Make the most of your summer by saving on monthly bills

The South Pole is tilting towards the sun, signalling the approaching summer season in New Zealand. The days are getting longer, temperatures are rising and so is the excitement and anticipation of holidays, parties, barbecues and beaches.

Unfortunately, at this time of year our bills tend to rise, too. It's no surprise that summertime, especially around Christmas, is when Kiwis spend the most money. Spending can easily get out of control during the summer months, which is why it's a good idea to investigate ways to save right now, so you can relax and enjoy quality time with your friends and family during the holiday season.

The money-savvy among us know there are some simple things you can do to lessen the strain on your wallet and have some extra cash left over for summer festivities.

Before the next month rolls over, take a moment to do an audit of your monthly bills, to make sure you're spending within your budget and see where you might be able to make some changes which could save you money.

Many of New Zealand's electricity providers now have mobile apps which allow you to keep track of how much power you're using on a weekly, or even daily, basis. This is a good way to monitor how much you're spending on electricity and gas, giving you the opportunity to ensure you're on the correct plan or even shop around and change providers if needed.

As with electricity, home broadband is a service where you could be spending more than you need to. Monthly broadband use can be quite variable from month to month. You might like to ask yourself whether you even know how much data you use each month.

If you are on an unlimited broadband plan, you could be paying for more broadband data than you need while you're away over summer. But if you're on a capped plan and have family coming to stay, you could end up going over your data allowance and need to pay for extra usage.

Spark has come up with a clever idea - a new 12 month term broadband plan called the Unplan. In a New Zealand first, Spark has created a broadband plan which flexes with you. Every month it automatically moves you between three price tiers based on your usage: $65 for less than 60GB, $75 for between 60GB and 120GB and $85 for usage above 120GB (this is the pricing for the Unplan, you may pay a little more for the Unplan Entertainment, a landline, speed upgrades, etc).

It's a unique concept which takes away the pressure of needing to decide in advance which price to pay for a monthly plan based on how much data you're likely to use.

The Unplan gives you the freedom to use more broadband data when you need it and automatically save money when you use less. You're rewarded with savings on the months you use less data, without having to think about it. Spark predicts this new billing system will change the way customers buy broadband, for good – and will save many New Zealanders money.

There are plenty of ways to overspend this summer, from buying Christmas presents to filling up the tank. Fortunately, by making some sensible changes to your monthly bills, you can ease the burden on your bank balance without sacrificing your summer fun.