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My Money Sorted is our series exploring people's experiences with money and how they get Sorted. Courtney Manu was proudly born and raised in the Pacific, migrating to New Zealand for high school with her family. She is now married and has four of her own ragone (children) and lives in the Manawatu. Involved in governance and charity work, Courtney has been sharing her financial and motherhood journey on Instagram in the hope to normalise money talk amongst people, especially Pasifika.

What makes you feel Sorted with your money as Christmas and the holidays approach?

We plan well for Christmas now, as small business owners and parents we cannot afford to be unprepared for the Christmas season.

We do two things during the year to prepare us for the silly season;

  • We shop for Christmas presents all year. We spend the year looking for deals and using the small Christmas budget we have to buy presents before Christmas rolls around.
  • We have a Christmas club card that we put money on each week for spending money over December and January. With us closing the business down for Christmas it means we have extra money to cover everyday expenses rather than having to work.

What’s your top money-saving hack for Christmas?

Don’t buy things just because you want to show someone you love them. Think of kind acts you can do, things you can buy that they might need instead of useless items, or doing jobs for someone you love that include you both spending time together.

Christmas is not about the value of the items you are giving so my top Christmas money-saving hack is realising that your worth to someone else isn’t monetary but based on how you treat them, how much time you have for them and the effort you make.

Don’t try to keep up with the “jones” this year.

What's the best money advice you’ve been given?

Don’t buy something when you want it, wait a week and if you still want it, save, plan and wait for a sale if you can. When we want something and buy it, we are often filling an immediate gratification or void that we are emotionally experiencing. By waiting to buy the item we either forget about it and realise we didn’t need it, or find other ways to cope, maybe find it second hand? Or we wait for a sale and save money on the item, remember it is a want and not a need.

What money beliefs have you inherited from your whānau?

Both Sam (my husband) and I have come from backgrounds where our parents immigrated to New Zealand with very little. Our parents have taught us how to survive on the smell of an oily rag some may say, but it has also allowed us to be frugal and grateful for the items we have.

Coming from challenging backgrounds has also taught us that when you help others around you to succeed, you are blessed more, normally this is done in a financial way but for Sam and I we have adopted time as a form of currency and give our time and talents to others as opposed to a financial aspect.

With the increased cost of living, have you changed any habits or tightened your spending belt?

With the increased cost of living and OCR rising affecting us in both personal and business expenses we have made a few small changes that are helping us keep on top of our budgets.

Checking our expenses and tracking them weekly is the MOST important one, by doing this you can quickly cut costs and understand where your “money waste” could be.

Shopping our cupboard before we go to hastily buy something we probably have at the bottom of the freezer is always a quick easy win, you don’t realize how much you have until you look properly.

Try this challenge each month, spend only $50 for the week and use what you have to make the week work. It will help you understand how much you really have at home and how much time you have to make good food on a budget.

What’s your proudest money moment?

Understanding how to manage our money. We paid off all our consumer debt in 2019 and shared this journey quite publicly on Instagram, and while this felt like our proudest moment, it wasn’t the destination that we were most proud of!

We now see the learnings in how to manage our money as our proudest moment. It really is a lifestyle, managing money, it is no quick easy fix and you really need to be making time for your money each week.

What would your bank account say to you during the holidays?

Don’t forget your goals!

It is easy to forget and have fun over the holidays, but make sure that you either set automatic payments or pay your bills before you have fun! Your goals and essential expenses don’t stop over the silly season.

Comments (5)

Gravatar for Loga


6:54pm | 28 Feb 2023

Inspirational testimony

Gravatar for Wendy


10:09am | 8 Dec 2022

Really enjoyed and agreed with your blog. Well done paying off your consumer debt too.

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S Whittaker

3:26pm | 6 Dec 2022

Love your insight around time as a currency. This is something so frequently overlooked and yet is so beneficial and valuable - to the giver as well as the receiver.

Gravatar for Tash Werahiko

Tash Werahiko

9:30pm | 5 Dec 2022

So good! Love Watchung Courtney and Sams journey! So inspirational

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8:11pm | 5 Dec 2022

Great tips, thanks