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?

Read more:



We need a second guinea pig cage to separate males and females. I’m incapable of coughing up for a new one, or for that matter a second-hand one on Trade Me.  I was perusing the net and am astounded at how much ingenuity there is out there.

This is a real Bargain Betty solution. A wire mesh storage cube hutch:

That won’t quite suit us as it will need to be outdoors. But it really got me thinking about Bargain Betty type solutions to our Guinea Pig problem.

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Feeding my guinea pigs


My arm was twisted last Christmas to get a couple of guinea pigs.  Our furry friends and their hutch came free. But it soon became clear that these two could prove quite expensive.

Their former owners bought guinea pig food and you’d be amazed at how frequently the paper and sawdust needs changing in the hutch. The latter is much cheaper on Trade Me, but still cost money.

My solution?  Free range guinea pigs.  Every morning we take the guinea pigs out and put them on the lawn, where they munch for free all day long. Their diet is supplemented by our fruit and vegetable scraps.  On dry nights they stay out (I’ve rigged up a box shelter for them) so that they’re not wetting their sawdust, and on wet nights we put them in.

Sadly, however, our “free range” guinea pigs are yet to produce any eggs in the way my neighbour’s chickens do…..

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