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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.

Review utilities

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!
  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Reflect on last Christmas: Think about last Christmas and work out how you can make the next one even more awesome.
  7. 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!
  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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….
  4. 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.
  5. 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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  • Take advantage of layby

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.

  • Plan your menu

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.


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

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