Do you feel like your NZ bank account balance never seems to grow? You’re not alone – many Kiwis have trouble saving money, even though according to recent research we’re getting better at saving than we used to be.
To help you keep a little bit more cash in your pocket and learn how to save money, we’ve compiled a list of five simple ideas to help you save money immediately!
1. Save First
This is a common mistake that many of us have made at some point or another. When you get paid, whether it be weekly, fortnightly or monthly, the first thing you should do is put some money into a high-interest savings account. It doesn’t matter if it’s $5 or $500 out of each pay packet – what matters is that you put it aside first and then forget about it. What commonly happens is that us New Zealanders take the approach of ‘I’ll put any money left at the end of the month into savings’, which in almost all instances never happens!
Quick Takeaway: It’s too easy to spend money when it’s in your everyday bank account, so put a set amount into savings straight after you get paid and you’ll be amazed at how fast your savings can grow.
2. Don’t Buy Brands Every Time
A common way to save money on all your purchases is to review all of the brands you buy. There are plenty of NZ brands that we have grown up with, but just because they are a known brand does not necessarily justify paying up to 400% more compared with a competitors product! It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a loaf of bread at Pak ‘N’ Save or a brand new TV from a large retailer – compare the value on offer from big brands and lesser-known or home-brands and make your own judgement. Don’t be loyal to a brand just because ‘that’s the one I’ve always bought’! Switching to home-brand products can save you a significant amount of money over the course of a year, and often you will be surprised at the level of quality that cheaper alternatives can offer.
Quick Takeaway: Try home-brand products rather than big brands. You can often get similar quality products for a much lower price!
3. Cut Your Fuel Costs
Cars are expensive to run, and with our relatively high fuel costs any savings you can make here can make a big difference to your bank account. To save money on fuel costs, remove any excess weight from the car. A lot of New Zealanders have unnecessary items in their car, such as heavy toolkits and leftover items from past trips. Removing these items puts less pressure on your car, and can help your tank of fuel last longer on every trip. In addition to this, check your tyre pressure regularly to ensure they have the optimal pressure. It’s free, it’s very easy these days, and it’s available at most Kiwi petrol stations! You If you’re not confident using the air hose at your local petrol station, then ask one of the staff to teach you how to check your tyre pressure. Your bank account will thank you in the long run.
Quick Takeaway: Take five minutes to empty all non-essential items out of your car, and check your tyre pressure regularly.
4. Stick To One Supermarket Visit Per Week
While many of us shop weekly for our groceries, it can be hard to stick to only one visit per week. It’s too easy to pop into the local Countdown mid-week to buy milk, and come out having spent an additional $40 that you weren’t intending to! To avoid this, get into the habit of planning weekly meals, and including all necessary ingredients on your shopping list. If you run out of anything mid-week, try to survive until the next scheduled shopping trip – it’s a great way to train yourself for next time. You will often find that it’s much cheaper to buy slightly more of each essential product in the weekly shop than it is to keep stocking up during multiple mid-week visits!
Quick Takeaway: Plan your weekly grocery list carefully, and visit the supermarket only once per week.
5. Negotiate Everything
Another common mistake that Kiwis tend to make is to pay full price for items without questioning it. While most of us are happy to haggle over the cost of a large-ticket item like a house or a car, it’s a skill that is often forgotten during day-to-day purchases. Almost all New Zealand retailers allow their staff to offer discounts to some extent, you simply have to have the conversation with the staff member instore! Need a new microwave? Ask the retailer for their best price if you pay cash. Time to buy a new business suit? Ask them to throw in a free shirt. Buying a new couch? Ask the retailer what price they would take for an ex-display model. You should always attempt to negotiate the best price for goods and services, and getting used to asking the question can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Quick Takeaway: Before each purchase, ask the seller politely for their best price. You’ll be surprised how many will offer you a discount simply for asking!
Need more tips on how to save money in NZ? Keep an eye on our blog for more great tips, or get in touch with us today to share your money-saving tips.