Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's targeting the biggest areas to make savings. Hosted by Frances Cook.

Whenever people starting talking budget advice, the same tips tend to crop up over and over.

Count your pennies, and the dollars will look after themselves. Skip your daily coffee. Give up smashed avocado on toast, and you'll be able to afford a house.

Yes, little things can add up, but actually, I vote we start with the bigger things. Some of us are already going without the luxuries.


But whatever your situation is, almost everyone's biggest expenses are keeping a roof over their head, transport, staying warm, and feeding themselves.

These are areas you can't cut out, at least not without going through significant hardship.

But there are always ways to save money and do things smarter. Change one of these areas, and you could be saving hundreds of dollars. Maybe you can make changes in all of them, and ratchet your savings into the thousands.

Who wants to save $4 on a coffee when you could cut $200 from your rent?

The small stuff can sting, but the big mistakes are what will really get you.

I talked to Salvation Army financial mentor Damien Hazlewood, to get his best tips for the latest episode of the Cooking the Books podcast.

He talked me through the savings you can be making for housing, transport, food and power, as well as the importance of not using high interest loans to pay those bills.

For the full interview, listen to the podcast.

If you have questions about the podcast, or an idea for next time, come and talk to me online. You can find me on Facebook here, and Twitter here. You can also subscribe to this podcast on iTunes here.