Questions from the Northern Advocate which is syndicated to the Bay of Plenty Times, Rotorua Daily Post, Hawkes Bay Today and Wanganui Chronicle

What inspired you to write The New Zealand Money Guide?

I’ve always been passionate about helping educate people to be smarter with their finances so they have more options in their lives.  This book was a great way to do that.

Do you think New Zealanders in general overspend and if so why?

Yes they do and the statistics support that.  The cost of living is high and there is also a lot of temptation to spend money through advertising, etc.  We are also a bit addicted to ‘stuff’ and often buy a lot of things that we don’t need or don’t end up using, like excessive amount of clothing, dinners outs, toys, etc.

What are some typical money traps people fall into and how do you overcome them?

The number one is spending too much.  Having a spending plan or a budget helps so you don’t get side tracked and buy things you don’t really need.  Staying away from the shops also helps as then you won’t get tempted.  Beware of buying something because it seems really affordable as its only $x per week, often the case with new things. When you add all those payments it can amount to a lot of money and creates a regular financial commitment that may not have been necessary.

What is the $21 challenge featured in your book and does it work?

Absolutely it does.  The concept first came out around a dozen years ago and thousands of people have successfully completed it. You can use things you already have in your cupboard, fridge or freezer.  It’s a great thing to do a few times a year to save some extra money.  It might be also great for your waste line as well!  Have a google and read some of the reviews.

Do you have some top tips to help children save and understand the value of money?

Have conversations about money with your children from a young age so they gain an understanding of money and its value.  I also think using pocket money is helpful.

Is there a way in increase your income?

There is a chapter in the book about this.  One idea is to increase your skills and education so you are more valuable to an employer.

How do you get the best out of your mortgage?

Put any spare money you can into extra mortgage payments, even if it’s only a $100 a month, over time it will save you a lot of money in interest costs.  Having a goal of when you want to pay off your mortgage off, that you review regularly, helps you stay focused.

Do you have some money saving tips?

A great one is to pause before you spend any of your hard earned money and ask yourself if what you are going to buy is a good use of your hard earned money. It will help you be a lot more conscious of your spending and should mean you spend less.

Who do you think The New Zealand Money Guide is targeted for and who will it help?

Anyone who wants to be improve their financial position.  I had a number of people review the book, including some who are very financially savvy and even they learnt a few things.  The book is easy to read and understand. It covers a wide range of concepts; mindset, money management, investing, KiwiSaver, planning for retirement, getting the most out of your mortgage, staying on track.

Do you have another book in the pipeline?

Not yet.  I’ve now written seven books and contributed to a number of others so I’m sure there will be!


Lisa Dudson, financial advisor and author of The New Zealand Money Guide,