June 20, 2022 / Blog
Healthy, budget-friendly meal suggestions to keep your family's belly full in the colder months.
As the temperature drops and the days get shorter, winter is when we desire comfort food. Familiar family favourites nourish the body and feed the soul. Here are some of our favourite winter meal suggestions that will keep your family's tummies from rumbling without blowing the budget:
Soups: The go-to winter staple that is healthy, delicious and super cost-effective. You can choose from Vegetable Minestrone, decadent Blue Cheese and Broccoli, nourishing Chicken Noodles, tasty Pea and Ham or the timeless classic Potato and Leek. The options as far as soups go are limitless and don’t be afraid to use frozen or canned veggies to help keep the cost down.
Slow-cooked anything: Slow cooking is a masterful way to turn a cheaper cut of meat into a delectable feast. Whether it be Lamb Shanks, Goulash or Beef Stew, slow cooking brings out the flavour of the meat without the price of a premium cut.
Pasta bakes: A definite crowd-pleaser that will feed a crowd on the cheap. Options such as Mac 'n Cheese, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, and Chicken and Mushroom Pasta Bake are definite favourites on most families weekly rotation.
Frittata: Making a frittata is a quick and easy way to use up any leftovers in the fridge and to create a whole new meal out of almost anything. If you have eggs and cheese, you can add any leftover meats and veggies to make a delicious frittata.
Homemade pies: Another great way to reinvent leftovers into a whole new meal is to turn any leftover curries, stews or slow-cooked meats into pies. All you need is a pie dish/ramekins, puff pastry and leftover fillings of your choice to create a delicious and satisfying homemade pie!
June 06, 2022 / Blog
The Early Bird Gets The Worm
The saying, "The early bird catches the worm", conveys how being organised and a pre-planner can benefit you. By being a step ahead, you reduce your stress and save time and money.
Take, for example, getting in early and buying your Christmas food and gifts through Chrisco. By shopping with Chrisco, you can spread your Christmas expenses across the year to avoid buying overpriced presents and hams during the Silly Season. Come Christmas Day, you'll be organised and not overspending.
Sounds good? Well, it is! You'll be surprised at the product choices and payment options from Chrisco to make your Christmas special. Check out the fantastic food and gift ideas here
Another advantage of being part of the Chrisco family is the option to purchase and pay off in instalments those big-ticket items such as furniture, white goods and electronics. It takes the sting out of those big purchases when you can plan, budget and pay them off interest-free. If you're unsure what you'll need, our Headstart Plan is your answer; you pay off an amount each week towards something you'll need or want in future. It is like forced savings for a rainy day. One of the major perks of the Headstart Plan is that you're pre-planning to stay one step ahead. If the washing machine or fridge breaks down, there will be no angst in figuring out how to pay for a replacement. You can simply order one from Chrisco using the Headstart Plan that was put in place.
As they say, the early bird gets the worm!
May 23, 2022 / Blog
Inflation Busters: How To Stretch Your Money & Fight Soaring Prices
As a result of over two years of a global pandemic, labour and good shortages, and international political instability, inflation is at its highest in decades. And the current sky-high cost of living doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon.
What can you do to fight back against inflation and make your money stretch further?
Shop around and shrink your insurance: Don’t stay married to a policy that might be costing you too much. There are many online tools that allow you to get quotes from many insurers. You will be surprised how much you can save when you start comparing rates. Once you start saving across your policies including health, home and contents, life, car and even pet insurance, you'll be shocked at the annual savings.
Identify between wants and needs and limit your wants: In times of high inflation, when goods and services are expensive, it is necessary to distinguish your needs and wants. Needs are essential items whilst wants are desirable. When your budget is stretched, it is crucial to prioritise your essentials over desires. Tracking your expenses through a budgeting app will help you understand what you are currently spending and identify problematic spending splurges before they become habitual.
Avoid taking on any more debt: When inflation rates are high avoid purchasing new high-ticket items, especially if it means going into debt to fund it. Hold off buying that new car or TV and wait until inflation rates decline before embarking on a spending spree - particularly if you plan on using a credit card to pay for it.
Increase your income if possible: One of the biggest problems with inflation and higher prices is that wages don’t rise accordingly. Finding ways to increase your income during times of high inflation can make it easier for you to absorb price hikes. Some ways to potentially increase your income include:
Sell things that don't 'Spark Joy'
Look for a higher paying role
Negotiate a pay rise with your current employer
Get a second job
Find a side hustle
Lock in set prices when you can: High inflation rates mean the cost of living can suddenly increase. With goods and services costing us more during these economic periods, it is an excellent idea to lock in fixed prices. This way, you're aware of your outlays and ensure any price rises are absorbed by the seller/supplier and not by you.
May 16, 2022 / Blog
The Perks of Online Shopping
The internet has transformed the way we shop. Increasingly, people are taking advantage of the ease and convenience of online shopping instead of heading to stores in person.
Without a doubt, convenience is the #1 perk of shopping online. There's no catching public transport, trying to secure a park, standing in line and hassle-free shopping from zealous salespeople meeting their monthly targets! Online shopping gives us the freedom to shop 24/7 in our PJs from the couch!
The variety of products available online is breathtaking. You can find almost any brand from anywhere worldwide with a few clicks of the mouse. The stock levels online are much more abundant meaning that you're likely to find the style, size and colour you need.
When you shop the conventional way, you often tend to spend more than you intended, or you wind up settling for items that aren't quite right. Shopping online gives you access to far greater inventory than in-store to find what you're searching for.
If you hate crowds then online shopping can be a lifesaver as it eliminates the need for you to fight for a car space, stand in lines and dodge hordes of people.
Easy to send gifts
Online shopping makes sending gifts to family and friends a complete breeze. Most online sellers have packaging, gift-wrapping, shopping and personalised gift cards making it convenient to gift someone.
Many websites like us here at Chrisco enable shoppers to pay off their purchases in instalments meaning that you can spread your shopping costs over a period. Click here to find out some of the fabulous products that we have available at Chrisco
May 09, 2022 / Blog
How To Keep Your Mental Health in Top Shape
The world has become slightly crazy, and everything feels upside down. It’s tricky to wrap your head around the "New Normal". As we slowly emerge from Covid and the pandemic that has rocked the world, it's time to take back control and this is how to do it:
Keep connected: If anything, the last two years plus have shown us just how important it is to maintain connections with family and friends and enlightened us on the many innovative and creative ways to stay connected. Whether in person, over zoom, chat or on the good ol' phone, staying in touch with people you love makes you feel happy, safe, less stressed and anxious. Simply, just better overall!
Balance your media exposure: It's important to stay up-to-date on news and current affairs, but it's equally important to know when to switch off the TV and put down the iPad. Information overload can be mentally exhausting and send your anxiety levels sky-high. Be aware of how watching the news and interacting with social media makes you feel and limit your exposure accordingly.
Explore different ways to relax: We all "Switch Off" in different ways so it might take a bit of trial and error to work out what it takes for you to relax and recharge. It doesn’t have to be all candles and bubble baths, it may be reading a good book, watching Netflix, wandering around the shops or expressing yourself creatively – find what works for you and incorporate it into your regular routine.
Stick to a routine: Nothing creates balance and harmony more than when you stick to a routine. It provides direction and stability, particularly important when the world around us is so topsy-turvy. Establish clear distinctions between work and leisure time and try and establish good sleep and meal patterns. Sticking to a routine will help you to manage your days without additional stress and create a sense of normality in the current crazy world we're living in.
Keep on moving: One of the most beneficial things that you can do for your mind is to move your body. Physical activity is a mood stabiliser and can be a game-changer when it comes to mental health. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your everyday routine. You will feel the difference almost immediately.
We are all unique, all different in managing stress and the pressures of everyday living. What's most important is to recognise how you're feeling and incorporate practices that help you to feel good, enjoy life and take care of your mental and physical well-being.
May 02, 2022 / Blog
How To Celebrate Mum This Mother’s Day
The first special woman in everyone’s life is their mum! With Mother’s Day around the corner, there is no better time to share the love and let your mum or mother figure know just how much they mean to you!
Here are a few things you can do to make her feel special:
Relieve her of duties: Let's be honest, a mum's job never stops and they rarely get a break. One of the best things any mum could ask for on Mother's Day is a break from the daily grind. Forget expensive bath salts and spa treatments, what she really wants is a day off from the cooking, cleaning and fixing! Think a delicious home-cooked meal, doing all the household chores (laundry, dirty dishes, lawn mowing and repairs). And don't forget to give her one big hug to say thank you for all that you do every day!
Remember something that she loves: Perhaps it's a movie, a song, an old family story or favourite food. Choose a fond memory and make it the feature of her day! This will be sure to touch her heart and pull on her heartstrings!
20, 30, 40, 50 things I love about you!: Choose a few affirmations and get your family to write small notes on all the things they love about mum. Fold the paper and place it in a glass jar, and then decorate the jar in a way you know she'll love! This simple gesture is a unique gift that your mum will never cease to get joy from, especially on a bad day. Whenever she needs a pick-me-up, she can pull a note from the jar, read it and remind herself just how fab she really is!
April 25, 2022 / Blog
Top 5 Easy Money Saving Hacks
With the cost of living on the rise, there is no better time to look at ways to save a few bucks. Try these five easy money-saving hacks, and you'll have more spare coin at the end of the day.
Never shop when you are hungry: Shopping for groceries when you are hungry is a BAD idea. You usually end up buying more than you need and things you shouldn't be buying e.g. that chocolate bar at the checkout! Have a quick snack before shopping to be less tempted by impulse buys.
Cut back on subscriptions: Ask yourself if you need all those subscriptions. Monthly subscriptions may not seem like much when purchasing individual subscriptions e.g. $12.99 here, $14.99 there but when you add them all up you may get bill shock. Go through your subscriptions and work out what you use and can do without. You'll be surprised at how much money this one small hack can save your spending.
Count the pennies, not the pounds: The adage that “If you look after the pennies then the pounds will take care of themselves” is very true. If you can cut back even $1 per day you'll save close to $30/month or $360/year. Think how much you could save if you trimmed the fat on your expenses – those pennies will quickly turn into pounds.
Have your coffee at home or work: With the price of takeaway coffee looking to hit the $7 mark by the end of 2022, your daily latte is becoming much more of a splurge than it used to be. Treat yourself to one or two takeaway coffees a week to not feel deprived, and on other days make your own!
Take your lunch with you: As tempting as it is to pick up a quick takeaway roll or sushi for lunch, this can become an expensive habit. Use leftovers from dinner and transform them into tomorrow’s lunch.
April 18, 2022 / Blog
How to Stop Increased Living Costs from Blowing Your Budget
The cost of living for New Zealanders is currently under the spotlight as inflation rates increase. The world economy is still reeling from the pandemic and subsequent logistical hurdles and labour shortages. Adding to this Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has upended commodity markets and sent fuel prices skyrocketing. The result is that the average Kiwi is now paying up to $3/L at the petrol pump, and by the end of the year our morning coffee could be costing us $7. When prices are so breathtakingly high it can be easy to go into panic mode and think there is no way to escape a budget blowout. It may not be easy, but there are ways you can keep your families on track even when the cost of living is on the rise.
Here are some tips:
1. Budget: When living costs are high, budgeting becomes even more critical. It forces us to roadmap our spending habits, keeps us in tune with our expenses and makes us aware of areas where we can cut back.
2. Lock in fixed prices when you can: Try to secure fixed prices to avoid price increases.
3. Explore layby as a purchasing superpower: Layby is a very underutilised tool in budgeting. It allows you to buy things anytime and pay them off in affordable instalments without incurring interest.
4. Meal plan: Groceries are one of the biggest family expenses. Meal planning can help you cut down your grocery bill, reduce food wastage and stick to your budget.
5. Make leftovers the new takeaway: Nothing blows the weekly budget more than an expensive takeaway. Get creative with your leftovers and turn them into new meals. For example, leftover rice and meat can become poke bowls; pizza transformed into panini using a sandwich press; and any leftover veggies into a delicious frittata.
6. Carpool, walk or take public transport: With petrol prices at an all-time high now is the time to look at reducing your travel costs. Consider walking if you can, getting public transport or carpooling with family, friends and colleagues.
7. Sell something to buy something: Most of us have an abundance of unused items sitting around the house or taking up cupboard space. Have a good spring clean and start selling off unwanted goods. As they say, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure”.
April 11, 2022 / Blog
How Fixed Pricing Is A Game Changer In Economic Uncertainty
The cost of living in New Zealand has skyrocketed due to inflation, the pandemic and war. From coffee, burgers, haircuts, petrol and groceries, prices are soaring as inflation takes hold. The cost of living has grown by 5.2% for the average household within a year (The guardian, 2022).
The knock-on effect for families on a budget is highly challenging. According to BBC News (2022), at the end of last year, New Zealand's inflation topped a three-decade high leading to rapidly rising living costs with the New Zealand Commerce Commission finding that shoppers faced some of the most expensive groceries in the OECD, and profit margins were consistently higher than those of grocery chains internationally.
Some of the hardest-hit items on the shelves include fruit and vegetables, pantry staples and drinks. Severe inflationary pressures and supply issues have caused fuel prices to surge making it harder and harder for average Australians to make ends meet. This is how having a Chrisco order can help. One of the main benefits of Chrisco is its fixed prices. Compared to store shopping, Chrisco customers are unaffected by avoiding price increases over the year.
In hard times, budgeting can be made even more difficult. However, the ability to lock in fixed prices and spread the cost over a period can be a game-changer for many families. In addition to the fixed prices and the ability to pay off your purchases in manageable payments, Chrisco also offers budget-friendly options for many household staples such as tinned or frozen vegetables instead of fresh produce. Fixed pricing and lay-by payments provide families with a way to offset and avoid price hikes.
While impossible to fully avoid rises in living costs, there are many ways to mitigate their effects on your family's budget. With no interest fees, no sign-up or account keeping fees, fixed pricing and up to 52-week payment plans, Chrisco provides a fantastic, affordable alternative to traditional shopping. Click here to explore the wide variety of products that Chrisco offers that will allow you to continue to buy some of your family's favourites without breaking the budget!
References: BBC News 2022, Cost of living: New Zealand inflation tops three-decade high, accessed 11 April 2022, <https://www.bbc.com/news/business-60149911> The Guardian 2022, Corlett E., 'Everything is rising’: New Zealanders make painful sacrifices as living costs skyrocket', accessed 11 April 2022, <https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/09/everything-is-rising-new-zealanders-make-painful-sacrifices-as-living-costs-skyrocket>
April 04, 2022 / Blog
How To Celebrate Easter On A Budget
Even though it feels like we’ve just finished celebrating Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's Day, suddenly, Easter is upon us! Whilst less costly than Christmas to celebrate, the Easter decorations, food, and (of course) chocolate can all add up, especially if on a budget! The great thing about Easter is that it can be a fun and memorable occasion without breaking the bank. Here we share with you our top 5 tips for celebrating Easter on a budget.
Making your own Easter decorations is a great way to keep costs down and great activity for the whole family. You'll be amazed at the cool decorations you can make with stuff you already have at home or picked up cheaply at the dollar store. Head to Pinterest for inspiration and get your creative juices flowing!
Forget seafood and expensive cuts of beef, Easter isn't about fancy dishes so keep the food simple. Easter is a relaxing celebration amongst loved ones, and there's nothing wrong with an easy homecooked meal!
Take the traditional Easter egg hunt to the next level with a scavenger hunt instead, an entertaining activity that will amuse all ages for hours.
Hide eggs in secret locations with hints, clues and riddle-solving to discover where the following treats are hiding. At each egg found, the scavenger will find a clue leading to the next prize, the one after, and the one after that etc.
Decorating Easter eggs is a long-adored family tradition that is enjoyable, inexpensive and creates a special Easter memory. You only need some hard-boiled eggs, and food dye to dip them in, and your design choices are endless!
Appreciate the symbolic message of Easter as the celebration of new life by planting in your garden or balcony. From colourful fruits, veggies, fresh herbs and flowers, planting something new will make you feel good and is a fun family activity.
March 28, 2022 / Blog
Don't Let Inflation Wreak Havoc With Your Budget
Inflation has hit, and it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. We are experiencing higher prices on everything from food and petrol to rent and many goods and services. Here are a few measures to save your hip pocket, manage your budget and ride out the inflationary storm.
- Follow a budget: Following a budget or spending plan is one of the most effective ways to combat inflation. Set aside money at the beginning of each month and stick to your budget.
- Lock in fixed priced items: Where possible try to lock in prices and pay off items over time to avoid inflation creep and manage your budget effectively. Lay-by services such as Chrisco enable you to lock in fixed pricing and pay off your order over the year in regular payments (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) to avoid price hikes irrespective of rising inflation.
- Cut back on unnecessary expenses: Time to forego a few small luxuries and find economical alternatives to cushion the inflation blows. For example, make coffee at home instead of getting takeaway, push back your hair appointments by a few weeks, and bring lunch to work.
Forget about “Keeping up with the Joneses”: We are all guilty at one point of trying to keep up with the latest trends in fashion and entertainment. When inflation is high, it’s time to live within our means even if you want that new flatscreen your neighbour just bought! Now's the time to tighten the belt and focus on your family finances to make do with the perfectly suitable TV you already have!
March 21, 2022 / Blog
Easy Ways To Reconnect With Loved Ones After Covid
The pandemic has been tough on family relationships and friendships. Here are four fun and easy ways to help you reconnect with loved ones:
- Host a family reunion: Start planning a family reunion now that restrictions have lifted and life is returning to normal. Organise it in a community hall, a favourite park, or even your backyard. Set a date far in advance and make it a regular event. It's a great way to reconnect with family members you don't see often.
- Start a club: If you missed seeing friends, there's no better way to reconnect than to start a meet-up group for a fun social activity. Book clubs quickly come to mind, but what about bowling, movie, dancing, painting and cooking groups. The most important thing is to find an activity that you'll all enjoy and schedule it regularly.
- Sweets Exchange: A sweets exchange (cookies, biscuits, cakes and more) is a fab way to share your sweet speciality with others while enjoying tasty treats. Arrange for a group of family and friends to bake their favourite sweets once a month, package as care packages including the recipe, and then share them. You'll end up with a bounty of goodies that will make your tastebuds tingle and feel warm and fuzzy knowing they're baked with love!
- Write a letter: We all have a favourite story or childhood memory, so why not pen it in a letter to family and friends. A terrific way to record special memories and bring joy and nostalgia to your recipients. At the end of the letter, ask them to reply with their own favourite story or memory.
These are just some of the many ways to keep in touch with family and friends. However you choose to reconnect, the most important thing is to 'just do it' as staying connected with loved ones is simply good for the soul!
March 7, 2022 / Blog
5 Ways to Keep your Family Healthy at Home
One thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is the importance of our health. For many of us, it has caused work, school, and family time and space to overlap at home. Therefore, it is more important than ever to prioritise your family's physical, emotional and mental well-being. The good news is that there are plenty of simple things that you can implement within the home that will help to keep your family healthy and happy.
Here are some of our favourite suggestions:
- Move: Being active as a family is not only great for your physical well-being, but also for connecting as a family unit. It is also a wonderful way to combat anxiety and relieve stress. There are many simple activities that you can do as a family from going on a hike, bike-riding, swimming, playing tennis and cricket or hitting the local skate or basketball court.
- Eat well and stay hydrated: Making sure that your family has a balanced and nourishing diet is vital for their ongoing health but also for their brain function. It is of equal importance that you ensure that your family stays well hydrated. Water has a significant impact on a person’s energy levels, brain function and general health so it is essential that your family is getting enough H2O.
- Bedtime routine is essential: It’s essential to get enough sleep to have enough stamina and energy to get through the day. A regular bedtime routine will help you achieve this.
- Reduce and restrict screen time: Learning to put down the phone and shut down the devices is critical to promoting quality family time. Making time each day for a digital detox will improve not only your mood but also your emotional and mental well-being.
- Communication is key: These days it seems like everyone communicates via social media or text. Make good old fashion communication part of your family’s daily routine. Make time each day to spend time as a family and to discuss the events of the day. Dinner is a great time to unpack how each family member is feeling, but if dinner is not an option, then get creative – go for a family walk or a drive. However, you make it happen doesn’t matter - just do it!
February 7, 2022 / Blog
Loving lay-by – why layby really is a smart way to shop
One of the easiest and smartest ways to shop is to use lay-by. In a world where buy-now-pay-later programs are becoming increasingly popular, it is easy to forget the true benefits of good old fashion layby.
If you’re a preplanner on a budget, then layby is the perfect shopping fit for you. It allows you to put aside what you need or want with a small deposit and then pay it off in affordable instalments over a period. And the best part is that there are no credit card interest charges!
When you are looking at your year ahead and expenses that might be coming up, like the holiday season, birthdays, graduations or even the dryer that might be on its last legs, you should consider using layby as a purchase choice. You can even use it to prepare for holiday entertaining. Here at Chrisco, we offer a huge number of options that can help you get ready for any significant occasion and pay it off in affordable instalments. If you want to discover all that Chrisco has to offer visit www.chrisco.co.nz or call us directly on 0800 555 333.
Being organised and using layby as a way of shopping can really help you to stick to a budget, live within your means, avoid using credit cards and reduce your stress levels.
If you’re not yet convinced that layby really is the smart way to shop, then here are a few more benefits that layby offers shoppers:
- You can put aside Christmas gifts and other significant purchases that may be out of stock by the time you have saved up to buy them, ensuring that no one misses out on anything on their ‘wish list’.
- Unlike with credit cards, if you don’t make a monthly payment, it won’t affect your credit rating.
- You can beat the holiday rush and get organised early to avoid the Christmas shopping stampede.
- The shop holds the goods for you, which means that they are safe from the prying eyes of snooping children.
Layby is a handy way to shop, ensuring that you can meet all your purchasing needs in a budget-friendly, affordable, manageable way.
February 3, 2022 / Blog
Leftover makeovers – 6 ways to reinvent what you have in the fridge
One of our greatest household expenses is groceries. Not only to we tend to spend a lot of our hard-earned cash on food, but we also have huge amounts of wastage. Not only is this bad for the budget but bad for the environment as well. A great way not only to save money but also reduce your family's carbon footprint is to “make over” your leftovers.
Here are some of our favourite tips, tricks and hacks that will enable you to reinvent what you have in your fridge.
Freeze extra yogurt for smoothies: If you have any scraps left over in the yogurt tub or have yogurt that is about to expire, then scoop the leftovers into an ice-cube tray and pop them in the freezer. These can be pulled out later and added to a smoothie for extra flavour and goodness.
Add leftovers to salads: If you have small amounts of foods like pasta, chickpeas or quinoa, then why not add them to your next salad? This is an inexpensive way to bulk out a meal.
Make rice bowls: Add left over protein such as BBQ chicken, fish or turkey to some cooked rice, canned beans and chopped leftover salad ingredients and you have made your very own Chipotle-style burrito bowl.
Turn pizza into panini: Sometimes leftover pizza can be a bit sad and rubbery, but this is no reason to throw it in the bin. Simply take two pieces of pizza, spread some shredded cheese between them, put them together, pop them in the sandwich press and, voila, you have just transformed last night’s pizza into tonight’s panini.
With a little bit of creativity there is no knowing what culinary delights you can create from leftovers, so stop wasting food and money, stop ordering takeaway and look inside your fridge for inspiration – you will be surprised at what you can create using what you already have!
January 27, 2022 / Blog
Fun, fabulous things that you can do to spread the love this Valentine’s Day
Whilst Valentine’s Day is often associated with romantic love, it can also be a special occasion that you can share with the whole family. It's an opportunity to teach your family about the importance of caring for others, and a time where you can reinforce to them just how much you love them.
Forget the red roses and Hallmark cards. Whether you want to spoil your love interest, show your parents how much you love them or surprise the kids, there are an abundance of things that you can do to spread the love come February 14th.
Valentine’s Day really is for everyone!
Make a “20 things I love about you” jar: Get a notepad and start writing the 20, 30, 40, 50 (or however many you choose) things that you love most about your valentine. Fold each note and place it in a glass jar and decorate it with ribbons. This simple yet thoughtful gesture is literally a jar full of love.
Create a customised play list: Nothing says “I love you” more than a selection of all your favourite tunes. Put some thought into your valentine's favourite tracks and songs that mark special occasions for you or your family and put them together to make a customised playlist.
Send your valentine on a scavenger hunt: This is a fun activity for all ages. Simply leave your valentine a scattering of handwritten notes and clues that will lead them to a gift or surprise. If gift giving is your love language, then this one is for you.
Cook something special: Whether it’s a romantic meal for two or a family dinner, there is no better way to show someone you love them than by sharing a beautiful feast together. Create a lovely breakfast, lunch or dinner comprised of all your valentine’s favourite foods and then add some special touches such as rose petals or heart shaped chocolates to the table for extra festivity and fun.
January 25, 2022 / Blog
Summer Loving – fun things to do with the family this summertime
There is something about summer that sends out happy vibes. After a busy end of year and hectic Christmas, summer symbolises a time to relax, get outside and enjoy the fresh air and good weather and spend time with love ones. You don’t need to go on a fancy holiday or spend a fortune to make the most out of summer – there are an abundance of simple activities that you can do that will keep you entertained.
Here are 30 of our top suggestions of fun things that you can do with family or friends this summer:
- Visit an amusement park
- Take a road trip
- Try out a new cuisine
- Do a random act of kindness
- Grow your own veggies
- Go star gazing
- Make a summer playlist
- Have a sunset picnic
- Fly a kite
- Learn to surf
- Go somewhere that you have never been before
- Hit the beach
- Become a master chef by trying out new recipe ideas
- Be a tourist in your own city
- Visit an art gallery or museum
- Camp out in your backyard
- Get up early and watch the sun rise
- Visit your local aquarium
- Go bike riding somewhere special
- Learn to juggle
- Watch a movie at an outdoor cinema or create your own outdoor cinema at home
- Go on a scavenger hunt with friends
- Run through the sprinklers
- Attend an outdoor concert
- Have a water balloon fight
- Visit a farmers’ market
- Make homemade lemonade from scratch
- Go stand up paddle boarding
- Set up a slip and slide and get the soap suds ready
- Host the ULTIMATE BBQ!
October 15, 2021 / Blog
Spring into savings with these clever budgeting tips
The weather is getting warmer and, with Christmas fast approaching, spring is the perfect time to look at how you can save some money by following these very simple yet very clever budgeting tips!
Have a spring clean:
You know the old saying that someone else’s trash is another person’s treasure, so why not turn your unwanted items into extra cash? Spring is the perfect time to do a declutter of your wardrobe, your kitchen, and the rest of our house. You will be surprised what you might find and what people are willing to pay for your unwanted goods. Either sell online or have a good old fashioned garage sale.
Cut down on appliance usage:
There are so many ways that you can cut back on your energy consumption and save money in the process. Turn the power off appliances when they are not being used, turn off the lights, line dry your clothes and only use your dishwasher and washing machines for full loads during off peak periods. A few small tweaks to your energy consumption habits can save you a pretty penny over the long term.
Shop smart and meal plan with overlapping ingredients:
One of our greatest expenses is our grocery bill but it is also one of the easiest ways to (excuse the pun) trim some fat! Pre plan your meals for the week and look at setting a menu that allows you to use overlapping ingredients. Never shop without a list and never shop when hungry. Frozen and canned fruit and vegetables can be an excellent inexpensive replacement for their fresh counterparts. Plan your meals around what ingredients are in season to keep costs down, and cut down on waste by turning last night’s dinner into tomorrow’s lunches.
Streamline your subscriptions:
After binging on Netflix throughout winter and lockdown, spring is now the perfect time to go through all your subscriptions and do a digital detox. By cutting back on some subscriptions and streaming services, you will be surprised at the difference this will make to your monthly budget. As the weather gets warmer and restrictions start to lift, replace the remote with an outdoor activity – not only will you feel physically better, but your bank balance will improve too!
October 7, 2021 / Blog
How to reduce food waste to save money and boost your family’s health!
Here are some practical ways that you can reduce food waste that will not only save you money and improve your family’s health, but also make a positive impact on the environment.
1. Plan your meals
A bit of planning will not only save you time and money, but it will also ensure that you are providing your family with a balanced diet.
2. Reuse ingredients
When planning your meals for the week look at selecting a menu that uses similar ingredients so that you can use them in more than one meal. For example, mince can be used for spaghetti bolognaise for one dinner and tacos for another.
3. Do a pantry, freezer, and fridge overhaul
Clean out your cupboards, check expiration dates and use up anything that might be nearing the end of its shelf life.
4. Replace takeaway with leftovers
When cooking meals like soups and casseroles, make sure that you freeze any extra portions. By doing this you can simply reheat them for an easy meal, eliminating the need to order expensive and calorific takeaway.
5. Shop with a list
When you go shopping, make sure that you have a detailed list and stick to it. Resist the urge to impulse buy as most of the time those items that you buy for fun end up being unhealthy or not consumed.
6. Perfect portions
Resisting the urge to over cater and preparing the right amount of food is one of the best ways to save money and reduce food waste whilst simultaneously ensuring that your family is not overeating.
October 5, 2021 / Blog
6 benefits of meal prepping
You will be amazed at how much more smoothly your life will be when you discover the art of meal prepping. Here are six reasons that will convince you that meal prepping is a must:
1.You will save time
Meal prepping will literally save you hours of work each week. Instead of wasting time trying to work out what to cook, what ingredients you have or whether to get take away, meal prepping ensures that you have a delicious meal waiting for you come dinner time.
2.You will save money
People believe the misconception that heathy eating must be expensive. Meal prepping proves that eating well can be done on any budget. Meal prepping also puts a stop to the need for last minute supermarket dashes and expensive takeaways.
3.You will reduce wastage
Being organised and planning your weekly meals means that you are only buying what you need and reduces leftovers going in the bin.
4.You will reduce stress
Being organised as far as your weekly meals does take away a lot of the stress of cooking. It is one less thing you must think about, and the bonus of saving money is sure to ease the budget.
5.You will manage portion sizes better
There is no better way to control your portion sizes than meal prepping. It is the perfect way control your calories, which will most definitely benefit the waist line.
6.You will eat healthier
Meal prepping can help to prevent impulse eating. If you plan and prepare your meals ahead of time, then you will always have a tasty, healthy option on tap, which will help you resist the urge to raid the cookie jar.
October 1, 2021 / Blog
How to save cash in lockdown and beyond
Covid has changed things a lot, including the way we are spending our money. With more people working from home, staying home instead of eating out, and Netflix binging instead of going to the movies, lockdown can be an opportunity to save some money and develop some better financial habits that can be of benefit throughout lockdown and beyond. Here are some ways that you can save some cash during lockdown:
Review or start a budget
With all the changes happening in our world, it has never been more important to be take control of your finances. Take a good look at your spending habits and look where you can make improvements. There are heaps of apps that are available that can help you create and stick to a budget.
Chase refunds for services that you can’t use
Don’t be afraid to ask for a refund or even a credit for services that you are unable to use. You can always put things like gym memberships on hold and ask for extensions for vouchers or refunds.
Create extra income
All of us have clothes we never wear, shoes that are gathering dust and household gadgets sitting idle in the cupboard. Lockdown is the perfect time to do a spring clean and sell unwanted items online. Not only are you decluttering, you are also bringing in extra cash!
Review bills and subscriptions
Do you really need Spotify, iTunes and Google Play music? Look at what you are spending in terms of bills and subscriptions and see if you can trim some fat. This one change could potentially save you hundreds of dollars every year.
Look at what utilities you are using and where you can make some savings. Small things like hanging out the washing instead of using the dryer, only putting on a full dishwasher and turning off lights can add up in the long term.
Shop around for insurance
Insurance is expensive, so it’s a good idea to price compare. You might not necessarily save money, but you might find that you can get more bang for your buck.
Saving money is not easy and requires discipline but it can be done. Taking care of the small things can reap great reward in the long run.
September 10, 2021 / Blog
How to prepare for Christmas early – 7 tips for getting festive ready
Most people leave it until December before they start prepping for Christmas. This can not only be stressful, but it can also be expensive. There are lots of things that you can do during the year that will help you save time and money and help reduce stress.
Here are 7 tips for getting festive ready before December!
- Create and stick to a Christmas budget: The first thing when preparing for the onslaught of the festive season is to work out your budget. This needs to include everything from gifts, to decorations, food, drink, entertaining as well as emergency funds for any last-minute surprises.
- Start saving: Once you have worked out a realistic Christmas budget, the next step is to work out how much you need to put away each week or month to cover your budget and then start saving!
- Layby: This is one of the best ways you can possibly prepare for the festive season. Layby is a terrific way to buy gifts throughout the year and pay them off over time. Here at Chrisco, we are committed to helping people to create the perfect Christmas without extra financial pain or stress. If you want to discover all that Chrisco has to offer, view our catalogues here or call us directly on 0800 555 333 to see what Chrisco has to offer.
- Sort through your décor and decorations: Before you buy anything new, look first at what you have. Reusing, repurposing and recycling are great ways to save money and make the most of what you already have.
- Plan what’s on the menu: A great way to relieve extra stress is to plan what you will be feeding the family over the festive season. Preparing a menu in advance is simply another thing that you can tick off the ‘to do’ list early.
- Reflect on last Christmas: Think about last Christmas and work out how you can make the next one even more awesome.
- Make freezer meals for December: To prevent last minute takeaway meals or extra work, stock the freezer ahead of time with delicious, portioned meals that all the family will enjoy and that will keep you out of the kitchen.
August 31, 2021 / Blog
The Beauty of Budgeting
Too many people think of “budgeting” as a dirty word, when really it is simply a super handy tool that helps you to keep your finances on the right track!
If you are someone that has not budgeted before or are perhaps a bit of a part time/ dodgy budgeter … here are some tips that will help you to get a better grasp as to how you are spending your money and how you can positively improve your spending habits.
Get over the terminology
Just like the word diet, the word budget seems to evoke negativity when in fact it should be looked at as a positive tool that will help you to achieve financial freedom. Unless you are in the fortunate position to have unlimited resources then without a budget you will never get ahead – so get over the terminology!
Start with your basic bills
The first place to start when working out a personal budget is with your basic expenditure – your bills. This includes things that are a given such as rent/mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, and anything else that is a regular cost. Write down your average weekly/monthly annual expenditure on bills. Knowing where your money is going is your first step in the right direction to beneficial budgeting.
Look beyond the basics
Once you have got your basics covered look at additional expenses that you incur. These are the variable items in your budget and include things such as entertainment, gifts, beauty, clothing, and lifestyle choices such as gym memberships or yoga classes. These are the expenses that you can do without and that can be easily eliminated if your cash flow does not stretch far enough. Part of proper budgeting is learning to exert some discipline over this non-basics expenditure. If you're low on cash, then don’t order takeaway or buy those shoes on eBay.
Analyse your income
The next step to mastering budgeting is looking at how much you are earning. Ideally you want this figure to be greater than that of your expenses. If you are spending more than you are earning, then it’s the time to review your expenditures and look to cut back on things that are not considered to be necessities. Another idea is to see if it is possible to expand your earning capacity. Are you able to apply for a raise, work some extra shifts or get a side gig that will bring in a little extra cash each week?
Decide on a plan
The good news is that it is not too difficult to get your finances in order and organise a budget. The key to success however is exercising some discipline and restraint and sticking with the plan. Put pen to paper and work out what you have coming in and what you have going out and where you need to cut back. As a rule, it is a good idea to have a rainy-day fund set aside that can cover three months’ worth of basic expenses in case of an emergency.
August 16, 2021 / Blog
Pantry overhaul – tips and tricks to get your pantry festive ready
Never does your kitchen get more use than during the festive season, when most of us are cooking up a storm. To ensure that your Christmas is as stress-free as possible, it is a good idea to give your pantry a mid-year overall to get it festive ready.
Here are five tips that will help you to reorganise your panty in preparation for the holiday season!
- Empty and clean the pantry: Before you begin reorganising your pantry, you first need to give it a good old-fashioned deep clean. Empty it out completely and get busy with the spray and wipe.
- Toss out any expired food and donate anything that you are not going to use: As you restock your now clean pantry, check expiration dates and get rid of anything that is off. Also, look at what you are putting back into your pantry, and decide whether it is something that you are going to use - if it’s not, then pass it on to someone who will!
- Organise by category: A great way to organise your pantry is by doing it by category – sauces all go together, spices go together, lunchbox snacks go together etc, etc….
- Place most used food at the front: Prioritise the products in your pantry and ensure that the items you use the most get prime positioning.
- Use racks and dividers to stay organised: There are some handy pantry storage solutions and dividers available that can help to keep your pantry ship shape. A spice rack will ensure that all those little containers are stored neatly, dividers are handy for keeping jars and cans from rolling around, and sliding baskets are great for storing odds and ends.
August 10, 2021 / Blog
How to feed a family on a budget
It is no secret that the cost of living is constantly increasing, and it is becoming more and more difficult to feed your family healthy nutritious meals without breaking the bank. Don’t despair. There are plenty of savvy ways that you can reign in your budget whilst still serving up tasty, healthy delights to your loved ones.
Here are some helpful tips that will see you feeding your family within budget
- Meal plan: Simply put: “If you fail to plan then you plan to fail”. The best way to economically feed a family well on a budget is to plan what you are planning to plate up.
- Grocery plan: Once you have worked out your meal plan, the next step is to organise your grocery list. Put pen to paper and write down everything you need for your shop. Don’t be afraid to use tinned or frozen options instead of fresh, as they can be a fabulous cost-effective substitute to their fresh cousins.
- Extend/re-use ingredients: When working out your meal plan, it is always smart (and cost effective) to see how you can either extend or re-use ingredients from one meal to another. If you menu-plan effectively, you can work it out so that you are using similar ingredients for various meals, meaning you can reduce the number of ingredients needing to be purchased.
- Meat-free Mondays: It’s amazing how much money you can save by simply removing meat off the menu for a meal or two a week. Vegetarian risottos, soups and bean stews are healthy, tasty, and economic options that can satisfy a family without breaking the budget.
- Turn leftovers into take away: Get creative and turn one meal into two. There is nothing better than recycled leftovers, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Turn leftover curry into pies, surplus rice into poke bowls and left-over pasta into a tray bake.
July 26, 2021 / Blog
Simple ways to save money fast
Lasting financial success does not happen overnight but takes time. There are however instances when the bills are pilling up and you may need to make some financial changes fast. In these situations, frugality is key and it's vital that you find ways to effectively cut your spending without dramatically changing the quality of your life.
Here are our top 5 tips to help you save money in the short term
- Write a list before you go shopping: Impulse buying is a sure-fire way to bust the budget. Write a comprehensive shopping list before you hit the stores and stick to it.
- Cut down on unnecessary expenses: It’s easy to trim the fat if you put your mind to it. Look at how many streaming services you are subscribing to and see if you can reduce it. Make your lunch to take to work and cut out, or at least cut down, on takeaway.
- Compare and save: There are many online resources that allow you to compare what you are paying for various expenses like utilities and insurances. Use these to your advantage and you might find that the savings add up.
- Think ahead: Leaving things to the last minute can be an expensive option. Look at your year on a plate and plan it out ahead of time and see ways that you can spread the costs of the year out in a way that is financially sustainable.
- Sell instead of spending: Clean out your cupboard and get rid of any unwanted items that are taking up space in your home or that you no longer use. Have a garage sale or list items on eBay or Gumtree ... your trash could be someone else’s treasure, and you might make a pretty penny in the process.
July 19, 2021 / Blog
Christmas Countdown – how to take the sting out of Christmas shopping
We all know that Christmas is a stressful time of the year, but there are many simple things that you can do to help take the sting out of Christmas shopping.
Here are some tips and tricks to make your Christmas as stress free as possible.
- Plan ahead: As with all things in life, the better prepared you are, the less stressful your life will be. Write a list of what you need for Christmas as far as gifts and other shopping that needs to be done. Make sure that you check your list twice and ensure that you have all bases covered.
- Set a budget: Work out how much you can afford to spend this silly season and allocate where your expenditure will go. Work out how much you will spend on gifts, entertaining and groceries. Once you have set your budget, make sure that you stick to it.
- Spread the cost over the year: A magic money tree does not appear come 1st December, so avoid leaving all your shopping to the last minute. Look at spreading the cost of Christmas out throughout the year. This simple tip alone will take a lot of the sting out of the Christmas spend.
Every year the team at Chrisco strives to help Kiwis affordably create the Christmas of their dreams. From gifts to food and drink, Chrisco offers people the option to select what they want and need to make their Christmas magical and allows them to pay it off in manageable instalments before the festive season taking a lot of the stress and financial pain out of Christmas. If you want to discover how to embark on your journey for a stress-free Christmas, view our catalogues here or call us directly on 0800 555 333 to see what Chrisco has to offer.
July 8, 2021 / Blog
Benefits of starting to prepare for Christmas NOW
A stress free, financially feasible holiday season is possible, but it will mean starting to prepare for Christmas now!
Here are some tips and tricks that you can start doing now that will make your Christmas more enjoyable and save you money!
- Make a list and check it twice
Let’s face it the end of the year is a busy time so writing your Christmas list mid-year will help to spread the work over several months and will prevent any costly last-minute surprises. Write down all the gifts that you will need to purchase, write down all the events that you expect to attend and what if anything you will be expected to take and finally write down any events that you might be hosting and what you will require for those events. Putting everything down on paper can be a bit daunting but what it does is to set clear expectations for the festive season, avoids you from making last minute purchases for someone that you might have forgotten and helps you to identify the things that you can tick off the list ahead of time.
Layby is the savvy shopper’s best friend. It allows you to get what you need well in advance, pay it off in affordable instalments, avoid interest charges and it even provides free storage! Layby is such a great way to spread the cost of Christmas out over the year and prevents you from making any last-minute impulse purchases.
Aside of gifts, food and drink are your biggest cost come the festive season so it’s a really good idea to think ahead about how you can meet your entertaining needs without blowing the budget. There are lots of low-cost options you just need to think outside the box and be organised. Pre planning your food needs ahead of time for the holiday season will save you both time and money.
- Set a budget and stick to it
Setting a budget for your Christmas expenses and spreading the cost out of the year will really help to reduce the financial strain that the holidays can bring. Chrisco has a helpful budget calculator that allows you to simply put in your budget and then it helps you plan what you can buy within that budget. Just go to www.chrisco.co.nz in the top banner and you can already start planning your Christmas budget!
June 21, 2021 / Blog
Tips for cooking on a budget
Eating well does not have to be expensive. With a good plan it is easy to enjoy healthy, flavoursome meals whilst sticking to a budget.
Meal planning lays the foundation for saving on your grocery bill. It’s quite simple – if you plan well, you’re likely to spend less when you are grocery shopping.
A plan can take many forms at its most simplistic it’s a basic grocery list, but it can be so much more….
Here are some great tips that will let your back pocket benefit from the art of meal planning!
1. Always include one of your “family favourites” in your weekly meal plan
Do not try and reinvent the wheel. If something is a winner then don’t be afraid to let it make a regular appearance on the dinner table. If you cook something regularly the less likely you are to have to purchase additional pantry items and the more likely that everyone will eat it!
2.Look at what you have in your pantry and plan around it
Peek in the pantry, the fridge and the freezer and see what you already have and then build your recipes around what you have, reducing the need to purchase new ingredients as well as minimising wastage.
3. Be strategic – cook once, eat twice
Good meal planning is all about being strategic. When selecting recipes for the week look for ones that share ingredients. For example, if you are making a recipe that requires rice such as a curry then look for another recipe such as poke bowls that can make use of any leftover rice.
4. Make leftovers part of the plan
Spending money on lunch out can get expensive so recycle last nights dinner into today’s lunch for both you and the kids!
5. Meat free Monday
Not only does a vegetarian diet offer many health benefits it also saves a lot of money as meat can be expensive. So, by simply swapping one or two meals each week for a meat free option you will really start to notice a change in your weekly grocery expenses.