I thought that I would share a little about myself, and then pass on a few of the methods that I use in order to manage and save money, most of which are quite well-known, and work on basic, common sense principles.
I am a 33 year old woman. I have lived in Dunedin for most of my life. I studied at Otago University, and have a BA. I worked part-time in various places around town, before leaving to teach English (as a second language) in Taiwan for four and a half years, from 1999 until 2004. I live alone, in a one bedroom flat. I am currently unemployed.
Needless to say, life on the dole is financially challenging. There never seems to be quite enough $$$ to make end meet.
When I moved into my flat at the end of last year, I was able to borrow money off Work and Income NZ to pay for my bond, and two weeks rent in advance.
I set up automatic payments (from my bank to Telecom and Contact Energy Limited) to pay for my first power and phone bills, after doing a bit of shopping around, to see who had the cheapest connection fees, etc.
I over-estimated my bills deliberately, in order to ensure that my ass would be covered when the first bills came rolling in. It worked! (-:
I lowered my automatic payments accordingly, after receiving my first bills. I still over-estimate them slightly.
I only buy what I need. Easier said than done, I know - but being on a limited income makes this a lot easier!
I always read my junk mail, particularly the fliers and coupon books from local supermarkets, in order to check and compare prices for food/household items.
I don't assume that the prices listed in these are necessarily the cheapest ones.
I make a note of the deals I am interested in, so that when I go shopping I can compare prices at other shops, and with other brands.
I always go to both Centre City New World and Countdown each week. I note down the prices of items I require/desire at New World, and then see if I can get a cheaper deal at Countdown. Then I double back for the items I want at New World on the way home.
I keep an eye out for better deals at local butchers or greengrocers, the $2 shop, etc.
I often buy things in advance - for example, I bought school supplies on special at New World this month, at ridiculously cheap prices, because I know that prices will go up again shortly, and I will be needing these items in the near future. Now I'm all stocked up.
I go op shopping for household items and appliances, clothing and books. I also buy some of these items at local garage sales, fleamarkets or fairs.
I sell off items I have, but no longer need or want. Last year I made over $150 dollars by selling a large chunk of my book collection.
I take part in studies, such as the Yoghurt Tasting Study adveristed in my first post. Last year, I took part in a study at the Psyhcology Dept. just before Xmas, and made $125 by doing so.
I recycle. I re-use old giftwrap, ribbons, for example. I buy gifts in advance.
I keep an eye on the local noticeboards and in the weekly newspapers for fun, free things to do. I go to Dunedin Public Library, watch free manga movies at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, go to art gallery openings, free meditation workshops, the museum, etc.
I walk as much as possible.
I buy concession tickets for the local bus services. I also buy concession tickets to the physio pool, etc.
These are some examples of the ways in which I save money, and manage to get by. I hope that you will share your tips and ideas with me as well.