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g.d.zone


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REQUESTING INFO FOR COLLECTIVE PIECE ON LBS/PENNIES

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 9:54 am
So many of us decide we need to leave.
But then we find that the cost of living here is preventing us from saving the money to leave!
It's all we can do to keep our heads above water and not sink, let alone find something to stand on so we can launch out.

I'd like to write a collaborative piece here ("by all of us") about how YOU saved pounds or pennies on a daily basis, how you scrimped to save enough to leave.

I'm going to start by saying that I went to a budget person. She was very nice but not very helpful.
Some things she suggested were not actually possible for me to do in my particular circumstances. I had never had to count *pennies* before like this - pounds yes, but not PENNIES. Quite a learning curve.
It seems like avoidance of being nickel and dimed is the only way to get ahead. I can understand why people don't want a lot of cash transactions on paper here and things are done so informally - money on paper is simply taken from you - sucked up.

So here are a few things I do:

1) Network and barter services and goods, favor-swapping. That is what the natives do. The problem is fitting into the native circuits, yes, I know. Try and find fellow expats to do this with as well, if you can't fit in with the natives. It's a survival strategy Kiwis themselves use - and for good reason. You'd be surprised at what you can do for others, maybe.
Examples: do housework in exchange for borrowing someone's machine of some sort. Trade one sort of food for another (luxury item for someone who has too much meat/produce because they live on a farm, food-rich but money-poor). Help a friend sort out a yard sale and maybe she'll babysit for you. Fix someone's PC and maybe they'll give you a ride when your car won't start some morning. No K Road jokes, please. Big grin

2) Kitchen stuff: HUMIDITY. Keep bread in the fridge, as it'll get moldy before you can use it all.
Produce too expensive? Not liking the mounds of "same fruit" at all the stands? Some foods are never that expensive. Sneak fresh veggies in by grating carrot into your sandwiches. Meat is expensive and has a lot of filler. Meat values (IHO): those smoked thick bacon ends/pieces. They are great in stews and soups and warm salads, and go on sale sometimes. Cans of tuna (warning - the low-end stuff tastes like cat food and the low-end sausages and other meat taste like dog food). Smoked fish will go on sale sometimes if you like that stuff. Butchers have good meat but pricey. Used to be you could get hocks or something or offal for next to nothing. Not anymore!
I wash my plastic zip bags bags out and dry them/re-use them. Don't get cheap dishwashing liquid. It won't work well enough to be worth the trouble. Try to buy in season. Sometimes you won't want a big cardboard box of tamarillos for 2 bucks though just because it's cheap. ;P Pass them on to someone in exchange for a favor, give them away, or compost them, just not to waste them. Some stuff can be cooked and frozen if you can't face another day of it - if you have made large quantities of soup/stews, or tired of the leftovers, etc. And there's always frozen peas for "something green". Look for pulses - they make fantastic curries (masoor dal in 20 minutes anyone? Get the orange ones). Some folks on here really go in for gardening. If the time/money equation favors it, do that. If you use Bin Inn, remember that the stuff in the bins is sometimes rancid (nuts especially - the bins aren't hermetically sealed). Find out when new shipments of things are arriving, and sniff discreetly for freshness in Bin Inn. Check the day-old cart at Pak N Save. I have made some nice mushroom soups from mushrooms in there - use the stuff quickly though.

3) OP SHOPS. Good for jeans and blouses and some ages of kids' clothes (the ages they grow out of them too quickly to wear out ;P). Guess what, sometimes they have marmalades and jellies and jams. These make nice glazes and spreads for toast at a fraction the price of the grocery store, sometimes quite creative and nice flavors. I have seen dehumidifiers. I have found a nice hot water kettle in there, a coffeemaker, older dustbuster (that one didn't last long), kickaround type sandals, duvet cover, sheets, silverware, bowls...nice for stopgap temporary stuff too. Books - some with cool vintage covers!

4) Look for floor models of appliances that they want to get rid of at the ends of sales - you might find a deal. Remember that many apartments do not come with some appliances that you'd expect to be there back home. Self-serve laundries? I have not yet found any. The machines are always in use by the owner/operator folks who will do your laundry themselves and charge for it. I have no good solution for this yet that doesn't depend on networking.

5) Nerine, you suggested a convection oven. Sticking it in right here...

6) Don't heat large spaces. Close off as much space as possible and create a small collective space with only the necessaries in that space, and heat THAT instead. Sit with a blanket on your lap and use a hot water bottle at night. A good feather duvet is your friend at night. Buy wool long underwear. Someone suggested "cover places where heat escapes" (head, feet).

Any other ideas?

tetrablue


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 10:07 am
We were out within six months – my word was I shell shocked when I got off the plane back in UK within six months as were my family and friends! The work and effort it requires getting there and back within that time – phew!

After having a certain amount of money left after our move to NZ we either had the option to spend it getting back or dipping into it over x amount of time to make ends meet in NZ. We realised that once it was gone that it would be very difficult to save the amount of money required to get back in $’s. Hence the quick but exhausting turn around.

g.d.zone


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Very smart of you, tetra

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:01 pm
to see what the equation would be, so quickly, then gathering what remained of your resources and letting the door bang your bum on the way back out, LOL.
Did you post on that "uh-oh" thread (what clinched it for you, that you wouldn't be able to make it here, some cumulative small things or a big thing that had big impact)? Sorry, I forget, if you did...
How did you come to that realization so quickly (and not hang on and on trying and hoping that we were just wrong, like WFG and I and a few others).
I was trapped legally with financial obligations, so could not just leave, and it has been one big sucking sound ever since as I have tried to climb out of quicksand.
My greatest fear is spending everything I have for the legal battle and not having enough for the escape.

Wish I had been as free and quick-thinking as you.

aklgap


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:51 pm
Great thread. If you are new to NZ, I would strongly suggest you begin to tighten your belt from the beginning as the money seems to disappear quickly.

Obviously, if you smoke, then quit and cut back on that alcohol and learn to like the cheaper stuff. I know of some Kiwis who make their own beer/wine.

I like to cook and so does my partner. Luckily, we are able to create our own delicious food and rarely eat out. We cook from scratch, eat little meat or cheese and shop around. I also try to stock up on things that I know are a real bargain. If my favorite bread is on sale, I buy 3 loaves and freeze 2. My partner and I have a lot of quality time together around purchasing and preparing food.

Banking is a rip-off and I have just found a bank that charges $5/month with unlimited EFTPOS, ATM(theirs) and teller transactions. That's a good deal. I have paid up to $30/month at other institutions.

i waste a lot of money on flat whites and it would be chepaer for me to buy a machine, but I have no place for one at the moment. I have also learned to drink my coffee black at home as I waste so much milk because I only use it in my coffee. I also save calories.

Splurge on the eco light bulbs as they will save you money in the long run. Be very conscious of the cost of heat... I hear the heat pumps are very economical and combat the damp that is NZ.

I live in a city and I got rid of my car and walk everywhere as a bus ride is $2.50 for the 1.5km to work. I am a bit "chubby" and it has other benefits.

I have been here for a few years and over-the-counter drugs like panadol, claritin, etc and some personal items are outrageous. So, anytime I leave this country, I come back with a 6-month supply of the pills and a couple of packs of razors, shaving cream and whatever else I can think of. Saves me hundreds. I also get my glasses/contacts in Thailand or the US. Dental stuff is cheaper too.

I fall off the spending wagon a lot by going to pubs or out to eat as I am alone at the moment and get bored. Boredom is also quite expensive.

I have also wasted money in NZ by not wanting to be assertive and accepting crappy service and not complaining. I have also been screwed over by trusting people to know what they are talking about (ie, when calling the IRD of Dept of Labour) and later found that they were incompetent or just trying to get me off the phone: these mistakes can cost thousands of dollars and can be avoided by paying a professional (also over-priced, but cheaper in the long run).

_________________
"Revisions of history fare well in some company, but don't shove that BS down my throat." Cyndi Lauper

g.d.zone


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 2:04 pm
aklgap wrote:Great thread.


Great ideas in this post, thank you!

Quote:If you are new to NZ, I would strongly suggest you begin to tighten your belt from the beginning as the money seems to disappear quickly.


Yes, start economizing before you start wondering what happened to it all, for sure...

Quote:Obviously, if you smoke, then quit and cut back on that alcohol and learn to like the cheaper stuff. I know of some Kiwis who make their own beer/wine.


I know some who do that too.
It's a real mess.
Also, time/money equation for me. I get that box wine maybe once a month.

Quote:I like to cook and so does my partner. Luckily, we are able to create our own delicious food and rarely eat out. We cook from scratch, eat little meat or cheese and shop around. I also try to stock up on things that I know are a real bargain. If my favorite bread is on sale, I buy 3 loaves and freeze 2. My partner and I have a lot of quality time together around purchasing and preparing food.


All good ideas, yes, if you use a lot of canned tomatoes or something like that and find some on sale, get a bunch.
Boy, do I miss "real" tomatoes though - can't find any! What cuisines/recipes do you and your partner enjoy and find economical, Aklgap?

Quote:Banking is a rip-off and I have just found a bank that charges $5/month with unlimited EFTPOS, ATM(theirs) and teller transactions. That's a good deal. I have paid up to $30/month at other institutions.


Plowing through the fine print to figure out the best deal is hard...

Quote:i waste a lot of money on flat whites and it would be chepaer for me to buy a machine, but I have no place for one at the moment. I have also learned to drink my coffee black at home as I waste so much milk because I only use it in my coffee. I also save calories.


They do have those little cartons of milk like we had in school...I have found that milk goes bad very easily here too, incidentally. Certain brands go off sooner than others.

Quote:Splurge on the eco light bulbs as they will save you money in the long run. Be very conscious of the cost of heat... I hear the heat pumps are very economical and combat the damp that is NZ.


Another good idea, eco-light bulbs!
Sometimes Mitre 10 puts them on sale, where is the cheapest place to get them?

Quote:I live in a city and I got rid of my car and walk everywhere as a bus ride is $2.50 for the 1.5km to work. I am a bit "chubby" and it has other benefits.


I am trying to walk more too - the weather is so unpredictable though.

Quote:I have been here for a few years and over-the-counter drugs like panadol, claritin, etc and some personal items are outrageous. So, anytime I leave this country, I come back with a 6-month supply of the pills and a couple of packs of razors, shaving cream and whatever else I can think of. Saves me hundreds. I also get my glasses/contacts in Thailand or the US. Dental stuff is cheaper too.


I did the same until I couldn't afford to go home anymore. The higher your prescription (or for example, bifocals or needing something else "special" that adds to the cost) the better idea it is to go back to the States to get eyewear. You can also submit your prescription to an online eyewear place
http://www.43folders.com/20...res-40-eyeglasses
I used to order contacts online - they will keep your prescription on file.

Quote:mistakes can cost thousands of dollars and can be avoided by paying a professional (also over-priced, but cheaper in the long run).


yes, and some professionals are more likely to do a good job than others. Generally, the good ones do cost more. If it's crucial, you have to shell out... ;P

aklgap


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 2:48 pm
The box wine isn't so bad once you get over your pride! Forgot that one.

My partner is Thai, so tons of rice. We buy the Pam's 5kg bags at New World. Stir fry with whatever is cheap (silver beet is quite yummy)and maybe a bit of chicken breast (2 lasts us for several meals) or frozen prawns (surprisingly cheap when on sale). We eat alot of Tom Yum soup, Som Tam (carrot salad) and fried rice too. Love Thai style omlettes with a bit of fish sauce, lots of corriander, onions and tomatoes.

I like Indian food a lot and eat chick peas and dhal and cheat and make packaged idli or dosa. I can make my own, but get lazy. I also love lentil soup with carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes,cumin and chile. Have tons in the freezer and good with bread or rice.

I saw a recipe for pasta bolognese with lentils the other day I want to try. They used lentils to stretch out the mince, but I think I would just skip the mince.

I got the 100 Watt (use about 20w) eco bulbs on sale the other day. $2 each. It was quite by chance and I think it was New World. I don't pay my power, but I thought it was a cheap way to contribute. Sometimes the power companies send coupons too.

Oh, I just remembered the library. Hula mentioned it the other day and it is essential to only buy books you can not get any other way. Man are they expensive!

Used to work with a woman who had chickens and would sell her free range eggs cheaply. Talk about a gold mine!

g.d.zone


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 4:15 pm
Quote:My partner is Thai, so tons of rice. We buy the Pam's 5kg bags at New World. Stir fry with whatever is cheap (silver beet is quite yummy)


I make risotto with silverbeet...

Quote:and maybe a bit of chicken breast (2 lasts us for several meals) or frozen prawns (surprisingly cheap when on sale). We eat alot of Tom Yum soup, Som Tam (carrot salad) and fried rice too. Love Thai style omlettes with a bit of fish sauce, lots of corriander, onions and tomatoes.


Bet Penguin could chime in on this one!
I make laksa with those hokkien noodles...
back in the States I really liked pho (Vietnamese) and used to make the chicken version.
Another thing I liked to make was pozole (Mexican).
have never had Som Tam or a Thai-style omelet (uh-oh, watch, this'll turn into a foodie thread)

Quote:I like Indian food a lot and eat chick peas and dhal and cheat and make packaged idli or dosa. I can make my own, but get lazy. I also love lentil soup with carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes,cumin and chile. Have tons in the freezer and good with bread or rice.


I'm a big lentil fan too and also a fan of Indian cuisine. There are hundreds of different dhals - used to grind my own spices.
Ethiopian is a nice cheap cuisine too.
I used to make a few of these and then spoon them around a dish and made injera with self-rising flour (not very authentic but ... ;P)
http://www.ethiopianrestaur.../vegetarians.html
Other cheap dishes - kosheri (Egyptian), ful (Sudanese but haven't been able to find those beans)

Quote:
I saw a recipe for pasta bolognese with lentils the other day I want to try. They used lentils to stretch out the mince, but I think I would just skip the mince.


I think I saw that one a few years ago actually, and tried it, it was good. No mince needed.
A nice bit pot of navy bean soup is good if you find a nice smoked hambone or something...but I haven't been able to find navy beans. I also like black bean soup.

Quote:I got the 100 Watt (use about 20w) eco bulbs on sale the other day. $2 each. It was quite by chance and I think it was New World. I don't pay my power, but I thought it was a cheap way to contribute. Sometimes the power companies send coupons too.


New World sometimes puts things on sale cheaper than Woolworth's! I have found really GOOD coffee there on GOOD sale. Also, Woolworth's doesn't have baguettes...

If you get yourself that rare treat, what'll you splurge on? Big grin

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 4:32 pm
<...>


Last edited by Elle on Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:12 pm

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 4:54 pm
<aside> Oops. Sorry. I'm visiting a friend and using her computer, used her logon by mistake for this post but corrected now</aside>

Great Tip On Driers. My mom never uses her drier, saves a bunch on electricity, rates on both water and electricity have just gone up again in the last month.

Haircuts at the Shearing Shed are a lot cheaper. You have to sit in a queue and wait your turn and take pot luck on the hairdresser but if you're on a tight budget, it's worth it, NZ$20.00 a go.

g.d.zone


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Hey, Elle!

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 5:27 pm
Nice ones.

Quote:Got a drier? Don't use it; hang things out instead and if it's too cold adopt the indoor drying look. Don't wash anything on 'hot'


Agree, "hot" destroys everything! And dissolves anything from the Warehouse.
What design of indoor drying system do you use?
I have been wanting to do that.

Quote:Grow as much as you can to supplement your diet; things grow well here and you might as well take advantage of that. I grew tomatoes, cucumbers, bok choy, lettucs, spinach, celery and all herbs in a very small space using old planters and whatever I could find.


what kind of planters for which and what sort of planter?

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 5:31 pm
Hope4Zim wrote:
Haircuts at the Shearing Shed are a lot cheaper. You have to sit in a queue and wait your turn and take pot luck on the hairdresser but if you're on a tight budget, it's worth it, NZ$20.00 a go.


Hi, H4Z!
I also stretch out the time between haircuts with a lot of bobby-pin and elastic ponytail dos and sometimes scarves to keep the stray bits in until a decent cut can be afforded. In scarf periods, have been mistaken for a brethrenette a couple times...(seriously) Shocked

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 5:54 pm
Another thing I liked to make was pozole (Mexican).
have never had Som Tam or a Thai-style omelet (uh-oh, watch, this'll turn into a foodie thread)

Sounds like we will have to get together one weekend.
Som tum is a regular here, along with larp, an E-sarn dish. You can bring some Mexican!Smile

aklgap, I assume your partner is from the south?

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 6:15 pm
Yep, Penguin. Songkhla born and lived in Hat Yai. It's where they do the bombing, but I felt safe and liked it there as it is not so touristy. Is your partner from the south also?

I recommend eating at the Hare Krishna restaurants if you like Indian food. Not too spicey and cheap as chips. $5 for a meal in Auckland and a bit more in Wellington.

Is pozole the soup with hominy? Like that stuff.

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 6:45 pm
Hi g.d.zone!

Quote:In scarf periods, have been mistaken for a brethrenette

Laugh

I know what you mean. Mum says she wishes she can reincarnate the Jackie Kennedy look, head scarves and oversized dark glasses. I suppose a hooded fleecy will do the trick too. (between haircuts)

g.d.zone


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yeah, posole/pozole is the stuff with hominy!

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 6:59 pm
Can't find any here...found some online but nothing very close. Have to keep looking.

I can think of a good big handful of members in AKL, it's quite a drive for me, but haven't had a day off in ages and it is pretty tempting to take a weekend....maybe a bring your own dish foodie meetup for the AKL crowd!

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 7:06 pm
Quote:Is your partner from the south also?


No, My wife is E-sarn, Chaiyaphum. She has a cousin just north of Surat Thani that married into Islam. We visited them there 4 years ago. My wife is scared of going any further south.

Quote:Not too spicey and cheap as chips.


Haven't caught on to the spicy food yet then?Wink
I don't mind it hot, but not hot hot if you know what I mean.

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Hey G.D.

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:17 pm
<...>


Last edited by Elle on Sun Mar 01, 2009 6:13 pm

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:24 pm
I think you've covered most of the suggestions I would have made! Swapping favors is HUUUUGE. I've saved so much money just by doing favors for friends (for instance, I have a van so can cart things around) and being able to borrow (or just have) stuff from them. We've received veggies from our neighbors just for letting them pick up the windfall from our fruit trees.

I've never known people as frugal as some of those I've met here, and I grew up with parents who scrimped and saved. That reluctance to part with a single cent if you don't have to... Wow!

The one new suggestion I have is for groceries. Pac N Save is not always the cheapest. Keep in mind which store has the cheapest regular price on your staple items, and alternate visits between stores.

Otherwise... ditto on washing clothes in cold water, line drying everything, walking/bussing, limiting meat/dairy, etc.

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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 8:38 pm
...


Last edited by nerine on Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:08 pm

tetrablue


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PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 10:53 pm
Hi GDZ,

No, I didn’t post in the “uh-oh” thread but as mentioned in my previous post I was born In Australia and have dual nationality with the UK. This meant that I was able to move without the hassle of immigration. I think it gave me clarity as it meant that I wasn’t tied down to serving any ‘time’ in NZ for immigration reasons or for moving onto Aus. When talking to other expats it seemed that some were determined to stay until granted citizenship as they wanted something to show for the money it cost them to get there.

I think this combined with the age of my children helped provide my ‘free and quick thinking’. My children are young adults and it wasn’t long before my husband and I realised that we didn’t want to grow old in NZ and therefore we were concerned that the longer we stayed the more of our savings we would be wasting and the higher the chances were of our daughter meeting a kiwi man and perhaps wanting to stay! Also the quick turn around meant as least disruption to my children’s education as possible.

I would also like to add that we did watch the $’s whilst in NZ like never before and this has had a positive influence on my daughter. As mentioned in another thread she now doesn’t spend 2 days wages on a pair of jeans, has opened a bank account and is saving for a mortgage. She has also become more focussed on her education, getting a well paid job and now seems to understand the value of money and one of the main reasons why adults go to work.

My mother suggested that perhaps it was worth the expense and the experience even if that’s all we got out of it, hhmm.
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