In case you haven’t heard but there is a “living cost” crisis happening in New Zealand. New Zealand is an expensive country to live but the combination of increasing inflation, COVID-19, labour shortages and the war in Ukraine increasing petrol prices means there is a perfect storm of everything getting more expensive. Is there any way of saving money and boosting happiness at the same time in
I have been called the “Voucher Queen” by some of my closest friends. Everywhere we go I can pull out a voucher or a deal, and save some money. My friends always think it’s a funny trait but it has been a habit that is ingrained in me by my parents. This habit is so ingrained that one of my friends joked that I have twins because I love “buy one get one free” deal. The universe definitely thinks in a funny way because having twins is definitely expensive, and not a shortcut to saving money!
I am always looking out for win-win situation in life, so here are my 7 money saving ideas that will also boost your happiness:
1. Join a toy library. My kids love all the toys I get from the toy library. They get bored of toys very easily so having constant rotation of toys means they are happy and entertained. Our toy library has very strict cleaning protocol and they even quarantine the returned toys for one week before lending them out. Entertained toddlers = happy mamas.
2. Start or attend a book club. I started my own book club last year called “The Bossbabe Book club” with my entrepreneurial friends and it is one of the highlights of my month. We eat cheese, drink wine and talk about what we’ve learned from various books we’ve read. We also do book swap which means saving money on books. I always feel a boost of happiness after our monthly book club.
3. Make the most of your library. Auckland has an amazing system of 55 libraries with free events for kids of all ages, and adults. We also get access to audiobooks and e-books through Libby app. Prior to the lockdown, my kids spent lot of time at our local library and the librarians know them very well. I feel a strong connection with my local library, and it is a place to socialise and connect with others, which makes me happy.
4. Do babysitting swaps with family or friends. My sister and I used to babysit for each other. I love babysitting my nephews and niece as I get to spend time with them (and have a break from my own kids!). My sister and her husband also get to go out for their date night. It’s a win-win situation which makes everyone happy!
5. Look for win-win situations. My favourite yoga studio (Yoga Collective in Parnell) has a ‘karma cleaner’ programme where you can get free yoga classes in exchange for helping them with cleaning. It’s a great way to get your exercise and build connections with others – two scientifically proven way to boost your happiness.
6. Ask and you shall receive. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can borrow something from your friends or family. For example, I have a steam cleaner that I am lending to a friend. It makes me feel good to help, and she gets to save money as she only needs to use it for a short period of time. Lending and borrowing can also help to build and strengthen relationships with others. Win-win!
7. Second-hand does not mean second-rate. Having two babies is expensive! We had to buy two cots, two high chairs, a special double stroller, two front packs and the list goes on. Although we received and still receive a lot of hand-me downs which is amazing, we still had to buy a lot of our own baby items like two cots. In this case, I bought second-hand cots and no one would know the difference. Saving money on these items means that we can spend the money on what we value as a family such as going on a holiday to see family and friends.
Can you see a common pattern from the list above? The best way to save money AND boost your happiness is by building on your relationship with friends, families and your community. Cultivate your own sharing community, and you will be richer both in money and relationships.