For all of us the advent of the coronavirus has resulted in massive change. Many people have lost their jobs, many are uncertain of what will happen in their careers and for even those people who are secure for now, there's the realisation that things can quickly change. Here's your moneysavingkiwi guide to keeping costs down, especially during these uncertain times. As reflected in our traffic light system, this article is an AMBER light as it's about cutting costs and saving. So here goes....
1. Shop sensibly! The PM Jacinda Ardern has repeatedly urged calm when shopping as there's more than enough to go around. Not only that, but also your finances can take a massive hit if you shop in a panic. You'll be prone to buying items you wouldn't normally get or you'll buy too much of something which may then go to waste!
2. Don't splash out to please the kids - The whole of New Zealand is in this together and unfortunately our kids have to suffer from not seeing their friends, not been able to play out and not going out in the car to be entertained. Turn this on it's head and it's a wonderful time to cut back on the usual costs - trips to bowling, the cinema, swimming, etc, etc - all these can't happen. That doesn't mean that you need to download loads of games on the Playstation. Relax. There's plenty they can do by using their imagination and their heaps of free activities online - go over to www.switchzoo.com for cool animal activities for the kids to do or how about www.storylineonline.net to hear famous people read children's stories. Even better, spend time together playing games as a family, do Arts and Crafts activities or bake. There's heaps to do if you set your mind to it.
3. Sort that emergency fund! If you are lucky enough to have your usual income during these uncertain times, then surely now is the time to sort an emergency fund. This is an account that stores money you keep to one side, in the case of a crisis - and no, not being able to afford your mate's stag do isn't a crisis! The rule of thumb here is to put to one side between 3 and 6 months of living expenses (that's all the money you need to live off e.g. rent, food, bills). If you can't manage this straight away, at least start by putting $1000 to one side - save for it if you don't have it now. Believe me, I've found out when the cat got hit by a car how much an emergency fund helps! Don;t get caught out.
4. Cut the costs of clubs - If you or/and your kids belong to clubs, see whether you can freeze those fees. Don't pay for any clubs yet for term 2, until we know where we'll be in terms of lockdown, etc.
5. Price Comparison - Now you've got the time to make sure you're getting the best deals. Go through your monthly debits and see if you can save on insurances, phone contracts, TV/Broadband bills. Go over to www.powerswitch.org.nz to compare the cost of electricity.