BusinessJanuary 28, 2018

Scrimping for beginners: The Spinoff’s top money saving hacks


Just living and breathing seems to cost money now. But don’t worry, we got you. We asked around the office and compiled the Spinoff’s tips for living a premium economy lifestyle on a discount economy income. 


  • Shop at Reduced To Clear. Make sure to ask them what day their cans arrive and get there first. Often the cheapest stuff goes out the door quickly so sign up to text alerts from every butchery in your area.
  • Go to the bakery at the end of the day as most stores put stuff on special. Bakers Delight will often do bread for $1. Same with Muffin Break for muffins.
  • Go to the movies on their cheap days. And when you do go, smuggle in some rapidly expiring snacks from Why Knot.
  • Go to the cheap trainees at the hairdressing schools and ask for something scary and complicated. They’ll get nervous and make the teacher do it.
  • Enter competitions in magazines and on websites (most clickthrough ones don’t get many entries). If you win, sell your winnings on TradeMe. 
  • Buy old editions of magazines. Newsagents can’t sell magazines after the new edition arrives. They’ll give them to you for free with the name of the magazine cut from the front cover.
  • Buy stuff on TradeMe or on Facebook in January when everyone sells their unwanted Christmas presents. The week after Mother’s Day is when mums put the rice cooker they already had on auction for $1.
  • Buy men’s beauty products instead of women’s ones and avoid the pink tax.
  • Take down your No Junk Mail sign and sit down with the flyers to compare prices for supermarkets. Make a list and then next to each thing put the supermarket that it’s cheapest at.
  • Buy meat in bulk when it’s on special.
  • Make meals, put them into containers and then swap them with other families for variety so you’re not eating mince every night. And there are groups on Facebook where you can swap vegetables, so if you have heaps of cucumbers you can swap them for other things that aren’t growing as well.
  • Go to a food court at 4pm: most will have curries and things for $5 or cheaper. You can take them home and freeze them.
  • Go to places with happy hour meals and drinks.
  • Google “discount code” for online stores before checking out to see if there’s a promotion on. It’s also a good idea to sign up for their newsletters as you’ll usually get a first purchase discount.
  • Google the competitor of the thing you want to buy and get a promoted post offering a discount (eg: searching ‘Pizza Hut’ will get you cheap Dominos).
  • Get free trials, and use multiple email accounts to get multiple free trials and discounts.
  • Buy wine in bulk when it’s on special.
  • Swap clothes instead of buying new ones. School fairs are a great place to buy kids’ clothing. Usually they have a $1 fill-a-bag if you go at the end of the day.
  • Buy teen clothes and shoes instead of adult ones if you can (eg: at Seed).
  • Go to Farro or fancy food retailers where you can load up on some delicious samples.
  • Find a loyalty programme that works for you (eg: Life Pharmacy gives $10 vouchers if you spend $150, which includes prescriptions). Be loyal and get rewarded.


  • Have children. They’re expensive.
  • Have dinner – just go to bed instead (or sleep in and skip breakfast).
  • Get a dog/cat/horse/rabbit/hamster/plant/living organism of any kind.
  • Smoke.
  • Get the meat option when eating out. The vegetarian option is usually a few dollars cheaper.
  • Stick with your phone company/insurer/broadband provider/energy provider. Shop around first and once you’ve got the cheapest deal, go back to your current company and let them try to buy your love.
  • Buy stuff online straight away. Take things to the checkout of an online store and then close the window – places like Mighty Ape will often send you a $10 voucher to convince you to buy.
  • Book a bach or an Airbnb. You can have a cheap beach holiday – without camping – by booking a cabin at a campground. You can get a nice, new two-bedroom self-contained cabin for a fraction of the price of a house. Plus, you get to use the campground amenities like pools and playgrounds.
  • Buy every fruit or vegetable fresh. Things like canned corn and frozen peas are cheap and last longer.
  • Wear the latest fashion. Keep your personal style ever-so-slightly grunge influenced, so nothing’s ever really worn out. Or develop a personal style where people no longer expect you to dress ‘normal’ so you’re well dressed regardless of the situation.

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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