Tag: Fiji

Is it a need or a want?

As I sit here ready to leave Fiji, I am reflecting on some of the things I’ve learned over the past couple of months, and particularly, during our final volunteering placement with IVI, which we finished up yesterday. One of which is a new perspective on the question ‘Is it a need or a want?’

I knew that we were going to a remote island school, and having had some experience in an even smaller, even more remote village in Fiji before, thought I knew what to expect. But I didn’t. The school we were placed at had very different opportunities and challenges.

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How can I save on my island holiday? | Guest post

Travel can be richly rewarding, but it shouldn’t have to be expensive.

Small tweaks here and there can make a huge difference. Pretty much everywhere in the world that a ‘captive audience’ gathers, you’ll find inflated prices. Having the forethought to bring your own snacks on a boat trip, for example, can save a lot. Recently, I noticed that while Twisties are 45c a packet at the supermarket in Fiji, they’re a gobsmacking $4.50 on the boat I’m currently on, cruising around the islands as we return to the mainland after our final volunteering placement!

Those of you who have been following Enrichmentality closely will know that over the past two months, we’ve been in Fiji on a volunteer program.

Today, I’m passing over to Elizabeth of Elizabeth the Island Enthusiast for a special guest post on how to save on your island holiday – a repost of her guide to Natadola Beach, with a focus on getting the most bang for your buck! Elizabeth is one of the volunteers we were fortunate enough to meet during our time here, and a bit of an island expert! If you’re thinking of coming to Fiji, exploring another island nation, or just traveling vicariously, please check out her blog!

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Are we speaking the same language?

Do you feel like you and your partner are talking different languages when it comes to money?

In intercultural communication research, we talk of two different ways for communication problems to occur – miscommunication, where communication occurs but is misunderstood, and communication breakdown, where communication ceases.

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What’s your money personality?

I’ve always loved reading – perhaps too much – to the extent that I would literally hide under the covers with a torch as a child in order to read past my bedtime. I think my parents must have been the only parents in my class who visited the teacher to ask how they could get their child to read less and sleep more. Recently, I have been blessed to share this love with the children at the school we are currently placed at, where I have been reading them Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – one of the stories I first fell in love with as a child.

So perhaps it comes as no surprise that I’ve read not one, but two books on the topic of money personalities – Unlock the Secrets of Your Money Personality by Greg Smith, which I picked up secondhand (but seems to have been handed out for free by the ANZ bank at some point!) and more recently, Your Money Personality by Kathleen Gurney, which was recommended to me by Ben Kingsley of Empower Wealth. The two books make an interesting pair, as Gurney focuses on the underlying traits, and Smith on the resultant behaviours (so perhaps that would have been a better order to read them in!)

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How can I help?

It is estimated that volunteers contribute about $400 billion (USD) worth of services worldwide each year (calculate your contribution according to an average rate). Chief economist of the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, is quoted in The Economist as saying that in Britain, formal volunteers each year do the work of 1.25 million ‘proper’ employees, and nearly a billion people are engaged in volunteering worldwide. Interestingly, Turkmenistan and Sri Lanka lead the charts, thanks to national days of ‘compulsory volunteering’ in Turkmenistan. Yet the economic impact of volunteering is not captured by GDP statistics as no monetary transaction takes place.

Andy Haldane talks about three types of value that volunteering creates: economic, private and social. Just as we need to consider various types of capital to evaluate our own wealth, it’s important that we consider the types of value we might contribute through volunteering – at home or abroad.

One of the joys of no longer having to work is being able to determine what you will do, and for how much. We’ve spent part of our time in Fiji volunteering through IVI. Had we not already resigned, it would be impossible for us to take time off in the middle of the year like this.

Earlier this year, we were in Fiji when Cyclone Winston struck. We were out in the Yasawa islands when the resort manager handed us two weather reports – one out of the country’s capital, Suva, and one out of the nearest city, Nadi.

Each predicted a different path for the cyclone – one heading to Nadi, one heading to the Yasawas.

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Are your finance resources past their use-by date?

I love words, language, and reading – and most of all, books. New or old, I love them all.

But when it comes to books spouting financial advice, it pays to check the publishing date, just like it pays to check the manufacture and use-by dates on packaged foods.

So how are financial books like cases of wine with sour milk?

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What will you do with your freedom?

What interests you about the concept of freedom? No matter what our money goals, those of us fortunate enough to earn more than is required to satisfy our basic needs are generally aiming for some kind of freedom. Freedom from working as much, or at all, the freedom of your next holiday, of finishing your study, of whatever.

For me, it was the millions of little things.

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Whose dream home is this anyway?

Imagine going to McDonalds and seeing someone – let’s call them Bobby – order a Family Favourites Dinner Box – four boxes of fries, four burgers, four Cokes, and a box of nuggets. It’s such a calorific meal, that even when shared between four people, each serving still contains over half of your entire daily allowance of kilojoules in a single meal. Bobby sits there, eats a tiny fraction of the meal, just enough to make up a single serving, and then throws the rest in the bin.

Why? It’s not like there weren’t plenty of smaller options on the menu. It’s not like there wasn’t a homeless person out the front who might have enjoyed a meal. It’s not like it was the least expensive option available – in fact, it was one of the most expensive.

If Bobby told you it was to look successful and fit in, you would most likely be perplexed.

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Why should I pick up pennies?

‘Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves’ my grandmother used to say. But perhaps you’ve heard the old story that if Bill Gates sees $100 on the ground, it will cost him more to bend down and pick it up than to keep on walking?

It’s the same kind of logic used to justify domestic services:

‘I earn $30 an hour. Why should I clean my own house when I can pay someone else $15 to do it?’

On the surface, this seems to make (financial) sense – You earn $30, give half to the cleaner or the lawn mower, and still come out with a profit.

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How can I calculate my energy use and save?

We’re suckers for research, and enjoy running our home as a personal research lab. One of the biggest things you can experiment with is energy use. Reducing our electricity, water, and gas usage is one of those many intersections between frugality and conservation.

Before we started this experiment, our average usage was 8.22kWh per person per day (lower than the American average of 10.9kWh, but higher than the Australian average of 7.26kWh). I found this ridiculous, given the tiny size of our apartment, the fact that we don’t have airconditioning, a washing machine or a large fridge or a big TV or many other power-hungry appliances that a lot of households do. And we have (unmetered) gas for our cooking. Certainly, there are efficiencies of scale (a family of five and a single person both need to run a refrigerator, it costs no more for eight people to watch a TV than for it to have only one pair of eyes fixed on it). But perhaps the secret was buried in the design of our tiny apartment?

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