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  • 3 steps to feel-good money

    3 steps to feel good money

     

    The better you feel, the better you do.

    You know I’m all about figuring out how to feel better about money, so you can do better with it. It’s a beautiful cycle. A worthy model. A virtuous flywheel.

    So, here’s a simple framework for feel-good money. Enjoy!

    Stack up the evidence

    Write your badass bio, financially speaking. List all your past money wins, previous achievements, and create a narrative around this. One that speaks to your track record of success.

    This might feel weird and imposter-y and uncomfortable.

    But this empowering story is just for you. To help you get used to focusing on your triumphs rather than flops. Stack the deck in your favour, and take this step toward being kinder to yourself and easing up on past you.

    Track your wins

    A plug for these quick money wins. Get a few under your belt, boost your energy, and get some momentum going!

    Then, keep the vibe going. Tune in and pay attention to all your wins, big and small, from here on in.

    What counts? Anything goes, honestly.

    Getting a great deal in a sale…

    An unexpected refund…

    A referral for a cool, lucrative project… etc

    Again, you’re learning to tune in to the goodness, because we’re wired to dwell on negativity. It’s not so natural to look for the good stuff.

    Celebrate the hell outta it

    Ride those highs as long as they last.

    I beat myself up for things, even years later. Do I celebrate their positive equivalents, years later? Probably not (see previous point).

    So, we gotta milk the wins as they come and savour every minute.

    Celebration means feeling it all, revelling in it, soaking it up. No dismissing or downplaying. No modesty here, thanks. Stretch yourself into feeling egoic.

    Squealing. Dancing. Moving and vocalising are all great!

    Whatever moves you. Whatever the mood brings you to. Embody the good vibes and encode these beautiful feelings and memories in your body at a cellular level.

    If you liked this, you’ll probably love Money Groove, my self-paced digital course all about finding your own financial groove. It’s your roadmap to ditching your $$$ baggage, making peace with money, and fast-tracking the path to MORE of it.

  • Life lately…

    I feel like I covered off a big money update last month… so, time for a life update!

    I’ve shifted into a new, slightly different role that’s just the challenge I need. Dreamed up a new awesome freelance offer (I’m often referred to edit books and help put together online courses, and now I’m seeing a need for ongoing strategic and editing support with regular daily/weekly content). Finished NLP (neurolinguistic practitioner) certification and now am cooking up a coaching offer (which I envision as being a next step up from my course, and broader – more life and money, not just money). Watching Parenthood and Better Things; next up Ted Lasso, and catching up on the later seasons of Gilmore Girls (even if I hear they went off the rails)

    But realistically the thing that takes so much time, energy, bandwidth… is parenting.

    Sooo… here’s a braindump of life on that front 😊

    Toddler eating + ongoing food intolerances

    Spud is firmly in the beige food phase. I don’t blame him. All his intolerances really do restrict things.

    Dairy, seafood and fish, nuts (though all are improving, especially I thiiiink that last one?) – it cuts out many options, especially for an already picky toddler.

    A couple summers ago he returned to nightly screaming around midnight, waking and squealing bloody murder. It took a few days but eventually I pinpointed the likely culprit: my granola, which he’d started eating as well. So much for healthier breakfast cereals! Nuts were not identified in the ingredient list, but I imagine there were probably trace amounts. And when you can’t trust the inclusions on the label, you start making your own. So, I now make my own granola every week.

    When we did Hello Fresh for awhile, he was also struggling at nights. Again, I can only assume trace presence in some of the ingredients.

    The last few months, he’s started vocalising it, constantly telling me he has a sore tummy. That’s helpful, rather than me just surmising it from his actions and behaviour.

    What’s helping? This kiwifruit bowel health stuff is magic for soothing digestive issues fast. Also still doing these Renew Life kids probiotics, but the kiwi stuff is gold for quick relief. (I also have these digestive enzyme tablets on hand as a backup.)

    Obviously avoiding, though not totally, those trigger foods helps (dairy is in so many things, and lingers in the body too, as it’s slow to process through).

    Favourite things

    Screaming surprise! at me constantly.

    Robots.

    Transformers.

    Countdown farm blocks.

    Hot wheels.

    Dinosaurs and sea creatures.

    Counting out syllables.

    Sounding out letters.

    Asking questions, always. Are there lots of cranes in Ukraine?

    Revelling and struggling with…

    Teaching him how to think. This coaching really is the crux of parenting IMO.

    Responding neutrally.

    Asking questions. Open-ended, ideally.

    What have you tried? What else could you try?

    What about X? Strong-willed kids do better with suggestions than instructions, or at least this one does.

    I want him to form his own thoughts. Do things for himself. Learn to think and work through things for himself.

    So I find myself always trying to come up with analogies and examples.

    Sometimes it’s easy – ‘hug it!’ I said, telling him how to stay on the spinny thing at the park.

    Sometimes not. A page was ripped in his book – ‘”put it in the bin” was his response (as usual). I said ‘ if you get a scrape or scratch or bruise, are you no good, should I put you in the bin?’ Possibly a bit harsh but I think the message got through … nope, you’re still you and you’re still working just fine.

    I try to show when I’m learning too – making mistakes, having difficulty doing something. We saw BMX bikers doing all sorts of daring tricks as the Easter show, some wiping out pretty badly. I was thrilled. We were in the front row right up close. What better way to see people trying, failing, getting back up and trying again?

    His perfectionism tendencies (‘put it in the bin!’ ‘I’m done!’) are strong. “You’re perfect” he’s told me, even when I clearly show I’m not. But the other day, I heard “It’s not perfect but it’s fine” – and my heart soared.

    Staying calm, modelling calm nonviolent communication and a can-do attitude, reminding him we can figure anything out and fix things. Spilling milk in the morning always results in upset. But you know what? We don’t have to wipe up every drop immediately, as you’re probably going to spill more before you finish.

    My family of origin is very judgmental, quick to share their thoughts and opinions. I want to foster the opposite. Cultivate non-judgmental, open-minded curiosity.

    It’s possible. Could be.

    Very little is black and white in life here on earth. I try to reflect that in what I say.

    What I’m thinking about

    Thinking about starting school in term 4, and holiday care…

    Thinking about planning his first plane trip…

  • Do the THING: Simplify your money

    When I first started investing over 10 years ago… well, I’m a bit fuzzy on the details. I think I randomly picked some funds that were available to me after reading their short descriptions. They served me pretty well, I think – I wound up selling some to get the cash over the years, and held on to the rest. I still have some of those today!

    I had my savings and term deposits with Rabo, so it was just easy to add on some funds. But recently I had a closer look and realised I was essentially doubled up. A couple funds were investing in very similar mixes, which seemed overkill.

    To streamline and simplify, I sold off one of them. Easy win.

    Adding into the mix

    I did, though, then go on to add another fund into the mix – one of the new InvestNow foundation series funds that recently launched with extremely low fees.

    On that note, it’s been fascinating to watch the explosion of all these new self serve investing platforms – Sharesies, Stake, Hatch, Kernel etc (here’s a handy overview of them all). Even more so to see the move toward being able to essentially build your own KiwiSaver… not sure that’s for me, but having the choice is a big innovation in this space.

    And I also opened up a couple new term deposits to take advantage of these sky high rates right now. Optimising FTW.

    So if you’ve been sitting on something for ages that’s going to simplify things for your money life, here’s your nudge to go ahead and do it! 

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  • Getting more intentional about my belongings

    CURATING MY HOME - starting with books

    As a renter, I lived with a hodge podge of random furniture and belongings. I really couldn’t commit to anything, because I moved so frequently, and often had to upsize or downsize accordingly.

    Seven years after moving into my own home, I still very much live with a random assortment of things. And I’d like to be more intentional about what is in my home.

    I feel my family was very much in the ‘grab it if it’s free/cheap’ camp. Books, CDs, toys weren’t really carefully curated, more just whatever came our way or was on sale.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful for all the freebies we’ve received. I just want a bit more curation in my life.

    I’m going to start with books. Reading is a core part of my identity.

    But, I don’t buy books – I live and die by the public library.

    That said, there are definitely a few books I think I could happily own and come back to over and over.

    Right now, all the books I personally own were gifts or freebies through work. I’ve made a list of books I would like to own and will start looking out for ways to acquire them frugally.

    I’m also getting better at saying no to my mum, who is always offering me something or other from her latest round of bargains from the op shops, picked up off the roadside or gifted to her.

    I still don’t really care about decor, colour schemes, matching sets … but these days I do want to carefully curate what I surround myself with. To be more selective. More intentional.

    Do you choose your stuff, or has your stuff chosen you?

  • The joy and agony of using your emergency fund

    mixed feelings about using emergency fund

     

    It was our second to last night on holiday. Slumbering in a cute Airbnb in Napier. Literally the last thing I expected was a call from the local cops at 4am notifying me the car had been stolen (from right outside!) for a joyride, recovered, and the perp in custody.

    Instead of carrying on to our last stop, Rotorua, after breakfast – the morning was a flurry of phone calls and Googling. Dealing with insurance. Frantically trying to find a rental car. Figuring out what we’d need to replace immediately and where to buy it. Trying to get to the tow yard, which turned out to be closed all weekend.

    You may also know the exquisite pain of tapping your emergency fund.

    But it’s an amazing feeling not to have to worry about money in a situation like that. We just needed to find a way to get home, preferably while continuing with our original plan and one more night before heading home. It didn’t really matter how much it cost.

    Annoyingly, insurance would only reimburse the equivalent of bus fare directly back to Auckland, which was a couple hundred dollars. We considered flying, but in the end found what must have been the last available vehicle in the city for about $900 for a one-way overnight rental. We’d drive on to Rotorua as planned, spend the night in town, then back to Auckland to return it at the airport. (It was a neat vehicle. Brand new, lots of little self-driving functions.)

    There is, it turns out, an extra you can add on to your car insurance policy for car rental in this situation. It is not free! Nor is it all that great. It simply entitles you to preferential hire rates (whatever those might be).

    We did also replace Spud’s carseat right away (which again, has risen significantly in price since I bought the original 2 years ago). Honestly, this is what bugs me the most. What a waste of a perfectly good carseat! I hope someone picked it up off the side of the road or whatever, because seriously, that was a $500+ (now $700+) carseat with a LOT of life left in it.

    Some other annoying, random things were also lost from the backseat. Cereal, books, hat, jacket, drink bottle, etc. (A few bits, not worth claiming through contents cover.) But they left everything in the boot. The wagon, the ball, the beach toys, scooter, etc – untouched. The damage was minimal. They clearly just wanted to go hoon around.

    Eventually, it got towed back to Auckland for repairs. The mechanic also got hit by thieves over the summer break and had no courtesy cars available. And then we had the devastating cyclones that upended things around the country. It took two months to finally get my car back! But it was better than ever. It felt like they did a full mechanical once over – the brakes are smoother, and even though I specified that the crack on the back of the side mirror was already there, they still fixed that up and bundled it all up in the claim.

    I was out hundreds on the car rental, and then paying for convenience for nearly two months to have grocery delivery (only available from the more expensive supermarkets). And it was fine. Inconvenient. But fine.

    The last few months have been spendy…

    More generally, it’s been an expensive few months. Yes, there’s the cost of food and basic necessities. But also, a lot of choice. That road trip, a much needed holiday. A long overdue trip to the dentist (I hadn’t been since, uh, pre-pregnancy…) and my first fillings ever. New glasses, well overdue. And a lot of overdue things around the house, like fixes to the side gate, getting the roof painted (which had been on to the todo list since moving in 8 years ago) and getting the rotten eaves replaced.

    It’s been an invitation and challenge…

    to practise, deepen, and embody everything I’ve been thinking and talking about in relation to money.

    To channel deep gratitude for being in place of safety and plenty, to not have to worry about any of this. As I said to the victim support rep – it has been a hassle, there have been many inconveniences, and the expenses are annoying, but not devastating. (I was actually kinda excited to go through the restorative justice process, which I wrote a big feature about when it was a new thing and I was in journalism school. But between the perp’s circumstances, the distance, and then the massive cyclones that disrupted everything, it seemed the cons outweighed the pros in this case.)

    To remember that money comes and goes, is designed to flow, to support us, and trust that it is always continuing to flow in, too.

    I don’t advocate for burying your head in the sand. It’s not about denying reality.

    It’s about acknowledging the circumstances, and choosing to face them with grit and grace. Deciding, over and over, to spurn the fear, scarcity, and anxiety. Releasing the need to control and letting go of that power dynamic of struggle. Surrendering to what is, and choosing calm and trust through it all – even as insurance approvals and supply chain delays drag out.

    Making moves from a place of fear never works out well. Making moves from a place of confidence, empowerment, and expansion is the real flex.

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  • I signed up for a monthly subscription, then got ghosted

    I signed up for a monthly subscription, then got ghosted

     

    What would you expect if you signed up for something and … stopped getting what you were paying for every month?

    A question I’ve been facing and grappling with…

    I gave lots of grace. I got so much value from the signup bonus, it was a steal, even when after a few months, things went quiet.

    I truly believed something had happened to the creator. Her website was down, she hadn’t been active online publicly or in the private space where I first encountered her. I contacted her multiple times through different channels. I even thought maybe Gmail had randomly blacklisted her emails…

    I expected her to respond at SOME point. Because now she’s active online again, and clearly around. But nope. Nothing. I’ve released all remnants of that expectation. I may never know what happened. Such is life.

    I try to find the lesson in everything, and I think my takeaways here are:

    Money lesson 1: These days, cancelling and reissuing a credit card won’t solve recurring subscriptions. Stripe is smart! It’ll just resume on your new card number, as the underlying account is the same.

    Money lesson 2: Those invoice emails that are Stripe generated… actually DO let you manage your paid membership subscription, not just manage your email preferences. DUH.

    Yeah, I felt pretty silly after all my rambly messages to my bank that ultimately were for nothing, and then finally one day noticing that tiny link in my Stripe invoice emails. Stupid tax!

    And maybe a final general life lesson: Be accommodating, charitable, generous, but equally, don’t be a doormat, ostrich, or fool. Your money is your money and nobody cares about it as much as you do.

  • Wishful thinking

    I’d like to have so much money that I could have …

    a chauffeur

    a chef

    holidays every quarter that somebody else plans and books for me

    a dog walker 2x a week

    go WILD at the fancy cheese shop

    spontaneous weekend trips without looking at the bank balance

    Clearly, I’m exhausted because that’s about all my imagination can stretch to right now!

    Seriously though. Goals should be ambitious yet achievable, IMO. At least 51% believable.

    For now, I’m pretty happy to be in a position to:

    go out to eat on a public holiday without even thinking twice about the 10% surcharge

    give three-digit donations (not just double digit)

    buy the thing I want upfront, not the cheaper alternative (always leads to regret!)

    What are you daydreaming about? Any goals for 2023?

  • I don’t care what you do with your money. But you should

    how to find your own money groove

     

    I don’t care what you do with your money.

    Doesn’t really bother me.

    There are very few – if any – hard and fast rules.

    Despite what the Twitter bros and their pithy viral tweets might preach…You are your own best steward.

    No one else cares more about your money than you.

    I’d rather you learn to trust yourself.

    Find your own groove.

    Do what’s right for you.

    Because one of the most important skills we can develop (and will forever be practicing and evolving) is discernment.

    Learning to discern what will work for you, not blindly copying others.

    Listening to mentors and taking on board their input – but not necessarily following everything to the letter.

    Honouring your instincts, which so many of us have learned to suppress. (This doesn’t mean giving in to fear and self sabotage but again – discerning the difference between fear of expansion / risk,,, and the nudges that are guiding you away from something that isn’t for you).

    Self trust is a huge ingredient for success, and the more you practice it, the sharper your instincts get.

    (PS: this week only, you can grab Money Groove PLUS a bunch of other financial resources as part of this bundle)

  • The power of the pause

    the power of the pause

    A shout out today to the humble pause. That extra beat, that intake of breath.

    It saves me as a parent, over and over.

    When I pause and respond rather than instantly react, I’m less likely to snap or yell or lose it. Also, pro tip I heard on a podcast: get down to their level. When you’re towering over them it’s easy to give in to that temptation to assert your authority. Much harder to shout when you’re down at their eye level.

    Likewise, I can navigate frustrating situations with other people or at work with more calm and grace when I first pause. Then choose a more charitable interpretation (the most generous one). It’s almost always incompetence, never malice.

    And of course, it’s a great thing when it comes to money. Pausing to ask if you really want to spend on that thing. Is that the best use of your money? And pausing in negotiations.

    Lord know I’ve been through so many mental gymnastics, pricing myself up and down and spinning in circles.

    I’ve learned to just lean into whatever number feels right. My body guides me. I’ve doubled my rates in a quote and they didn’t hesitate. I’ve had someone misunderstand my tiered proposal and interpret it at a higher figure, which she still thought was a good deal.

    Going through life more consciously has changed everything.

    Learning to be more present. To self regulate. To actually feel and process emotions. To choose more deliberately and strategically.

    And yet … conversely … in a way, so has surrendering to the potential of the subconscious.

    Learning to step back. Detach. Surrender. Let in inspiration.

    It’s a balancing act – raising consciousness while also stepping back from it.

    But what they both have in common is slowing down.

    Pausing.

    Stepping away from the reactive instinct.

    Pausing, breathing, being.

    Something to help carry you through the holiday season. <3

  • When you feel better, you do better

    feel better, do better

    Everything is about how you feel. As the Maya Angelou quote goes, people may forget what you said, but never how you made them feel.

    How you feel influences how you do anything. EVERYTHING. It impacts how you show up. Feeds into what you do and how you do it.

    To some extent, it’s true: what you put out comes back.

    Hey, I’m not into the ‘good vibes only’ vibe. Denying emotions does not work. Toxic positivity – no thanks.

    But I do think it’s important to do ourselves a favour and limit wallowing and spiralling, and do our best to shift out of that mode before it goes too far.

    When you feel better, you do better. Full stop.

    In money and life.

    You think more clearly, quickly, confidently (that’s gold when you’re in the hot seat for a job interview).

    Stuff flows out of you, just pours forth from your fingertips and tongue. You write and speak in full flow – it almost bypasses your conscious brain. Like you’re a conduit, channelling some deeper spring of brilliance.

    You make better, more aligned decisions without agonising for weeks, going back and forth second-guessing yourself.

    And you can’t get into that beautiful flow state unless you’re feeling good.

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