Living a more thrifty lifestyle

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 10:49 06/09/2012

There are so many themed weeks these days it's hard to keep track, but apparently we are in the middle of Money Week.

Generally, themed weeks either celebrate something or are fundraising for something. However, I can't imagine anyone celebrating having lots of money in the middle of the Global Financial Crappola situation, and I seriously doubt there will be people standing on the streets rattling their collection buckets as they collect money to raise funds for Money Week. As such, I'm guessing it's about how to hold on to what you've got.

The internet is full of useful tools and tips to keep more dollars in your pocket or bank account at the end of the week.

When you are planning to buy anything, use the web to comparison shop.

Pricespy is handy for finding good deals. It's mainly electronics and isn't a complete guide, but it is a good starting point.

Beyond that, check out the big retailers online to see who is offering the best deal and take advantage of those price-match guarantees some of them offer.

And don't just take the word of the salesperson that what they are offering is a good deal. I had one tell me on Monday that he was going to do me a big favour by knocking $400 off the ticket price of an item, only to check on the company's website that same day and discover the normal price was actually a few bucks cheaper than his discount.

Needless to say, I'll be spending my money elsewhere.

It's also worth checking online reviews of any expensive items to see if the reality stacks up to the hype offered by the manufacturers and salespeople. There are lots of sites with consumer reviews, such as epinions.com, or simple search for the name of the product and “review”.

The number of sites offering one-day deals seems to have exploded and while some are pretty good, others are pinging off old, out-dated items at prices that aren't that great. Once again, do your homework: there are bargains to be had, but make sure you know what you are buying.

Trade Me is another paradise for shoppers and bargain-hunters. Over the past couple of years, some sections of the site have become bogged down with numerous listings for identical items from sellers of new, cheap bits and bob but there are still plenty of good buys lurking around and it's always fun shuffling through New Zealand's biggest garage sale.

Don't forget to check that you aren't paying too much for your power  and check out Consumer's website for advice on what's good and what isn't in everything from banks to blenders.

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