Saturday, April 10, 2010

Its the big things

How many times do you read savings advice columns that simply say to cut out the Starbucks and takeaway lunches? These two always seem to make it to the top of every list but to me they're getting a bit stale. While I'm not saying these aren't good ideas, that can save around a thousand dollars a year, they do seem to suck the fun out of life a little!

Another idea is to focus on the big ways you can save money instead.

One area is travel. For example, my boyfriend and I attended a wedding in New Zealand over Easter. Given I was a bridesmaid we knew the date months in advance. And given the wedding was over Easter, flights were  no doubt going to be expensive. So I booked our flights in October last year. One week before we flew I double checked to see how much these flights now cost - and they were HKD4,000 more expensive! By booking 6 months in advance I saved over USD500.

Another area is big ticket items for your home. Checking websites like ebay, craigslist and Asia Expat in many cases you'll find exactly what you need for huge discounts - even free. It also doesn't hurt to ask around - if someone is thinking of gettting rid of the exact item you need, they'll usually give you a great price for saving them the time and energy of trying to sell it. When we moved to Hong Kong we purchased all our furniture from one of my boyfriend's colleagues who was moving into a smaller apartment. We saved thousands buying his furniture, not to mention saving hours trawling through the shops and more money again on delivery.

Clothing is another area to save big. The obvious thing to do is of course shop during the sales. But for special occassion dresses, sometimes you can't wait. While already popular in many other cities, new to Hong Kong is the idea of buying second hand gowns online. Designer Gowns HK buys and sells preloved designer dresses, shoes and accessories. And once you've worn your fabulous frock to the ball, you can resell it again so you never have to wear the same thing twice. Or if you'd prefer to see the dress in person, try the Pedder Building in Central HK.

The same goes for designer handbags. Not everyone wants a knock-off Chanel from the markets, sometimes you want the quality of workmanship of the real thing, without the moral dilema of buying fakes. Websites like and shops like Milan Station sell second hand designer bags for 30 to 50% off the original price.

Just these 4 ideas alone will save you thousands each year - and you can probably keep having your Starbucks!


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