Maree Wrack, Perth author

Spendthrift or saver, which are you when it comes to money?  Do you know how to live well on less money?

Perth based author Maree Wrack was in Bunbury recently to talk about her book, “Champagne Life on a Beer Budget”. She posed a question: “With everything that’s available today, how come we aren’t further down the track financially than we currently are?” Those in the audience gave many reasons for this, from failing to save wisely, or losing money on bad investments to just spending too much on impulse buys and bad consumer choices.

Shoes glorious shoes

I have to come clean. In my cupboard are … (I’m not telling you exactly how many)… an embarrassing number of shoes – many of which look really pretty but don’t actually fit. Not very well at least. Tarts trotters, the sort of shoes that look like jewels but are only comfortable for the time it takes me to waddle to the car and then place them under the table at a restaurant. Silly really because they scream “LOOK AT ME” and should be dancing queen shoes.

But I can’t help it. I lust over shoes in shop windows, try them on and squeeze  my stubby feet into be-jewelled pointy toe’d fashion pumps like an Ugly Sister trying to fit into Cinderella’s glass slipper. Despite the fact my toes (especially the curly one) yell for mercy, I often buy them – and then never wear them.

I’m a spendthrift when it comes to books too– second hand ones are my real downfall – which I also hoard, fondle and often fail to read. They are everywhere in our house – He Himself is always going on at me to take them to Vinnies, or have a garage sale,  saying such things as, “Surely you’ve read them by now?” And of course I haven’t, but I will one day. Really I will.

Types of shopping personalities

Maree’s book  is based on living the good life and getting a good bang for your money while making wise spending choices. “We are generally either spendthrifts or squirrels – attitudes which come from what our parents taught us as children,” says Maree, and she goes on to say that there are four types of unique shopping personality, which in their most simple form are:-

The Minimalist – Someone who loves to count their money

The Organised – Someone who loves to save their money

The Random – Someone who loves to spend their money

The Feel Good Shopper – Someone who loves to help others with their money.

The Champagne Philosophy

“The champagne philosophy is living it up with abundance on less,” says Maree. She goes on to say that a new trend is emerging. “Saving is the new spending, using less stuff, reducing consumption and boosting savings through sustainable shopping. All this is making us re-think our priorities to choose what really matters. Buy what you love and save thousands on the rest,” says Maree elaborating on the strategy that you shouldn’t skimp on what you really need and want (as long as it’s not excessive – such as buying too many shoes or books, I suppose), but  that you should rather save on things that are not as important to you – perhaps taking a  4 minute shower instead of an 8 minute one (you save both water and power).

Other ways to save money in an invisible way are to re-use and re-cycle current resources, explains Maree.

“Money can grow on trees,” Maree continues, “Read my book,  “Champagne Life on a Beer Budget”, and you’ll understand what I mean.”

The scary thought is that we only have about 4,000 weeks in our lives to spend wisely, so shouldn’t we also spend our money wisely? Now that’s a shock tactic.

Maree’s Top Tips to living a champagne lifestyle

  1. Concentrate on reducing your top 4 costs: Your car costs, your grocery bill, your mortgage and your credit account.
  2. Instead of indulging in retail therapy to make you feel good, consider going for a walk, or going to the gym, curl up with a good book, have a relaxing bath and pamper yourself – do something you love that doesn’t involve money.

“Remember it’s not just about the money. It’s about your life!” says Maree.

So what are your thoughts?

Are you a good saver, squirreling money away for a rainy day ever watchful of your pennies? Or do you have a closet full of unworn clothes bought mostly on impulse that don’t actually fit any more? Are you a hoarder with loads of groceries in your cupboard just in case of a typhoon/nuclear bomb/end of the world scenario? Do you buy endless pairs of shoes (just because)? Or do you take pleasure in looking at bank account statements with lots of groovy figures on them (black ones, not red)?

You’re at a girls’ night out – have your say!



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  1. Yes very good Jo … now instead if indulging in retail therapy you can curl up with one of those books youv’e hoarded and that will be one off the list. Aah but can you bear to part with it after you have read it? That is the question – you never know – you may want to read it again or hold on to it for nostalgic purposes.

  2. gabrielle cheater

    Depends entirely on my mood, if the bank balance looks good I like to keep it and look at it, the less I have the more I spend!!

  3. Johanna

    Yes, I can understand that approach too. It’s always easier to be positive about saving if there’s a nice balance to conserve and protect! Thanks for commenting 🙂

  4. Johanna

    Now that’s the truth Ingrid! If a book is good, I can’t bear to part with it … just in case I might read it again one day! Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

  5. Never have I been a beer budget type of guy. Well maybe Michelob budget. Ok I agree with getting great deals makes it easier to spend on Champagne items when you need them.

    My champagne ideal living is camping out at the Bellagio poker room in Vegas. At least on a bad day I could go out and watch the fountain show.

    Keep trying so someday maybe we both will find our champagne lifestyle.


  6. Johanna

    You have an interesting take on the champagne ideal, Lladro 🙂 I hope you don’t have to watch the fountain show too often though, rather that the ultimate champagne lifestyle presents itself soon without any beer budgeting required. Thanks for commenting.

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