

I’ve learnt a lot about personal finance over that time, and I’m going to share with you some of the cool things I’ve learnt along the way.

Plus, I’m going to tell you how I went from serious saver to total spender, and how I got back into the savings habit again. One thing I have learnt – working in finance doesn’t automatically mean you have a lot of, or are good with, money! You still have to learn how to manage your money.

My background

I finished college in 2011 and decided to take a gap year before going to university. Initially, I worked as a retail manager but moved into banking and quickly realised that I loved it. So much so, that I never ended up going to university and my gap year has pretty much turned in a gap decade!

I started out as a teller, which was perfect for me as it worked well with one of my key strengths – talking to people! (Those who know me will know I’m a chatterbox!)

After a couple of years as a teller, I moved into personal banking. As a personal banker, I could create ongoing relationships with customers and help them with their financial goals. I worked on a range of products, including personal lending, home lending, reviews of accounts, KiwiSaver, insurances etc. My understanding of finance kept growing and every day I learnt something new.

After working in the banking industry for 5 years, I decided to specialise and focus on one area – investing. I joined Booster in 2019 and became an inhouse client relationship specialist. This means I get to chat with our members to understand their current situation and give them personalised advice on Booster’s KiwiSaver scheme. I love it because it means I get to really understand our members’ goals and help them find the best outcomes.

“According to Grace…”

Over the last few years, whenever I’m at friends’ parties, BBQs or family gatherings, people want to hear about what I’m doing, what lessons I’ve learnt and what my opinions are – in particular, on KiwiSaver. “According to Grace” become the stock beginning to my answer, but it made me realise that people want to know more about investing, finances and how to make their money work for them.

Because I’ve learnt a lot of lessons about investing and finance (some the hard way!), I want to give you some tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your money.

The Spendy Saver

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to detail for you how I became The Spendy Saver.

I’ve had times when I’ve been great with money, saving regularly and achieving goals.

I’ve also had times when I’ve been less careful with money. Spending on things that made me happy for a short time – shoes, handbags, overseas trips. I quickly started to get into debt, and while it was easy to get into, it wasn’t quite so easy to get out.

Now, I’m in a much better place. I save for the things I want so I can go shopping when I want to. I’m not going to lie – I love shopping! It’s one of my hobbies! Doesn’t matter if it’s food shopping, clothes shopping, shoe shopping or furniture shopping – I love it all! It’s even better if I get those shoes or that handbag on sale.

But I’ve also learnt to enjoy some of the less spendy things in life – catching up with friends for coffee, growing my own fruit and veg, baking and binge watching my fav TV shows.

Exciting times ahead!

Let me tell you, getting here wasn’t easy and at some point, I’ll cover how I went from zero savings and in debt to saving a deposit for a new home. In fact, my partner and I have just paid a deposit on our very own land and build package! Yusss!!

Right, my fav café is up and running during Level 3, so I’m off to collect my lunch order (yes, that’s right – BUT I’ve allowed for it in my weekly budget!). Pre-lockdown, I would have also used a discount voucher but they’re on hold at the moment! More spendy saver life hacks soon!

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Read the next chapter in Grace's journey - Chapter 2: The Spendy Saver starts working >