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How to Make Your Dreams Come True in Auckland: Money

Jun 4, 2015 etc

This story first appeared in the April 2015 issue of Metro.


Have a cheap wedding

The very cheap wedding option

Go to the Registry Office and get married. Go out to dinner with your closest friends. Make them pay.

The cheaper-than-a-traditional-wedding option

It might rain, so plan to be indoors for sanity’s sake. Book one of the council’s cheap community spaces: Grey Lynn Library Hall holds 145 people, costs $49/hr on Saturdays; New Lynn Community Centre holds 300, costs $39/hr on Saturdays.

Ask your friends to bring all the fairy lights they own. Hire a small truck and drive around to their houses to borrow armchairs and sofas and lamps. Spend several Saturdays tootling around Auckland’s op shops and buy up all the mismatched glasses, plates, rugs and cushions you can find. Donate them back afterwards. Somewhere along this journey you may also find your wedding outfits.

Ask a musician friend if you can borrow their PA. Ask three or four friends to create playlists.

Don’t be afraid to make it BYO, drinks and food. Get everyone to bring their tipple of choice and ask the guests to make their best dish (it’s a good chance for foodie mates to show off). Have a cooking day with family: prepare giant trays of lasagne and feijoa crumble (not in the same tray, stupid) and freeze them until the day.

Rope in the local surf club or sports club volunteers to be your dishwashers; make a donation to the club in return.

Use Wix or Squarespace to set up a free website with all the details of your wedding, and email it to your guests. Invite them to make a donation to the charities of your choice in lieu of wedding gifts. Unless you want wedding gifts.

Get everyone to download the same filmmaking app (like 8mm) to ensure consistency of footage and send them a DropBox link for their files. Get that one nerdy film mate of yours to edit it all into a beautiful memory of your cheap-as-chips day.


Get free stuff

Almost every big show sweeping into town will have a dress rehearsal, and sometimes they want an audience. Ask the venues about it. Theatres do previews, too: not free but cheap.

Car hire companies have more people driving out of Auckland than coming back, so they sometimes need drivers to bring the cars home.

Vintage and secondhand clothing stores sell cheap designer clothes. At you can find battered, bruised and occasionally brilliant free things.

Sign up as a mystery shopper at and you’ll be paid to visit places and review their service. Dinners, nights out, stays in hotels…

Superyachts and luxury launches need crew: sailors, cooks, cleaners, nannies… They pay you to go to the Bahamas.

Influential bloggers and celebrities get free stuff all the time, but you have to become famous first. And then you’ll find that even a promotional lunch at a Sky City restaurant isn’t completely free: as a celebrity, you’ll have to put up with an endless series of silly jokes about you in magazines like this one. We’re sorry, Sally.


Make a million dollars

Hang on, do you really think if we knew this we’d be writing magazine articles? Anyway…

1. Invent something no one knew they wanted
Doggles, in case you missed it, are UV-protection goggles for dogs. The Daily Mail called them “one of the most useless inventions ever”, but they earned inventor Roni Di Lullo millions. And the Snuggie? The wearable blanket became such a pop-culture phenomenon it sold over 20 million in its first year alone. And, of course, no one even knew there was a gap in the market between phones and notebook computers until Apple invented the tablet.

2. Think digital
Successful digital products have the most potential to go stratospheric. Right now the biggest opportunities are in mobile apps — and you don’t need to be a developer or designer to get in on the action. Last year, American Trevor McKendrick paid a developer just $US500 for a bare-bones Spanish-language Bible app. It’s already earned him over $100,000 in profit.

3. Compete with a corporate
When Marc Ellis and Stefan Lepionka founded Charlies in 1999, they were all about the little guys making real juice. But the big guys in the drinks market were watching, and in 2011 Asahi bought Charlies for $130 million. It was the same for Geoff Ross and 42 Below vodka, which he sold to Bacardi for $138 million in 2006. Little guys innovate; corporates buy them out, both to benefit from the innovation and to protect their own market share.

4. Buy a house, serially
Buy the worst house in the best street, do it up, sell it. Repeat. Or, as young property investor Kyron Gosse says, forget the best streets. Search out over-looked dungers in the southern suburbs. His advice? “Get on the ladder, build up, add some equity and move on. Stop being snobs.” Read more on Gosse’s technique here.

5. Marry rich
Know anyone who can get you an invite to a YaYa Club party? No, wait…


Pay less tax

Thousands of Aucklanders can’t be wrong! The best way to pay less tax on your rising net wealth is to borrow to buy an investment property. Expenses on the rental, like mortgage interest, repairs, rates, insurance — and even legal fees for arranging the mortgage — can be deducted against income.

And you won’t pay tax on the windfall profits when you sell (unless you come to the attention of the IRD as a speculator) because we have no capital gains tax. And those kind tenants helping to pay off your mortgage will sometimes be poor enough to get a government accommodation benefit that will rise in tandem with your rent rises.

With the government and tax department helping you out, what can go wrong? Some people say rising house prices are not a sure thing, but they’ve been wrong for so long nobody listens to them. And the government is doing everything it can to keep the market buoyant, including an explicit statement from John Key that he doesn’t want to see house prices fall. And with Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests showing how much of MPs’ wealth across all parties is tied up in housing, it’s hard to see these turkeys voting for an early Christmas by unwinding state support for the most profitable lurk in the country.


Buy a racehorse

•    Syndicates offer the best chance of getting into a well-bred horse at minimal outlay — though you may have to fight for elbow room with dozens of co-owners in the winner’s circle.

•    Check out the record of the trainer and the stable, and ask what access/privileges you will get as an owner.

•    Find out how many shares are being syndicated and compare the value with the price the horse fetched at the yearling sales — is a $10,000 animal suddenly being hocked off for $100,000?

•    Work out your monthly outgoings and whether potentially pricey vets’ bills and transport costs are included or extras.

•    Smaller syndicates cost more to join but have wider scope for socialising with like-minded dreamers… sorry, “investors”.

•    Don’t expect to make big money because,  chances are, you won’t. But with a bit of luck you’ll have fun losing it.


Raise money for a school

Quiz night. One big event trumps a hundred cake stalls. Sell wine and dinner, and have raffles with prizes donated by parents and local businesses. Get someone to write community-specific questions, and get an entertaining person to front it. Make it a bit special.


More ways to make your dreams come true in Auckland:

Life & leisure

Sex & relationships

Life & leisure

Fame & fortune

Fashion & health


Illustration by Beck Wheeler


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