Kiwis are facing a cost of living crisis as inflation hits hard and households pay more for groceries, at the pump, on insurance and accommodation.
Fruit and vegetable prices were up 9.4 per cent in April 2022 compared with April 2021 and meat, poultry, and fish prices increased by 8.1 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand.
Savvy and cash-strapped Kiwi shoppers left Tasty cheese on the shelf this month when the advertised price hit $18 for a 1kg block.
The price rises come as the Commerce Commission estimated Countdown and Foodstuffs were making excess profits of about $430 million a year - more than $1 million a day.
The Herald series Inflation Nation has explored the impacts of the price shock and found possible solutions.
Here are our top tips which could save you hundreds of dollars as the cost of living rises.
After rent and mortgages, food costs are the biggest outgoing for families. With deals such as $4 blocks of Tararua Butter and $3 for a 2 litre of milk at Warehouse Extra it is worth shopping around. It's not worth the $3 per litre petrol cost to drive around looking for bargains, but worth stocking up when you spot great deals.
Don't waste food
With prices at a premium, buy what you need and reduce waste. Websites such as Love Food Hate Waste have great tips on this.
Clean out your fridge and cupboards before you head out and make a list. It's money down the drain to buy a bag of carrots and then find you had some at home.
Stretch out your shopping
Try to make a tasty meal with what you have in the fridge or freezer. Apps such as Food in my Fridge can help.
Buy in season Cauliflower $14 a head? Put it back and find an alternative. In-season local produce tastes better and is usually cheaper.
Put something back
If you know you are over budget look in the trolley and put back items you know you can do without that week.
Consider home delivery or meal plans
If the budget allows, check out home delivery and meal kits. They reduce waste and are good for those who struggle with meal planning. Shopping online stops the random purchase of five chocolate bars at the checkout.
Storage is king
Invest in good storage so leftovers can be stored, heated easily, or taken as lunch the next day. A good lunch box means fruit can be chopped and shared and bigger bags of snacks can be divided.
Cook once, eat twice
A big batch of mince can be used for spaghetti one night and eaten in burritos the next.
When you head out, take food with you. Fill up water bottles and make to-go coffees at home, and take snacks instead of buying them.
Fuel up and save at the pump
Kiwis have had a slight reprieve at the pump with the reduction in the fuel tax, but prices are still at a record high. Making sure your car is using fuel efficiently is essential to lessen the pain at the pump.
Use an app
Find the best price nearby through an app like Gaspy.
Get the 'stacked' discount
It's free to sign up for petrol discount cards, do it and save money per litre. Be sure to make use of the "stacking" feature. For example, at Z Energy stations you can save 6c a litre using its Pumped discount, but if you stack the savings for later on a spend of $40 or more, you can save up to 18c a litre on your third visit.
Service and tune your vehicle
Regular services and tune-ups could reduce your fuel consumption by up to 4 per cent, the Motor Trade Association says.
Avoid harsh acceleration and braking; it could save up to 20 per cent on your fuel use.
Properly inflate your tyres
Under-inflated tyres are a contributor to increased fuel consumption.
Avoid prolonged idling
Modern vehicles are designed to operate efficiently from start-up and don't need to be "warmed up", the Motor Trade Association says.
Check your plan
An increase in people working from home means more New Zealanders are home for breakfast, lunch and dinner, heating or cooling the home office and using multiple devices to power through the latest TV series.
One Herald staff member was able to save a staggering $600 a year on electricity just by changing plans with their electricity supplier.
"We went on the Powerswitch.org.nz and found if we switched plans with our supplier Electric Kiwi we would save $600 a year.
"We contacted Electric Kiwi and switched plans and we've already noticed the savings."
Give your heat pump filters a clean
Vacuum your heat pump filters to make them work a whole lot better. If you haven't tackled this task since last winter, you'll notice an immediate improvement in their performance, Consumer NZ says.
Turn off unused appliances
Check the kids' rooms to see if they've left anything unnecessary running. They'll use a small amount of power while waiting on standby, add all these devices together and the costs can add up.
Set the thermostat to the right temp
You should be plenty warm with the thermostat on your heater set to 18-20C. Anything over that is a tad too much and you'll be paying for the pleasure of making your place feel like the tropics, Consumer NZ says.
You won't need to run a dehumidifier as often if you open the windows. If you are working from home, fling the windows and doors wide open to take advantage of the free ventilation provided by the wind.
Break out the slow cooker
Not only can you cook cheaper, tastier cuts of meat, but a slow cooker also costs peanuts to run. It'll probably only cost you 50c in power to make a dinner that'll feed the whole family.
Beware the airfryer
Yes, they crisp food perfectly but Consumer NZ warns to use the air fryer wisely. They are great for meals and snacks you can cook in one stint, but because an oven has multiple racks it's better for larger meals.
Use the clothesline
Dry your clothes for free outside. Even if you can't dry your washing completely, hanging it outside to remove some of the moisture will save a few dollars as you won't need to run your dryer for as long.
Switch to LED
LED bulbs can be expensive to buy but they are worth the saving in the long run. A standard 60W incandescent bulb costs about 50c, but only lasts about 1000 hours. An equivalent LED lightbulb costs $18, but lasts about 15,000 hours. It works out at a saving of $14.30 each year for each bulb.
Wrap your cylinder
If you have a hot water cylinder, wrap it up with insulation. You need about 5cm clearance around the cylinder. And check your water isn't too hot – it needs to be 60C to prevent bacteria growing, but doesn't need to be any hotter.
Phone and internet
Negotiate your plan
One Herald reader was able get their monthly internet charge dropped from $80 a month to $60 a month after calling to cancel their contract.
"We had a call from Vodafone to try and get us to switch internet and we rang our provider telling them we'd been offered a cheaper deal.
"They dropped our monthly charge from about $80 to $60, which is below their advertised deals and apparently in recognition of us being a long-term customer."
Get more support
Your local financial mentor can give you free, in-depth and confidential support to help you make the most out of your finances.
Prepare a budget
Set money aside for things you know are coming up and set up automatic payments for just after pay-day so you aren't tempted to spend it.
Join a group
There are many social media pages that help households of all budgets and sizes with money-saving tips. From feeding city-based families of five to living off the land on a lifestyle block, there is something for everyone.
Sarah's story: Earning a little extra by sharing saving secrets
Canterbury mum Sarah Smith has been helping thousands of New Zealanders save money through her social media page Cheaper Ways NZ.
The mum-of-three from Oxford in Christchurch posted her bulk crumpet recipe on YouTube and got such great feedback she kept going.
She now posts most days and has thousands of social media followers keen to learn her hacks for cheaper living.
She estimates she saves $1500 a year just by baking her own bread, crackers, crumpets, and savoury and sweet treats.
"My biggest tip for people doing the groceries is to buy ingredients rather than items," Smith said.
"You can start by making one thing like muesli bars or crackers and slowly build your base so you don't need to buy anything from the supermarket that you can make easily at home."
If space and budget allow, Smith suggests investing in a deep freeze.
"It means you can freeze baking, bread and anything you buy on special."
Smith said her YouTube channel has also become a little bit of an earner for her which has made helping others save even sweeter.
"I do get some money through the ads; I never thought I actually would meet the threshold for it, so that's pretty neat," Smith said.
"It can be classed as pocket money at best, but I won't turn my nose up at it - YouTube is definitely not for those who want to get rich quick!"
Sarah's cracker recipe
In a bowl, combine:
1.5 cups of plain flour
1/2 cup of rolled oats
2 tablespoons of seeds (optional - linseeds or sesame seeds work well)
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of paprika
2 tablespoon of oil (any kind)
Approx 1/2 a cup of water (add gradually until it comes together as a dough ball)
Roll very thin - about 3mm (a rolling pin and a bit of muscle will do!)
Chop to desired size/shape and put in a preheated oven at 180C for around 20-25 minutes.
Leave to cool and crispen.