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.