Category Archives: Freebie

I heart libraries

The Mitchell Library, which is part of the State Library of New South Wales

The Mitchell Library, which is part of the State Library of New South Wales

I really love libraries. I love the hushed whisperings. I love the knowledge they hold. I especially like old libraries, the ones with dark brown wooden shelves and ladders to reach the books up high.

Today I went to the Mitchell Library, which is part of the State Library of New South Wales. I was looking for a book called: The pocket encyclopedia of hints, saving time, trouble and money. Published around 1946 I thought it would be a perfect reference for writing this blog.

First though, I had to join the library. The helpful librarian talked me through the online process, and within minutes I was a member.

It wasn’t until after I had joined, and ordered the book, that I discovered that the Mitchell Library is actually closed on Sundays! I mustn’t have checked the opening hours properly on the internet. Lucky for me the State Library was open, and they said they could bring the book across. While I waited I used the free internet. Yes, FREE. That’s another great thing about libraries, they often offer free internet.

When the book finally arrived it was tiny! The woman behind the counter said I was lucky to get it, they don’t usually allow them to move books that old, “It mustn’t have a publication date on it”. I gingerly flipped through the fragile pages. Tips on how to clean marble bench tops, or aluminium, or how to hang singlets without using clothes pegs. It wasn’t really much help for saving money, but it was a little bit of history none the less. Which is another great thing about State Libraries, they hold time capsules in the form of books. Did I say I love libraries?



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Life’s a beach

North Avoca beach on the Central Coast of New South Wales

North Avoca beach on the Central Coast of New South Wales

Summer wouldn’t be summer in Australia without a visit to the beach. North Avoca is 1.5 hours drive north of Sydney, and is a glorious, yellow sandy beach. I walked on the beach today, sinking my bare feet into the wet sand at the water’s edge, and then on to the rock pools to see sea anemones and crabs. There is really nothing better, and the best thing? Going to the beach is free! Absolutely. Positively. Free.

And by walking along the beach I put into practice my New Year’s resolution. I’m going to exercise more and lose weight. I’m going to walk home more often from work, and I might start going to a gym again. If I can find a cheap one!

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Front row seats for the fireworks

Happy New Year’s! How did you spend yours?

I could have gone to a party with some friends, but decided to see the fireworks from my parents’ new place instead.

So rather than trekking across town, dressing up in clothes I would have bought, and taking a plate, I settled in with some Boysenberry cider (I bought two large bottles for $18)  and I think I might have had one of the best seats in the house…you decide.

Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight

Sydney Harbour Bridge at midnight

Big red lips graced the Sydney Harbour Bridge this New Year's Eve

Big red lips graced the Sydney Harbour Bridge this New Year’s Eve

So close, I almost felt I could touch the fireworks!

So close, I almost felt I could touch the fireworks!


Filed under Bargain, Budget, Freebie, Frugal

Mystery shopping

Wouldn’t it be great to get free petrol? Well, when I was a mystery shopper I used to get reimbursed for $20 petrol and $2 for an in store purchase. I’d often get two or three of these shops in one day, so I could fill my car up.

In the end though, it just wasn’t worth the hassle. For each assignment I did, I had to drive to a petrol station, and then had to fill in a long questionnaire and submit a photo of the receipt online when I got home. The paperwork had to be done that day.

That wasn’t so bad though. It was the fact that I kept getting called by the mystery shopping company to take McDonald’s assignments. I’m not a big fan of the Golden Arches, I find the food just sits in my tummy making me feel a bit queasy. But they just kept calling, offering me up to three jobs a day and a bonus if I took the assignment.

Finally, I just felt like a spy, basically dobbing in the staff when they did things wrong. Not very nice, particularly when these people are working behind the till for hours. I reckon most of them knew I was a mystery shopper because I’d ask for receipts. I had to. But who asks for receipts at McDonald’s?

I complained a lot to my family and friends about the mystery shopping, and they just kept telling me to quit. But I actually really needed the free petrol, so I couldn’t quit. That’s when I decided that I would only do the petrol assignments.

Then I got fired! I found out it was because I told one woman who called to ask me to do another McDonald’s job that I wouldn’t take any more of their assignments. Apparently choosing not to do McDonald’s assignments was a sackable offence. Can you believe that! Being fired from a job you don’t want!

Then a few weeks later they started calling me again with assignments. I think there must only be a small group of mystery shoppers in Wellington, and they couldn’t afford to lose me.

The calls just kept coming, so I decided to quit, turning down any jobs they offered, but I kept looking at the website every so often, just to see if a petrol assignment came up. The calls still kept coming, despite telling them I wanted to quit, and it wasn’t until one of the woman calling said “But you were on the website yesterday” that the penny dropped. They were tracking when I logged into their site, and the only way to quit was to stop looking online for any more assignments. Even petrol assignments. So I bit the bullet and stopped looking. And then finally they stopped calling.

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Car pooling

One easy way to save petrol money is to car pool. Usually it’s me doing the driving in my car, but yesterday I got a lift with my parents to their holiday house which is 1.5 hours north of Sydney. I’ll get a lift back with my sister in a couple of days time. Perfect.

With petrol rising at least 10 cents a litre around Christmas and New Years, I saved by not having to fill my tank. Car pooling is also good for the environment, and I get to spend extra time with parents and sister which I like (and hopefully they like too!)

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Free! My favourite four letter word

Every year my workplace has a book sale. It’s fantastic, a large table filled with review copies or new releases that aren’t wanted. Unfortunately, I missed out this year – I was working elsewhere, but the one consolation was that by the time I did get there, everything was going for free. That’s right, books for free. So I spied this little bargain saving book, and felt like I was doing a favour by taking it. I have yet to read it, but even if I pick up one tip, I’ll be happy. Free definitely is my favourite four letter word.

Why Pay Retail? I didn't pay retail, I didn't pay anything for this book at all

Why Pay Retail? I didn’t pay retail, I didn’t pay anything for this book at all

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Local newspapers are awesome

One of the first things I did when I moved into my new place is put up a No Junk Mail sign. There was just far too many brochures in my letterbox every week, I couldn’t get through them all.

I was really pleased though that The Wellingtonian, one of the local newspapers that deliver in my area, ignored the sign and just kept delivering.

I really like local newspapers. They’re free and they often contain information you don’t get from any other source. I feel like I have my finger on the Wellington pulse. I’ve also won a few times in some of the competitions run by The Capital Times, which is ace.

Last week I even picked up Older and Bolder, a newspaper for 50+ and over. I’m definitely not in that demographic but I picked it up all the same, and read some interesting articles.

I’ve also been known to pick up the free student newspapers too – and if you walk through the University in the morning you can pick up a free Dominion Post. I don’t discriminate in my newspaper reading, other than it has to be free!

The three free local newspapers from this week

The three free local newspapers from this week

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Filed under Bargain, Freebie, Frugal, Saving money