Category Archives: Tips

Phone savings

If you’re like me, one thing you do well is talk. On the phone, for long periods of time. However, I don’t like paying a lot for talking on the phone, and for that reason I have a land line with internet at home (although I could probably get VOIP, I use Skype a lot instead) and I have three mobile phones.

Why three mobile phones?

One is a work mobile phone. I didn’t actually want to have a work phone, but was told that everyone else was getting one, so I should too. It’s a smart phone, but I don’t like using it a lot, as only the first $10 is free for me, then I have to pay work for the extra.

I have a prepaid NZ phone with 2 degrees. It’s extraordinarily cheap for sending text messages, which is what I use it for mainly. If I need to make calls to mobiles I will either do it from work, or from home using a calling card. Much cheaper that way.

My third mobile phone is an Australian mobile phone. When I moved to New Zealand I didn’t want to lose my mobile phone number, as I was only meant to be gone 10 months. It’s 3.5 years later and I’m still living in New Zealand, but I do travel back to Australia quite regularly.

So I still have my Australian mobile, but I use a company could Planet ISP, which has just become Think Mobile. The great thing about this company is I pay as I go. It’s not even prepaid, so I don’t have to buy more than I’d use. I just get a bill each month for my calls and texts, which is often zero, because I don’t really use it when I’m in New Zealand. But in Australia I use it to text people and have them call me. I’m lucky, I can use a landline to call out on when I’m in Australia.

My old Nokia mobile phone which I still use when I'm in Australia

My old Nokia mobile phone which I still use when I’m in Australia

As you can see, I just use an old Nokia in Australia, all the letters have rubbed off, and it doesn’t hold its charge like it used to, but it still works well, and it’s really all I need.


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

Signed, sealed, delivered…

I’ve mentioned before that I don’t enjoy grocery shopping.

I usually shop at Pak’n Save but Countdown does delivery. They also do a pick-up service where you order online and then go and pick-up your groceries from the supermarket, which are packed up for you. That’s usually a lot cheaper than home delivery, but I only do it if I get it for free – I’m on the Countdown email list, and there’s often $5 or $10 off if you spend over $100, which is enough to cover the cost of picking it up (about $5.25) but not delivery. There are also deals for when you spend over $150 and $200 but I don’t spend that much at the supermarket so it’s useless for me.

I saved $15.25 because delivery was free.

I saved $15.25 because delivery was free.

Today though there was a special deal where delivery was free if you spent over $50. Bonus! So I ordered online and it was delivered today, saving $15.25 on delivery. The only thing they got wrong was giving me NZ tangelos instead of Australian ones (yes, there is a difference!).

I figure that if someone else goes round the supermarket for me, and I don’t have to pay for it, then why not? I know the quality of the fruit and veg isn’t as good as if I’d picked them myself, but that’s a small price to pay.

The shopping delivered to my door

The shopping delivered to my door

It all comes down to how much I value my own time. I saved half an hour of my time pushing a trolley round the supermarket and when you shop online you can see all the specials really easily, so I saved even more money. Today I also saved on petrol. A win win situation.

The only thing I really dislike is that everything comes in plastic bags. I do save the bags and use them as bin liners, but still…does all my fruit and veg have to come in plastic bags?

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Sewing up a storm

The pinafore I sewed for myself which I'll give to my little niece

The pinafore I sewed for myself which I’ll give to my little niece

Have you ever gifted something you wanted to keep for yourself?

I got really excited a few weeks ago when I bought five pieces of funky fabric for $1 each (so $5 in total). I sewed a bag for my sister and one for a colleague, both of which I would have liked to keep for myself.

Then I started on a project to sew a gardening pinafore. I followed the 1970s pattern, but when it was complete, it wouldn’t even fit over my head! I couldn’t even fit it on the mannequin I bought recently.

So I’m going to give it to my little niece for Hannukah/Christmas. I hope it fits her!

And on that same note, it was Christmas bookclub on Wednesday night where we play our own version of Secret Santa. Each of us has to bring a wrapped book that we’ve “loved in the past. Or think you would love. Preread/ preloved is fine.”

Secret Santa present, a copy of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet wrapped with brown paper and material ribbon

Secret Santa present, a copy of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet wrapped with brown paper and material ribbon

I’d bought a practically brand new copy of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet for a creative writing course I never started. I’ve read and loved Cloudstreet in the past, so I wrapped it up. I used brown paper that I’d received when I bought some graph paper for the pinafore project, and the ribbon was actually a piece of scrap material from my sewing projects.  The wrapping definitely wasn’t the prettiest but it did the trick and I’m pleased to say that Cloudstreet was a hit too, being “stolen” in the Secret Santa twice (the maximum number of “steals” allowed).

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Filed under Bargain, Clothing, Frugal, GIft, Saving money, Tips

A good coffee is worth the expense

Half price coffee, score!

Half price coffee, score!

At work we have free instant coffee. One of my colleagues makes filter coffee and shares it with the rest of the office. There’s even a vending machine in the cafe that dispenses reasonable coffee for $1. Despite all of these options, I can’t start the day now without a strong cappuccino.

In Wellington, the average espresso coffee costs $4. So, over a week, I spend about $20 on coffee, which is not cheap. But I can’t help it, I can’t start a working day without a really good, strong coffee.

My solution is to buy vouchers.

I have to be careful though, the cafe needs to be near where I work, and the expiry date has to be far enough into the future that I can use them all up in time.

My latest voucher was for Third Wave Espresso. I took a leap of faith, without knowing anything about the cafe, and bought the maximum of five coffees at $2 each. Half price coffee! And it was pretty good coffee to boot. Not good enough to make me switch from my regular cafe, but good enough that if there was another voucher deal I would buy it again. I’m just hoping another voucher appears before I finish my last two coffees, otherwise it’s full price coffee again, and I hate paying full price!


Filed under Bargain, Saving money, shopping, Tips

Some tips for making the most of festive season functions

I went to a Christmas drinks function for work tonight and have a few tips for making the most of them:
– try and stand near the kitchen door, that way you are first whenever trays of food come out;
– make eye contact with the waiters and waitresses, try and get them into conversation, that way they’re more likely to come back to you with food;
– when speeches are starting, make sure you have a full glass, you’ll probably need it;
– if you don’t know anyone in the room, stand near the food table and survey. People will migrate to the food, and when there, they will chat with you;
– if conversation is starting to lag, just say you have to go to the toilet; and
– make sure you have your business cards handy, you may just surprise yourself and meet a really great contact or two or three…

Eat, drink and be merry!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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A cheap, healthy snack

Yum, popcorn!

Yum, popcorn!

As I sit here typing this post I’m munching on yummy popcorn. It’s cheap and really easy to make. Here’s how I do it:

Take a large saucepan with a lid.

Cover the bottom of the saucepan with a thin layer of oil.

Put 5 corn kernels into the saucepan and heat on high.

When two or three of the kernels have popped, add about a third of a cup of kernels, put the lid on and take off the heat. Then shake the saucepan while counting to 30. This coats the kernels in the hot oil.

Then put back on the heat and wait for the kernels to stop popping. Only lift the lid slightly if necessary to let out steam, don’t take the lid off completely or your kitchen will be covered in popcorn.

Then add whatever you like. Some people add melted butter, I add just a bit of salt, or to make the popcorn sweet, add a little icing sugar and shake through. Yummo!

The best thing is a 500g bag of popping corn costs about $3. I’ve had the same pack for over a year, and it’s only half used. So it’s quick and easy and cheap. My kind of snack.


Filed under Bargain, Saving money, Tips

It pays to think ahead

Tonight I went to a house cooling party. I took some cider and a bag of handmade chocolates. The chocolates were worth $26 but I had a voucher from GrabOne that expires on Monday. I’d bought the voucher knowing it would come in handy for a time just like this. I only payed $10 but got more than double the value. It definitely pays to think ahead.


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Filed under Bargain, GIft, Saving money, shopping, Tips