Change your money habits by learning more about WHY you spend the way you do, and what smart changes you can make to feel good about your bank balance.

Learn about your money personality and how that affects your approach to spending. Once you understand why you spend the way you do, look at the habits you hold, and what smart changes you can make to end up better off.

This material was developed for the workshop “Understanding Money Habits”, delivered at the Unleash Space on Saturday, 17 August 2019.  The resources have been adapted for you to use independently. Follow FutureMakers to see when this workshop will be held again.

So what IS your money personality?

Money being a taboo subject in many family, work and social spaces makes it a hard topic to learn about.

To understand how you feel about money, first of all, how do you feel when you hear the word MONEY?

  1. I feel good!
  2. It makes me evoke judgements
  3. Makes me want to stick my head in the sand

Now, to get a better understanding of your money personality, take the University’s quiz here:

The University of Auckland’s money guide

This University page has helpful money advice and tools for students including a budget template and tips for money management while studying:

A more comprehensive money personality quiz is available on Sorted, which offers New Zealanders free information and calculators to assist people to understand and manage money. You will find the money personality quiz under “tools”.


Your Money Story Questionnaire

Why do I behave in the way that I do with money?

We all have lots of conditioning on board about what money is and what it isn’t, and what the presence or absence of money may or may not do in our lives. Generally money is a very emotionally loaded subject and we all have very strong beliefs about it. Our beliefs come out of our upbringing and our cultural and social conditioning. It is our beliefs about money that get in the way of making and managing money well.

Our conditioning is largely invisible and yet it has a huge influence on the way we operate. When the influences on your money behaviour are brought out into the open you are able to make choices that will better support the kind of relationship you want with money.

Answer the following questions as a way of revealing your conditioned relationship to money.

These questions are also included in the printable workshop handout, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

1. What was your family’s money situation, when you were young?

2. Did you learn about money? How did you learn about money? What did you learn?

3. What did your mother tell you verbally or non-verbally about money?

4. What did your father tell you verbally or non-verbally about money?

5. Was money talked about in your family when you were growing up? Were you included in money conversations?

6. Did you get pocket money as a child? In this respect were you the same or different to your friends? How did you feel about this?

7. Were you trusted with money as you were growing up?

8. Can you remember your first purchase with money of your own? What was it? How old were you? How did it feel?

9. Can you remember the first time you got paid in an employment situation? How much did you get? What did you do with it? How did you feel?

10. What have you done with money that makes you feel bad?

11. What have you done with money that makes you feel good?

12. What is your attitude towards people who have a lot of money?

13. What is your attitude towards people with very little money?

14. If money were a person, how would you describe your relationship with them?

15. What position do you want to be in with money in ten years time?

16. How do you imagine others describe your relationship to money?

17. How do you feel when you are paying bills?

When you have finished, look at your money story and see what patterns and themes exist. For example, themes of scarcity, recklessness, frugalness, hoarding, easy come easy go, money magnet etc.

Are you repeating your parent’s relationship with money?

The bottom line is that money is a neutral form of exchange. It is our attitudes and relationship to it that makes it anything more or less than that.

Your Money Diary

One of the very common situations when you don’t understand money or feel your money situation is not as good as you would like it to be, is to put your head in the sand and ignore things. To develop financial literacy you must do the exact opposite even if it makes you feel very uncomfortable. Look your money circumstances fair and square in the eye. Those feelings of discomfort can’t hurt you but ignoring your money reality can. Only by taking an honest account of your money reality can you see what is required to make change.

Your takeaway challenge is to keep a money diary for one month.

Choose a method that best suits you from the list below and write down all your expenditures.

  • Use a notebook that is easy to carry in your handbag or pocket
  • Use the note section on your phone
  • Use a money tracker app
  • Use eft-pos for every transaction and then use your bank statement as the diary
  • Gather receipts for every transaction and write up your expenditure at the end of each day.

Also record all money received during the month.

This exercise reveals where and how your money flows and knowing that can be truly enlightening.

It will also give you information for compiling your personal budget and plugging any money drains.

Creating a budget

Now that you understand your money habits, and what happens with your money over a month, you have all the information you need to set a reasonable budget that suits your lifestyle and goals.

There are numerous templates online, here are two sources to get you started:

Download the University’s budgeting spreadsheet, from this page 

Check out the free online budgeting tool from

Related Links

You Can’t Afford to Be Funny About Money

Felicia C. Sullivan writes on Medium about how educating yourself and uncovering the hidden taboos about money is empowering. –

Keeping Up with the KiwiSavers: How the saving scheme can make you rich

Insights from Martin Hawes for The Spinoff on what makes a KiwiSaver Millionaire, and why we will soon see more of them.

Teaching Resources

Download the Facilitation Plan for this workshop:

Printable handout for this workshop:

Want more?

Workshop 2 in the Money series, “Understanding Debt” was held on 31 August, you can access the resources from it here.