I read two excellent articles in the NZ Herald on Saturday.

The first by Diana Clement, their “Real Money” columnist, “Plastic Surgery: Clever Ways to Use a Card”,  demonstrates how “…Credit cards can be rewarding if you know how to use them wisely and receive more in rewards points than you spend on the fee”. As usual Diana gives excellent advice and I recommend you read the article.

However today, I am going to focus on the other one, by Nicky Pellegrino, an Auckland novelist and journalist. “Change your attitude and keep the weight off”, is, as you might have guessed, about dieting or not!! In it Ms Pellegrino, explains how she lost more than 10kg and kept it off by changing her attitude to food and how she ate.
Firstly, she identified what was wrong with the way she ate, which for her was “…. a ruinous love of the starchy carbohydrate. Great bowls of silky risotto, comforting pasta dishes, mashed potatoes and bread on the side were what stood between me and a healthy weight.” So she changed her way of eating and ate more vegetables etc and limited her carbohydrates. She didn’t give them up completely.

Now I am not giving advice on nutrition and dieting here, but I was amazed at how the advice she was giving could also be adapted and be equally effective for spending and getting out of debt.

I often tell my clients that there are many similarities between food and “dieting” and money and “budgeting”. Firstly, whilst if you have a problem with alcohol, cigarettes or drugs, you can give them up and never have to deal with them again. This is not so with money and food…we will always have to use them, so we need to change how we do that. The other one I use often and it is the language we use. Just as “food plan” sounds better than diet, I use the term “spending plan” rather than budget. I always heard deprivation when anyone suggested I needed to be on a budget; spending plan denotes more choice somehow!

One of the things Ms Pellegrino said, was that as she wasn’t feeling deprived or hungry she could stay with it and gradually lose the weight. This is something I stress with my clients; it is important that we don’t feel deprived when we are trying to change our spending habits or eliminate our debt, as that will almost always lead to a blowout, ruining all the good work you have done. It is far better to allow for treats and the things that nurture us, and make slower progress, than to face the blowout and give up all together!

So, if you are trying to save money, make sure that you make a realistic spending plan which allows for the occasional treat and some fun, so that it can be sustained over time, rather than putting yourself on a starvation diet and blowing it after a week or two!

As always I would love to hear your comments. Have you been successful at sustained weightloss or saving?

Have a wonderful week and remember “All things in moderation”!!!

Big hugs,


I don’t know how many of you have been on a diet… but my guess a few of you have. Does the word diet turn you off….make you think of all the foods and sweet treats you’ll be missing out on?

I know it did me and now when I’m trying to lose weight (like right at this moment) I never talk about being on a diet. It just triggers something negative in my brain and makes me think ……deprivation.

It’s very similar for a lot of people who are working through issues with money.

When my friends used to ask me if I had a budget, or worse, tell me that I should be on one, it would just make something crawl up my spine!  My brain would immediately hear deprivation and I would almost panic. It would almost make me want to go out and spend……like a child doing the opposite of what was asked.

Now I am a woman of at least average intellect, and I could write a budget for myself, no problems. What I couldn’t do was stick to it.

I now understand that, at least partially, that was because I didn’t understand what was behind my need to spend to the limit of my credit. I now have a whole lot of insight and instead of shopping (the impulses will still come up), I understand that I need something emotionally rather than materially and attend to those needs. I learned this from my Financial RecoverySM counselling and my work with the MoneyAutobiography®.

With these programmes I now teach people to work with spending plans not budgets. The difference is that you plan your spending, rather than planning to budget/restrict. It may be semantics but for those of us with an issue with overspending or a shopping addiction, it works. It places the choice in our hands, and allows us to make decisions about our spending and if need-be adjust our spending as we go through the month.

It’s powerful.