Retirement Life
6 April 2022

How to save money when prices are rising

For many of us, life seems to be getting more expensive. With rising living costs, what can we do to avoid the squeeze?


According to Stats NZ, the consumer price index (CPI) – the indicator of the changes in the price of goods and services – has risen by 5.9 percent in the last year (to December 2021). And because interest rates are rising too, and fuel prices are hitting $3 a litre, here are some suggestions on how you can cut your household expenses, and hence save money.

There are three main areas to consider: fixed bills, food and shopping, and fuel. Let’s break it down.

Fixed bills:

Winter Energy Payment: From 1 May 2022 to 1 October 2022 if you are on NZ Super you will automatically get an extra payment - no need to apply. This can be up to $31.82 a week. Click to View

Powerswitch: This is a website run by Consumer NZ, so it is completely independent. The website helps you assess if you are paying too much for your power. Click to View

Practical ways to lower your Power Bill: Lower the thermostat on heating devices or using timers to switch off heaters when they are not needed. Using a slow cooker is a wise choice to reduce cooking energy, and remember that high-rated, energy-efficient white goods appliances will make a difference to power bills. You also can’t go wrong with energy efficiency upgrades, such as insulation, LED lighting and fitted cosy curtains on the windows.

When contracts come up see if it is worth changing companies: It’s always worth doing an annual review of your broadband and phone contracts. The trick is to do your homework and see what each provider offers and how that stacks up with what you need. If it seems like too much hassle to change, there’s no harm in negotiating with your current provider. You might be surprised at how open they are to keeping you as a customer.

And the same ethos applies to reviewing your insurances annually. Check you’re happy with your cover level and strip out any optional extras you don’t need. You could also increase your excess in order to reduce your premiums, but make sure you can pay the excess, should you need to make a claim.

Rates Rebate: If you are living off your NZ Super, and not receiving much else in income then you might be eligible for the Rates Rebate. Click to find out if you are.

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Food and shopping:

Don't forget your SuperGold Card: If you are a Gold Cardholder, don't forget it when you go out the door to shop. Countdown, The Warehouse, Noel Lemmings, Big Save Furniture, Posties, Smith City and Place Makers all offer varying deals depending on what day you shop, how much you spend or what you are buying. 

Click to View Essential Deals

Find your local vegetable market: Most NZ towns and cities have a bustling farmers or vegetable market on the weekend, where you will find locally grown fruit and vegetable often cheaper than your local supermarket. 

Make a list: No matter where you shop, use a shopping list to avoid picking up items you don’t really need and be sure to check the special offers really are ‘special’. Look at the ‘per 100 grams’ price or ‘per piece’ price on the supermarket labels (below the main price) and compare it to those not on special. You’ll be surprised how many times the specials just don’t stack up.

Click and Collect: Many people find by ordering online and collecting they are able to manage their budget and avoid buying all the extras. 


Fuel prices dropped across the country after the Government removed 25 cents in petrol tax overnight. However economists warn this could just be temporary. 

There are some very real ways to keep the cost of your petrol down.

Shop and save on petrol: Most supermarkets offer fuel discounts. New World works with Z energy  (click to view) and Countdown partners with AA Smartfuel (Click to View) to offer discount through their one card. Both are offering up to 6 percent depending on how much you spend. 

Check out the fuel saving websites: Kora works with Mobil and Waitomo. Kora allows for customers to pre-pay petrol (Click to View) and offers up to 13 percent off a litre. While Z Energy has their own version call Pumped (Click to View). 

Please note Lifetime is not affiliated with any of these companies, and their discounts on offer may vary and change.

Get public transport: if you are over 65 your Gold Card allows you to travel free on scheduled off-peak urban public transport — between 9.00am and 3.00pm and after 6.30pm from Monday to Friday, and all day on weekends and public holidays.

Plus if you do travel in peak times, it is currently half price. 

It can be how you drive: The way you drive has a significant impact on your overall fuel economy. Simple tips like looking ahead so you can better anticipate traffic flow and hence, use your brakes less, will really help your fuel consumption. Smooth driving is the key! And stick to the speed limit. Make sure your tyres are at the correct pressure and remove any unnecessary equipment or weight from the car, such as a roof box or bike carriers.

Photo of Kathy Catton
Written by:

Kathy Catton

Kathy Catton is a freelance writer and editor, based on the Banks Peninsula. She is an experienced feature writer, magazine editor and copywriter. Quick to grasp the crux of any story and tell it in plain English, Kathy enjoys bringing stories to readers that surprise and delight.

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