noun  /dɪˈpreʃn/ /dɪˈpreʃn/

  1.  [uncountable] a medical condition in which a person feels very sad and anxious and often has physical symptoms such as being unable to sleep, etc.
    • She was diagnosed as having clinical depression.
    • She suffered from severe depression after losing her job.

I have been suffering depression and anxiety for quite some time, probably since I was a young child. I nearly drowned in the school pool at age 5 years and got knocked over by a car coming out of a drive way in town where I live about 4 years old. I gave quite a shock to my parents who have since been over protective of me as an only child. I had terrible eczema as a teenager, had a terrible hair cut and grew up with not very much, but always happy and loved. Now I am in a position to be grateful as I am still standing. I looked back in family photos and could see I had depression as looking sad and anxious and not to mention some behavioural problems at school. I was a Maori girl born in Napier Hospital, New Zealand, close by where to our small family house is. I loved being a kid, getting to explore my neighbourhood and great kids to play with both boys and girls who lived nearby. I loved going to school, enjoyed reading and writing but did struggle learning. I tended to get bored in class. I had a mouth on me at times probably in the play ground and in class. I can remember one of my jobs we had to do in the play group they was a small group of us, some how we managed to lock ourselves in the shed with aluminum cans that smelt of beer. It was for recycling by Aliminum NZ back then we would get free rulers I think we hauling recycling. It was dark in there I recall and a boy cried out for help. I would often close my eyes, this is at ten years old to concentrate on a math’s problem, this is in 1993 and put my hands together forming a triangle. My ten year old classmate Timothy I remember with red hair, a Lawyer’s son, destined for the top private school, would say ” Yasmin are you praying?”, “No!” I replied indignantly, he was curious I was head of my table, the class was mainly boys, and just a few of us girls, most of the girls were in the class next door, even primary school was streamed, it was a mixed class, sons and daughters of good families and ones like me who were far less well off, back in 1980s and 1990s everyone was living nearby so it was the local school down the road. I proudly said “I am meditating.” I needed to visualise, I could not solve things without seeing in my head. I learned about Albert Einstein and Edward De Bono Six Thinking Hats how he could see things in his mind. I was “dumb” they said, I sucked at maths, but I would make the boys laugh in class. I so admired them doing their cartoon drawings and stencils. I was angry deep down in side, “I can’t do maths!” I said to Timonthy and his table, he sighed ” Yes you can,” he replied, “keep trying” he said.

No wonder I struggled at Secondary School at Iona College, a small private school for girls, mainly who were only children, small roll and it was Presbytarian I was told. I remember at ten years old going to the interview with Mrs Murray whom I respected greatly she ran the school herself, strict but caring. I was so anxious sitting in my tracksuit with my parents having tea and chat in her well appointed office. I was there because I was falling behind in primary school. She took it upon herself to teach me, “not to worry, small classes there are only seven pupils in form one, that is if you pass the entrance requirements and can pay the fees in full,” I was so nervous, I barely spoke, my parents assured they could afford the fees for the next seven years, I gulped, this is not what I had in mind. I was thinking of playing basketball they have new courts and great gym I thought and nice pool to swim in. I wish Timothy was there with me teasing me at least I had someone in my corner, I remember him proudly saying he was in the top private boys school, I knew he would do well, everyone respected him at school. I remember talking about “process writing”, she said I will be well schooled in classics and latin, clearly my reading and writing had a lot of work, I felt ashamed. She said the school has a chapel, she showed us around, my parents liked the school beautiful garden and the library was my favourite old books and my Mum loved it in there. I was so anxious, looking at Food Technology classroom, it was all new, “I can’t cook,” I said,. “Not to worry, you will meet the head chef for your dietary requirement.” I was to be vegetarian my parents preferred for lunch. I was use to blue bird chips and marmite sandwich for lunch. I had issues eating and a dairy allergy as a child so sometimes would bin my lunch, if not hungry, I liked roll ups and fruit and a cold drink bottle. I would vomit up milk on the way to primary school, so I had coke zero or diet coke in my school bag for emergencies and water my teacher would give me Mr Turfey (he was like Sir John Kirwan back then he was remarkedly similar looking funny enough). The head chef was lovely, well dressed, beautiful light make up she had. I did meet with the school nurse later on she took my hand and showed me the kitchen and dining room anyone on a vegetarian dietary requirement had to be written a special menu they explained. All day girls must eat together with boarding students at lunch time and if a require for dinner or breakfast staying over night that was also catered for. How caring I thought, gosh what a lovely school, so nuturing, I was not being told off like I normally would. The sad thing there were no boys in our school, most went to their version of secondary school, I missed the banter. I was very quiet in class, concentrating on my English Classics and Latin mainly. I was too quiet looking back, sad having to catch the bus each day as a day girl, I was not well off compared to everyone else, but had good company in class, two girls looked after me Amy Robinson and Kirsten McLeod, they were more outgoing, true classmates, making sure I was okay and inviting me to stay and going to their birthday I always enjoyed chilling out with them. Playing my favourite music at school camp Kirsten she was so cool, I loved her play list. Her mum worked in Hastings Hospital with my Dad, that was so nice to have that connection they looked out for me. I could not be my loud mouth self otherwise I would have to Mrs Murray who would have disciplined me, and I did not wish to leave such a nice group of class mates. I had my period at 11 years old, early developer and had trouble with my weight, I was also suffering bulimia, I did tell the school nurse as I got older, she was really lovely, I just kept quiet at school, I was feeling withdrawn, but once PE time came my spirit came back, my PE teachers were the best, they just made us learn ball skills, I really enjoyed those times outdoors on the field. They took us on school camp which I enjoyed, it gave everyone a break from the classroom. I thank my PE teachers for encouraging me to learn Primary School Teaching as I would enjoy that at Waikato University and I did, I saw more as a GAP experience those four years. I liked learning about games and sports so it was fun. But the depression was still there, I was ill from bulimia again it just triggered itself, really sick, my room mate across the way, she acted like my Nurse, she was from Kawerau, and was in my primary teaching course, then others started to help me on my floor, they would pop in to see if I was okay, would walk me to class, I for some reason switched to Bachelor of Arts, maybe I needed a break, I’ll do teaching fourth year, that will be good. I did not like the environment it was not like Iona College nurturing and caring, this was rowdy behaviour from other students across the way, could not sleep or study, it was affecting some of us in the hostel. I hated university looking back, I was arguing with some in the hostel the ones causing the problems. I went to the medical centre on campus a few times and tried the free counselling. We were learning to be independent I guess. Some of the younger students were scared of being bullied. I was not, my mouth came back to me, the old school yard days, I had a group of boys to hang out with and older students in my papers the cool ones who drank and smoked, with their good looking boyfriends, they were ten years older I was 18, this is cool. I could be rebellious finally. In my first week, I nearly got knifed going out late at night with some farming students and trying alcohol for the first time which I am not proud of. I don’t drink alcohol, I thought it was water turned out to be vodka, so I started binge drinking. I wanted to kill myself. I blacked out a few times. The late night parties, pot luck dinners, hanging out at student flats, just like a series of FRIENDS episodes, I learned so much from older students, they had been studying for sometime, they were so cool. My lecturer who has a Phd he was teaching primary school maths said, everyone quit and go surfing…. wow, he predicted Apple back then would take over education, he did not like the Management School, all finance majors, he said Accounting and Cheques will be gone in the future, do computer science he predicted the future with his mathematical calculation, so I told someone my age which greatly upset him as he was studying Accounting at the next lecture. I wished I had listened to him, my friends encouraged me to study computer science, I suck at maths I said, he called me Yaz, as the Australian do and the Americans on campus, “so are you like American Indian that is so cool….” clearly his mind was on surfing…. I liked my name Yaz, everyone called me that, I did not mind, I was cool again, tight jeans west and glassons top, and sneakers and short hair, lugging my Kathmandu backpack. One of the senior students she was concerned about my weight I went from 65 kilos down to 52 kilos, she was the mother of our tutorial group, I said “I’m okay,” battling bulima I did not share, I was fit and young that’s all I worried about at that time I was 21 years old. I always like the older students the guys were good looking in class and really caring they were fantastic primary school teachers and their equally beautiful partners I thought I learned so much from them hanging out. Everyone I met was so lovely and I admired them achieving top marks in their studies. I was struggling, I was barely coping, I was just too young compared to them, I was also desperately unhappy, so I said goodbye to my flatmates and said I am going home, I’ve finished the year, and I will never do Primary School teaching it’s exhausting, thank you for everything, great time living together.

I wanted to play basketball when I grew up or volley ball or patter tennis on the courts and netball I played which was okay was not my best sport, I liked softball for fun. I was tall as primary school kid so enjoyed shooting netball goals and liked Fresh Prince of Bel Air my favourite series. I liked watching the All Blacks as a youngster, I can remember who was in the Rugby World Cup in South Africa in 1995 yet I could not tell you who was in the team these days in 2021. It was Amateur profession back then. Many All Blacks went to top Boys Schools in NZ so we looked up to them growing up. They were also studying at University and working hard as well as representing their local teams and New Zealand. I always thought I’ll write to Rugby News as my Dad enjoyed the All Blacks on TV back then especially the test matches. I did when at Iona College, most of our class was so into the All Blacks, I would cover my books like her with our favourite heros. I would enter competitions and eat Blue Birds chips getting free products to try for sports exercise. I went to a game once with my Dad and saw the heroes at a Rugby trial for the All Blacks, it was great back then in Napier. I wrote a letter to the Editor to Rugby News New Zealand and got published and also went to the Rugby Museum with my parents in Palmerston North on a cold and rainy weekend. I just loved the history of the All Blacks as a child growing up in New Zealand. They inspired me to do well at school. Not to give up on myself and to use your talents for good.

One thing struck me with Sir John Kirwan, was how much work he was doing for the Journal –, how he is helping so many us through depression. He understands what it is like for so many to go through and raising awareness of how to get help and what supports are in place and how to connect online. I love how positive his message it, to get outdoors and do small things for yourself and helping you through problem solving activities.

I think my depression stems from learning difficulties, feel frustrated as a child, getting angry, breaking things, I hated anything old, I remember ripping my mother’s parents photo and breaking her antique powder puff. I would yell, and act out, my Dad had to discipline quite a bit. I was terrible to my Mother as a child, she was always so patient and talked to me quietly. She was my best teacher and another retired lady Mrs Lee also a teacher, she acted like my NZ grandmother, she had no children of her own, her husband was Maori in the World War II and she married after the war and lived on Napier Hill. She would teach me to read at the table and bake beautiful apricot cake with powder icing sugar. I hated the way I looked, and wanted to spend on nice clothes and nice sports gear like other kids had, so I loved as I got older buying Rebel Sports.

I tried going to the gym when I was working and my Personal Trainer was always giving me good sound advice to keep trying, don’t give up and would go for a jog outside together and how to deal with mental health. I still put on weight but I enjoyed the discipline of going. I found I much preferred being outdoors walking on the beach and practicing mindfulness and tried some yoga stretch class there. I also found I disliked noisy things like clubs and pubs and preferred peace and quiet at home, I always enjoyed putting the radio on in the background listening to National Radio with Maggie Barry and watching a nice documentary on television on Eygpt and Rome. I found I could not rest my mind, it felt like constant chatter and I could not sleep. I also did not get on well with my family or extended family, they frustrated me constantly they live overseas, but they caused my depression I do believe, I have hardly anything to do with them, I have visited them three or four times in my life and I blame them for a lot. They impose their beliefs and faith on me, which I am not interested in, I was interested in going to a nice resort or spending time at the beach and doing fun family activities which we loved doing together. I just don’t get on with them, always catty towards me, I had the last laugh in the end, I am the one who is generous, kind and considerate where as they just take and go on how great their lives are, until my cousin died at age 29 in a car accident, then they stopped in their tracks. He also suffered depression, he was acting out, getting frustrated, no one understood him, he reached out to me before he passed away, he wanted to learn Reiki he said, I sent him some greenstone, he loved his gift, I am sad it takes a tragedy to make people realise depression is real, it affects people deeply no matter how young or old, the consequences are devastating if they do not seek help in time. I stopped driving for a month to be respectful, I love driving as well my sports car, depression just does not seem to disappear, it can be triggered in some people, it hurts the ones they love the most. Often we just cannot understand it, I cannot understand it myself. But I decided to carry on and go to the beach each day and exercise and think of the positive in life, not the negative, you have to make a deliberate conscious choice each day, to move forward, it’s not easy, but you have to get on with life and put it behind you and pick yourself up with good supports.

I tried Japanese Reiki and mindfulness and relaxation I found this really helped with depression. I also liked learning Japanese Minimalism. I also tried aromatherapy massage for headaches and tension and stress relief and that was utter bliss. I so believe mindfulness is necessary in our daily lives. Back when I was at primary school, I don’t believe mindfulness was taught as it is now in the curriculum, we had quiet time to read in the library as far as I can recall. I also decided to try sleeping during the day and do my online learning in the evening, listening to school of life on You Tube and Audiobooks on classics and children’s stories, my clinical psychologist recommended. I also like Headspace and the Journal and Aunty Dee online, how to work through a problem.

I am also enrolling this year with Te Wananga O Aotearoa Financial Capability Level 2 in April 2021 and then plan to do the Level 3 Financial Capability Course and Level 3 Certificate in Computing. Plus there are many other Business and Administration Courses I would like to learn as I progress.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa | Bridging & Tertiary Courses NZ | TWoA

Yasmin Dawoojee

Saving Money

I have a confession to make – I am terrible at saving. People may be surprised when I say that. I have heard “Yasmin is a good saver.” I wish… deep down I am a terrible saver. I mean I do put a small amount in my Kiwi Saver retirement savings each week. I have no debt. I love shopping and going to cafes when younger. I wish I had learned to save properly when younger. I am not a bad person but I tend to be a spender and want to have new things or items. I have a problem some say is it linked to depression, is it linked to grief as my Mum passed away in January 2016. Well it could be if when looking at the bigger picture of my life. I have always saved for holidays, budgeted as best as I could. I was spending a lot on beauty therapy and massage therapy which my kind and patient Doctor said you do not need that just take panadol and your pain symptoms will go away and headaches – amazing. My Doctor also educated me about prescription costs which were really affordable thankfully in my situation. I had tried everything to relieve stress, migraines, alternative therapies, you name it. I was not sleeping well either. Then someone suggested perhaps it’s a mindset. I was good at budgeting as a student as I did not have much money to begin with. Also try drinking more water that saves money from going to cafes – great idea I thought. Buy second hand clothing that saves money. I did that and bought a lovely checked long sleeve shirt made in Italy for $6.00 NZ. I buy on sales and my birthday once a year as I get a store discount from all the major brands. Shop at the supermarket and stick to your written list. I did that and it worked! I actually saved with shopping with a support person cut my food budget down to twenty four NZ dollars and my toiletries which I tend to splurge on down to sixty two NZ dollars which included affordable skin care, make up, girl stuff etc. I also go to a budgeting advisor who helps me keep on track. I am so grateful to be learning how to save properly. I also grew up as a child in 1980s and 1990s with second hand clothing for school and I always saved for Glassons and Rebel Sports to wear on the weekends.

I also liked the 80/20 rule of savings. So for every dollar you earn put twenty cents aside in savings. Or for every ten dollars you earn put two dollars aside. Or for every hundred dollars you earn put twenty dollars aside. I tried that and it worked! That is so much easier I exclaimed to my friend. I also learned online you can do 90/10 rule if that is easier so for every dollar you earn put ten cents in savings. Great I thought. Or as I prefer for every one hundred dollars put ten dollars aside into savings. Now obviously nearly everyone has rent or a mortgage of some sort of board to pay even if they are living at home with Mum and Dad and utilities such as power, phone / internet, subscriptions, clothing/ shoes, food and drink, toiletries to budget for and not to mention other things like entertainment or education such as text books, laptop / computer for learning, stationary or if you have children school fees, school uniform, pocket money etc. The main thing is to make a list. I like the old fashioned way of writing on maths paper the tiny square in blue, list down all your income and expenses and what you can afford to put away in savings. Next keep a small note book for a week, my budgeting coach she gave me one just a small exercise note book cost less than a dollar, write down everything that you spend on. I did that and it worked! I was spending $5.00 NZ dollars at a cafe for an Earl Grey Tea when I could buy four bottles of Kiwi Blue water 1.5 Litres for 0.85 cents each NZ. I could buy my favourite Twinnings Earl Grey tea a whole box for about $5.00 NZ dollars. I would often buy sushi which was about $6.00 NZ dollars for six small rolls and with my support person learned to make healthy sandwiches instead and a loaf of value range bread was $1.19 NZ dollars. I started to make my own salads just as good as the cafe and made my own butter chicken and rice for dinner and making pasta dishes for dinner as well I follow Jamie Oliver series on cooking. I also learning to save by making everything from scratch and I now really enjoy it. Salvation Army ran a free cooking course for beginners and I found it fun. I also loved going to Subway each day, that was adding up so I am going to make my own version at home. I also founded it tasted better when you made your own lunches each day and also getting that essential five plus a day with fresh fruit and yogurt added to it. At home for dessert I just have one scoop of ice cream and some tinned fruit or make my own trifle at Christmas time. I love cheese cake and apple crumble and I found a great range in the supermarket frozen desserts for a reasonable price and would last compared to a restaurant where they could charge you from ten dollars up to twenty dollars for a dessert. I also love home made burgers and brunch at home. I am eating healthier, I am not worried about over spending, it’s just like a diet.

With my wardrobe learning to have a capsule wardrobe of ten items like a stylist online. I also do the same with sports gear have the same addidas hoodies sweat shirt style in the same size and always buy two together on sale. I also buy one new pair of addidas sports shoes a year as I go walking each day and running around the supermarket and more comfortable for driving my sports hatch. I also learning the art form of Japanese Minimalism with the art of buying one item at a time. This is a lot harder to do actually you really have to discipline yourself. They curate their wardrobe you must love what you wear and often it is the same style such as plain black t-shirts or plain white t-shirts, one sports hat, one wool beanie, one or two wool scarves, winter coats, denim or leggings and shoes. I would often sell my coats and jackets if I no longer fitted into them to a second hand boutique store with second hand items that are in good condition. I find ordering clothing online from major brands actually curbs my urge to spend too much instore, I only buy one or two items at a time. Also, ask if you can borrow an item say for school camp or outdoors or even a device or a book or fashion magazine to read, you would be surprised how many people offer to donate or let you borrow an item for free and always return it with thanks. The same goes with kitchen stuff, I tend to buy second hand as they have good quality glass ware and bowls for baking and cutlery and plates. On a special day such as a birthday I tend to buy a new item but I do love second hand stores just as good always great when you find something you love. I also learned if you buy yourself a gift card you can keep it aside for yourself and then use it when your favourite store has a sale, or keep it for an emergency, for instance we had terrible heavy rain last year and I did not have any rain jackets with hoods at home so I went to Warehouse and bought two together and threw them in the car, they were really good quality outdoor ones and also were on sale. I also like Mac Pac and Kathmandu. I also grabbed sports bags and packed them with toiletries to be prepared in case we needed to evacuate our house with the heavy rain and landslips in the area. It is always good to be prepared. Also with Covid-19 a lot of things were closed and I did some online shopping and have everything delivered at home with free delivery. Another thing I have learned is that if you pack most of your belongings away and then work out what you need each season or if you wanted to go away on a last minute trip you have everything there. I also keep aside new t-shirts and sleep ware in my suit case or toiletry items and then on my birthday which is January can open it and use it new for the summer season in New Zealand and same with winter items, pack them away when you are not using them. You are less likely to go shopping when you can use what you already have aside. If the items are in good condition you can always pass it on to someone younger donate it to a charity store or if not in good condition use the t-shirts as cleaning cloths. I also keep some items that are a bit too small for me in case I have someone over such as family to stay and they have kids they can use what I have to wear at home like smaller sized sports gear or sandals around the house or sleep ware. If you have a special event to go to such as a wedding ask around if anyone has a spare suit or dress and clutch bag and heels. I did this for someone once and she loved having some dresses to pick out and clutch bags to borrow. I then in the end after wearing some of evening items sold them to a second hand boutique store and my clutch bags. I pared down my wardrobe to mainly sports gear for home and running errands. I also sold on some handbags for work that I no longer used but were still in good condition. For men’s gifts I liked to buy a nice leather wallet for my Dad and his favourite toiletry items which he appreciates once a year. I also liked home made gifts and often did home baking at christmas time or have given gifts of soap and hand cream for ladies and young women. My Mum loved Dior Perfume in the antique style bottles such as Miss Dior so I would save up for that and buy from Farmers or a Special Boutique Fragrance Store for her that bring her joy and memories. I also found she used rose water and would make her own and it was so much more affordable to buy at the health food store and the pharmacy for less than $11.00 and she would only buy one face cream and foundation and she had beautiful skin.

I also found free community events such as art gallery openings, library events, free courses online with Future Learn and You Tube has great free short tutorials on how to do things whether its is work related like Xcel spreadsheets or how to paint or draw online. I also discovered it is a great way to catch the bus if you wish to visit another town and do not wish to drive and it was so much more economical as well and you can just hop on and off with your backpack and go exploring.

My favourite thing is second hand book stores and the library as you can borrow books for free and second hand stores you can buy text books, classics to read and cooking books and magazines at a reduced cost. I have found many Lonely Planets at second books stores which I like to collect and carry around with me sitting at the beach or a public space to read. Always carry a water bottle with you and you can refill it often. I found this especially good in the car to take two water bottles as I always thirsty.

If you are struggling financially – the first step is to admit to yourself you need help. Also, you have done the best you can with what you have. No one is judging anyone for doing their best. I am also struggling financially and I was referred to a budgeting coach and counsellor and it has been the best thing. I learned so much from her each session and I feel more in control of my finances. Tragic circumstances can completely change one’s life and their health and lead us into very difficult financial circumstances. Often debt can mount up without thinking consciously. So try tracking your spending there are some great apps online or going to a budgeting advisor who can draw up a budget for you and keep up regular meetings with until you are able to manage it yourself. I always recommend for saving up for white ware and house hold furniture or see if there are some great affordable second hand options but do not go into debt for it as it is not worth it. I like to check out Consumer Magazine at my local library and online to compare brands. Sometime ago I had to resort to handwashing in the bath tub until we got a new washing machine as our really good one Bosch brand broke down. I find having less clothes and towels and linen equals less laundry. I was grateful for the hot weather so they could dry in summer time. I remember staying in cabins on my Contiki Tour in 2009 in the country side in France and we did a lot of handwashing or use the communal laundry facilities and ate communally and it was actually quite fun and made the trip so much more affordable. I always liked YHA and youth hostels as you can stay for a reasonable price or baches, we also stayed in budget hotels and motels and it was fine, I appreciated having hot shower and a nice meal. I buy bottled water as I dislike the taste of tap water and store in the pantry and I clean the fridge regularly and store all my food item in glass or plastic containers and easy to pull out when you need to make your lunch and wash all your yogurt containers and ice cream containers can use them for food storage or home baking treats. I like recycling glass at home especially mason jars can store pasta, rice, oats and pasta sauce in them and yogurt always tastes better in glass mason jar. We all need essential items such as toilet paper so make sure you have a good stock of that and dish washing liquid for the dishes and bathroom essentials such as soap, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes and mouth wash, shampoo and conditioner etc. I learned that Pak N Save by far has the cheapest prices when it comes to essential items. I also like Countdown on special. I also found Farmlands is really good as well if you need to buy a large Nescafe coffee in bulk or Tea and the Pams and value range is great for basic coffee and tea from Pak N Save is good when someone is popping in for a morning tea or afternoon and home baking goes down a treat. I also have the value range bread and make toast and tea for our gardener when he comes over to do the lawns and a trusty box of weetbix and canned products if a hot breakfast is needed in the winter time. I always remember staying out on farm at school camp and really enjoyed learning how to survive the outdoors and in cold weather how to light a fire and sleeping in bunk beds and a hot breakfast was such a nourishing way to start the day.

On You Tube I have found free courses for art making, home cooking and baking, making Xmas cards personalised or a gift of tea or chocolate always goes down well. When I was working I did give once a year to Unicef, World Vision and Red Cross and other charities as I felt blessed with my circumstances in life often a bucket was put out for a donation. I also did that instead of buying Christmas presents for the family donate to St Johns Ambulance. The greatest gift you can give to someone is your time and being there for them when times are tough. Often it is the little things that count like a kind word, a thank you note, or helping them with a home cooked meal, or giving a book as gift to read. One of my favourite gifts I received was a book mark as I loved reading books and I used it all the time. I always loved getting a birthday card on my birthday that was so special to me. But if gifts are not that important to you, put that extra bit aside in your retirement savings instead or use it for yourself always keep some cash in your wallet even if it is $10 for anything unexpected such as a transport. Also, save one thousand one thousand NZ dollars in an emergency fund and then build up to 3-6 months worth of savings. Always save for things you want and make sure emergencies are covered such as a dental bill, car break down, and pay in cash for items and if you have a credit card use it wisely, use it to earn Airpoints or cash back offers and use it smartly when you travel overseas or keep it aside for emergencies only and use your Debit card for every day. If things do get tight always ask Mum and Dad or extended family to help out, often they want to know you are safe and well, and often they do not mind helping out if an emergency. They also do not want so see you struggle, under stress or feeling overwhelmed. My parents did not have much growing up being born in 1950s so they were very good at savings and they know what it is like to start out with very little. Sometime it is the wise advice I wished I had listened to from my Mum and Dad it would have saved me so much stress and angst. Too often we do things by ourselves where it’s best to have a support person to help you and you achieve your goals a lot quicker. I find talking to retired New Zealanders help as well they have so much financial wisdom that is so important to learn from them how they sewed their own clothes, started out with a veggie patch, how their learned farming and agriculture, how their built their house, and classic home baking recipes and reading books in their spare time and what they did for entertainment. They are also so much fitter than me, they love their daily walks each day and gardening, I so envy them and they seem so much more content and they same theme is hard work pays off now they can relax and enjoy their hobbies. Despite some having heath issues they keep being positive each day and nothing seems to stop them. I also enjoyed reading books and learning reiki from some and aromatherapy.

The other thing I recommend is selling any unwanted items on Trade Me from home I sometimes earn in a week one hundred to two hundred NZ dollars extra which I put towards groceries, fuel and hair cuts it helps my Dad who is retired so I’m learning from him how to buy and sell online. It like a win when you sell something. Small wins add up to larger wins. Also, try learning to live on a very small amount each week once you manage that then you can safely manage a larger amount. I find having a large amount of money is a bit overwhelming even my first pay check would budget to save and spend I was so use to living on less suddenly a larger amount led to too much temptation to spend on extras I did not need and then the temptation of credit cards was all too much. I now have a BNZ visa debit which the limit is two thousand dollars in one transaction but you use your own money and I find it’s just as good as the classic credit card if not better and suited my needs far better. I also like the old EFTPOS card as well would use that for essential items at the supermarket.

Another thing that I have done is cut out holidays and weekends away it was just adding up too much, so I’d rather go to the beach nearby to where I live, read a book a home or do a free online course about savings and budgeting instead or go for a walk in my neighbourhood there are some nice houses to look at nearby. The other thing some friends do is catch a movie or borrow a new book to read instead of going on a holiday or maybe go your favourite Indian restaurant instead as a treat instead of travelling to exotic India and explore your own town or city or get out to the country side if able to. Overseas travel comes with its stresses such as medical cover, accommodation, flights, airport delays, transport etc and the same with domestic travel it all adds up so rest at home or do some mindfulness instead. I always booked with Flight Centre and they would save me so much money for travel and accommodation and it was hassel free. If you have to travel for business learn from a Business Traveller how to get Airpoints, upgrades and affordable hotels online. I did this when travelling would book with Corporate Cabs NZ and they did everything right through to check in at the hotel. Business Travellers have to be on time for meetings and conferences or attending workshops so need to be punctual and well rested and well prepared and keep to their expenses in check.

Another thing I did was check real estate online, just to see how much my family home is worth, they do free appraisals and also teach you to how to save with your house and expenditure. They like having customers who are new and they go out of their way to get your business so always take their card or their free stationary they give as corporate gifts, you never know if one day you are in situation if you have to move or relocate or find a rental or an apartment or if you need to sell your family home to down size or retire. They also know a lot of legal stuff and can point you in the right direction with finances as well. They can keep you informed if the market changes as well. I think another thing is to get what insurances you need in your life in order and start early. That is so important to be covered for accidents, medical or what ever is important in your life stage. So talk to your insurance provider, there is a wealth of knowledge online. I happen to prefer AA insurance and State Insurance and AMP and Tower insurance and BNZ insurance. If you need to make a will book in with a family solicitor for free confidential advice I did this and came away learning about free university study online with Future Learn by Auckland University. I also learned from my family solicitor to collect red wine and art history – that is very old school how to be wealthy. I think that is another blog I shall have to write. I did give him a bottle of mission estate merlot he was most grateful. He is from the days of Yes Prime Minister UK series. You cannot beat the old school learning. My Dad likes buying red wine as gifts as he is retired so I am going keep doing that when I am retired.

Here are some links to get you started with savings and budgeting which I have found useful:

Calculators and money tools to manage your finances » Sorted

Citizens Advice Bureau (

MoneyTalks – Free, budgeting help, debt help

State Insurance NZ | Award-Winning Insurance Company

New Zealand Automobile Association | AA New Zealand

Personal banking – BNZ

Kiwibank – New Zealand’s bank

ANZ Bank New Zealand Ltd | Online Banking | ANZ

Westpac New Zealand – Helping Kiwis with their banking.

Budget worksheet – Work and Income

CAP NZ | Freedom from debt, poverty and its causes.


Transform a child’s life today | World Vision New Zealand

Yasmin Dawoojee

Minimalism – Yasmin Dawoojee

“Happiness depends on ourselves.” – Aristotle

Dear Friends,

This is my first time writing a blog 7th March 2021 and I am setting out on living a frugal life at home. My circumstances came to me when my Mum passed away on 14th January 2016 ten days before my birthday on 24th January – I am an Aquarius quite introverted, shy, and gifted in being psychic apparently. I decided after working for another year to quit my job to take time out and travel to the South Island of New Zealand via Wellington and get away from it all. I wanted to have a change and get rid of the clutter in my wardrobe and my Mum’s bedroom. I literally threw out her stuff bagged it all up and cleaned my room at the same time, I did donate and gave some items in good condition away like handbags and my clothing I no longer fitted into to the excellent Nursing staff at Princess Alexandra.

I came across the Minimalists – The Minimalists and it changed my life as I could relate to both of them with grief, loss, feeling isolated and having symptoms of depression. Then there was the Eco activist and frugal living Rob Greenfield – Activist, Humanitarian, Adventurer – he is so inspiring what he does each day and how to build a cabin in the woods in France. It made me want to be outdoors again and living a simple life without bills, luxuries and being frugal. What Is Minimalism? A Practical Guide to a Minimalist Lifestyle | Break the Twitch

So I asked myself after a workshop in Wellington at InterContinental Hotel in April 2017, what is my greatest gift from my Mum? She loved to read French Literature books and she liked Art History and I always enjoyed reading and writing as a child. She loved Dior perfume and Lancome and L’oreal I loved buying her make up and fragrances and her luxury face cream and Clairns and I would spoil her with The Body Shop. I loved shopping at Glassons and Jacqui E and Farmers her favourite store.

I loved buying sports gear at Rebel Sports as I loved when young watching the All Blacks our National Sports Team and Basketball at our local stadium. I loved going to the gym.

I wrote down everything I loved. I loved buying white candles and looking at pale colours and going for walks on the beach. I loved learning about Reiki and what that can do for you it’s a form of relaxation. I loved my Japanese tea ceremony and Japanese Minimalism and having Bai Mint Thai Massage and Japanese Acupuncture. I loved swedish massage in the East Day Spa and Sofitel So Spa it was being transported to another time a sanctuary of bliss. I loved working at that time, had lovely friends and always had a good fun. I loved going to Akaroa just outside of Christchurch and Queenstown it is the most breath taking natural scenic place on earth. I loved NZ history. I loved flying overseas and domestically. I loved driving my Suzuki Swift fast on the open roads seeing the country side. I loved sleeping in. I loved writing in my Journal. I loved going for a run with my fitness trainer and learning to eat healthy and mindfully. The biggest thing I have learned is to do things mindfully and slowing down. I was always in a hurry missing the important moments in life. I loved my adventure on Contiki European Highlights Tour the London to Rome in 2009 see the Vatican which had an impacting change on my life. I always believed in Christ and going there was such an eye opening experience. When I was at Iona College 1994-2000, I wrote to the Dominion Post – Sunday Start Times about Venice arts festival and how I would love to go there one day and I did my vision board and I went there in 2009 so I achieved my dream. I love having a cup of herbal tea at a nice cafe and going to nice stores with a friend. I liked shopping and going out for dinner on our Tour. I came to the conclusion that my experience is that I have had a rich life and spent a lot and grateful for what I have.

My next goal is to learn how to save, budget and invest for retirement and live a frugal lifestyle. So I am living poorly in a sense some would argue… no job, little income, living at home, yet I feel free and rich beyond belief. I feel less stressed. I have health issues which I shall not go into as that is private but I have to rest and sleep and mind my diet and exercise. I have the best team of health professionals looking after me. Life is short. I appreciate my walks on the beach and having an ice cream and chatting to someone. The best things in life are free. I look back on all my mistakes and my life is far from perfect. I am just a mere individual but I have a gift for writing so I shall use that gift to leave a note of thanks. To inspire. To heal one self through writing. To connect hopefully with others on the same journey. I always wanted to be when young an author, write a book like Dan Brown best selling author of Da Vinci Code or publish a Children’s Book. Unfortunately my dreams always seemed to bullied out of me. I clung onto hope. Maybe one day. I have a University Degree that I have not used. Then I had an meeting with a Clinical Psychologist, a Teacher, I refer to him as, he got me thinking about Art History and writing again. Why did I give up on my dream to be a writer… well because I had to earn an income, I have my Mum to look after and my Dad is retired now he can’t work forever supporting me. Someone said to me it’s always the right timing which is very true. So I decided this year is the time to start writing… I will give it a go. So I will write about Minimalism I am a Minimalist have been practicing that for some time and I like things organised and in order, decluttering, and keeping my items in good condition. I like to spend on experiences, books, I love second hand stores and antiques stores to browse. I also love learning on You Tube. I love learning free courses online to help me manage my finances which is a life skill we all need to do. I also love Vista Print where I make my own business cards. I love aromatherapy and home made soaps and Linden Leaves Body Oil and Natio essential oils anything to make the mind rest.

I think writing is from the heart and once you get to that place of gratitude then you can express yourself freely. I love reading classics such as Jane Austen – Sherlock Holmes – Shakespeare and the Bible. I love English my favourite subject at school. I loved reading children’s books growing up and comics and I loved Tintin by Herge my favourite. My favourite Author is Dan Brown. I always wanted to work in a library or learn about a second hand book store, I think I will get into collecting books and magazines, I love that to read. It is one of the most educational things is to read and learn something at the end of it. I also love the series Most Haunted UK where they go to old castles and ghost hunting and victorian seance.

So my posts will be a Journal form like a chapter in a book, mainly on my thoughts of writing and learning each day a new discovery made, a connection to a new friend or an old friend, chatting to a neighbour and what I learn from them. I also will be writing about savings and budgeting from home and how to live on less. I am inspired by so many people who teach online and I hope to write an article on savings and budgeting and make resources after I have completed my course this year on Financial Capability with Te Wananga O Aotearoa Level 2 and Level 3, that is in New Zealand.

Sincere thank you to all the people I have met in my life you have all inspired me and I would not be here without your support.

Yasmin Dawoojee


Right after reading the Tao of Dating I decided would try and practice Ashtanga yoga.  I have booked myself a class for this Saturday and going to get a premium yoga mat from Ecoyoga.  Wow so many yoga mats to choose from.  I hope it will be a great life changing experience.  The key is to focus on yourself, inner self, switch off and balance your energies.  Good place to meet intellectual people, healthy people, and to have a new challenge, personal growth according to the author.  I also want to strengthen my core and get the tightness out of my hips.  I am really excited but also a bit nervous. Will I look long, slender, fit and slim? Will I be less stressed? Will I be more flexible?

Yoga newbie

Right after reading the Tao of Dating I decided would try and practice Ashtanga yoga.  I have booked myself a class for this Saturday and going to get a premium yoga mat from Ecoyoga.  Wow so many yoga mats to choose from.  I hope it will be a great life changing experience.  The key is to focus on yourself, inner self, switch off and balance your energies.  Good place to meet intellectual people, healthy people, and to have a new challenge, personal growth according to the author.  I also want to strengthen my core and get the tightness out of my hips.  I am really excited but also a bit nervous.

Will I look long, slender, fit and slim?

Will I be less stressed?

Will I be more flexible?