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Interest free deals

Have you ever wondered how interest free deals work?  On the surface they all sound pretty attractive, who doesn’t want to get what they want now and pay it off interest free over 1, 2 or even 4 years?  Maybe you think it sounds too good to be true?  Well, here are some of the things you should know when considering one of these deals:

  1. Using one of these deals will most likely reduce your ability to negotiate.
    Cash is king when buying big ticket items, generally speaking retailers will not negotiate once they know you require finance. Taking up one of these deals might push you to spend more than you initially expect.
  2. Quite often interest free deals are not available on the cheapest products in each range, this means you might have to end up spending more than you initially thought.
  3. Interest free doesn’t mean fee free. Yes it is true that you are not paying interest for 1, 2 or 4 years on your purchase but you are paying fees and these can add up.  For example, currently advertised is a Harvey Norman 2 year interest free deal. This deal has a $25 establishment fee and $4.95 per month account keeping fee.  On a $500 loan that adds up to $143.80 in fees over the life of the loan or approximately 28% of the initial value of the loan.  On top of that, if you miss a repayment, you will be hit by a $25 late payment fee.
  4. Depending on your deal, your repayments during the period might not pay off the total loan by the time the interest free period ends.  Interest free deals can be structured in several different ways, with a few different parts. Some require a deposit, some don’t.  Some have a minimum monthly repayment, some are equal installments, some require no repayments during the period at all.  Make sure you understand which deal you are signing up for and exactly how it works.  Be warned!  Deals that involve a ‘minimum’ monthly repayment, do not see the whole balance of the loan paid off in full by the time the interest free deal ends.  If you have a remaining balance once the interest free period ends you will be hit with a high interest rate.  Usually around 29%.  To avoid this, instead of making the minimum repayment, calculate how much you need to repay to clear the entire balance and repay that higher amount each month.  For example if you have borrowed $500 over 24 months you need to repay $20.83 per month rather than the much lower minimum payment on your bill, to make sure the balance is cleared by the time the interest free period ends.

We have never tried an interest free deal.  We tend to like to be able to shop around and get the best deal possible on the product we have done our research on.  However, I have had friends who have done interest free deals and have been very happy with the outcome.  So if you are considering one of these deals make sure you understand exactly how the loan works and make sure you stick to the rules otherwise these deals can be costly.  Also watch the fees as these soon add up!

Have you tried an interest free deal?  Were you happy with the outcome?

If you liked this, try:

How To Create A Household Budget

5 Websites That Will Make or Save You Money

How I Saved On My Electricity Bill

Where To Get Financial Help For Free

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:


The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances

09/04/2015 7 comments
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When you speak to people about Aldi there are pretty much two camps.  There are those that love shopping at Aldi and those that don’t.   The truth be told I am in neither camp.  We live a five minute walk from a large name supermarket so that tends to be where we shop, more out of convenience and a bit of exercise, than anything else.   However, after hearing stories from my friends about how much they think they save from shopping at Aldi, combined with figuring out how much we spend on groceries every month(click here to find out more), I decided to see for myself how much we could save by shopping at Aldi.

In putting the Aldi’s to the test,  I chose 18 items at Aldi that would appear reasonably regularly on our shopping list and compared the prices to my local big name supermarket.  The list is spread across a range of areas including fresh produce, meat, personal goods and packaged foods and drink.  I tried to compare similar sized packages and looked at the cost per unit.

The result was a 28% saving by shopping Aldi rather than my local supermarket!!! (Click here to see the full spreadsheet with the list and my calculations).   Interestingly there were only 3 items out of 18 where Aldi was more expensive than my local supermarket.  That was in minced meat, tissues and milk.  So regardless, wherever you shop, it always pays to know your prices!  However, that said, across pretty much all the other areas there were reasonably decent savings to be made.

Of course, this comparison is not completely fair as the brands I am comparing are not exactly the same and so there may be quality or taste differences between the products which have not been captured in this pure price comparison.  Also, I only looked at a random selection of items, not every single one that I would normally buy.  So, it always pays to do your own homework and see if Aldi works for you.

Aldi deliver on their cheaper prices by having a reduced product range.  This means that many of my friends do two shops , to fill in any brands or products that might be missing from their initial Aldi shop.  This does add a bit to the inconvenience to the whole shopping experience.  However, I guess though  at the end of the day, 28% is a pretty reasonable price difference, so I might be rolling down to our local Aldi a lot more often!!!

How do you find shopping at Aldi?

p.s  This is not a sponsored post – just something I did because I wanted to know and I thought you might be interested too 🙂

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30/04/2014 25 comments
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Hamper King

Ok I will admit it!  I am a little bit obsessed!  But after being horrified that Chrisco charges 28% more than Woolworths for the same hamper of goods (click here to see the post) I wondered whether Hamper King would be better value.  So I decided to do the numbers on Hamper King and find out.

I chose the ‘Traditional Feast’ Hamper with Hamper King (click here to see what it includes), which was the closest comparable I could find to the hamper I used for Chrisco.  The ‘Traditional Feast’ hamper is valued by Hamper King at $348 or $7.57 per week.  The methodology I used was exactly the same too.  I found out from the Hamper King website what was included in the hamper then simply went on to the Woolworths internet shopping site (which could have just as easily been the Coles site) and found out the value of each product in the hamper.  If I could not find an exact match for the product I chose another brand with the same size or for some things I found the same brand but a different size (these are all annotated in my spreadsheet, us finance geeks love a good spreadsheet!)

So what did I find out?  I was blown away to find out that Hamper King actually is worse value than Chrisco on the hamper that I looked at!!!!!  The hamper I examined at had products in it to the value of $204 according to Woolworths compared to the $348 that Hamper King were charging.  A whopping 41% difference!  Horrifying!!!  Yes I know their prices include delivery but Hamper King would be getting the goods for the hamper at wholesale rates so I cannot see how such a difference can be justified.  Not to mention they are earning interest on the money they collect from you during the year before they pay the suppliers at Christmas!

I also have no doubt that you could easily do better than the hamper cost I came up with by using sales and buying from a combination of Coles, Woolworths and Aldi.

A further look around their website shows more price differences.  Hamper King sells regular vouchers to places like Flight Centre or Target or Kmart with a 10% mark up.  So for a voucher worth $100, you pay $110 or a voucher worth $500 you pay $550.  These vouchers can be brought for their exact worth directly from the store or for example a Flight Centre voucher can be brought on the internet for it’s face value plus $7.95 for postage.   So a $500 voucher would cost you $507.95 rather than $550 through Hamper King.

Easy Save Holidays is affiliated with Hamper King

It really does pay to do your numbers on these sorts of hampers and it is so quickly and easily done using the internet shopping sites of the likes of Woolworths and Coles.  I would urge anyone considering getting one of these hampers to check the value first and then to have a look at other ways to save the money for themselves.  From the hampers that I have looked at it certainly seems you will get far more bang for your Christmas buck doing it yourself.

If you would like to check out my spreadsheet with the calculations please click here.

If you liked this post you might also like:

Chrisco Hampers: Are They Good Value?

10 Easy Ways To Save Money

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15/12/2013 15 comments
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                                                                                                                                                                         Written by Cassandra from This Is Wellbeing

Are you fed up with the amount you spend on groceries? Me too! I refuse to accept that prices are rising and am determined to take control of my weekly spend!

My grocery shopping has always been reactive and mindless. I go to the supermarket on autopilot and buy what I think I need. This usually results in spending hundreds of dollars for about half a week!

Here are my tips for reducing your shopping bill and taking back control from the marketing beast, which is Australia’s supermarket duopoly.  My tips might not all apply to you, but I hope they trigger some thought about your own spending habits:

1. Shop locally and source alternatives to your supermarket
Research your local area for alternatives to your large supermarket. Try local farmers markets, butchers or greengrocers, online delivery services and large produce markets.
If you live regionally, source from direct farmers wholesale stores!  My local suburb even has a food swap, where you can grow your own and take your surplus to swap with a local. Check your listings with your council and local newspapers.

I have local Greek market that stocks delicatessen and produce at a fraction of the supermarkets prices. An example, I regularly get premium gypsy ham for $10 per kilogram instead of $26 per kilogram form the supermarket. Learn your prices and look around neighbouring suburbs for alternatives

2. Menu plan
This is a classic but often forgotten tip. Don’t shop hungry and without a plan!

When menu planning try to incorporate your existing ingredients and include your fresh produce which has a limited shelf life. Do a stock take of your pantry, freezer and fridge before you plan.

Try to repeat ingredients in different meals. You may get a cheaper price for a larger quantity, which will be cheaper split over multiple meals. For example, purchase bulk pack of rump steak (at a lower price per kilo) and then slice in strips for stroganoff or stir fry, and cube for stews or kebabs. Freeze the portions for use later.

3. Watch the specials and ignore the specials
It’s great to grab the specials for items you need. Be careful being swayed to purchase items with aren’t on your pre-planned list, and are not essential. It doesn’t matter if a packet of Corn Chips was only $2. It’s $2 more than you need to spend. Supermarkets conveniently put all those non-essential products in one or two aisles. Just skip those aisles!

Have you ever read a ‘Specials’ sign and seen that the original price is $2.98 and the sale price is $2.95 (true, I have seen this many times!) Not much of a saving, but I have been guilty of picking up the brand with the big red sale sign without reading (bit deceitful hey).  If you are in the market for yoghurt, and it is heavily discounted, by all means save a penny, but just take the specials you actually need and analyse the savings carefully.

4. Ditch the convenience
Supermarkets specialise in convenience. The more convenient, the more we will pay a premium for it. Take for example green beans. My local supermarket packages a portion of green beans (375 grams) and sells it at $12.00 per kilogram. However, if you buy beans loose, the cost is $8.98 per kilogram.  However, the $3.02 per kilogram saving isn’t the biggest difference. You may only really need 100 grams of beans for a dish, but you have bought nearly 4 times as much subconsciously.

For those of us that have a few extra pennies you might be thinking ‘oh well, it’s not going to break the bank’. But doesn’t it make sense to simply buy what we need and stop wasting food?

5. Be conscious to marketing when you shop
Anyone that has seen the Gruen Planet will be familiar with the commercial marketing tactics of the supermarkets. The junk food (i.e the food that is always on special, that you don’t need), is in prime position with big flashing signs. Supermarkets dedicate a lot of money to researching the best layout that promotes spending.

There is a reason that ‘peanuts’ they are placed in three different sections (Fruit & Veg, Baking & Health Section). It is to get you moving about and discovering more things you ‘need’.
Unhealthy packaged food takes prime position in the catalogues and it makes the supermarkets a lot of money by promoting extras for you to pop into your trolley.

How many times have you just gone for milk to spend $100 on other ‘stuff’? This is why milk is placed at the back of the supermarket, making you walk past the chocolate to find it. The more I’m ‘aware’ of these tactics, the more it annoys me and I purposely avoid purchasing non essentials.

6. Spend more on quality not quantity
We are a nation of over eaters. Maybe this tip doesn’t apply to you and you have found the right balance. But levels of obesity in most Western countries suggest most of us are still trying to find the right balance.

I often let supermarkets dictate portion control to me. For example, if I make some bolognaise for dinner I would use a 500 gram pack of beef for 4 serves. I intend to freeze some for later, but ultimately I overeat because ‘it’s there!’

Did you know that the recommended amount of lean beef per serve is 65 grams cooked beef. This means a serve for 4 people would be 360 grams of uncooked beef. Save money by ordering 360 grams of premium beef from a butcher! Our portions as a nation are increasing and this benefits supermarket profit, as you unintentionally eat twice what you need.

7. Motivation
Let’s be realistic here. It’s much easier to pop into the supermarket, buy mindlessly and get through the week. We are tired and need to be fed. All this planning is exhausting. What is the point if you are managing to make it through the weeks?

Well, give yourself some incentive. What could saving $50 or $100 mean to you. You could direct the extra funds to saving for a new car? Put it towards a new holiday? Or could that extra money be driven into your mortgage? An extra $200 a month towards the average mortgage of $300,000 could take 6 years and 5 months off you mortgage.

I would love to hear how you have reduced your shopping bill and share your local finds in the comments below! Good luck.

About the Author: My name is Cassandra, I write a blog with healthy recipes called This is Wellbeing.  I love food and cooking all day, so I look for economical and healthy ingredients to give my recipes some excitement!

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Chrisco Hampers:  Are They Good Value?

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25/11/2013 9 comments
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Chrisco Hamper

To be honest, I have always wondered whether it is worth purchasing a Chrisco hamper.  Every year around Christmas time when the glossy Chrisco TV adverts appear, I wonder whether it would work for me and my family.  You see, there are many parts of the Chrisco concept that really appeal to me.  The simplicity of choosing your hamper at the start of the year, then making automated payments weekly/fornightly or monthly and then ‘ta da’ a bunch of branded food products arrive at your door just in time for Christmas.  It does sound like it takes some of the hassle out of Christmas.  Yet, I have never done it.  So this year, I decided to do the math and figure out whether the value really stacks up.  This is how I went about it and what I found out.

I went on to the Chrisco site and I chose the “Traditional Christmas” hamper (click here to check it out).  It includes a range of sweets, a ham, a couple of chickens, ice cream, frozen veges, loads of sauces and of course the all important Tim Tams!  It might be a little bit big for my small family of 3 but my mother and sister join us for Christmas day and then the relos from New Zealand pop across on boxing day so I think it is the type of hamper that would get us through the Christmas/New Year period relatively well fed :-).  Now Chrisco say that the total value of the hamper is $426.40 or $8.89 per week.

It was really easy to check the value of the hamper, I just went to the Woolworths internet shopping site (which could have just as easily been the Coles site), typed in each product and found the Woolworths price.  If I could not find an exact match for the product I chose another brand with the same size or for some things I found the same brand but a different size (these are all annotated in my spreadsheet, us finance geeks love a good spreadsheet :-)).

To my surprise, the hamper valued at $426.40 according to Chrisco was only worth $306 according to Woolworths!!!!  Which means I save $120.40 by buying the same goods direct from Woolworths!!!   A whopping 28% difference!!!!   I thought there might be some difference, but I had no idea that the difference would be that big.  On their website Chrisco admit that they “do charge a little more than some supermarkets because of all the extra costs”, including the costs of collecting payments, special packaging and distribution.  But to me 29% is a whole lot more than “a little more”.  So, I am sorry Chrisco, in 2014 you will not be getting any of my hard earned cash,  as the value of your hampers simply does not stack up.

Note:  If you would like to check out my calculations please click here.  Interestingly, my blogging buddy Elise from Mummy Hearts Money looked at her Chrisco order in 2012 and came to a similar conclusion.  Click here to see her post.

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:

If  you liked this post you might also like:

How I raised An Extra $910 To Pay For Christmas

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Is Costco Worth It?




21/11/2013 65 comments
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For quite a while I have been wanting to check out a Costco store.  They promise big savings but I find it hard to stomach the concept of paying a $60 yearly membership fee for the privilege of shopping at their store, without knowing whether the savings stack up.  After much consideration, I decided to take a leap of faith and sign up for a year to find out what all the fuss was about.  So I powered off down Parramatta Road, handed over my cash and added an extra card to my wallet.  But the big question is was it all worth it?

In a word, I think, yes.  But let’s start at the beginning first.  For those who haven’t been Costco it is true American shopping experience.  Everything is super sized!  In terms of the store itself, think Bunnings with food!

But it is not just food you can buy there.  They have everything from TVs, to beer, cubby houses, lounge chairs, clothes and you can even buy an $8000 watch if you feel so inclined!

Do you have a spare $8,000?

In terms of groceries in most areas the big brands are covered but like most of these things may not have the exact product or brand you are after.

Not only is the store super sized but everything you buy is huge too!  Butter comes in 1.5kg blocks, toilet paper in slabs of 60 rolls, you can’t buy one loaf of bread you have to buy two and even Nutella comes in packs of 2×1 kilo tubs!  Luckily, the trolleys are tank sized to help you cart your haul.  Needless to say good storage space is a must if you are going to be a regular Costco shopper.

Yummmm – but maybe somewhat oversized even for me!

So what about the savings?  Are they worth it?  I think yes.  I took a random sample of 10 pretty common household items from my regular shopping list and did a quick price comparison with my local big name store.  This was the results:

Product Costco Price Quantity Local Store Price Quantity Costco Unit Price Local Store Unit Price % Saving
OMO Top Load (5kg) $54.99 10 kg $30.00 5 kg $5.50 per kg $6.00 per kg 8.33%
Finish All In One Dish Washer Tabs $37.69 112 tabs $21 48 tabs $0.34 per tab $0.44 per tab 22.73%
Cottonelle Toliet Paper $25.38 60 rolls $15.99 24 rolls $0.42 per roll $0.66 per roll 36.36%
Colgate Total 360 Toothpaste $15.99 3 x 220g $2.94 1 x 110g $2.42 per 100g $2.67 per 100g 9.36%
Radox Oxygen Shower Gel $11.99 2x 1 litre $8.89 1 litre $0.60 per 100ml $0.89 per 100ml 32.58%
Heinz Big Red Tomato Sauce $7.79 2 x 1itre $3.96 1 litre $3.89 per litre $3.96 per litre 1.77%
Old El Paso Soft Taco Kit $9.29 785g $5.00 405g $1.18 per 100g $1.23 per 100g 4.07%
Pine O Clean Multipurpose Spray $8.59 3 x 500ml $2.99 1 x 500ml $0.57 per 100 ml $0.60 per 100ml 5.00%
Mortein Fast Knockdown $15.29 3 x 300g $6.77 300g $1.70 per 100g $2.26 per 100g 24.78%
Huggies Nappies Walker Girl $65.99 132 nappies $33 64 nappies $0.50 per nappy $0.52 per nappy 3.85%
Average Saving 14.88%
NB. Prices as per Thursday the 20th of June
NB. I used price per unit to measure the cost savings, given the difference in quantities between my local store and Costco


On every product, Costco performed better than my local store.  On some products the savings were substantially better than others, but I think an overall average saving of 15% makes the membership fee and 30 minute drive worth it for me.  I think the savings would have been even bigger, if I had included fresh meat or vegetables but we have a small family and do not have enough room in our fridge to freeze the excess.  For example, lean mince is substantially cheaper than my local store at $6.99 per kilo but I would have to buy 3 kilos at a time, rather than the 500g that I buy now.  If you have a big family then I think the savings over time should be worth it and I will be planning a trip to Costco for Miss Money’s 3rd birthday party supplies.

A word of warning though!  Costco is the land of temptation and you can walk out of there with things that you do not need.  Yes, I am talking from experience.  I will admit that on a whim, I brought a packet of 100 Chupa Chups.  I only have one child! What was I thinking?

Chupa Chup…anyone?

So, yes Costco I will be back.  Once a quarter or so, for household items, like toilet paper, tissues, cleaning products that have long storage lives, oh and maybe a couple more Chupa Chups 🙂

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:

If you liked this post you might also like to read:

How Much Can You Save Shopping At Aldi?

Home & Contents Insurance: How Do You Know If You Have Enough?

Winter Family Meals On A Budget

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

How To Save On Your Electricity Bill

(Please note this is not a paid post.  It was done out of my own curiosity.)


10/07/2013 47 comments
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