Bargain Betty

Bargain Betty’s money savvy tips

Online shopping


Bargain Betty has been a bit slack at posting lately.  Sorry!

But I’ve been thinking about online shopping, since I was introduced to by my friends David and Simon.  I’ve just ordered a number of items including a new battery and charger for my Nikon Coolpix camera, and an ultrafire torch as the old technology one I have is hopeless when we’re camping.

Some of my favourite international retailers include Eddie Bauer and I love the La Redoute website for French fashion and for its remarkably reasonable shipping costs. The great thing about buying from northern hemisphere clothes retailers is that our seasons are different and we can take advantage of their end-of-season sales.

But it’s not just clothing you can buy. Virtually anything small and light could be shipped to New Zealand. For example Fusion Beads, an American bead shop, ships here — if you’re into that sort of thing. And just check out the range of doggie clothes at Little Pampered Pets. As well as individual retailers, it’s possible to buy all manner of stuff via eBay.

My latest

Here are some other shops that ship to New Zealand:

Shops that ship to New Zealand

The thing about blogs is that they should be interactive, so please post and list your own favourite overseas retailers who ship to New Zealand.


One day sale websites


I’ve always been a bit cynical about the one-day-sale websites that have started popping up here there and everywhere. My first impression was that they were selling a lot of cheaply priced Tat that people didn’t need to buy. There’s certainly an element of people getting too excited over these sites. has more than 50,000 people who “like” it on Facebook.

I have, however, seen the other side of them. I’ve noticed that some of the sites like services (eg dental work and beauty therapy) and tourism days out at really cheap prices. I went on a Kayak Fishing expedition, which I have written about for the NZ Herald. The other customers had bought their tours from at half the face price.  If you want to do something like this it’s a great bargain.

Beauty products


I wrote this originally for my MSN column:

Does beauty care need to cost a fortune? And will a $500 moisturiser really make you look 10 years younger than a supermarket brand?

Some weeks ago I wrote about the phenomenal cost of fashion. This week I’ve got the beauty industry in my sights. But it’s going to be a difficult task. Many women would rather cut back on food than save money on their beauty regime.

Newsweek has just published some must-read research on the cost of a lifetime of cosmetic maintenance for the modern diva. The authors estimate that the average American woman spends $449,127 on hair and beauty over her lifetime. Ouch.

Keeping up good skincare is important. But it needn’t cost an arm and a leg. Once, in my early twenties, I asked a consultant dermatologist to advise the best moisturiser to buy — and I didn’t care what it cost. The answer, to my surprise, was E45 Cream — one of the cheapest on the market.

I wouldn’t deny any woman her $50 lippies, La Mer moisturiser, or a trip to the hairdresser for “the works”. If you budget, these can be included as special treats. What you shouldn’t be doing is treating them as everyday purchases if you want to get ahead financially. Try to use up what you have first and then decide which of these items you could save on and which you should splurge on.

Can you, for example, splurge on eye shadows and save money on supermarket-brand mascara, lip gloss and eye pencils?

One area of beauty care where you can save enormously is by doing your own beauty treatments. There’s nothing in a facial or pedicure, apart from the pampering, that you can’t do at home. Try checking out some of these DIY beauty treatments for more ideas.

And it’s possible to shop around and get your beauty treatments done for less. For example, where I live, in an expensive suburb of Auckland, eyebrow threading costs $18. Instead, I get it done for $5 a time when passing through modest Mount Roskill, which I do on a regular basis.

Even better, get your hair or beauty done cheaply or for free at a beauty school. There are heaps of listings in the Yellow Pages.

Thinking outside of the square can save you an awful lot of money over a lifetime. Just lately I’ve started making my own organic shampoo and conditioner thanks to the fact that my children developed mild allergies to soaps and shampoos, and my wallet is severely allergic to the cost of “eco products”. Making my own is both easy and satisfying and the raw ingredients are available over the Internet from websites such as Go Native.

Finally, remember that a big part of the cost of your miracle creams is the marketing, advertising and packaging. Can you do without them? Your wallet would be happier if you did.

Have your say: Do you save or splurge on beauty care?