Op shops and vegetable gardens: how Kiwis are saving money amid a cost of living crisis


New Zealand

As the cost of living crisis shows no signs of abating, we take a look at some of the creative ways Kiwis across the country are saving money. Video / NZ Herald

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Amid the growing cost of living crisis, more and more Kiwis are looking for ways to save a dollar.

And when it comes to what we wear, it seems to be with the new and with the old.

Data from Trade Me shows a recent 25% increase in used and vintage clothing sales.

“Ingenious Kiwis are looking for ways to make their money work as the soaring cost of living weighs on family budgets across the country,” Trade Me spokeswoman Millie Silvester told Focus.

“The vintage and retro clothing category has been trending for a few months now, but there are several things driving this. Obviously, it’s a really sustainable way to buy clothes, but it’s also a very economical and you can save a lot of money.”

Meanwhile, second-hand shops like Paper Bag Princess in Auckland say interest has been growing for some time.

“I feel like people are becoming more and more aware of the ecological impact of fast fashion,” said store manager Annabel McKinnon.

“You can get more for your money, but also a more individual item.”

And it’s not just fashion where Kiwis are looking for ways to cut costs.

A growing number are finding green thumbs and planting their own fruits and vegetables amid rising food prices.

The Kiwis find the green thumb.  Photo/Getty
The Kiwis find the green thumb. Photo/Getty

Annual food price inflation was 6.8% higher in May 2022 than in May 2021, Stats NZ said this week.

Food prices rose across the board, led by fruits and vegetables, which rose 10% annually.

Kings Plant Barn St Lukes assistant manager Amy Clarke said she saw more people in store learning about how to grow their own gardens.

“We have seen it increase, especially in our small seedlings and fruit trees, the edible range in general. Recently we have seen an increase in customers and with that we get a lot of questions about how to get started a garden and what can we plant now,” Clarke said.

And there are also other factors that drive sales.

“It’s the sustainability aspect, especially Covid, being locked down and growing your own food at home, knowing where it comes from and that local garden-to-table stuff,” Clarke said. “There is also a large community with community gardens as well as individuals at home.”

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