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June 16, 2021 / Blog

Simple ways to save money … how making small changes can make a big difference!

What’s holding you back? The sooner you start, the more you can save!

Here are some simple ways that you can start saving:
  • Set a goal: Whether it’s a new car, a holiday or just to have some money in the bank for a rainy day, the place to begin is to set a savings goal and stick to it. Work out how much you need, what you can REALISTICALLY afford to put away each week and how long it will take for you to achieve your goal.
  • Look for small savings: Write a list of all your regular expenses and spending habits and then look at where you can trim some fat. You will be surprised at how quickly the little things can add up!
  • Make a budget and stick to it: Once you have worked out your expenses, you can set a realistic budget for the week, month or even year. Setting and sticking to a budget will help you to achieve your savings goal much quicker.
  • Pay down the debt: Debt is expensive, so if you have any spare money, don’t buy that new top - pay off your debt instead. Look at what interest rates you have on any debt and pay off the highest ones first.
  • Change your spending habits: Small spending savings in the short term can add up to big savings in the long run. Take your lunch to work, buy a coffee twice a week not every day and eat leftovers instead of takeaway. You will be amazed at how small changes to your daily habits will boost your bank balance.
  • Get organised in advance: Looking at the big picture can really reduce last minute spending and impulse buying. Preparing for big events such as Christmas and start putting away for it during the year. Look at layby as an option as opposed to using the credit card. Paying something off as opposed to paying interest on a debt is a great way to start saving money.

June 8, 2021 / Blog

6 Ways To Spend Less This Winter
Let’s face it, winter can be harsh - it’s cold and gloomy and it can also be costly. But there are some simple things that you can do to keep costs down. Here are a few tips that will help you to spend less this winter.
  • Turn off the lights
Lights, TV, anything that you leave on whilst you are not home or when you are sleeping will add to your electricity bill. Turn off what you are not using, and you will find that your electricity bill will decrease.
  • Turn off or turn down the heat
Only use the heating when you really need it and make sure that you turn it off when you leave the house. If you don’t want to turn the heating off completely, then consider turning down the heat by a few degrees, especially if you are not home. Doing this will save on your energy bill.
  • Use alternatives to heat
There are plenty of cost-effective ways to stay warm. Adding an extra blanket to your bed, snuggling up with on the couch with rugs and using hot water bottles are highly effective ways to ward off the winter chills.
  • Budget meals
Grocery shopping can really swallow up a lot of your cash, so plan your meals for the week ahead of time, make a list before you shop and most importantly STICK TO THE LIST. Make a budget for what you feel you should be spending on groceries each week and select your meals for the week based on your budget. Avoid impulse buying and purchasing comfort food. Another good trick to keeping the weekly grocery bill down is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season and buying tinned and frozen fruits and vegetables as a more cost-efficient alternative to fresh.
  • Freezer meals
When you are cooking make a little bit extra and pop it in the freezer for a rainy day or as an alternative to take away. Leftovers also make great lunches for work or school and can save you from spending unnecessarily.
  • Close your curtains and seal your windows
Closing your curtains will help to stop heat from escaping and will act as another barrier to letting cold air in. Also make sure that all your windows and doors are properly sealed and are not letting in any frosty winter drafts.
Using these tips can really be a winter money saver.

May 24, 2021 / Blog

6 mini money hacks that will save you a lot
Taking care with how you spend your money makes sense - you want to save as much of it as possible. It does not have to take lots of time, effort or going without to be a smart saver.
Here we share 6 mini money hacks that will help you boost your bank account:
  • 1. Automate your expenses and your savings: When working to a budget and trying to save, one of the best ways for things to go smoothly is for you to set up your expenses and savings to be automated. If every pay day your utilities and other expenses, as well as your savings, are automatically deducted from your account, it ensures that you don’t overspend and that all your bill and saving requirements are met.
 
  • 2. Make a meal plan: Feeding a family can be one of your biggest weekly expenses and last-minute takeaways can really blow the budget, so creating and sticking to a meal plan can do wonders for saving money. Planning what your family eats each week will reduce wastage, allow you to shop and cook efficiently as well as save you a ton of cash.
 
  • 3. Drink more water: Not only will this improve your health, but it will also improve your bank balance. Soft drink, alcohol and juice is expensive whilst bottled water and, even better, tap water is cheap -  so drink more of it!.
 
  • 4. Compare, compare and compare again: Look at all your insurance policies and shop around to make sure that you are getting the most bang for your buck. The cheapest is not necessarily the best but by doing your homework you could save yourself a pretty penny or at least get more for your money.
 
  • 5. Keep up the maintenance: By taking care of your home, your car and any other big-ticket items and ensuring that that are well serviced and maintained, you will be saving yourself some big repair bills down the track.
 
  • 6. Give up expensive habits: One of the best way to build up your bank account quickly is by cutting out or cutting back on expensive habits. Whether it be alcohol, cigarettes, shopping or eating out – reducing your spending on these non-necessary indulgences will save you a lot of money.

May 21, 2021 / Blog

Don’t throw it away! 5 Creative ways to use leftovers

How many times have you found a container lurking at the back of your fridge with week-old leftovers that have long been forgotten? Don’t worry, you are not alone. We have all been guilty of letting good food go to waste. 
But for a whole lot of reasons - financial, social and environmental - it makes sense for us to be mindful to use what we have in the fridge, and that means getting creative by using leftovers more effectively!
Here are our top 5 tips on what to do with your surplus food:
 
  1. Be smart on how you store: Not only are glass containers reusable and sustainable, but they also let you easily see what is inside. If you are freezing, then a clever and compact way is to use zip lock backs and label them with contents and date.
  2. Leftover and freezer nights: If your fridge and freezer are heaving, then put the pans away and use up what you have. Some of the most fun dinners can be an eclectic mix of bits and pieces from the fridge and freezer!
  3. Transform dinners into lunch: There is no quicker, easier or financially savvy way to create work or school lunches than by using last night’s leftovers and transforming them into today's and tomorrow's lunches. It not only cuts down on waste but will also save you lots of money.
  4. Think ahead: When you are working out your weekly meal plan think about what extra portions you might have and how you can use them, you will find that this not only saves you time but also money. If you have left over vegetables, they become the base for a pasta or soup for the weekend or, if you are doing a baked dinner, any leftover meat will be a delicious sandwich filling for the following day's lunch.
  5. Don’t think “leftovers” but rather “pre prepared ingredients”: Change your mindset about leftovers and think of them as already made ingredients that will help you to quickly and cheaply transform your discarded veggies into a delicious frittata or your surplus rice into risotto.

Getting into the habit of using leftovers will not only save you time and money but it is also better for the environment and is far more socially responsible than letting good food go to waste!

 

May 11, 2021 / Blog

4 Benefits of shopping using layby

Do you remember when your parents used to buy the new family fridge or dining table using layby? Years ago, layby was a big thing – you found something you needed or wanted, secured it with a deposit and then paid it off over several months as you could afford it and then, voila, you were the owner of a new set of Britannica Encyclopedias!
In the modern-day world of instant gratification, layby has become somewhat of a forgotten shopping gem, but in these tough financial times and with consumers becoming increasingly credit-responsible, good old fashion layby appears to be having a resurgence and there are some pretty good reasons why …
 
Here are some of the benefits when it comes to using layby to get your shopping done:
  • Convenience: Layby comes in really handy when you see something you want but don’t have the money to purchase it. You can put down a small deposit and slowly pay it back in affordable instalments. It also allows you to plan for the future, so if you have big occasions like Christmas or birthdays coming up, you can choose what you want ahead of time and use layby as a means to pay it off so that when the time comes to celebrate you are prepared!
 
  • Allows you to budget properly: Layby allows you to secure something that you need or want and pay it off without having to use a credit card or pay for it in full up front. When you are trying to stick to a tight budget, impulse buys can really cause you to come unstuck, as can hefty interest rates on credit cards. Layby can offer the budget conscious shopper a great alternative purchasing option.
 
  • Shopping made easy: One of the huge plus sides of using layby to shop means that you can put things away as you see them without having to pay for them fully in advance, taking a lot of the pain out of shopping. If you see the perfect gift for mum but her birthday is not for 6 months, you can layby it and pay it off, meaning you secure your gift without having to pay for it fully before you need it. It also means that you can get super organised ahead of time taking the stress out shopping last minute for things.
 
  • Gift storage: No more hiding things under the stairs or in the attic, layby offers the most perfect gift storage solution for Christmas and other occasions. You can secure what you need and then the store keeps it until you need it making it super helpful when you are trying to keep gifts hidden from prying eyes!

May 5, 2021 / Blog

Mother’s Day – 5 ways to show mum you love her without breaking the bank
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, so it’s time to start thinking about ways that you can make your mum feel special come May 9th. This year, look outside the box and really think of something unique that your mum will be sure to cherish. You don’t have to spend a fortune on chocolate, perfume or candles to make your mum feel loved – if you focus on a gift from the heart, then you will be sure to make her smile.
Here are some suggestions to help make your mum's Mother’s Day a special one:
  • Spend time with her doing something that she loves: Let’s face it, there is nothing that any mum loves more than spending quality time with her kids, so book your mum in and take her on a date. If she loves nature, take her for a walk in the National Park; if she loves old movies, then transform your living room into a cinema and make it a marathon movie day; if she loves art, then take her on a gallery hop.
 
  • Make a meal of it: Host lunch or dinner for your mum and cook all of her favourite foods or dishes that mean something special in your family. Cooking her favourite meal or her favourite treats will really show your mum that you know what she loves.
 
  • Create a family photo book: Whether you do it online or create one at home, compiling an album of family photos will really touch your mum’s heart.
 
  • Make her something or do something for her: Everyone has a talent at something, so get creative and channel your artistic self into creating something personal for your mum – a painting, drawing, collage, knitted blanket or baked goods. A homemade gift is sure to be a winner. If you are not the creative type, then do something practical for your mum like mowing the lawn and tidying the garden, cleaning the house or decluttering the garage for her. Guaranteed she will enjoy the sentiment of your time more than she will appreciate another hand lotion!
 
  • Pre plan: If you do have your heart set on purchasing something special for your mum, then be smart about it and plan ahead. Layby is a really good interest free option that allows you to buy your dream gift for mum and pay it off in instalments.  
However you plan to treat your mum this Mother’s Day, don’t forget to do one very important thing – tell her that you love her!

April 27, 2021 / Blog

Tricks to cooking like a chef … on a budget

Cooking delicious meals does not have to cost you a fortune. In fact, some of the most flavoursome dishes actually come from some surprisingly inexpensive, humble origins.
Here we share with you some of our top tricks on how to cook like a MasterChef on a budget…
  • Cook like a peasant: Some of arguably the best dishes to grace the dinner table (ratatouille, fajitas, bibimbap) were invented by people who were strapped for cash. Take the famous Tuscan soup, Ribollita for example – it is made with left over vegetable soup and bread and is one of the most delectable delights that will ever hit your tastebuds. In fact, so many wonderful dishes - think flavoursome risottos and tasty frittatas - were born out of poverty, so really as long as you have rice or eggs on hand there is no excuse not to be able to whip up a delicious yet inexpensive meal.
 
  • Don’t be afraid to use cheap cuts of meat: Being a meat snob can actually put you at a cooking disadvantageous as it is some of the cheaper cuts of meat that really pack the flavour punch. Chicken thigh, flank steak and pork tenderloin are all inexpensive yet delicious options that can become the frugal chef’s best friend.
 
  • Slow cooking: Cheap cuts such as gravy beef and brisket are also excellent when slow cooked – in fact any cheap cut of meat will be transformed by slow cooking. It’s a terrific way to extract flavour and make a little go a long way so is another firm favourite with the budget conscious chef.
 
  • Season away: One of the best ways to enhance a dish without breaking the bank is to ensure that it is well seasoned. Dried herbs and spices work just as well as their expensive fresh counterparts, so don’t be afraid to experiment and use them generously. Salt is a chef’s number one cooking companion, which when used correctly, can transform even the blandest of foods.
 
  • Use frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables: As delicious as fresh fruit and veggies can be the fact is they are often expensive and don’t last long. Frozen fruit and vegetables provide a really cost effective and convenient cooking option. When used in many dishes such as soups, stews and risottos you will never be able to tell the difference between frozen or fresh so why not use the more budget friendly option!
 
  • Reinvent leftovers: Clever chefs don’t waste food – turn left over vegies into stock, any remaining curry or stew into pies and left over bolognaise sauce into a hearty lasagne. Transforming your leftovers is a savvy way to save money and create another delicious dinner with minimal effort!

April 21, 2021 / Blog

5 ways to save money on a tight budget

Budgets can really be a dirty word to many of us... it can be really challenging to find additional ways to trim the fat and it often isn’t much fun!  These tips might help you to think about ways you can save for that rainy day (or holiday)...!
Here are 5 ways that you can save money even when you are already living on a tight budget:
 
  • Revise your food bill: Obviously dining out and takeaway is expensive, so these luxuries need to be really cut back on for those of us trying to minimise our spending. Leftovers make fantastic lunches, have your coffee at home, take a water bottle with you and plan ahead. Make a weekly or even monthly meal plan for your family and don’t let anything go to waste. Left over vegies can make a fabulous stir fry, rice can be used as a side for a curry or as filling for tacos. Checking out meat specials or cutting back on meat a bit each week will also make a huge difference to your food bill. You can also save money by buying frozen or canned fruits, beans and vegetables.
 
  • Switch to cash for day-to-day expenses: Clearly, it’s not practical to pay big bills such as your rent, car repayment and utilities using cash but by switching to cash for other expenses you will quickly notice a change for the better in your spending habits. Using cash makes you more aware and more accountable for your purchases and places a harder limit on your spending.
 
  • Commit to paying off your debt: High interest debts such as credit cards really crunch through your monthly income. Committing to paying off your debts as soon as possible is the first step in freeing up extra money for the future.
 
  • Cut back a little bit everywhere: It's easy to try and cut back in one area of your life but to really reap benefits from budgeting you need to look at cutting back a little bit in every area of your life that you have expenditure. By cutting back a little bit in every area of your budget such as entertainment, utilities, groceries and transportation you will find that by counting the pennies that the pounds will eventually look after themselves!
 
  • Look at the big picture: A next step to cutting back on expenditure is to look at the big-ticket expenses in your life. Look at things like your rent and car repayments and consider if savings can be made by looking at cheaper alternatives or perhaps getting a housemate or using car share instead of owning a car yourself.

April 20, 2021 / Blog

3 tips for an easier Christmas

For so many of us Christmas can be a hugely stressful time of the year, between the shopping, cooking, extra expenditure and not to mention the often forced time spent with extended family can really cause a peak in people’s anxiety levels. 

But there are some simple things that you can do to make Christmas just that little bit easier:

  1. Work out a plan pre-December

Without a doubt the most effective way to limit Christmas stress is to be a pre planner. Work out way in advance of December what your plans are for the festive season – who you will be seeing, who you might be visiting, how many times that you will be entertaining and what gifts you will need and what food you need to provide. Plan now and pay for it bit by bit instead of in one big scary lump sum.

Get as much done before December 1st as you can, and you will find yourself laughing all the way to Christmas day!

  1. Create and stick to a budget

One of the best ways to reduce Christmas stress is to simply spread out the cost of Christmas. There is no point in giving yourself a heart attack because you are trying to buy champagne when you are on a beer budget!. Chrisco has an awesome budget calculator that allows you to put in your budget and helps you plan what you can buy within your budget. Just head to www.chrisco.com.au in the top banner and enjoy planning your Christmas budget.

  1. Be a savvy shopper

Start early by placing a layby. This will not only help you to spread the expense across the year, but it will also prevent you from making any expensive last minute impulsive purchases.  


February 23, 2021 / Blog

Top tips for choosing gifts for people

Gifts can play an important role in many of our lives and can demonstrate your thought, care and love for a person. It's important to remember that for a gift to be well received it does not have to be ornate, over the top or expensive - it's all in the thought and detail.

Here are some tips to help you choose and give the perfect gift:

Make a list of all the things that the person is interested in: Sit down and have a good hard think about what makes the recipient of your gift tick then next to each interest think of a gift that might compliment it. If someone loves fishing then a subscription to a fishing magazine might be a hit whilst if someone is a real foodie then a gourmet hamper might be the winning present.

Make the present an event: Think outside of the box and instead of just handing over a gift in wrapping paper make the whole experience of gift giving an event - create a scavenger hunt with clues or wrap the gift in a series of different sized boxes like pass the parcel!

Give an experience: Forget perfume and books some of the best gifts can be experiences. Think about tickets to a concert or a musical, a cooking class, ballroom dancing lessons or even a gift card to the arcade.

Think about what the person might need: If you have a friend that loves walking then maybe new sneakers, a visor or a water bottle could be a good practical gift whilst if your daughter loves drawing then a new sketch pad and pencils might go down well whilst if your husband loves to cook then a knife sharpener might be a useful addition to the kitchen but not something that he might necessarily think to buy for himself.

Be sentimental: Some of the best gifts are the sentimental ones. A beautifully framed old photo, a handmade card, a jar containing little notes with “All the things that we love about you”.

Do some stalking: If all else fails then resort to stalking! Everyone these days leaves behind a digital footprint so get on social media and do some snooping and you might just find a clue as to the perfect gift.

Have a sense of humour: There are some hysterical gag gifts available so get creative - a great one after the year we have all had could be a box of toilet paper!

 

February 8, 2021 / Blog

Five clever things that you can do now to save money and budget wisely

Whilst you might not have control over the economy you do however have control over your own finances, and there are many simple things that you can do to start to save money and budget wisely.

Here are our top five tips to help you get ahead:

Go through your insurance policies and service providers and compare rates: You will be shocked to find out what immediate savings are possible when you start to compare different insurance policies and start to check out what different service providers have on offer. There are heaps of great free online tools that you can use to help you to compare rates and services. Saving a little on each bill and policy can add up to a hefty some in the long term. It might take a few hours out of your day but the savings will be worth it!

Downgrade or reduce some services: With so many streaming services on offer it can be tempting to sign up for many of them, but do you really need them? You might not think that each one is expensive individually, but when you are paying for multiple services every single month, then it can really add up. Choose one or two services that you really love and get rid of the rest! You might also want to get rid of your landline. In this day and age with most family homes having multiple mobiles, the land line has become virtually obsolete. Think carefully about if you need to pay the monthly service charge for a landline or if your mobile device will suffice?

Cut down on take-away and coffees: Even if the meal is not expensive, doing it frequently can really add up - a $20 pizza once a week is $1000 a year whilst a daily coffee on the go at $4.50 a pop will set you back just shy of $250 per annum. It's the little things that really end up adding up!

Gold coin jar: Buy a money tin from the $2 shop that can only be opened with a can opener (this is important so you don't get tempted to raid it) and commit to putting all your gold coins in it. Once it is full - open it up and you will be surprised at how much loose change can add up to over a period of time.

Keep track of your spending: It might not sound like rocket science, but you will be surprised at just how many people have no idea where their money goes. Keep a close eye on what and where you are spending your money by writing it down and tracking it. This will allow you to see areas that you can cut back on, assist you in budgeting and help you to reduce debt and start saving.

Check Out These 7 Christmas Party Games for Kids and Adults

        A great way to keep kids and adults entertained after all the Christmas presents are unwrapped it to play some Christmas games. We love the idea of a Christmas scavenger hunt. Get the kids involved with hiding and finding. Another great idea shared is rather than throwing out all the wrapping paper and ribbon away from the presents is to set the kids at crafty challenge. Load them up with glue, tape and the salvaged Christmas wrapping paper and ribbon and set them to creating their most own creative invention. You can then create a jugging panel made up of ...

 

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77 DIY Christmas Decorating Ideas To Sprinkle Your House With Christmas Joy!

        This Christmas why not make every room look as festive as possible with these awesome DIY Christmas decorating ideas. We asked our team a Chrisco to choose the Christmas decoration they liked the best from the list and the winners were: 1. Number 27 - The Gifty Centerpiece 2. Number 44 - Takeout Box Advent Calendar 3. Number 58 - Game Piece Ornaments We hope you find some great ideas to get your Christmas crafting into gear.

 

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35 Best Christmas Songs As Voted By Cosmo!

        We love a great Christmas boogie here at Chrisco. With the Christmas party season well and truly upon us we thought we would look for some tips on the best Christmas songs of all time. We stumbled across this great article from Cosmo the list the 35 best Christmas songs of all time. We are going to share these around the Chrisco office! We hope they get you into the Christmas spirit. NOTE of warning - some of them can drive you a bit mad so limit how much you play them because they will get stuck in your head ...

 

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Avoid Family Drama This Christmas!

        It really doesn't matter how much we love our families Christmas time can often be at time of high stress and Christmas day can bring out the best and worst in people. In this great article there are 7 strategies to help you enjoy a drama free Christmas day. We love Christmas here at Chrisco and we love delivering goodies to families to make their Christmas day wonderful. We hope these tips help to make this Christmas your best Christmas yet!

 

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Delicious Ideas For Christmas Entertaining

        Yum Yum Yum! Check out these great Christmas entertaining ideas from Taste. From a delicious Christmas layer dip to prawns and yummy tarts. There is plenty here to tempt you. Remember if you are an existing Chrisco customers its not too long before you receive your Toy and Gift catalogue and inside will be this year recipe calendar filled with other great ideas to fill your bellies with goodness.

 

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Who Doesn't Love A Sausage Roll? Check Out These Homemade Pork & chorizo sausage rolls

        Yum...a sausage roll is a family favourite. The team at Chrisco just love a delicious pastry wrapped filling for lunch or a quick Sunday night dinner. We couldn't not share this great recipe with you when we stumbled across at BabyMac. This delicious recipe takes the traditional sausage roll and gives it a delicious twist. These are great to eat as soon as they are baked, or if you have the self control (which we struggle with) to save some they are great to freeze and have when friends drop in. Thanks Baby Mac for the great recipe.

 

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Want To Know 6 Ways to trick kids into tidying up?

        Bargain Mums shares some really great tips to help you out if you find yourself constantly asking the kids to help tidy up. As she tells us it - 's - so important for kids to learn to help with tidying up. She tells us that turning cleaning into a game has always worked wonders in her house, so in her list of 6 ways to stick kids into tidying up she gives some really creative ideas. As she says these tips help make cleaning fun, gets the house cleaned and lower your stress levels! It - ' - s a win-win for everyone! The post 6 ...

 

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Check out these 16 Amazing Recipes In A Mug from Stay At Home Mum!

        Check out these great recipes from Stay At Home Mum all delicious and created in a mug. From Chocolate Coconut Flour Mug to a Red Hot Apple Pie In Mug.... They are super delicious and even easier to make. Stay At Home has combined great recipes from their tribe to share with you. Simply delicious you should check them out.

 

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Are You A Helicopter Parent ?

Chrisco Blog -       In this great article from Ruth from Living Well Spending Less...she shares some great tips if you or someone you is a bit of a helicopter parent. Ruth shares with us that we all fear hovering a little too closely and robbing our kids of independence and confidence, but it's hard to determine where the line is. She lists great questions to as yourself and some solutions to help you avoid the helicopter title. The post Don't Be a Helicopter Parent (and Other Mistakes to Avoid) appeared first on Living Well Spending Less.

 

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