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I’d like to get better with money. Where do I start?


Reading time: 5 minutes

Being onto it with money is really important. It will help you establish control over where you want to head in life, providing you with a sense of tino rangatiratanga. When you feel like you’re in control of your money, you can make smart decisions for yourself and for your whānau.

As we learn about and get better with pūtea, this knowledge will further enable us to manaaki our people.

Ask yourself…

  • How much money do you have coming in each week?
  • Do you know where that money is going?
  • Are you spending more than is coming in?
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I’d like to get better with money. Where do I start?

Being onto it with money is really important. It will help you establish control over where you want to head in life, providing you with a sense of tino rangatiratanga. When you feel like you’re in control of your money, you can make smart decisions for yourself and for your whānau.

As we learn about and get better with pūtea, this knowledge will further enable us to manaaki our people.

Ask yourself…

  • How much money do you have coming in each week?
  • Do you know where that money is going?
  • Are you spending more than is coming in?

What do wise pūtea decisions look like? There are a few tips and tricks we’ve put together that we think can really help when you are starting out on your pūtea journey.

Have a kōrero with someone who is really onto it with money

There’s usually somebody in our whānau who just seems really switched on when it comes to all things pūtea. They always seem to know what to do when things get tricky financially, and if we think about their journey over time with pūtea, it seems like they make wise decisions.

Having a kōrero with them kanohi ki te kanohi is a really good place to start. Ask them:

  • How do they think about money?
  • How did they learn to understand it?
  • What did they do when they had a bit of a financial wobble?

Don’t be whakamā about this kōrero. We think you’ll find people are really willing to help their friends and whānau get ahead.

The more you talk about it, the less difficult it will seem. Learn more tips about having a kōrero about pūtea.

When I get paid, I always put money away to work towards my goal. At the moment I want to save $3k. Then I split the rest up into things I need to buy and then things I might want from time to time. “Since I’ve started to get paid, I’ve tried to reach a goal. Each week I work out how much I need to put away to reach my goal by a certain date.

Mareikura, 20

Figure out where your money goes to help make a plan

Have a think about how much money you have coming in each week. This is essentially what you earn. You need to get a good sense of where this money comes from, how much and how often, and then you need to think about all the things you spend it on each week.

We like to call this a mahere pūtea. See how you can make a plan.

Dream up what you want to save up for

Often we think about what we are going to do with any moni we have left over, but it’s more helpful to think about how moni can help us reach our goals.

Think about these goals in terms of something that we are keen to get now, or some of our longer-term dreams that might require a bit more pūtea in the future, like buying a house for whānau. If that’s something you dream of, here’s more about saving for a first home.

Buckets of moni can help you get sorted

Sometimes it’s really helpful to think about separating your moni into buckets.

  • A bucket for buying things you want now, like a new pair of shoes
  • A bucket for things that might cost a lot more money in the future, like going to university, a car, or buying a house
  • Another very important bucket that is only for emergencies, like when a car breaks down or somebody in your whānau gets sick
  • A bucket of moni set aside for giving, for things as simple as shouting your friend some kai, or providing a koha to a local kura 

Think about putting a little bit of money into each of these buckets each week. Each bucket will be a slightly different size, to represent the amount of money it holds.

Your emergency bucket doesn’t need to be very deep, but always try and keep it full. Your bucket for spending now is probably the one that gets filled up and emptied a lot. But try not to buy the thing you want until the bucket is full.

I save for the things I want. If I don’t have the money, I don’t buy it. Mereana, 22

Mereana, 22

The biggest, deepest bucket is the one for the long term. It doesn’t need to fill up as quickly as the other two, but ideally as we put a little bit of money into it every week, we see it slowly filling up. Learn more about tips and tricks to help you fill your buckets or save pūtea.

But you may have a look at how much moni is coming in and out and learn there is more going out than coming in. If you rely on borrowing to get by, debt can become a bit of a trap if you don’t know how to get out of it. Learn more about the ins and outs of debt.

6 steps to get sorted

Don’t know where to start? Our 6 steps will help you to take control of your money.

Head to the 6 steps
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