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Money matters

Student welfare has remained a talking point for most of 2017. With this in mind, Massive Magazine sat down with Doctor Pushpa Wood, director of the financial education and research centre on Massey’s Wellington campus. With her wealth of knowledge around money, Wood shared some insight into how students can best manage their money, especially with Christmas and summer break around the corner. “My philosophy is making money my slave rather than being a slave to money,” Wood says. “You need to learn how to make money work for you rather than letting money rule your life.”

Ways to be smart with money

Knowing where your money is going

Wood says it is important to have a tool – whether it is paper based or an app – to track where your money is being spent. She says by tracking your money you can really see where it is going. “You would be surprised how $2 here and $3 there can all add up.”

Have a plan

“Give every single dollar a job, whether it is to spend or save it, whatever it may be,” Wood says. She says budgeting is the key when trying to manage your money. Once you have made a plan, don’t feel like you’re locked into it. Every plan needs to be reviewed and readjusted.”

Have something stashed away for a rainy day

Wood says you don’t need to save hundreds of dollars to be good at saving. “The key thing is getting into a habit,” she says. She says it is also a good idea to look at ways you can save. Instead of buying lunch, bring it from home, car pool with your friends or flatmates and if there is something you want to buy, make sure you save up for it if possible.

“Nothing comes for free”

Wood says it is extremely important to understand the pitfalls of borrowing money. “Be aware of who you’re borrowing from,” she says. “Are you able to repay it within the limit that is set by the lender?” Often taking your time to pay back sums of money on your credit card for example paying only minimum each month, comes with hefty fees/interest, so it is always better to pay back in full.

Differentiate between a need and a want

“You may think you need to go out because all your friends are,” Wood says. “But is it really a need?” She says it is important to make smart decisions between things that are necessary and things that you want. Having food for the week is a need, but that new iPhone might not be…

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