If you want to make positive financial changes, keep a spending diary.
That was the advice from experts at this week’s Commission for Financial Capability Summit, held in Auckland.
Those attending include people from government sectors, community groups, and education representatives. During Monday’s session, researchers spoke of the power of survey participants, often who were on low incomes, keeping a spending diary.
This allows them to track how much they are spending on certain items, which they previously might not have given a second thought about.
“They didn’t realise how much they were wasting,” Dr Pushpa Wood, of Massey University, says, of the people involved in her research.
But Dr Wood says it was about people coming to their own realisations, not being told what spending was good or bad.
Diaries were an effective tool, as people had to be honest with themselves.
“They are accountable”, Dr Wood says.
Some people could spend hundreds of dollars on coffee, but they were happy with spending that amount.
“But if you’re not happy, and it’s impacting, let’s talk,” Dr Wood says.
“What, if any, changes are you going to make? That’s the question,” she says.
Another researcher using spending diaries was Associate Professor Carla Houkamau, from the University of Auckland.
She is researching the attitudes of Maori to money management, wealth, and saving, where participants use diaries to track their financial habits for 14 weeks.
The research, due out soon, also gets participants to track how they’re feeling about money, using different kind of picture emoticons.
The summit continues this week.
First published 12 June, 2018
Story by Claire Connell
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