Not long ago the kids and I were building a flying fox in the front yard. As flying fox enthusiasts know, it’s all about having the right pulley – you need a double one to distribute the weight evenly as it zips down the line.
Online, the options looked pretty pricey – mountaineering sites, for instance, had pulleys at $120 or much higher. I was about to give in when, with a bit of encouragement, one more Google search turned up the perfect one on a workplace safety site, for all of $32. The kids were zipping down the line in no time.
Used to your advantage, the Internet can be a great tool for saving money. Once you’ve set some financial goals and made a money plan, finding further savings online can free up even more funds and help you reach your goals sooner.
But look out: the web makes it easier than ever to shop around the clock from the comfort of home, but you can also end up spending as much or even more on things that you would never have bought otherwise.
Online marketers have seriously streamlined the ways we can part with our money. Take iTunes, for example, now the largest collection of credit card data on the web. The typical online checkout has disappeared entirely, and they’ve beat a revenue path straight to our doors, or at least our wallets. It’s just so easy.
That said, you are now free to work the web for all it’s worth.
A quick email around the office here uncovered some favourite sites that can save you money: babyonline.co.nz for baby gear, asos.com for the wardrobe, nz.strawberrynet.comfor make-up, and torpedo7.co.nz for cycling and outdoor gear.
For tips on saving, there is a wealth of advice online, from frugal blogs like oilyrag.co.nzand helpful sites like kiwimoneysaver.com to posts like this one at kidspot.co.nz on ways to save on back-to-school buying. There are also a range of ways to bring down your household bills, such as energy cost-cutting tips from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (energywise.govt.nz) and Meridian Energy (meridianenergy.co.nz).
Clipping coupons has moved online – virtual vouchers can be printed out at home and redeemed at local stores. Sites such as treatme.co.nz, ezycoupons.co.nz andvouchermate.co.nz are easily searchable by region and by the goods or services you’re looking for: dining, entertainment, auto supplies, trades and services, or health and beauty.
We’ve often recommended grocery lists to save money (and not caving in to yummy distractions while walking the aisles). These days online grocery shopping is taking it to a whole new level. Sites such as shop.countdown.co.nz let you figure out how much you’ll spend beforehand and stick to your money plan. Don’t miss the great savings ideas onpaknsave.co.nz, too.
The Internet is the simple way to compare airlines and cut costs (grabaseat.co.nz), but it is also a great way to ‘mix and match’ different airlines and flights to stay within your travel budget. For accommodation, you can find ways online to spend like a local instead of a tourist, like these Queenstown tips from yellow.co.nz. If you’re driving, check out these ways to save fuel from aa.co.nz, too.
Kiwi daily deals sites have multiplied (see thesniff.co.nz), to the point that you could, well, make a day of it. At 7am, there are new daily deals at gumboot.co.nz; at 9am, you could look to offtheback.co.nz and dailydo.co.nz; at 10am, there’s trademe.co.nz; at 11am,snatchadeal.co.nz; and at midday there are 1-day.co.nz and mightyape.co.nz. A number of daily deals come out at midnight, such as at grabone.co.nz and groupy.co.nz.
The web is perfect for comparing prices, and these days we can be more informed than ever on what something should cost before we ever enter a store. Case in point:pricespy.co.nz.
With kids raving about scooters these days, I took to trademe.co.nz to watch the scooter market and see what they’re worth, since there are a number of stores selling directly through that site. In the end I settled on a shop in Tauranga and promptly saved $19, with free shipping, too.
Then a few days later I found myself in a traditional retail bike shop looking for some helmets to go with those scooters, wondering why there weren’t more to compare. Unfortunately I needed them right then and there (and struck a bargain since I was buying two), but who knows how much I could have saved had I gone online?
Where online have you saved the most money?