My Money Sorted is our series exploring people's experiences with money and how they get Sorted. Our web specialist, Morgan, shared how she and her husband keep their money sorted, despite many recent changes and challenges to work through. Not only did they relocate from Wellington to Auckland, they had their first child, dropping to one income while Morgan was on parental leave. On top of that, her husband started his business just before COVID-19 struck.  

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

Don’t spend it if you don’t have it. I didn’t always follow this advice though. In my first year of marriage we got a credit card and it was a disaster for us – taking around two years to pay off.

Now, I personally steer clear of layby, credit cards or anything I need to pay off over time. The mental stress and worry of having debt hanging over me just isn’t worth it. For the last few years, we’ve made sure we’ve had an emergency fund which we use to pay for any unexpected expenses that come up.

Are you a spender or a saver?

For the most part I am a saver, and I am quite risk averse when it comes to spending money. My husband is a spender and a lot more comfortable with taking financial risks.

So it’s taken us a couple of years to find the middle ground between both ends of the spectrum, but I think we balance each other out well. I’ve helped him with saving – in fact at our wedding, his mum even mentioned in her speech how she appreciated me teaching him how to budget! And he has helped me learn how to enjoy spending and taking a few more risks.

How have you managed money differences in your relationship?

Going on parental leave was what got us on the same page with spending vs saving. Having our first child and dropping to one income was stressful at times and forced us to have lots of honest finance chats.

There are lots of purchases to make and it’s a whole new world (with some very clever targeted marketing). It can be overwhelming trying to figure out how much to spend on certain items, what to borrow or get  second hand, and how much we would need day to day once the baby was born.

But we managed to save up a little bit before I finished work and we were able to stretch out my parental leave to almost 10 months. This helped us to learn to work more as a team when it came to our finances.

How do you save?

We have an account for each thing we are saving for. The bank always comments about how many accounts we have! We have a mix of short-term and long-term saving goals.

Then we make sure that we get the money in to our savings accounts as soon as we are paid.

Having savings goals for tangible things we are looking forward to keeps us motivated every fortnight – like a big birthday celebration that is coming up in July or saving a deposit so we can hopefully buy a house one day.

What does living Sorted mean for you when it comes to money? 

Having a good budget and a plan of how to stick to it. My husband has been self-employed for just over a year, so the amount he is paid, and when he is paid, can be quite random. It has been really challenging figuring out how to do a budget with that.

A couple of months ago we figured out a way that works for us, and it has definitely helped us feel more ‘Sorted’. My husband now pays himself a ‘salary’ every fortnight. We worked out a doable amount for him so that he is able to pay himself the same amount regularly.

Some months he might earn more or less than that amount, but it tends to balance out over time. If he is paid more, he keeps the extra in his business account so it balances out the months where he has been paid less.

What were you taught about money?

I was taught that money shouldn’t be talked about! It is a lot more acceptable now to discuss money and finances than it was when I was growing up.

Not having those conversations at home or at school (that I remember) made for a steep learning curve when I left home. My husband and I will definitely talk to our daughter about money and budgeting.

And I'm excited to know that she'll have resources from Sorted in Schools when she’s older!

When you think about your retirement, what do you see?

To be honest I hadn’t thought much about my retirement before I started working at Sorted – it felt so far away.

Especially being busy with a young family, it wasn’t really something that was front of mind. We are just beginning our journey with making a savings plan for our retirement.

I imagine the two of us being wrinkly and grey, hopefully enjoying a few holidays and cocktails in the sun, having enough in the bank that we don’t have to worry about our day-to-day expenses, and being able to treat our family when we want to.

Comment (1)

Gravatar for Melanie


10:07am | 18 Jul 2021

It sounds like you both have healthy money conversations and have overcome lots of challenges externally (parental leave, new business) and internally (attitude towards money) to get sorted financially, well done!