What They Don't Teach You About Saving Money in a Flat

What They Don't Teach You About Saving Money in a Flat

With each new year at Uni comes a new crop of students, all trying to navigate the potentially treacherous world of flatting for the first time. Flatting is expensive, as my grandchildren always tell me as they beg for handouts. As a third-generational stock broker on the NZX, I feel it is my responsibility to share with Critic Te Arohi this advice, who have in turn shared it with you. Consider it an act of service, from a humble multi-millionaire like myself. While we all know the common tips like shortening our showers and not paying your parking tickets, there is actually a whole array of simple tips that nobody talks about. Critic has compiled a list below that is sure to help both the flatting newcomer and veteran alike. 

Charge your vape at Uni, not at home
Every little bit matters! Even though it's a small effort, charging your vape in class, the library or even at a coffee shop can make a big difference to your power bill — especially if you get all your flatmates on board. If you must charge your vape at home, a savvy way to save big is to drop the wattage down to get more bang for your buck. Coupled with synthesising your own vape juice from nicotine extracts and propylene glycerol, you can easily become a saving savant. Also: many Chromebooks use a USB-C charger, the same as some vapes, and will charge your vape lighting fast. Keep an eye out for these laptop chargers on unattended desks in the library. 

Board up your windows
Dunedin flats can get cold. Sadly, the only solutions to this are to either have an insulated home or use a heater, and both options can be expensive. As we know, heat is a luxury only the rich have worked hard enough to deserve. As such, finding out you can take insulating your home into your own hands will surely be a relief for many. Stuff those red New World bags into the walls to really impress your landlord. Windows are one of the primary sources of heat loss in old houses, so boarding them up just makes sense. Either that, or sealing your draughty windows and doors with a rolled up towel. Remember: heating can cost over $25 a week, but a really good puffer jacket only costs $200. 

Start a swear jar
A swear jar is an excellent way to keep your flat a friendly place to live while also helping you transform negative energy into something positive. It doesn't just have to be swearing, this jar could profit off of any behaviour that you want to cut back on. Our readers have relayed stories of flats doing cigarette jars, alcohol jars and sex jars, just to name a few. “Egg a fresher jar” has reportedly turned hefty profits with its steep “$5 an egg” policy. These taxes are only successful when applied to a willing majority, but even a slim majority will do. Any resistance will be swiftly crushed with the financial majority of the other side. Then, you can even start a “resisting flat demands” jar, and double down on your profits. Even if your loved ones claim you’re ‘exploiting’ them, lean in to any opportunities that present themselves. For example, if you have a ginger flatmate, the rest of your flat can enforce a “Having Red Hair” jar to further deepen your revenue stream.

Get a cheaper home maid
Everybody knows the importance of a home maid for cleaning those hard to reach spots like the kitchen sink or the rusty chains in the basement. However, you may not realise how much you are potentially wasting. With just a bit of shopping around, you can get a much cheaper house cleaner from 100 dollars per day, even down to 60 dollars. A few strategies to maximise your savings in this key investment include opting for non-union labour and avoiding pesky taxes that simply contribute to society and don’t help you directly in any way. Better yet: start dating a clean freak. As long as you can convince them that they’re “fixing you”, you can actually get this service for free. 

Stop burning money 
For those of us who have seen the singularly mesmerising glow of legal tender on fire at some point, then it may be hard to return to a life of only burning firewood and couches. However, if you have managed to avoid it, then there’s still hope for you. Not burning your money can be a major saver. While not particularly warm, burning cash tends to light a more spiritual, cerebral fire. There’s just something about it. However, it should be avoided at all costs. 

Section 28 of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1990 means it is an offence to destroy any bank note in New Zealand. The penalty is a fine of up to NZD 1000.00, and you cannot pay it using the money you just burnt. If your habit has already become too severe, consider exchanging New Zealand Dollars for a more paper-based bill from a country with higher inflation rates. You’ll find the best value for notes with the Iranian Rial but you may invite unwanted attention, such as declarations of war, by burning the currency of a nation with a nuclear enrichment programme. 

Cut back your spending on feeding "it"
Although it may be tempting to continue feeding "it" your meat scraps, you have to resist! Switch instead to live sheep or ducks that you can get for free (!!!) if you know your local paddocks well enough. Modern grocers are a privilege, and remember, people have been feeding their “it” for thousands of years without the luxury of in-store butchers. While convenient, these services often come at a premium, and you can take perfectly good care of your “it” by nabbing any stray animals you see. “Stray” is a flexible word, of course. Your landlord may have said no pets, but once "it" takes a form of more than flesh and sinew you will surely be rewarded. 

This article first appeared in Issue 1, 2022.
Posted 3:21pm Sunday 27th February 2022 by Oscar Moriarty.