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4 ways to reduce your monthly expenses

  • Georgina Yarranton
  • 9th of October 2017

Life is expensive, there is no getting away from it. Arguably the four biggest expenses we have each month are, power, food, accommodation and petrol.

Depending on your situation and / or family make up you may also include insurance, daycare, school fees, activities or socialising as part of your top four but these are likely to vary hugely depending on your circumstances, whereas the other top four will pretty much apply to the majority of people the majority of the time. By focusing on the biggest expenses there is the potential to make the biggest savings.

Here are some ways you can save on each of these key expenses:


  • Shop around. Depending on where you live and how you consume your energy prices can vary wildly. The Consumer PowerSwitch website is a great tool to help compare prices.
  • Reduce how much power you use. It's not as hard as you think and there are loads of ways you can save; do cold laundry washes instead of warm or hot, turn of things that don't need to be on (lights, tv's, computers etc), change the thermostat in heaters / heatpumps by a few degrees. The energywise website has lots of great ideas too.



  • Always make a list when you go grocery shopping, and more importantly, stick to it.
  • Never go to the supermarket for less than 10 items (because serious, who has ever made it out of the supermarket with just milk?).
  • Buy in bulk when things are on special. It may make that shop a bit more expensive but over the year it will reduce your costs.
  • Never ever go shopping on an empty stomach.
  • Buy own-brand supermarket goods
  • Plan meals in advance so you don't need those extra visits to the supermarket to by that nights dinner
  • Reduce the amount of takeaways you get (they're convenient but not usually that cost effective).
  • Get organised and take your lunch to work (left overs from last nights dinner are great for this)



Regardless of whether you are paying rent or a mortgage, the cost of accommodation can be huge.

For renters:

  • Don't pay for what you don't need (if all you need now is a 2 bedroom house, get a 2 bedroom house).
  • Be the sort of tenant landlords want to keep - it may give you some room to negotiate when it comes to rent increases.
  • Consider a flatmate or boarder if you have a spare room.

For homeowners

  • Don't pay for what you don't need (if all you need now is a 2 bedroom house, get a 2 bedroom house).
  • Reduce your interest costs by using your income / savings to your advantage (hint: if you're not an NZHL client and want to learn about how to do this get in touch with us).
  • Consider a flatmate or boarder if you have a spare room.



  • Shop around for the best deal. Petrol stations often have specials on - shop around online to see what is best before you fill up.
  • Loyalty programmes can save you money, if you use them correctly.
  • Avoid using your car whenever possible; walk, car pool or ride.
  • Depending on where you live the cost of public transport can vary wildly. Get your calculator out and do the maths to work out which option is cheaper for you (using your car vs public transport).
  • Drive efficiently to improve fuel economy.
  • Make sure your tyre pressure is correct


The information contained in this article is of a general nature and should not be taken as advice. It reflects the opinions of the writer only and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of New Zealand Home Loans (NZHL).


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Georgina Yarranton
  • Georgina Yarranton Author