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Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Removal of Wisdom – a great tip and another chance to win a prize.

I’m just back from sick leave after having my wisdom teeth removed (how brave am I showing you a photo – you have to give me points for good sportsmanship????). After putting the surgery off for more than ten years it turned out to be much ado about nothing.

Ok, so that’s two gratuitous literary references already, clearly I’m feeling the need to remind you of my History and English Literature background. I must be feeling insecure.

Actually, there is a reason, but you’ll need to follow my strange logic for a bit. When I had my teeth removed, a few of my friends made references to the Henry Handel Richardson novel, “The Getting of Wisdom.” It boasts possibly one of the best character names in history - Laura Tweedle Rambotham.

One of the themes of the book is “loss of innocence”. Remember when you were young and you didn’t have to even think about money? I can still recall at the age of 10 sitting with my girlfriends in the playground as we listed all the things we’d buy if only we had $100. If I could go back in time, I’d sure be able to burst 10 year old self’s bubble about how much she can actually get with $100…

Money begets choice, but it also brings with it much responsibility, stress, and yes, loss of innocence. And it can all get so complicated and overwhelming at times, that we can easily forget about the more simple money strategies that can make a big difference.

Being a Financial Planner and living with the world’s best Accountant (apologies to my dad, brother, uncle, and esteemed work colleagues) one thing I do well is budgeting. Don’t get me wrong, I like to spend as much as the next woman. In fact I’m currently trying to convince Mick that spending $200+ on a pair of Burberry gumboots is not a waste of money (if you’re male you just went “WHAAAAT?!!”, and if you’re female you just smiled and thought “wouldn’t that be lovely”). But I can save and I can budget. For the record I’m not winning the gumboot argument.

I’m often surprised when I discuss budgeting with my friends and clients, to learn that most people don’t actually have a weekly household budget. You know, the money you allocate to groceries, eating out, alcohol, petrol, dry-cleaning, getting your nails/hair done etc. This is one of the most simple budgeting tips and best of all – it really works.

Every Thursday, we take out a set amount to last us for the week, and for the most part we stick to it. Of course there are times when we have to go over the budget, but it’s a conscious decision and at least we know we’re doing it. Knowing what you’re spending is a critical element of any budget and that can’t always be achieved by handing over the plastic every time we make a purchase. On the other hand, opening the wallet/purse and seeing exactly how much cash you have for the rest of the week makes a huge difference to your decision making.

Do yourself a favour and don’t get so bogged down with the complicated money “stuff”. Take my simple tip and put it into practice. All you need to do is determine a realistic amount that you need to spend each week to meet those expenses, and that’s the amount to take out. It may take a bit of getting used to, but after a few months or so you won’t look back.

So there ya go, I still have my wisdom, and even some innocence. Now, if I can just get rid of these gaping holes in my gums….

Your chance to win – I’m currently compiling a list of budgeting tips for a paper I’m writing. Could you please send me any tips you have that I can include? You will receive full credit in my paper, and the best tip wins a bottle of wine (and for the record, it’s nice wine).

All you need to do is enter your tip in the comments section below, or email it to me at

Congrats Steve (Kernohan), a bottle of wine is on its way to you for your Fifth Element quote - "Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all for conversation, but maybe you could just shut up for a moment?" Extremely apt, given my recent experience where I had no option (refer to photo).

Talk soon,

1 comment:

  1. I’ve done a bit of reading recently and found an interesting way of cutting back in unnecessary purchases. Basically when you are faced with something you want to buy you first have to decide if the item is one of four things. It either has to add joy, beauty, meaning or usefulness to your life. The next thing I do (because sometimes ‘Joy’ will win out on its own and its not always the best reason) is I consider the life of the item I am considering purchasing.

    An example from “My Monastery is a Minivan,” by Denise Roy that I was reading a review about recently. In it Roy thinks she needs new candleholders. First she imagines spending time shopping to find them, followed by having to clean them, and then, years down the road, packing them in the giveaway box. She shirks the purchase, which is just as well because she soon rediscovers the heirloom candleholders that are packed away right in her own home. This idea can even be used in reverse, think about what you bought last season, or what you might have in storage.