Lock up your iPad; Willpower and money; Reprogramming your subconscious mind; Self-limiting beliefs; The 'mummy curse'; A cure for perpetual power shocks

By Amanda Morrall

1) "Freemium" risk

Call me lazy but I'm one of "those parents" who allows my children to fritter away their time on the computer or else the iPad when probably they should be doing homework or chores. On one hand the virtual babysitter allows me to get some work done. It's getting them to quit that's the problem as they have mastered the art of stretching "just five more minutes" into 20. They seem also to have developed a keen sense of knowing just how far to push the limits before triggering an ugly outburst, seizure and outright ban of all technology. I guess I should be thankful they haven't run up a $2,000 bill downloading virtual food or furnishings for their menagerie of dragons, as was the case for one hapless iPad toting parent  in the U.K. I can't say I haven't been warned.

The Telegraph offers some practical tips on how to avoid costly app bills run up by kids using your iPad.

2) Will power

Psychology plays no small part in personal finance. It's a mind control game as much as it is a number tracking exercise. Master the mind and you'll control the spending, and saving. Here's an interesting piece from Time magazine on how to to improve your will power.

3) Self limiting beliefs

I've read somewhere that being yourself is probably one of the worst things you can do for your career, if you are an aspirational sort of person. Apparently you'll get more firepower from being the person you wish to be instead. There may be some wisdom in this particularly for those dissatisfied with where they find themselves in life. This guest blog posted by getrichslowly.org discusses the "mummy curse" and its damning effect on your career.

4) Fear of success?

And more mind food: In the following interview Marie Forleo (she won't be everyone's cup of tea) talks to psychologist/writer/philospher Dr. Cathy Collautt about how to tap into the power of the subconscious mind and overcome mental traps holding you back from success.

5) Bill shock

So much for the whole power switching empowerment movement. The New Zealand Herald reports that household bills have surged by as much as $316 in some cases this year. Line companies and retailers are pointing fingers at one another. Powershop's Ari Sargent admits that consumers are pretty much powerless. Maybe some people will have to take cold showers and throw on another jersey. I'm sure we can all afford to cut back but let's face it, for those of us living in cold houses, rugging up is just cold comfort. A better long-term solution would seem to be either invest in power company shares (assuming SOE floats ever happen) or else invest in insulation and solar panels.

Even in India, where 400 million are off the grid, there are renewed calls to go solar.  Closer to home, Kiwibank is pitching loans to buy solar after teaming up with a Kiwi outfit called SolarCity which is hoping to popularise solar power through sales at the Warehouse. (Banking and finance editor Gareth Vaughan reports on the pairing  here).

To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall

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#5 the kiwibank/Solarcity/warehouse Great Solar Ripoff was pretty well discussed in an earlier thread.

That's not to say that solar power and solar hot water are bad idea's. On the contrary now is a great time to be hunting around for solar bargains due to a massive glut of cheap panels made in China (often below cost) and dumped onto the world market.

These days with the costs being so low it makes total sense to free yourself from the evil power companies that are about as competitive as the big four banks (and who would never collude which each other to maintain rip-off prices!). The whole scarce energy lets all go to efficient light bulbs line is a lie - energy is one of the few things this planet provides waaay more than enough of - to keep it limited and expensive is just a rort.

I had to deal with a certain power company when I stuck my place on the grid - a bigger bunch of cowboys you will never find than in the NZ power industry. I'll go back to wind and solar just to not have to deal with them ever again

3. Change is growth.
I think the blogger might have it back to front there.  Whilst all growth involves change not all change is growth - as anyone can tell by simply looking at my frost damaged lemon bush.

From no. 2
"those who have the most self-discipline don’t spend all their time resisting temptation, but instead create environments that limit their exposure to anything that would distract or drain them"


Where's the fun in that?

5. I found a great piece on solar power suggesting the cost to replace the batteries was about 17cents kwh and about every 5 or so years. That didnt include the panels or anything else while retail you pay 23cents kwh....6 cents margin...at that cost I struggle to see the payback...
Ive not finished looking at it....but if its right I cant see solar power being worth it....
Oh and the US banned chinese panels so I'd expect a lot to be floating around looking for a home.....price might yet drop a long way.
Until then kiwibank wants 6~7% interest, makes no sense.

For a new house-build, solar is cheaper than grid-power, hands down. Even if you want to live without self discipline (although I bet you start switching off real soon).
Grid tied or battery? Depends whether you are close to the mains, and whether you think Tiwai will stay open. If Tiwai closes, all bets are off, all new generation builds are off, and the folk who lined up to buy the 'assets' are gonna be a tad sad.
We're off-grid, but wet-back hot water. I'm tempted to go the PV-hot water way, but you can do it yourself.
SGV (above)  is usually right about things, but the 'efficient light bulb' comment I don't agree with. Efficiency in all things is a valid target, the alternative bein inefficiency. And there may be a surplus of energy (solar, no other) but not of the materials for the energy-capturing infrastructure.
Tiwai aside, grid power can only get more expensive. Each next generator-build has to be the least-expensive of the available options, so each one will be sequentially more expensive than the last.

Given the cost of batteries is so substantial, then there is space and maintenance costs, I would think grid tie sell the best bet...If you can get close to the retail then the National grid is your battery.