Squeeze Your Budget

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We are at the time of year when financial pressure is at a peak and every dollar needs to be used wisely. Before the mad Christmas rush, take some time to look at simple ways of cutting your costs and tweaking your income to free up spare cash for the holiday period. All it takes is some creative thinking, a willingness to try doing things a different way, and some time spent researching the best deals.

Take a look at your bank accounts. There is a great variety of types of accounts with different interest rates and fees. Make an appointment at your bank to discuss the options available and what would work best for you based on your spending and saving patterns. To compare interest rates and fees between banks, click here.

Consumer has two great cost comparison tools available. At Power Switch, you can find the best deal on power based on your usage patterns and at Tel Me (currently being redeveloped) you can research the best deal for phone, TV and internet. Life and health insurance quotes from a range of major suppliers can be obtained free of charge at Trade Me’s Life Direct website. Before you cancel an existing insurance policy, get advice from a broker.

After your mortgage or rent payments, food is your biggest cost and a key area to focus on for savings. Be clear about needs and wants when shopping at the supermarket. Saving 10% of your food bill can be a significant amount.

Other more creative ideas for saving include making better use of libraries and the internet instead of buying newspapers and magazines, using trainee students for haircuts and beauty treatments, and buying clothes from upmarket fashion recyclers. There is plenty you can do with a little imagination and time spent online.

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