Where to save some money.
2 things have happened in the last month which have actually changed the way I need to handle our money – after 6 years of doing the same thing:
- We have a small issue this month with a new contract which pays on a different day to normal – so our income projections and bank balances are skewed – which means we can’t pay ourselves at the end of the month as usual.
- I have actually swapped the last of our personal mortgage onto the business (which means the interest is now a business expense) so instead of making sure as much money as possible stays in our personal account to reduce interest – I now need to keep the money in the business accounts as long as possible.
I have to admit – its all taking a bit of thinking about and planning.
But ho hum – needs must when the devil calls round for tea!
Because of this, and the fact that I really do want to get some more emergency funds behind us, I have decided it’s time to refresh the budgets and look at some cost savings:
1/ Changing the power bills.
I’m a huge fan of saving money without cutting back on things – and items like electricity bills are a perfect example. I wont actually be using less electricity (though that helps obviously) I’m just intending to pay less for it.
Now, there’s a newish website out called What’s My Number. Its being advertised on TV with people looking a tad daft with post-its stuck to their foreheads – showing how much they could save by changing electricity suppliers. I tried that and got:
Well, that’s not a bad start. The thing is the fine print relies on you being on the cheapest plan for your supplier. And you can do a better calculation by clicking through to the parent website: Powerswitch. Now it helps to have a current bill, but according to that I discovered that a/ I am not actually on Meridian’s cheapest plan, and b/ Powershop could be cheaper, by about $109 a year.
So I have used the switching service provided, clicked and signed up for Powershop. Now they are slightly different from normal power retailers in that you can buy electricity up front, and buy cheaper electricity in the summer. I am kinda looking forward to seeing how that works in practice. I quite like the thought of being in control of electricity supply – rather then getting a bill at the end of the month – and from what I understand this could be a good plan for people like me who are happy to spend time actively managing money.
2/ Printer Cartridges.
Jeeze are these the world’s biggest extortion or what? For anyone utterly frustrated by the sheer gob-stopping magnitude of the cost of printer cartridges (and the printers refusal to let you actually empty the damn things) have a look at The Oatmeal: Why I believe printers were sent fom hell to make us miserable.
Now I have had to do a lot of printing lately – and have a number of (not) empty cartridges that lasted all of 5 minutes. I decided in the interest of environmental concern (and tightfistedness) to get them refilled at Cartridge World. Where I rapidly stormed out of in disgust at the whole $4 per cartridge saving on something that costs nearly $30 brand new. This to me is not a suitable discount for refilled cartridges.
So I looked at both Inkpost and NZ Consumables. Now we actually have 2 different printers (Just. Don’t. Ask) both of them are brothers but – you guessed it – use different cartridges. One uses LC57′s which retail at $27.99. Cartridge world want to charge $24.99 to refill them, NZ consu,bales charge $6.84 for a compatible generic. Kachingg!
(I am at this point totally ignoring the dire warning that printers now display about the terrible and deadly (and expensive) consequences of not using proper branded cartridges as being as pointless and absurd (not to say expensive) as Kiwi pharmacists trying to insist using unbranded Ibuprofen will fail to cure my headache. Utter bullcrap!)
Now NZ consumables don’t sell generics for our other cartridges, but I found in that case that InkPost came out cheaper by refilling my old ones or buying their own brand. The new own brands came in at $15.39 instead of a $22.69 for the branded version. Or if I sent in 3 colours I could get them all refilled for $38.39. Considerable cheaper than the snotty lady at Cartridge Wold insisted was a fair price.
So while I have spent a fair amount on new cartridges – it is WAY less than I would have spent in Warehouse Stationary – or at Cartridge World. I’m rather a happy bunny.
Now this isn’t a conscious choice to spend less on coffee. I still have a budget for it, and we can actually still afford to cover that. Instead – I just refuse to pay the current cost of buying a coffee in a cafe. A few weeks ago I actually ended up paying $5 for a cup. Now given that I drink Americano’s (with cream – and usually decaf) there is no steaming of milk to do, and its actually pretty straightforward. But now places are usually charging 50c for decaf and I am now getting charged for the cream more often.
Even the cheaper places are at $4 or $4.50 – and I actually don’t think it’s worth that.
So I now tend to save having a coffee out for when I am with friends – rather than because I just want one – and I make my own and chill with a book.
This month – I have so far spent $27.70 on coffee, out of a budget of $100.