Who hasn’t been bitten by the credit crunch yet? Every time I go to buy basics: milk, butter, cheese, and petrol, as well as pay my mortgage and power bills, my purse goes on a protest.
There are ways and means of saving money at the supermarket till and elsewhere.
Just take a look at my supermarket trolley. I see items such as salami, rocket, Little Boys gourmet sausages, brie, and Zigana Espresso
coffee as essentials. Whereas someone of my mother’s generation would choke over their budget brand bread and baked beans at the thought that these items are anything other than luxuries.
But get this. Nothing you encounter on your weekly food shop is accidental, from the fresh bread smells pumped into the entranceway of the supermarket to the placing of higher-margin items at eye level.
That's thanks to supermarket psychology, or trolleyology as it's dubbed in the United States. Psychologists, retail geographers, and food marketing experts pour over ever last inch of supermarkets looking how to extract more moolah out of you by putting expensive mouth-watering goodies in your path.
The way to beat them and batten down your budget is to plan your meals and write a shopping list before you go. Here’s some useful weblinks to help you do that:
Watch this clip about how one family in America save money on their grocery shopping.
Then there’s petrol for the gas guzzler. Two years ago the first petrol price shock stopped me shopping away from the suburb where I live in Auckland. I now do my grocery shopping at the Third World supermarket (known as New World to most people), and buy just about everything else I need via Trade Me. My three most recent purchases were: 10 empty spray bottles, which I’ve filled with home-made cleaning concoctions (a great way to save money), a heavy duty stapler, for $22, instead of $100 plus in the shops, and a countdown mini timer (which was cheaper than getting the Smeg range’s timer repaired). Buying on Trade Me saved cash up front, and also the fuel costs of going shopping.
There are plenty of ways lower your pain levels at the pump. Send the kids to school on the Walking School Bus if you can or catch public transport. A friend of mine who spent two years complaining about the Northern Busway in Auckland, swallowed his pride one day and caught the bus to work. He’s an instant convert. Not only does he get to work faster, but it costs him less than petrol and parking.
A home energy diet saves money. Turn off appliances at the wall. TVs, microwaves, computers etc, left running or on standby, can use 20 per cent of the power they would when on. And that’s 24-hours a day.
To cut down on mortgage interest costs, see a mortgage broker. They have all sorts of tricks up their sleeves to cut costs and have access to deals from non-bank lenders that you may never have heard of.
So who has some tips for me about how to save money?