Plug the leak: Avoiding avoidable fees
We all know how easy it is to spend money but did you know it can be just as easy to save your hard-earned cash too? If we said you can actually save money without sacrificing your lifestyle what would you say? We thought so. So now all you have to do is follow our simple tips to cutting costs on stuff you won’t even miss and before you know it you’ll be saving a huge chunk of change. Here’s how:
Looking for leaks
To get a grip on where your money is being spent print out your latest bank statements and highlight all of your automatic payments. Printing it out makes it much easier to get a clear picture of what’s going on with your finances. You may be surprised to find that you’re still paying a monthly subscription to a service you’re no longer using. Many services keep rolling on until you stop them so if you’re not keeping an eagle eye on your statements these amounts go by unnoticed but over the course of a year add up to quite a tidy sum.
Most of us would rather stick our heads in the sand and avoid anything remotely related to tax but the reality is that each year thousands of kiwis are owed a tax refund without even realising. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to claw a little of your money back simply because you don’t know where to begin or don’t like talking tax. There are websites now like mytax.co.nz that can help streamline the process and help you get any money owing back to where it belongs - in your own hands. Many of these websites don’t actually charge you unless you are owed a refund so it’s worth taking a little time to investigate.
Saving money isn’t about missing out on the fun stuff - it’s about being a little smarter with how you spend. Instead of meeting friends for dinner why not meet them for brunch to avoid any hefty alcohol bills at the end of the meal? Head out for a power-walk instead of catching up with the girls at a cafe - this works out good for your health and your finances. Don’t discount the idea of coupon books like the Entertainment book. You will pay an upfront fee at first but if you actually make use of the coupons you’ll save a lot in the end. Remember little changes can make a big difference to your bank balance.
When was the last time you checked your mobile phone plan? Phone plans are being changed and updated all the time and you’d be surprised how often you can score a better deal (even with the same provider) simply by changing your plan. Also make use of free Wi-Fi hotspots instead of using your own (often costly) data. If you’re not sure where and how to access free Wi-Fi then take a look at NewZealand.com and get up to speed now. It also pays to check your phone account to make sure you are using every penny you’re paying for - if you’re not then change your plan pronto. If you do decide to go for a bare-bones plan then check out some of the free messaging services like Kik for texts and Viber or Whatsapp.
You don’t ask, you don’t get
Don’t ever feel embarrassed to ask for a discount in retail stores. Many retailers will more often than not sharpen their pencils and offer a discount rather than miss out on your business. Don’t feel ashamed to ask - it’s very common practice these days and the worst that can happen is they can say no. The best result is that you’ll get a discount and keep the extra cash in your wallet instead of theirs.
It’s definitely worth asking yourself if you really need to be shelling out big bucks each month on pay TV. The major networks have on-demand platforms that let you watch what you like when you like so it’s worth reassessing your TV time and asking yourself whether you really need to be paying sixty-plus dollars a month to watch one or two shows.
It’s hard not to splash out on the latest new season “essentials” but before you do make sure you don’t already own something that would fit the bill. Sounds obvious right? But the truth is many of us have more clothes than we know what to do with. If you have a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear then check out Leonie’s book: 6 Simple Steps To Building The Perfect Wardrobe that shows you how to shop smart and stay on trend while sticking to a budget.
If you’re a music buff then keep your ears to the ground for good deals on “free” music. Some telecommunications companies even offer free music services like Spotify with their plans. A quick Google search will point you in the right direction and stop you over-spending on music.
We all start out with good intentions when we join a club or a gym but if you’re paying membership fees and not using them then it’s time to cancel. If you haven’t used your gym membership for ages and you can’t break your contract then put it on hold for a period of time and take the pressure off yourself. This way you will bide yourself some valuable time to reassess your needs and you’ll stop paying for something you’re not using.
It may not be glamorous but taking your own lunch to work can save you upwards of $60 a week. That’s a whopping $2880 a year. Yes it will take a few extra minutes each day but it will not only save you cash but more than likely will be better for your health and waistline too.
It goes without saying that women’s grooming products cost more than the male equivalents so why not hit up the men’s aisle for razors, body wash and any other gender-neutral products to save some serious cash?
Did you know that every time you withdraw cash from an ATM that’s not connected to your bank you’ll pay a fee? Sometimes the fee can be as much as $3 a transaction and if you’re doing that twice a week it will add up to a few hundred bucks each year.
You may be hooked on the latest mobile game but beware of in-app purchases that can catch you off guard. It’s also too easy to pay a couple of bucks here and there buying apps that you don’t really need or rarely use. Play it safe and disable your credit card from the App Store (if you’re using a Mac, simply go to the iTunes store homepage, click the Account link, then select Payment Information, then click on None). It’s that simple.
With BNZ Rapid Save you can earn rewards for growing your savings quickly so it's a great match for serious savers.