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Invest or save? Three things every Kiwi should consider before plotting a path to financial freedom

You, your wallet, and your spare change walk into a bank. What, were you expecting a punchline? Well, these isn’t one! Your financial future is no joke. That said, the wealth of savings options available to Kiwis these days will have you laughing all the way to the bank. Or credit union. Or investment company. Or or or… do you see the problem yet? Saving money is always a smart idea. But we reckon being spoiled for choice still presents…

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Does loyalty pay? Here’s how to get the most out of loyalty programmes

“Call me loyal”, Dave Dobbyn once sang, and “I’ll say you’re loyal too”. (He also once sang “drink yourself more bliss,” which makes less sense, but we’ll set that aside for the moment.) Loyalty programmes are everywhere these days, and they’ve come a long way from Satan’s original “Eat one apple and get a free eternity of shame and feeling weird about nudity unless you’re Paul Henry” offer. From airlines and groceries to credit cards and even the humble cup…

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Does solar power save you money on your electricity bill? We crunch the numbers

We all assume that we save money with solar power. But do we? Really? The answer may be as clear as mud. Solar can save you money. But not always as much as you assume and the economics are changing. Even the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority EECA says it doesn’t work for everyone. It costs you money to install Solar power (or water) systems cost you money to install. I looked at one well known company, Solar King, which…

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Sick of paying through the nose for power? Here’s how to switch (and save)

Switching power companies sounds straightforward. And it is.  It’s just not quite as simple to get the best deal from electricity and gas suppliers as it appears in the adverts. Armed with a bit of knowledge, however, I promise you it’s almost impossible not to find a better deal. Unless, that is, you’ve already switched in the past few months. Step 1: Choose your site There is a bunch of comparison websites that claim to get you the best deal…

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Are you off your trolley? You could be, with our sneaky tricks to save money on your groceries

Are you off your trolley? You could be if your supermarket bill is creeping over $50 per person for a family. There are so many sneaky tricks to save money on food. You might even find that you’re healthier and happier when you buy more basic food. Don’t say it can’t be done. If your bill is out of control, try some of these tips. Budget. Start with a figure that you want to spend on food each week and…

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Is your food bill out of control? It could be that big lump of protein on your plate

Protein – at least the meaty versions – is expensive. And research indicates that we’re obsessed with protein, to our detriment. Most Kiwis spend far too much on that protein, by not eating and shopping consciously. It’s simple to cut the cost of a plate of food radically. First off, not all protein is created equal when it comes to cost. A nice sirloin steak for four can cost $25 before you even add veges to the plate. Even own…

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Rental arithmetic: Turn your stuff into money without selling it

It’s about this time of year, usually just after the last of the Christmas ham has been scoffed and the cherries are a distant sticky memory, that our thoughts turn to money. As in: how can we have more? And how will that work without grovelling for a pay rise from Bossy McBossface? One solution is to have a good fossick around the house, spy some unwanted stuff and sell it on Trade Me. Which is great, but once you’ve…

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Young boy posing with money drifting around him
Are your kids learning about finances the hard way or the easy way?

I remember it well. The little green booklet that I’d carry into the local branch of the savings bank, with my grandparents’ Christmas money or some such, all ready to save up for some far flung future when I’d be able to buy Something Important. The wee booklet was received by the teller like a benediction, and after passing it through a machine that typed on it (TYPED!) it was returned to me fresh, newly updated, bearing the magic words…

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Young woman looking astonished at her growing nose
Are your finances suffering from ‘excusitis’? Beat it, now

Liar, liar, pants on fire. We Kiwis are masters at coming up with excuses for our spending and debt. I’ve heard it called “excusitis”. We convince ourselves that “we’re different” or that “we need it”, or “everyone else does it”. It’s that six inches of grey stuff between your ears that’s at fault. And it’s getting worse. According to Payments New Zealand the average Kiwi made 58 credit card transactions in 2014, 86 in 2015 and 103 in 2016. Ouch.…

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Steven Joyce
Budget Day: Steven’s had his – now it’s your turn

Two weeks ago the new finance minister Steven Joyce delivered his first budget, and the last that this National government gets to table before heading to the polls in September. While budget day doesn’t come with quite the drama or possibility of surprise that it did in, say, the 80s, it’s still a big deal. There’s a lot of detail, but essentially the government is announcing where it plans to get money from (taxes, borrowing, occasionally selling things) and how it…

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