Shock and Awe
New arrivals who haven’t done their homework have sometimes expressed shock at the prices they’ve seen in New Zealand’s stores and supermarkets. (If you could become one of these newcomers, remember that the ENZ forum is a great place to find out anything you’re not sure about.)
People have experienced grief discovering the prices of some goods in New Zealand
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that a few people have been horrified by the prices they’ve seen.
Others have been horrified that anyone could be horrified. There’s no excuse for not doing your homework.
Prices are available online for cars, furniture, home appliances, electronic goods, etc – and you can also check ENZ’s compilation of supermarket prices here.
People who have lived here longer look at the prices they see quoted online – and smile knowingly, because they’ve become street-smart and have found ways to slash their expenses.
Here’s a handy list of money-saving ideas to help speed you on your way. Read it, bookmark it, and come back to it.
Members of the ENZ forum share their best money saving tips.
1) Shop around! – for example we recently had our WOF [warrant of fitness – a statutory safety check every six months] done on our car (with a voucher of course) and the garage (main dealer for our make of car) said we needed a shocking amount of work done. We didn’t really believe them as 6 months earlier they had done a similar huge amount and charged us a hefty figure. So we went to VTNZ in Wellington to get the WOF done, and to our surprise we didn’t need the things the dealer said we need to pass the WOF and so we saved $2000. Needless to say we are not going back to the main dealer and will get the WOF done at VTNZ. – girlwithanewf
2) DO NOT…I repeat DO NOT buy anything unless it’s on sale (I’m talking goods from Briscoes, The Warehouse, etc.) Anything you want to buy there will most definitely go on sale. Here things are insanely expensive and your jaw drops at the prices…well just remember that likely it will go at least 50% off in the next few weeks. This includes everything from linen to toys to coffee machines. You will probably save at least 50% if you can hold out for a sale. – sharkalopodous
3) We’ve also learned that on some items – it makes no sense to buy “full price” when most stores here rotate their sales quite quickly. There’s decent competition among the retailers. While we’ve observed some stores list higher prices…just keep looking around. It’s good to do price comparisons and have patience, as the sales will roll around… – KiwiDiva
4) Understand that it’s OK to haggle on bigger ticket items (say, $100 or more). This struck us as strange at first but now we would never consider paying full sticker price for things like furniture, appliances, etc. If your business is important enough, even mortage and term deposit rates are negotiable. – Bozeman
5) And ALWAYS haggle, even in an upmarket shop, even if something is already on sale. ‘Is that your best price?’ will very often get you more money off. – JandM
6) If you’re looking for fresh produce keep an eye on the car boots at the side of the road! You’ll often find people selling their surplus there. – Mamee & Co
7) We buy all fruit and veg separately from a fruit and veggie shop, which is much cheaper. – Sam B
8) Stock up when things are reduced in the supermarket, you can often save quite a lot. – girlwithanewf
9) I also make everything from scratch including sourdough bread, I preserve, make sausages and pâtés, go to the veggie market and have a veggie patch. I do it more because I like to know what I’m eating (and I like cooking) than for the money saving aspect but it’s certainly a bonus. – miep
10) Check to see you are getting the best deal on power. – powerswitch.co.nz – Dave in NZ
11) Checking pricespy.co.nz a 100 times and other such sites before buying any electronics items. – fivezero7
12) I never pay full price at the hairdressers – either get special offers from GrabOne or direct from the hairdresser via their email list. – girlwithanewf
13) Be careful on trademe.co.nz…. sometimes you find deals but more often than not I find people trying to sell things for almost as much as it costs new… most times I can find the item on sale somewhere new for cheaper than people are selling it used. – sharkalopodous
14) Join a Toy Library. This is the greatest thing ever. Our toy library cost us $70/year to join and most toys are free to take out with the bigger toys costing $2/fortnight. If you have kids you will love the toy library and so will they (especially the 5 and 1 yr old). It will save you money but I like it more because the kids get whatever toy they want and you don’t have to collect the piles of “toy junk” that adds up over the years. – sharkalopodous
15) Get a car or camper van from Queenstown to Christchurch from $5 a day, then another from Christchurch to Auckland with the ferry charge paid for you, but you have to do it within a certain amount of days. Good luck. – Gran
16) Go to movies on Tuesdays (to avail the discount tickets) instead of seeing the weekend show which is usually costly. – fivezero7
17) Flybuys card from New World and various other places – worth collecting the points. I got a very nice free blender with mine which is great for making smoothies with all that seasonal fruit. – girlwithanewf
18) Buy an Entertainment Book for lots of money saving offers (although then you do end up going out more because you get one main course free etc). – girlwithanewf
19) Check out the community newsletters in your suburbs because they will list all the various activities in the area which include family events like fun fairs, kids theme events. They are free and great fun because it usually includes story-telling sessions, performances, kids constume activities, make-up and toys, play areas for kids. – batgirl1001
20) [Books are expensive in NZ.] I have a Kindle which is registered in the UK and tend to buy books for 99p to £4. It also saves on storage space. – Kea
21) Regularly checking tyre pressures in your cars as believe me having the correct tyre pressure improves your mileage considerably. I was surprised how my mileage improved. – Dave in NZ
22) School fairs are good places to buy second hand books, toys, clothes, plants etc. – girlwithanewf
Do you have other great ways to cut the cost of living in New Zealand? Please share them below.