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A ceremonial waste of money; Banking on the women's card; Getting paid what you want; Credit card cheque your head policies; Credit rating overrating

Personal Finance
A ceremonial waste of money; Banking on the women's card; Getting paid what you want; Credit card cheque your head policies; Credit rating overrating

By Amanda Morrall

1) Wedding waste

It's a good thing we don't have many female readers on our site because I'd get panned for uttering the following: Weddings are a waste of money.

I don't know what the average costs is in NZ (a couple of bridal websites speculate it is NZ$30,000) but in the U.K. it's £18,500. According to this yarn by Guardian Money, over '50s asked for their financial advice for younger generations propose cutting the wedding budget in half. They also suggest having fewer kids and not to fritter money away on consumer junk. Sensible advice I reckon. I must be getting old and crotchety. Better backyard wedded bliss than a lifetime of debt and divorce. (Eds. My wife and I married for less than NZ$5k. Made our own clothes. Picked own flowers and played own music).

2) "Hey Ladies!"

There's a fabulous Beastie Boys song from the Paul's Boutique album called "Hey Ladies" which might well serve as the theme song for Westpac Australia's new ad campaign.

In recognition of the fact that women make up a vast and profitable chunk of the economic food chain, the bank has decided to pursue them unabashedly.

One of the first ads off the production line will focus on superannuation, highlighting the fact that 50% of women don't know how much is in their super and worse that 4/5 retire without one.

The bank has even dedicated a position to corner the market for women. Larke Riemer, Westpac's director of women's market, said the bank "had to recognise women's needs and speak to them the way they wanted to be spoken to." (Read the full details on this story from the Sydney Morning Herald).

Westpac NZ has no immediate plans to follow suit.

Gai McGrath, GM of retail banking characterised support for women in New Zealand as "below the line" i.e. through women's business networking functions and support of organisations like Global Women's Network. She said the bank would be building on that approach through money management seminars and sessions aimed at creating and maintaining long-term wealth.

The BB video is below. Walk this way...

3) Get paid what you want

I still remember one of the first jobs I took in journalism. My timing was impeccable. The newsroom was about to go on strike, the managing editor called me into his office and asked me point blank what I was going to do and whether he could count on me to work or not? I was green, young and totally taken aback. What was I supposed to say? Niet comrade, I march tonight.

This fellow eventually got his comeuppance for violating every rule in the good labour relationship handbook.

Hindsight is 20/20 and looking back over my career, I wished I'd done a number of things differently, salary negotiations included. Women are notoriously bad at this.

Here's with some tips on how to get paid what you want.

4) Check your head before you write a credit card cheque

Because I've avoided the credit market here in NZ like the plague, I've largely avoided being assailed by their marketing campaigns aimed at getting me to borrow beyond my means. Five years ago when I was living in Canada, my letter box was jammed with credit card offers of all manner and the phone calls from telemarketers selling this that and the other thing were unrelenting. It's become so bad there that most of the people I know have those spy-phones so they can avoid being harassed by predatory loan sharks.

I was reminded of it all after reading this column by the Globe and Mail's personal finance editor pointing out the risk of credit card cheques and the how consumers invariably get hosed by this facility. What struck me most about the article was the tone of it...the "we're not going to take it anymore'' attitude, in your face approach.

Banks would do well to heed the message from the streets and increasingly the mainstream financial media that has finally awoken from a very long slumber.

Credit card cheques aren't available in New Zealand. Let's hope they don't make it here.

5) Credit rating overrating

In a similar vein, here's another by challenging the idea as good little consumers we all need to have credit cards as without them we wouldn't have a decent credit rating.

I must admit that I've had it in the back of my head that I could be causing myself trouble down the road by not having one as I won't have any credit rating in New Zealand.

Fortunately, the new positive credit rating system that New Zealand is shifting toward will factor in other financial behaviours, like prompt payment of rent, phone and utilities bills etc so the banks will have to take on board factors other than card management when judging your worthiness as a potential borrower.

This article I wrote earlier explains what's coming down the pipes and also details how you can check your own credit rating for free.

Happy weekend.

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Re 1) In hindsight I totally agree with wedding costs.  In this era where the bride and groom are meeting alot of the costs themselves it's over the top.  Where the parents meet the costs well it's up to them if they can afford it or not.  Watch out for going the whole 'hog' just to please the parents if you are paying for it yourself - don't forget you are probably still paying off your student loan and you'll have mortgage soon enough. Go easy on yourselves. 

2) Westpac ladies - great targetting!  The sorted ads got me and now I'm Kiwisaver 8% - got a bit freaked out with what I would need to survive in later years!

3) The boss does NOT have your interests at heart he is going to try the lowest $ possible.  Do your homework and remember the golden rule go in high and negotiate.  I'm well aware this is tricky stuff for many of us especially women.  If the company policy is inflation rates increase look at bonuses based upon your area.

Great articles Amanda.  thanks


Nice to hear from some fresh voices on this site. Good tip re #3. I like the idea of a bonus! We used to get them at one of the papers I worked at. They were distributed at x-mas in an enveloped (based on years of service) with a strong rum laced egg/nogg. Much better than my last employer (who was good in other ways) once gifted month-old unsold copies of a magazine they published. It was cheaper than recycling them apparently.






Having just been married this is where you can on save costs.

Photographer  - someone must have a friend with a good camera.

Dj-Band - as above surely someone has heaps of tunes on a ipod or laptop or some idea how to sort a song list. Hire your own sound system, lights and play your own music.

Food & catering - stag do was a fishing trip where we got enough crayfish and groper to feed 100. (needed to get a caterer in to prepare it, but we provided the food)

Use a venue which allows you to bring your own booze. (this is where you can save alot)

3rd and Final...............Marry a wife who isn't tooo fussy!


More good tips...cheers. Best wedding I attended was in a forest....was awesome. I like the idea of bartering services amongst friends or the mate's rates things. Open bars are a recipe for an expensive and ugly disaster...for the couple. Great if you're a guest who wants to be entertained though..

Was at one in Siberia where the groom (after drinking his way through a bottle of vodka - drunk from the bride's stilletos) went wild and punched out one of the groomsmen. Just another Saturday night in Kogalym. 


Actually there are some brides out there who agree with you about the crazy cost of weddings. There's a growing movement for sensible weddings, with blogs like or (a kiwi one). It just hasn't gone mainstream yet - it's getting there though!


I refuse to marry my boyfriend because weddings bore me senseless, the thought of organising one makes me break out in hives, and there's no way I'm paying good money for that kind of hellish experience.  If we have to make it legal, then my vote is for some minimal way that only takes a couple of minutes and no dressing up.  Anything more involved than that and I'll get bored and wander off.


"...If we have to make it legal, then my vote is for some minimal way that only takes a couple of minutes and no dressing up.  Anything more involved than that and I'll get bored and wander off."

That made tea escape through my nose and an unseemly splatter on my screen, thank you.  Possibly the least romantic thing ever written.

The only money-saving advice I would offer is the notion of both parents, if available, paying for at least some of it.   Often the ceremony is for the benefit of other people, rather than the couple themselves.




Hahaha.  Yeah.  I had another major romance fail when he asked if I liked diamonds, and the without-thinking honest answer was 'yes, if it's one of those knives for cutting glass'.

At least I'm low-maintenance.


1. No sh*t, Sherlock. We know. We men have always known. Sometimes we've tried to explain this to you women, but getting past "Queen for a Day!" and "It's the most important day in a girl's life!!!!!!!!!11" syndromes is well-nigh impossible. So it's easier to just sob inwardly as we kiss that hard-earned money goodbye as it's squandered.

2. Japanese women have controlled the domestic finances - and by extension the national economy - since before the Shogun era. Money management at any level below High Finance is viewed as unmanly, and a woman's work. That's why the Japanese savings levels were so high: because men weren't blowing every Yen they earned on cars, booze, cigarettes, Pachinko, and other essentials. Instead, their wives gave them an allowance, which the men blew on cars, booze, cigarettes, Pachinko, and other essentials. (Weddings are excluded from this point, of course.)

3. Everyone else knew what to do from they day they were born. Or not. Welcome to the world, tovarich.

4. We used to care about those who "got hosed" in these various Scams for Morons, but not now: If you can't figure out when you're voluntarily committing financial seppuku, don't come whining to the rest of us afterwards.

5. In NZ there is no such thing as a good credit rating. It's like with insurance companies: they'll always find (or concoct) an excuse to say "no", even when they should be saying "yes".



If you want to insult me, be a "real man" about it and don't hide beyond an alias pretending you're the Wizard of Oz, or rather NZ.




Geez harden up! That looked like a pretty mild kind of rant for this place and it was nothing compared to most of the stuff you see here. Amanda you wanted to play with the big boys but apparently you expect to be treated as if you are not playing with the big boys.



Can you leave the snark out of future comments? It's just no fun and lowers the tone around here.

If you've got something to say, imagine you were having a chat with someone who had just bought you a beer or a coffee.

We can all have a good, rowdy debate, but this contribution just leaves a sour taste in everyone's mouth.

Please rein it in. Next time is a red card.




"(Eds. My wife and I married for less than NZ$5k. Made our own clothes. Picked own flowers and played own music)."

Hehehe....I gave my wife the choice of 15nights in the cook islands and getting married on the beach, or a formal wedding.....we took the cook islands......licence $35, fee to justice fo the Peace $100, head flowers $60.....chose our Wednesday night as that was barbie night (fresh local fish, yum)   and had a great time with the locals and other holiday makers.....about $6~6.5k.....had a great time....




$1800 BYO wedding for 150 in backyard.  Wore black (not entirely because I was giving up my freedom :-) ) but so I could at least re-use the dress.

Spent $10,000 getting 2 years marriage councelling a few years later. 

Still... been married now for 14 years... so saved us halving everything!