I didn’t have the greatest childhood. My father died when I was five. My mother wasn’t around. Basically she abandoned us, my sister and I.

I didn’t really get taught about money and finances. I didn’t get taught about the world. I learned a lot myself and kinda grew up on my own.

I wasn’t really aware of money and what it could do for you. There was a time when I was renting a room in a house. I had broken up with the mother of my kids. It had been a long relationship and I was really cut when it ended. I was down in the dumps. Yeah, I was depressed. I had an injury, so I was off work. I couldn’t exercise. It was a pretty tough time. I was on the benefit and I was struggling. At times I’d go without stuff and it was hard. Being on the benefit isn’t much fun.

Te Armoe (Wesley Rangatahi Support Worker) asked me about the Good Cents course. He thought it might be good for me.

I went along and quite quickly I was learning new tools. I was learning about money. I was learning about savings and other bits and pieces. I could see things that I could do better. I could see that I could get a better future for myself.

At the Good Cents course we talked about what we spent our money on. It’s basically knowing where my money goes. I kept my receipts and added up every single dollar I spent. I had never done that before.

Now I’m back working again.

In the Good Cents course we talked about ‘miscellaneous’. We joked about that. Everyone on the course knew what it meant. It’s wasted money… cigarettes… miscellaneous… it’s a waste of money.

I got more of an understanding about my miscellaneous. About the crap I spent my money on. I realised I can get by without spending so much money. I can pay my rent. I can have a good budget. I also started a new bank account, and I’m paying in $10 a week. My goal was to up that and put more money in. That helps. Being a father I don’t want to have to say no to my kids when they need something.

I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m on the right path. I know what I have to do. I know where I’m going. To me that’s a positive thing.

I remember one thing we were told was that borrowing money was stealing from your future. So I don’t borrow money anymore. I haven’t really needed to. I’ve been pretty good.

If you’re sick of being broke maybe the Good Cents course can help you:

wesleyca.org.nz/what-we-do/community-iniatives/good-cents/