Mindfulness & Money

What is mindfulness:

It is the basic and innate human ability to be self-aware at the physical, emotional and mental levels; and remain detached from what we experience at these levels.

What are the benefits of mindfulness:

  • Self-awareness
  • Enhanced wellbeing
  • We become more effective
  • Assists with behaviour and attitude changes
  • Reduced stress
  • Improves focus
  • Improves the ability to be non-reactive

Being mindful has so many benefits and these include being kinder to ourselves, which ultimately leads to better self-talk, improved positivity and gives us more sense of choice rather than defaulting to our habitual patterns. When we replace habits that no longer serve us with positive habits, we have the power to change our patterns, behaviours, attitude and ultimately our life.

Mindfulness can be applied to absolutely any area of your life so why would we not use its benefits to improve our financial position. We have the ability to view our finances more positively and this in turn provides the opportunity to improve our relationship to money and improve our management of it. Having a great relationship with money is something to aspire to, as just like your relationship to yourself, it will be long lasting. It’s a relationship that will last your lifetime so if you can reduce the stress associated with money and put you in a space of confidence so that you feel supported by your money it will without a doubt, improve your overall feeling of wellbeing.

Applying mindfulness principles to money management

The first step to creating a great relationship with your money is to develop some awareness of how you currently feel, act and respond to managing your money. I would encourage you to know your money, be intimate with your money, be grateful and appreciate of your money.

Becoming mindful of your behaviours and patterns around money will lead you to understand how and why you feel the way you do about money. There are going to be some ways in which you interact with your money that make you feel good and others that make you feel less so.  Embrace the positive stuff and feel good about it. Acknowledge your strengths and give yourself credit for all that you do well with your money.

Being kind to yourself whilst also acknowledging the things that make you feel a bit funky in relation to money is important. Where you can identify ways in which you would like to change some of your behaviours and patterns, just notice and acknowledge it. There is absolutely no point in criticising, shaming, or guilting yourself for these patterns. A key point to being mindful around money is being gentle with your approach and simply looking for opportunities to develop new strategies, habits and patterns that are going to make you feel good about your relationship to money.

Directed thinking is a key skill derived from mindfulness which gives you the ability to be aware of a thought that doesn’t serve you positively and to redirect that thought. For example, if you catch yourself thinking “I’m terrible with money” you could change this to something more empowering such as “I’m learning and developing new skills, that make it easier to manage my money”. The ability to catch yourself as you think a negative thought, observe it (don’t judge yourself) and redirect your thought to something more supportive, this is what mindfulness is all about. The result of this is the ability to respond rather than react. Many of us, operate on autopilot and we react to certain stimulus based on our previous history, so our reaction may be extreme or exaggerated. Whereas, if we are choosing our thoughts and are consciously responding, rather than reacting, we are making a choice rather than letting our mental patterns dictate our responses.

Mindfulness tools for everyday use

There is undoubtedly a connection between mind and body. If your finances have you in a state of worry and doubt this is going to translate to stress and anxiety in your body. Mindfulness as a practice offers an array of tools to add to the kit. All are valuable but you might find that you have some personal favourites. Here are a few ideas:

Gratitude journal – show appreciation for all that your money currently buys you. Review your bank statements and write down all the wonderful things that your money has afforded you. It could have been a meal out with your loved ones, or simply paying the power bill which provided a home and cozy home for you.

Breathwork – if you are feeling a little wound up about your finances (or any other situation) don’t forget to breathe. Taking long, slow breaths through the nose and out of the mouth is known to have a positive physiological impact on you, your mind and body.

Movement – taking a walk in nature or even just around the block to clear the mind and lift the mood is always worthwhile. Focusing on the positives in life is a gift of mindfulness.

Meditation – developing a meditation practice is known to improve the ability to quieten the mind not only whilst on the mat but also in everyday life which will only assist in responding, rather than reacting.

Money Mantras (affirmations) – why not make some bold and positive statements that lift your spirits during the day. Saying “I am supported by money” feels a lot more positive than many of the other thoughts that sometimes run through our heads.

Having the ability to manage your mindset around money is a skill to work on but given the lifelong relationship you have with your money, it’s worth investing the time and energy in developing these skills so that you can live a life of gratitude, enjoyment, wellness, and positivity when it comes to money matters.

How To Get Out Of Short Term Debt

Listen to our Short Term Debt podcast episode here.

Debt, as we all know, is so easy to get into but extremely difficult to get out of. Having multiple different short term debts can make it confusing to manage and, when only paying the minimum repayments it is hard to get them paid off.

Everyone is different when it comes to paying off debt. You tend to either use the emotional, snowball or avalanche method, depending on your motivation. Your motivation and mindset is key in what drives you in achieving your money goals. Whichever method incentivizes you and gives you the motivation to keep going, is the winner.

In this article, we break down the 3 debt repayment methods and what to do once you know your chosen method. We also explain other options that may be available to help pay your short-term debt off faster.

SHORT TERM DEBT REPAYMENT METHODS

Emotional Method

Motivation: Psychological
Removing the debts with the most emotional baggage

This debt is also known as the tsunami method. This method has you paying off the debt in order of emotional impact, focusing on the ones that cause you the most pain points.

Whether it’s because of a high interest rate, it’s a loan from a friend or family, or simply one you’ve had for a long time and you just want to smash it out. This approach you are basing your decision on your emotions, getting rid of the debts that carried the most emotional baggage.

Its mentally rewarding when you pay off a debt that you have had for a long time or that’s been causing stress.

Debt Snowball Method

Motivation: Psychological
Seeing the rewards, small victories early on and throughout, helping drive you.


The Debt Snowball method involves paying off your debt in order of smallest to largest, focusing on the smallest debts first. When the smallest debt is paid in full, you roll that minimum repayment you were paying to the next smallest debt.

This method can be psychologically rewarding as you eliminate entire debt balances rather quicky and see immediate progress. By the time you get to the last debt, you’re able to pay large amounts towards it because you have no other debt to pay off!

Debt Avalanche Method

Motivation: Financial
Paying it off as fast as possible with the least amount of interest, for those with high interest debt.

This method is where you pay off the debt in order of interest rate, focusing on the highest interest earning first. You make the minimum repayments on all debt, then use any extra funds to pay off the highest interest rate debt first.

By focusing on the highest interest rate debt first, like credit cards, you’re going to save in interest costs over the long term. You’ll also reduce the time it will take to you to pay the loan balance in full.

ANALYSE YOUR SHORT TERM DEBT AND FINANCES

Once you’ve determined the way you want to pay your debt off, you need to sit down and analyse your debt and finances.

Step One: Itemise your debt
Write down all of your debt, what they are and their outstanding balances and structure them in order of priority. For debt snowball method, this would be in order of smallest to largest. If you are using the debt avalanche method, the order would highest to lowest interest rate. And for the emotional method, you’d order it by your emotional priority.

Step Two: Analyse your expenses.
If you are really determined to smash out your short-term debt, it’s important to review and analyse your expenses / finances. You may find there are opportunities to minimise some expenses (extra money to go toward debt!) and it will help to avoid having to use short-term debt again in the future.

OTHER WAYS TO PAY OFF YOUR SHORT-TERM DEBT FASTER

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is where you take out a single loan to pay off multiple debts (credit/store cards, finance loans etc.). Often when you have multiple debts, there are different payment terms, interest rates, payment frequencies and it can become a bit of a mind bubble. A debt consolidation loan is a good opportunity to pull all of the debts together with one set rate and one lot of repayments coming out.

The key point is to be financially better off by doing this. The whole point is to end up with extra money in your pocket, or to reduce the repayments / interest rates, so over time you’re not paying as much.

Balance Transfers

A balance transfer is where you move debt from one credit card to another. You can’t do a balance transfer with the same bank as your current credit card, so you would be taking a credit card with a different bank. You will find that most banks will offer a 0% interest rate for the first 6 months (note there is a small transfer fee of around 1-2%), so this is a great opportunity to knuckle down and pay off as much as you can while there is no interest being charged. It’s even better if you can transfer to a bank with lower interest rates than your current provider, as this way you will still be saving on interest after the interest free period!

What Is Short Term Debt

You’ve probably heard a lot about short and long term debt, but do you understand the difference between the two?

There are long term debts which (as the name suggests) are over a long period of time and 99% of the time is an investment and therefore you are likely to gain from it – think mortgages where your home is the asset and is likely to grow in value, or student loans which provide a means to gaining a better education and therefore a higher paying (or more satisfying) job.

Then there are short term debts which, again, are just like the name suggests and should be for a short time period. They often have very high interest rates and for purchases that you aren’t necessarily going to gain from.

Below we have outlined the different types of short term debts and how they can each have an affect on your lifestyle. While some types of debt have a place, if you are learning to take control of your finances it would really pay to avoid them wherever possible.

Credit Cards

Data from the Reserve Bank shows credit card debt is becoming increasingly unpopular with total credit card billing dropping 1.9% in February. However, it is certainly still there – with these stats relating to New Zealanders and credit cards:

  • we owe approx. $6 billion in credit card debt
  • 17% of us couldn’t manage their budget or finances without one
  • 1 in 5 of generation Gen X relying on a credit card to get by.

As credit cards are unsecured debt, they have high interest rates attached to them (usually around 25%), and the minimum repayment amounts are set extremely low, often unreasonably low. This can lead to a credit card balance that you can’t seem to make a dent in and becomes longer term that you had originally planned.

An example of this is;

You have a $1,000 credit card balance, making only the minimum repayment amounts, you could be paying this debt off for 9 years, with a total interest cost of $1,024 – higher than the initial debt amount!

So be very careful! A simple way of looking at it is – if you don’t have the money for this, and it’s not an emergency, should you be using a credit card to pay for it?

Store Cards / Gem Visas / Q Cards

If you have ever gone to buy a new phone or furniture from the likes of Harvey Norman, it’s likely you were asked if you would like to pay for it using finance through a store card such as a Gem Visa or Q Card.

These store cards are much like credit cards however they can only be used at store ‘partners’ (each one has different store partners). There are usually some incentives such as interest free terms or no-repayment terms on offer as well to sweeten the deal. If you are disciplined with your finances, the interest free periods can make these cards an easy way to purchase something when you don’t have the funds to pay for it (or, in some cases, they can be used as a smart alternative to using funds you may already have, but we’ll save getting into that for another blog!).

However, because these cards also have very high interest rates, you could find yourself in a situation where you’ve come to the end of the interest free / no repayment period, you haven’t really paid much off and now all of a sudden you’ve got a debt that you’re struggling to pay off.

There are also some confusing processes that are followed when applying your payments to the outstanding balances that can mean what you think you are paying off isn’t always the case (this applies when you have multiple purchases on the one card / statement). More info around these processes can be found on the Money Hub website, a super helpful resource for all things money!

Personal Loans and Car Loans

Personal and car loans are usually managed through a bank, credit union, other money lenders or directly through a car dealer (and unfortunately finance options through car dealers are often not the best deal so ensure you do your research).

Interest rates across these lenders vary wildly but sometimes things like your credit score and credit history can have an impact on the interest rate and other factors you’re offered.

The most common reasons people get personal loans include debt consolidation, big one-time expenses such as weddings as well as urgent or unexpected costs like a car or medical bill. If you find yourself needing to apply for a personal loan, shop around for the best offer and borrow as little as you need so you can repay it as quickly as possible and limit the interest you will pay.

Both car and personal loans can be secured or unsecured – unsecured is a higher risk for the lender therefore you’ll usually have a higher interest rate. If it’s secured, and you fail to repay the loan, the lender can take the security to gain some of the loan back (such as the car).

In the case of personal and car loans, you really need to determine what the true cost of the purchase will be, by the time you pay the loan back adding on the interest you will pay.

An example of the true cost of a car, after paying interest for the term of the loan.

An example of this (shown) is a car loan. In this example , by the end of the 3 year term, you would have paid 1.021 times the original purchase price (also remember the minute you drive a car away after purchase the car has lost value so it definitely wouldn’t be worth $14,554 after 3 years!)

Laybuys, Afterpays etc.

Yes, these are classed as debt (especially in the banks eyes), and although they are more short term than credit cards (4-6 weeks), if you don’t keep in control of these and end up with multiple at one time, they can become very hard to manage and you may find yourself in financial trouble.

When you have multiple AfterPays/LayBuys you’ll often end up with different payment dates and amounts. This is an easy way to lose track of what the total amount actually is, and end up with more than you can afford.

The bonus to these payments types is they are very short term and there is no interest being charged, so you never pay more than the original purchase price. Your success with Afterpays or Laybuys depends on you and how you manage them. If you can limit your spending and manage one at a time it’s a great alternative to a credit card.

So, as you can see, there are a number of different short term debt types, all with differing purposes and ways of working. As mentioned a lot throughout this blog, if you are good with your finances and money management you may be able to avoid falling into the trap of having too much short term debt and struggling to pay it back.

However, some good rules to follow before ticking that next item up is:

  • Always think twice and ensure you can afford the repayments.
  • Ask yourself – do you really need to borrow the money / have short term debt for this?
  • Could you wait and save some money instead?
  • Give yourself a 24 hour stand down period – you’ll often find the consumer itch will disappear.

Living Pay to Pay – How to Avoid It

Living pay to pay can be a stressful and worrying way to live, and, unfortunately, 63% of New Zealanders are living this way. Counting down the days until pay day because you have $1 in your account can mean you are constantly scrambling to make ends meet, struggle to pay bills and it makes it nearly impossible to get ahead financially.  

It’s also likely that you don’t have any funds set aside for unexpected costs that may come up, which of course (if the unexpected does happen), everything is going to get a whole lot harder as you then try and pay for that as well. 

If this is a trap you find yourself falling into, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to try and break this habit and start making moves towards being in control of your finances. 

1 – Recognise you are living pay to pay 

This might sound a bit cliché, but recognising there is a problem is 100% the first step you need to take to fix the problem. If you don’t think there’s an issue, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t be disciplined when it comes to budgeting and spending. Once you recognise the problem, try and determine where it’s stemmed from. Majority of time it’s simply that you are spending more than you earn. And, often, addressing your spending can be an easier task than addressing your income. 

2 – Track your spending habits and match these with your income

Once you’ve determined there is a problem that needs to be addressed, the next step is to track or have a really good look at your spending. And by this we mean EVERYTHING. Every little cent. Sure a $5 coffee here and there is all good, but if its multiple times a week this starts to add up and can very quickly end up as a total of $50 or more per month.

Start by listing your expenses that are set – such as power, insurances, petrol, vehicle costs etc. These are costs that must be paid and aren’t really something you can control (although, you should regularly check in on these as well, in case there are better deals that you can get). Then look at all the other expenses and determine where you may be able to cut back. 

Some examples are: 

  • Do you splurge on your groceries? Are there some items that you could go without, or simply swap for a cheaper brand? 
  • Are you a habitual coffee drinker? Don’t worry, so are we, so we aren’t saying you cannot buy your Caramel Latte’s anymore. But, if you are living pay to pay check and purchasing more than a couple of coffees a week, then maybe this is something you should be cutting back on or finding cheaper alternatives to. 
  • Do you or your better half (or friends) have a habit of dining out a lot? Check out our Cheap Date Night Ideas blog for some ideas to still have lots of fun, without the massive hit to your account. 

3 – Create a budget 

Not everyone enjoys budgets, and we get it. They can be confusing at the least and confining at best. But this can be very important if you’re trying to get in control of your finances. It doesn’t need to be a big fancy (or even strict!) budget, but simply knowing your upcoming expenses and what you plan to spend in a week, fortnight or month is one way to help feel more in control of your finances. It can be too easy to think you have enough money for that new dress or pair of jeans when you actually don’t have an idea of what might be coming out of your account or due to be paid in the coming week/s. 

4– Create and grow an emergency fund 

An emergency fund, if you haven’t heard of them already, is different to savings. This money is set aside for those unexpected, often expensive costs that inevitably come up in life. Think emergency trip to the vet, unexpected mechanical bills, or like in Amy’s recent case; having to fork out for a new hot water cylinder for your home! Not ideal. 

You have savings accounts to achieve your goals such as a holiday, new car or buying a home, whereas emergency funds are there to get you out of sticky situations, without putting you into debt or stressing about how you will find the money to pay for it. 

5– Stop using credit to pay for things and get out of debt 

Having to pay regular amounts on any short term debt will no doubt have an effect on what you have left at the end of your pay week. And of course, the less of these debts you have to pay, the easier it will get to set money aside, save and ultimately make progress in achieving your money goals!  

6– Pay your bills, pronto 

If you aren’t good at managing money, make sure that you pay all your bills as soon as the money becomes available. If the bill isn’t due yet, put the money aside in another bank account, and organise for the cost of the bill to be direct debited. This way, within a day or two after you’ve been paid, you’ll know exactly how much money you have available until the next pay period. By using this method you should be able to better manage your money, and not be hit with unexpected bills. 

7– Set goals and create a plan to achieve them 

By having clear goals in front of you, you will automatically feel more determined and passionate about achieving these goals. And often you will find any way possible to get you closer to your goal – whether it be putting aside a small amount of your income each week towards it, or encouraging you to think outside the box on how you could earn extra income to pay for the goal. Having the goal post in front of you will motivate you. 

In short, if you can get out of living pay to pay, you will have less stress and worry about money, you’ll feel more in control of your finances and ultimately start living a more enjoyable life! Hopefully these tips help you and if you have your own money savings tips and tricks, feel free to share them with us on social media, we love hearing others experience and journeys. 

Cheap Date Night Ideas

We all love having a night out with our friends or partner but often it’s hard to do this when you are on a budget – going out for dinners or to the bar for “some” drinks every time can become quite costly!

We’ve put together a list of fun but cost-effective date night or activity ideas for you to work your way through. This way, you can still spend quality time together with your partner / husband / mates / family, without a hit to the bank account.

Picnic date night/lunch

Where we live, we are fortunate to have a number of amazing beaches so close, so having a picnic dinner is totally doable, especially in Summer! Any park or field will be just as nice with a beautiful sunset. What to pack? You are still wanting it to be cheaper than a night out – think an easy dinner, maybe a platter with cheese and crackers, some nice pre-made wraps, and of course – a glass of wine (or gin – we love gin!).

Going out for a coffee and a walk

Dinner can be expensive, but a coffee is a great low cost alternative. Go out on a Sunday morning and grab yourselves a coffee, take a seat and relax or go for a walk around your local.

Camping!

You can take this any way you like. Whether you go to a camping spot with a tent, do some camping in the backyard or even in the living room, these could all be fun options! Have a change of scenery and try to rough it for a night together.

Netflix and Chill

Sometimes rather than paying to go to the movies it’s better to create the movies at home. The bonus is you can even pause the movie for a bathroom break! Set the lounge up with some comfy cushions, blankets, candles, make the room feel cozy. You’ll also avoid that crazy priced popcorn!

Games night

Have some games in the cupboard you forgot about? Get them out and have a game night together. Invite some friends over and have a game of Cranium. After a few glasses of wine (or again, gin) it’s an activity that provides a lot of laughs (trust us!)

Learn something new together

There are so many options when it comes to learning something new, you could do it from the comfort of your home – like downloading a language app, learning a topic on YouTube or listening to a TedTalk. Or you could get out of the house and find a local experience – a new sport or dance lessons. Get out of your comfort zone together!

Make something together

Whether it be painting (cheap starter packs at Kmart), a DIY project or creating gifts for someone’s upcoming birthday – have a little fun with art.

Explore your local walks

Where we live there are some great trails to explore for free! Jump on google, look for some awesome walks in your area and get out there and discover nature. It’s amazing what we have on our own doorstep that we often forget about!

Cook off

Rather than going to a fancy restaurant have a cook off together. One of you on entrees and mains and the other on dessert! Go to the supermarket and try and do it on the cheap or even better, set yourself a challenge and try to create everything with the ingredients you have at home!

Reframe Your Money Mindset

Do you find yourself living pay-to-pay, spending all your money the minute it enters your account, or wondering where your money has gone / why you don’t have the money there to pay for bills you knew were coming? You may find that you have a ‘limited’ money mindset – but don’t worry! We are here to explain what money mindset is (and what we mean by limited vs growth) and how you can change your mindset – helping you to take control and feel on top of your finances.

What is money mindset?

Money mindset is central to how you handle money in your life. It is your unique set of beliefs and your attitude about money. It is the driving factor in decisions you make regarding all thing’s money – saving, debt, spending, how you handle your money – everything!
Your unique money mindset (your core beliefs about money) is formed early on in life by observing and internalizing the money messages we learned from our parents (especially), friends, community and other caregivers.

Growth vs Limited money mindset

Quite simply, what you think about and focus on is what you get. You’ve probably heard that before, but it really is true and can be applied to your money mindset. If you focus on a lack of money, struggling to pay bills and so on, then this is 99% likely to be your reality and is what we refer to as a limited money mindset.
So, in contrast, if you focus on making and having more than enough money, that will become your reality, and we refer to this as a growth money mindset.

A prime example of a growth money mindset was shown in a study by Ramsey Solutions (yes, Ramsey as in Dave Ramsey – the money guru in the US!). They conducted a study of over 10,000 millionaires, and 97% believed they could become millionaires, they believed that it was within their control and they believed that they held the key to their success. It was their growth money mindset that caused them to succeed, not wealthy parents, a fancy education or it being handed to them.

How to change from a limited to growth money mindset

Understand your money mindset / money story.

The first step to changing your money mindset is to understand your beliefs and attitudes to money – how did they come about? What were you taught about money when growing up? What was your parents’ attitudes towards money? Answering these questions may shed some light on any negative beliefs and is the first step to being able to change any of them.

Reframe negative (limited) thoughts.

Remember, as Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do a thing or not – you are right”. Whatever you tell yourself and focus on is what you will get. And by getting away from the limited mindset you will allow yourself room for hope, problem solving and a more financially healthy life.

Stop telling yourself things like “I’ll never be able to afford that” or “I can’t get out of this debt” and change these thoughts to a positive (growth) – “I can afford the things I want” and “I have this debt, and with a focus and a plan I will be able to pay it off”.

Dream about (and plan for!) your future.

Think about what you want your future – short and long term – to look like and use this as your motivation to plan and work towards!
It doesn’t matter if you’re in debt, or don’t yet have an emergency fund – having goals for the future will ultimately help push you in that direction.

Make it happen!

No matter where you come from, your background, your level of income or your current money situation, if you believe that success is possible then you have the power to make it a reality.

Going from a limited to growth money mindset will change your life – it really will! Focus on positive thoughts and the things that you can control, and its likely you will start to see changes immediately.

Why you should invest in yourself

We often associate the word “investing” with our finances, however, we are our own greatest asset. So if this is true, are we valuing ourselves enough to invest and lead us to living a life we love? In this article, we explain why you should invest in yourself.

Listen to our podcast about investing in yourself here.

Any successful business knows the importance of investing in their real estate, human resources, intellectual property etc. to optimise their performance. As individuals, we also have the opportunity to grow our own capabilities to feel fulfilment and to help us live our best life.

Our values really drive what is important to us, so living our best life can look completely different from one person to the next. But, ultimately, enjoying the journey is the key to a happy and content life. Investing is really a conscious decision around where we spend our time and money and there is no right and wrong. It all comes down to your personal preferences, priorities and goals.

It’s important to make the distinction between areas where you can invest time versus investing money. Sometimes you may need to make a financial investment to gain skills, knowledge or access expertise to assist you to your next level goals.

Life is precious and often people find themselves being driven by social norms. Understanding what brings you joy and happiness is the perfect starting point to designing your own personal investment plan.

Investing time in learning, growing and developing is a major – it could be a game changer even. Challenging ourselves to new ways of thinking, acting and being can have huge impacts on our lives. It can help us move forward through any tricky moments in our lives.

Ways to invest in yourself

Aside from the investment of your time, the financial investment to your growth will vary greatly. It all depends on your goals and what you are hoping to achieve.

There are amazing free resources everywhere you look, with access to online training and development has exploded post Covid. There are endless options for ways to invest in yourself if you are self motivated. For a very low cost, or quite often free, there are courses, webinars, podcasts and books very easily available.

For those who enjoy a deeper dive into their learning, then a greater financial investment may hold higher value. This could include things like tailored programs or one-on-one coaching. These higher-level investments may hold higher value than something free, for the fact that there is more support. Or perhaps accountability coaching that will assist with reaching your goals or desires.

At Femme Finance, we are all about making decisions around finance, lifestyle and mindset. These decisions should be considered and bring a sense of pride, joy, empowerment and a desire for growth.

So why not pull out your notepad and make a plan to invest either time or money (or both!) to the different areas of your life. Keep you learning, growing and stimulated to live a life full of passion, purpose, joy and fulfilment.

Are You Financially Healthy?

Do you feel overwhelmed when it comes to your finances? Don’t know if your income is enough to cover all of your outgoing costs? Do you check your balance on the regular, or are you more of an ‘avoid checking at all costs’ type of person? These questions are a good starting point when it comes to determining if you are what we call ‘financially healthy’.

And don’t worry, if your answers aren’t what you would like them to be (e.g. you have no idea if your earnings actually cover your outgoing costs) then now is the perfect time to start your journey to becoming financially healthy!

Being in control of your finances (or not) can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. Struggling to pay your bills or wondering how you are going to pay for your outgoings can be hugely stressful and will more often than not start to impact other areas of your life.

It can be quite overwhelming and seem daunting to start this journey, but we promise you – it is so worth it! Your future self will thank you for it and the feeling of being in control of your finances is amazing – the freedom!

We’ve tried to simplify this for you with our ‘checklist’ below of signs your are in control.

Checklist to see if you are financially healthy

(and most important!) You regularly check your finances

This could be as simple as checking your account balances regularly or it could be creating a budget and checking this budget is working on a monthly basis – has your insurances increased? Have you got a new regular payment that you haven’t included in your budget?

You spend less than you earn (income is more than your outgoings)

Or at least have sat down and looked at your incomings vs outgoings, and have a plan of attack to reach your goal of spending less than you earn. Its just like the saying “What goes up most come down”, what goes out must be coming in in the first place! Quite simply, if you are living beyond your means then you will really struggle to get ahead.

You have an emergency fund for unexpected costs

We all know that unexpected costs can occur such as new tyres on the car, your pet got sick and you now have a vet bill to pay for, but a lot of people haven’t allowed for these costs and find themselves in a difficult situation when it comes time to pay that bill. Having a separate account that you put a weekly/fortnightly/monthly amount into will help to ease that pressure when the unexpected happens.

You think about your future & have goals

Having grand ideas of going on that yearly holiday, or buying a first/new home is all good and well but if you don’t have the plan behind it, actually achieving it can often seem out of reach. Sit down and think about what it is you are wanting to achieve, how much it is going to cost and when you would like to achieve it is the first step and work backwords from there. For example, if you would like to go on a holiday in one years time and its going to cost $2,000 then that would mean $39/w savings. Ask yourself – is that affordable? If it is – great! Start saving! If its not, then re-evaluate the goal and adjust it to suit. The holiday may happen in 18 months rather than one year, or the holiday may be smaller / closer / more budget friendly.

You’re debt free (or have a plan to become debt free)

Remembering there is ‘good debt’ (for example, a student loan, or a mortgage) and ‘bad debt’ (hire purchases, after pays, credit cards) – the bad debt can really hinder your chances of getting ahead. Its short term and high interest. Check out our blog about short term debt here.

You’re committed to growing

“Noone is perfect and everyone makes mistakes”, now repeat that! As long as you are willing to learn and grow then we think you will nail it. Own your mistakes and learn from them (a mistake isn’t a mistake if its repeated!). Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is bound to be someone you know who is, or has been in the same position you and sharing your ideas can help you move in the direction you need to be.

So just remember, you don’t have to be on a high income to be financially healthy. If you can tick off the above checklist your level of income becomes irrelevant – and your physical, mental and therefore overall wellbeing will undoubtedly improve.

Who is Femme Finance?

Welcome to Femme Finance! We are Emma & Amy and we’re excited to be here to talk to you about all things finance, lifestyle and mindset.

Meet Emma and Amy, the faces behind Femme Finance

We’re both financial advisors and have a passion for finance – so this is what you’d call our passion project. We are not here to give you personalised advice but we are here to get more people being mindful and aware of how their habits, behaviours and mindset impact on their finances and lifestyle – getting those conversations happening and encouraging people to really take control in these areas is our goal.

Now colleagues, friends and by pure coincidence neighbours, Amy and Emma met in a client / advisor capacity when Amy wanted to purchase her first home. Emma assisted with the finance and Amy, who at that stage worked in the world of accounting, decided it was time for a changes and pursued a career in financial advice. Given our differences in ages and stages of life and our shared passion for finance, we’ve always got plenty to talk about so join us for a cuppa (or gin!) and a chat! 

A little bit about Amy 

  • 22 years old and a qualified financial advisor and money coach
  • Engaged to my partner Tom and together we also have two fur babies Pepper and Winston (Miniature schnauzers)
  • Moved to the Hawkes Bay, NZ 5 years ago from Palmerston North for Tom to pursue his passion of horticulture
  • We bought our first house 8 months ago and are loving the home owner life! 

A little bit about Emma

  • In her early 40’s, I’m a financial advisor and a qualified life coach
  • Married to the wonderful Glenn and we have a lovely 14 year old son who is our one and only baby
  • Has just added a four legged baby to our family too – his name is Frank, he’s the most adorable Airedale Terrier
  • Originally from Perth, Australia but left in 2010 when our family moved to Vientiane, Laos in South East Asia, before moving permanently to NZ almost 5 years ago.
  • We decided to live in Hawkes Bay, NZ and are currently in the process of building our forever home!

What made you become and an Advisor & what do you love about it?  

“I have been interested in finance from a young age saving for my first house since I was 15. In 2019 I was working for an accounting firm however, after purchasing our first home through Emma, this made me think more about the finance industry and the other options that were available. After learning what an advisor does, I decided this was more the path I was wanting to head down. I love being an advisor as I love helping people to make their dreams come true, being able to help people from the very beginning through to the actual purchase, and being able to share my knowledge about how we got there with other young people.

Amy Walker

“I’ve always loved property and I bought my first home with my sister when I was 19 so doing something in the property space made a lot of sense. In Australia I worked for big corporates as a Project & Facilities Manager, so when I moved to provincial NZ, I wasn’t too sure what I would do. I then had the chance to study and train as an Advisor and I ended up specialising in finance (lending) to assist others to achieve their property dreams. Everyday I work with people who are looking at either purchasing their first home, upgrading or are looking to purchase an investment property and it’s so rewarding to be part of the process. People aren’t always ready or aren’t aware of their options and as an Advisor, I can assist them with looking at multiple options and make plans for the future.

Emma Hall

What made you both want to start Femme Finance?  

Together, we both have a passion for finance and lifestyle and we want to be able to start conversations and help people. Both from our experiences and what we know from being in the financial advice industry. As Financial Advisors, we typically specialise in one (or a couple) of specific areas of finance, so just like everyone, there is plenty for the two of us to learn! There are so many perspectives and viewpoints but, working with our clients on a daily basis, we have a lot of exposure to different ways of managing finances and how to make yourself financially healthy – even with just the smallest changes! Although Femme Finance is not “advice”, this space will be about different viewpoints, experiences and knowledge that we can share with you all.