Category Archives: Frugal

Sales are for buying presents

The sales are on with a vengeance. I try and avoid them these days, simply because most of the sales items are trucked in especially, you don’t get too many real bargains anymore.

One thing the sales are good for though is buying presents. I have three friends who have just had, or are going to have, babies. So after seeing the Life of Pi at the movies, which happened to be in a shopping complex, I checked out the department store Myer.

Clothes for my friends' babies bought in the sale

Clothes for my friends’ babies bought in the sale

I love looking at baby clothes! They are just so small and cute. It’s enough to make me want to have a baby myself! Almost đŸ™‚

So I bought all of these clothes for $46. Originally these were $74. So I saved $28.

I bought six cards for $1, and now I’m sorted. Yay for sales!

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Filed under Bargain, Budget, Clothing, Frugal, GIft, Saving money, shopping

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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Filed under Freebie, Frugal

Sweatshops

A singlet for $3.99 - for that price it must have been made in a sweatshop right?

A singlet for $3.99 – for that price it must have been made in a sweatshop right?

Today I bought a singlet for $3.99. Yes, you heard right $3.99. I didn’t even try it on, I asked the sales assistant for my size and she went out the back and found one in a plastic sleeve, brought it back to the counter, and I promptly bought it.

It’s a bargain, I know it. But for that price it must have been made in a sweatshop somewhere in China, surely? Do I feel guilty? Yes. I actually do. But will it stop me wearing it? No. Because I’m not particularly rich by most Western standards and I need to save my money.

So this seems to be the modern day dilemma, and I’m not exactly sure how to solve it. Do you?

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Filed under Bargain, Budget, Clothing, Frugal, Saving money, shopping

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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Filed under Bargain, Freebie, Frugal

How can you tell if cream is off?

I’ve been visiting friends in Sydney, and today I was treated to scones by an old friend I met in my University days.

I arrived a little early, and while I was taken by her husband on a tour of the new house renovations, she put the scones in the oven.

Then we went to buy the cream. We visited three corner stores, none of which had any cream, but the fourth shop had two containers right at the back of the fridge.

The man behind the counter shook his head and said look at the Use By Date. One was 20 December – obviously well past it. But the second was dated 29 December. Hmm – maybe that one will be alright?

The man shrugged his shoulders and said, “I’ll sell it to you for $1. They’re usually $2.50.” I’m not sure that’s exactly legal, but my friend took out a $1 coin and we walked home with our cream.

After sniffing the cream and deeming it to be safe, she took out an old handbeater, not an electric one. One of the old ones with the handle on the top, not the side. I actually bought one the same in Levin near Wellington for $4. They’re just weighted so much better. And after beating it for 5 minutes, we had whipped cream. Fresh scones straight out of the oven, with a bit of strawberry jam, and whipped cream…is there anything better?

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Filed under Bargain, Budget, Frugal, Saving money, shopping

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!

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Filed under Bargain, Budget, Freebie, Frugal

The cat conundrum

My parents have the world’s cutest cat, called Maui. Every time I visit I realise that I want to see Maui just as much as I want to see my parents. Isn’t that terrible?

Maui’s a dark brown Burmese (I think it’s called seal) and at the moment she’s curled up next to me, purring. She loves warmth, and tried to sit on my laptop, before I moved her away. She likes sitting on whatever you’re paying attention to. So if I was reading a newspaper, she’d be sitting on that.

It always gets me thinking – maybe I should have my own cat. Then I think about the vet bills, the food bills, the cleaning up after the cat’s vomited bills, the cost of worming tablets, the toys…you get the picture. I also travel, at the end of the year I can be away from home for three to four weeks, so I’d either have to get a catsitter or pay for a kennel.

But is the unconditional love I’d get from a cat worth the expense? Is coming home and having something there waiting for me worth more than all the costs. I’m beginning to wonder.

I guess the biggest drawback is that I might move back to Australia at some stage. While it’s not that hard to move a pet between NZ and Australia, I think I’d have troubles finding a place to rent if I had a cat.

So logically, I don’t think it makes sense to get to a cat. But emotionally, I really want one! Especially one like Maui đŸ™‚

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Filed under Budget, Frugal, Saving money