Bargain Betty

Bargain Betty’s money savvy tips

Things I won’t save money on


This first ran in my column on MSN:


Most of us could save a small fortune if we gave up some or all of the unnecessary fat in our spending. I often remonstrate with myself about some of my spending. So I’ve decided to blog about what I won’t give up just to save money.

Here are the four things I won’t give up until I’m destitute. WARNING: these examples are bad for your long term wealth and should not be followed:

My car
I’m horribly wedded to that expensive piece of metal. I use it for lots of short trips that could easily be done on a bicycle or foot. It’s on my To Do list to find out exactly how much each trip to the local café or supermarket costs me in dollars and cents. According to Fuel Saver the fuel consumption can vary by up to 55 percent for two people driving the same model of car exactly the same distance just due to their driving habits. I accept that I probably need to own a car. It’s just that I could spend significantly less if I cut out those time-saving short trips.

Café visits
Coffee is a drug. It leaves toxins in your body, makes you fat, it’s an unnecessary waste of money, and so on. The part of the addiction I’d like to can is the café visits, not the drug itself. I guess a shrink would tell me to accept this failing and realise that my daily sojourn in a café is one of my great pleasures in life.

After-school activities
My children do soccer, dance, art classes, cubs, guides and so on — which cost around $10 a session on average. I’m well aware that these activities won’t benefit the children’s future as much as many parents think they will. Even so, it’s giving them opportunities. I sometimes think parents who limit the children’s afterschool activities to one per week and give children time to hang around home, might be doing a better job at parenting than I am.

My pets
I know they’re a black hole when it comes to money. Pets, however, are part of my children’s family. Like all of these items above, I would give them up if I was forced to financially. I’ll budget for them, however, as long as I possibly can.

There are lots of other things other people won’t give up to save money. I searched online about the subject and found a number of bloggers and columnists proffering lists of things they wouldn’t give up to save money:


The trouble with a list like this is that all of these unnecessary things I won’t give up stand in the way of boosting my long term savings. Justify them as I do, the money could be spread more wisely if I didn’t do these things

It’s a fact of life. People who budget enjoy more luxuries than those who don’t. That’s because they’re not frittering money here there and everywhere on things that don’t bring them satisfaction. They set goals and focus emotion on looking forward to a strictly limited number of good things in life.

Your say: What is the last thing you would give up to save money?

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To kick this blog off, I’ve gone back through some of my old files looking for classic Bargain Betty-isms.

One is the theory of Bangernomics, which I live by. I’m still driving the same car I bought on my return to New Zealand in 2003 and long may it live.  No keeping up with the Jones and their flash lease cars for betty:

Appreciation… not depreciation

It’s easy to forget that there are far better assets to own than cars. The theory of “Bangernomics”, found at suggests that chosen well, an old banger is much kinder on your wallet in the long run than a late-model car. That’s mainly thanks to the fact that someone else has weathered the depreciation.

How Bangernomics works is that if you can swallow your pride and drive a slightly older car or hold onto your existing wheels for longer you’ll be able to afford other luxuries, or even better, save more with RaboPlus. Check out the website if you want to see just how rapidly cars lose their value. The lowest price for a 2003/4 Honda CRV sold at auction in Wellington in the last six months of last year was $16,400 compared with $7,750 for the 2001/2 year. And the older one had fewer miles on the clock. Ouch. Think of how many holidays to the Gold Coast or Fiji that would cover.

Some expenses cost more for new cars than old ones. That includes regular service at a main dealer, rather than Joe Bloggs local motors, to keep your warranty alive. You’re likely to pay more in insurance as well.

Wellingtonian Tim* discovered Bangernomics while on his OE in London. Faced one night with a £25 taxi fare, he bought a mate’s Nissan for £80 on the spot. Tom owned the car for five months, in which time it cost him nothing more than ordinary consumables such as petrol and window washer fluid. He then sold it for £50. Tim’s next car, an £8,000 Range Rover cost a further £8K over four years.

That doesn’t mean you need to buy a rust bucket. Rather try keeping your existing motor for longer and don’t fall for the industry’s marketing ploys to sell you a new or nearly new car every year. The money would be better put towards assets that grow, not depreciate.

If you really want to know exactly what your car is costing you, visit the car cost calculator on the NZ Motorsport website at:

You can find more useful information about cutting the cost of motoring at: (for car running costs)