Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's balancing the need to budget with still letting yourself have fun. Hosted by Frances Cook.

You say budget, I say no thanks.

The idea of budgeting makes me picture a flat, grey world, where I'm trapped in the house in worn out clothes, sadly watching my friends outside have fun without me.

To say that budgeting has an image problem is like saying Donald Trump can be a bit impulsive sometimes.

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The thing is, it's necessary. New Zealanders have hit record levels of debt, with 237 billion in housing debt, and 15 billion in consumer debt, as of June.

Yeah, that's what happens when you don't have a budget and stick to it.

The Commission for Financial Capability recently released a survey they did on people's attitudes to debt. They found some pretty interesting results.

First was that a third of people felt they worked hard, so deserved to spend their money.
Fair enough. But that also backfired, with half of the people surveyed saying they had debt, and it worried them.

It actually doesn't need to be that way. Sticking to a budget can be an adjustment, for sure.

But you can do it and still do the things you enjoy. Without the niggling worry of growing debt at the back of your mind.

I called up Retirement Commissioner Diane Maxwell to get her best tips.

She pointed out that debt could be useful when it helped you buy a house, a car to get to work, or set up a business.

But for other people it could become a monkey on their back where they had high-interest debt purely to make ends meet.

We shared our tips for still having fun without blowing the budget, including rotating what you cut back on each month and figuring out what you enjoy versus what's a waste.
For the full interview, listen to the podcast.

If you have a question about this podcast, or a suggestion for what you'd like in the future, do come and talk to me online. I'm on Facebook here, and on Twitter here. Don't forget to subscribe on the Apple podcasts app or I Heart Radio to make sure you never miss a money tip.