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5 winter saving hacks

June 13, 2022

The days are shorter, the air is colder, and the bills are often bigger. Here are our top five winter saving hacks to help you save money, stay warm, and even help the planet too.

Shop with the season

We know this one is a bit of a cliche, but sometimes cliches are just true; local, seasonal fruits and vegetables are generally far cheaper.
But how do you know what is in season? We aren’t all green thumbs with expert knowledge on what produce is thriving in winter, but there are a few easy ways to find out:

  1. When grocery shopping on the Countdown website, you can toggle on the “in season” filter.
  2. The 5+ a day website tells you everything that is in season and gives you helpful recipe ideas to spark some inspiration.
  3. If you’re shopping at a fruit and veggie shop, you can usually tell by what there is the most of and what produce is priced the lowest.
  4. In general, produce from your local greengrocer is probably cheaper than that from the local supermarket. Plus, we’re fans of supporting smaller, local merchants instead of mammoth supermarket chains!

See what is on special before deciding on your meal plan for the week to avoid getting your heart set on a meal before realising it requires lettuce that’ll set you back $11.

Save with your slow cooker

Did you know that a slow cooker uses less energy than a light bulb, while an electric oven is most likely the most expensive appliance to run in your kitchen? And yes, that fact still remains true even with your slow cooker running for 6-8 hours. So although it may sound like a weird saving tip, cooking in your slow cooker can save you money on your power bill.

Plus, well-priced, tough meat and stodgy root vegetables come out beautifully tender when cooked low and slow.

But, what can I make in a slow cooker that doesn’t remind me of mum’s pineapple sausage casserole?

  1. Pak’n Save has a 4-week slow cooker meal plan where you can download the shopping list and recipes. Each meal works out to be around $3.75 per serving.
  2. Food in a minute is a classic Kiwi go-to for quick and easy meals, and they don’t disappoint when it comes to slow cooker recipes. This is a great place to start if you’re looking for warming, hearty recipes.
  3. If you’re looking for something with a little more pizzaz, check out the Women's Weekly top 10 slow cooker recipes. These recipes are a little more pricey but open up a world of possibilities when it comes to slow cooking!

Keep out the cold

It may sound obvious, but blocking draughts can make a massive difference to the warmth and health of your home and helps to keep your power bill as low as possible. Gaps around your windows and doors can account for 25% of the heat loss in your home. The more cold air you keep out, the more warmth you will keep in.
But how do I block draughts out without spending too much money?

  1. Roll up towels and place them at the foot of your doors and on top of your curtain rails. Although not the most glamorous solution, it is a great DIY option that doesn’t require any extra purchases.

  2. If your house is open plan, hang a blanket or rig up temporary curtains to help keep the heat in one space. This could be as simple as two nails and a blanket hung in between or temporarily putting up a curtain rail to help block off spaces.

  3. For more extensive ways to keep the drafts out, check out Bunning's top tips on how to winter-proof your home.

Heating hacks

Heating is often the hot topic when it comes to saving money in winter, but what are some affordable ways to stay warm without compromising your health and wellbeing?

  1. Power use at night: Many electricity providers have lower off-peak rates when there isn’t a high power demand. Check if your provider has this option and make the most of this by running appliances like your dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer overnight. If you have a heat pump, keep it on low during the night so it doesn’t have to work as hard in the morning.

  2. Electric blankets: According to Energywise, electric blankets use as little as 0.4 kilowatts to stay toasty over four hours, so each one you put on for the night will cost you about 10 cents a night. So, a family of four running their blankets every night will only rack up $12 in electricity over a month, or $36 for winter. Certainly not free, but not a terrible price to get through the chilly months.

  3. Check your heater's energy rating. Heat pumps are the most energy-efficient style, but they have a hefty upfront price tag. It pays to assess your space; if you are in a smaller house, electric heaters may be more efficient and affordable than in larger areas where a heat pump would pay itself off quickly.

Check if you qualify for a Warmer Kiwi Home grant

Did you know that if you are a homeowner and meet eligibility criteria, you may be able to get a Warmer Kiwi Home grant? This grant covers 80% of the ceiling and underfloor insulation cost, plus 80% of the cost of a heat pump, wood, or pellet burner. That could make a massive difference to the cost of keeping your home healthy and warm.

When it comes to saving, every little bit counts, but it’s also essential to look for ways that will save the future you. Whether you’re hoping to use KiwiSaver to purchase your first home, or if you are planning for retirement, getting in the right fund will help to ensure you’ve got enough financial security to stay warm, toasty, and well-fed for many winters to come. Our online KiwiSaver fund finder quiz can help you plan for a brighter future.