Chapter 2: The Spendy Saver starts working

21 May 2020

You’re back! … fantastic. If you are just tuning in now, here is a link to the previous chapter.

How did I become the Spendy Saver? Well, it all started when I got my first full-time job in the finance industry.

I was 20 years old and my first role was as a bank teller. I was so excited when I got this job because I loved dressing up in corporate clothes, it made me feel so grown up and like I had a really important job! You know what they say – ‘clothes make the (wo)man…’

Get onboard with KiwiSaver

My Dad is a great believer of KiwiSaver. Before I started working at the bank, he was always telling me to enrol. However, a few years earlier I had actually gone to a provider and asked about joining their scheme. They made it seem so difficult, and because they didn’t give me clear, personalised advice – I wasn’t sure what to do, so didn’t end up joining.

Now, of course, this is something I wish someone had helped me do earlier. Fortunately, on my first day at the bank, I was able to join the bank’s KiwiSaver scheme and started my contributions at 3%. If only I’d known how easy it was to join and start saving!

Actually, I often hear that from members – that they wished they’d joined KiwiSaver earlier. Well, don’t worry – it’s never too late to join! Setting up my KiwiSaver account is the reason I can afford to buy a home today. It’s compulsory savings and if you contribute, your employer has to contribute as well. Not to mention that you can get a top up from the government each year! It’s basically free money – for saving!

Set savings goals

Graces CarWhen I first started working, I had a cheque account, savings account and a debit card – that’s it, no credit cards and no debt.

When I received my first pay cheque, as expected I was very excited! I decided to put more than half into my savings account, but not just any savings account… my savings account needed a 2nd person’s signature for me to make a withdrawal. This made it harder for me to access my savings, and because it didn’t appear on my online banking account, there was no temptation to spend.

I set myself a savings goal. It started at $1000 (which, by the way, I found the hardest to save!) then went to $2000, $3000 and it kept climbing.

My goal was to purchase my very own Mini Cooper. I remember wanting to get the car in white and add a light pink racing stripe onto it. So stylish!

Eventually, I saved up $13,000 towards my dream car. By the time I actually reached my goal, I no longer wanted a Mini Cooper. I was after something slightly plainer…

Make saving fun

Saving can sometimes feel like a chore. But because I had a goal, I made it fun. I became obsessed with making savings wherever I could. I would buy alternative brands when I was supermarket shopping and only buy things on sale. I made sure my money was sitting in an account which was going to earn me the most interest and only touched it if absolutely needed.

Once you get into the swing of saving, and see that you can do it, you’ll start to enjoy it. Set yourself a goal each payday, and stick to it…you won’t regret it in the long run 😊

And, if you’re not already in a KiwiSaver scheme, get it sorted asap. KiwiSaver makes saving for your future super easy.

In my next blog I’ll be talking about how my hard-earned savings dropped significantly and turned into debt…and not the good kind.

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Read the next chapter in Grace's journey - Chapter 3: A $10,000 conversation >