Recently, I wrote a blog post about how to save money while gardening. I thought that it might be a good idea to write a more general post about ways that we can save money on a day-to-day basis. In my opinion, economising is important no matter how much (or little) money we have for many reasons:
o It helps us manage our funds more effectively so they go further
o It enables us to use the money we save for other essential and non-essential items
o It might allow us to put aside some money (or extra money) as savings for the future
o Saving money or getting a bargain makes us feel good!
o It sets a good example to our children and instils a healthy attitude to money from a young age
Grow your own fruit and veggies
Those of you who are familiar with In the Circle will know how much I love gardening. I have devoted an entire media channel to the subject of gardening under the umbrella of Anita’s Garden. Having a garden can help you to save money. Fruit and veggies are expensive. By growing your own, you’ll save a fortune. You’ll also have access to the freshest, tastiest goods around at the convenience of your door step. Gardening gives you a form of free exercise and it will encourage you to be outdoors and make the most of good (or bad) weather.
Don’t forget that you can also save a bundle while gardening! To read more about economising in the garden, you can read my blog post here.
Advertising in brochures and catalogues
Many shops put out a brochure or catalogue from time to time, advertising specials. Some supermarkets release a brochure advertising weekly specials. Don’t be one of those people who has a “no junk mail” or “no circulars” sign on your mailbox. You could be missing out on valuable information which will save you money!
Reduced to clear goods at the supermarket
Some supermarkets reduce fresh foods such as bread, meat, fish and dairy products a day or two before they are due to expire. Stocking up on these items while you are doing your supermarket shopping will reduce your grocery bill dramatically. As with purchasing any edible item at the supermarket (be it fresh or processed), it’s advisable to check the freshness of the product before buying the item.
Check and save supermarket dockets as they sometimes entitle you to a discount on fuel. Consider using public transport, which also saves you on parking costs.
Weekly phone deals
Fortunately, the cost of having a mobile phone has decreased over the years because everyone has one these days. Keep an eye out for special deals on additional data and calling minutes. Vodafone run a scheme called Fantastic Fridays. Sometimes, you can even “purchase” off-peak data free!
I used to purchase contact lenses from the optometrist. Then I discovered a site called Smart Buy Glasses. I order what I need from this site and it saves me a fortune.
Take advantage of coupon websites such as Grabone, Groupon and Treat Me. These sites offer deals and discounts on dining, entertainment, services and goods. I recently bought a bunch of vouchers to Event Cinemas for just $10 each. The normal price of admission to the local cinema costs $18.50. Ouch!
The website First Table is worth checking out if you like dining out. Bookings made through the website allow diners to receive 50% off food for early dining.
Savings can also be made on the spot. Some restaurants offer lunch specials. Our favourite local Indian restaurant has a $12 lunch special, which includes a curry, rice, naan and soft drink. An absolute bargain!
The Entertainment Book
If you enjoy eating out (or going out more generally), you’ll love the Entertainment Book. This handy book is full of discount coupons for dining, entertainment, professional services and travel. The Entertainment Book comes out every year and coupons are valid for an entire year. Proceeds go to charity, so it’s for a good cause, too.
Most stores have sales from time to time. Save money on appliances, electronics, clothing, shoes and much more by shopping during sales. Sign up for emails from your favourite stores so you receive alerts and know when sales or specials are on.
Barter, negotiate, and haggle over prices
Did you know that you can haggle over prices in New Zealand, not just in Asia? I discovered this a few years ago when I needed to update my laptop and camera at JB Hi Fi a few years ago. I naively thought that in New Zealand, the price tag signalled the end price but it appears that I was wrong! It never hurts to ask if there is a “better price”. All the sales assistant can say is no.
These days it seems as though every store has a loyalty card. It sometimes feels like a hassle to join yet another loyalty programme but you may be missing out on an excellent way to save money and receive incentives. Start by getting a supermarket loyalty card and go from there.
Some universities and training institutes offer services by students at reduced rates. The local MIT offers hairdressing at a salon, dining at cafes and restaurants, barista made coffee, a bakery, a florist and a plant nursery all at heavily discounted rates. Besides, you’ll be supporting students of today, professionals of tomorrow.
Subscriptions to newspapers and magazines
Cancel your subscription to a hard copy version of the newspaper and magazines. Most newspapers and magazines allow you to read articles for free, or at least a limited number of articles such as the New York Times. Alternatively, get an electronic subscription. A subscription to the electronic version might have a reduced subscription rate, such as the New York Times. Not only will this save you money, but it’s also much better for the environment.
The cost of a gym membership can be crippling. The Exercise Association of New Zealand offer heavily subsidised gym memberships to members of the community who have not had a gym membership in the past twelve months. I used this scheme to purchase a gym membership to my local gym, which you can read about in this post. I received my gym membership for half of the normal price, making an annual membership an absolute bargain.
Shop from China
I was always a little dubious about purchasing goods direct from China on websites such as AliExpress. That is, until I started selling plants in my little nursery and needed to purchase lots of plastic plant labels. The cost of sourcing them within New Zealand was just too high and I actually found a better product from China on the AliExpress site. Shopping from China makes sense. After all, most stores in New Zealand import their goods from China. You might as well cut out the middleman and buy direct!
Consider taking your holidays off-peak when prices are lower. You might want to think about taking the family on a cruise as it’s all inclusive and generally works out cheaper than paying for accommodating and dining. You can read my blog post on cruise holidays here.
If all else fails, you can always have a staycation. There are lots of things you can do in your own city. Go sightseeing. Be a tourist in your own town or city. Visit museums, parks, beaches and galleries. Go to the community swimming pool. Ours is free. Alternatively, simply stay at home. Turn your garden into a summer sanctuary. Make your home a place you never want to leave!