With 2018 well underway, now's the time to get serious about your New Year's resolutions.

If your goal is to be better with money, take a leaf out of Bradie Claydon's book.

The 47-year-old legal executive is confident, well-dressed and energetic.

She's also a hard-core budgeter who buys second-hand clothes and tracks every dollar she spends.


In two years she and her husband Paul have slashed more than $450,000 of debt and discovered it's the simple things that make them happy.

But the road hasn't been easy or perfect.

Three years ago Bradie and Paul, who have three children, had a mortgage debt of $566,000.

Despite both working full-time they were making interest repayments only.

Bradie used a credit card and loved going shopping. She would spend hundreds of dollars getting haircuts, manicures and facials.

She now describes the lifestyle as "trying to keep up with the Joneses" — an endless and dissatisfying pursuit.

But Bradie hit reality after her sister passed away.

"I had a heartfelt desire to live a simple life," she says. "My sister had taught me to stand in my truth."

So in January 2016 Bradie and Paul began a journey towards a debt-free and honest life.

Their goal is to be debt-free by June 30 next year.

Bradie says her only regret is not starting earlier.

She is full of tips on how to save more and spend less.

Face the truth
"Lay out everything on the table and assess your debts and spending habits," Bradie says.

"Make a financial plan and be on the same page as your partner."

Bradie and Paul replaced their expensive cars. They sold their rental property and unwanted possessions.

Reduce spending, start saving
"Go through every expense," she says. "Ask for better deals on insurance, power, internet, TV."

The couple each get $50 'fun money' per month. Bradie does her own facials and manicures and hunts for bargains.

She now enjoys saving money more than spending it.

Keep it simple
"Everyone wants everything right now but it's important to learn to delay gratification," she says.

"Put shopping and travel on hold. It is more satisfying when you pay in cash."

Bradie recommends making the most of free pleasures, going for a walk, watching the sunrise and swimming in the ocean.

Learn more from her blog kiwigirlonabudget.com or on Instagram.

Bradie is sharing her story at the Hamilton Gardens on February 28 at an event for young adults. Event details to come at www.seedwaikato.nz