Tag Archives: cheap

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

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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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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Honesty boxes

Tomorrow at stupid o’clock (ie I have to be up at 4am) I’m on a flight to Sydney. Yay, for holidays!

I’ll be gone for a few weeks, so I’ve been depleting the perishables in my fridge. Today, I only have some carrots, a tomato, a cob of corn, some cheese and an egg left in the fridge.

Not much for dinner really. But I didn’t want to buy anymore food because it would just be wasted.

At the bottom of the building where I work the cafe often puts out food at the end of the day that hasn’t sold with a bowl saying “$2 please”. I’ve never used it before, but today I was lucky to get the last salad. It had heaps of broccoli, a little bit of cheese, and even some capers. A healthy dinner, so I bought it.

Yummy salad bought for $2 using the honesty box

Yummy salad bought for $2 using the honesty box

I ate my last piece of fruit, a banana, yesterday so I was wondering what to take with me to the airport to eat for breakfast. I’ve chosen the cheapest plane ticket, so I’ll be getting no food on the plane. At 4am I won’t be hungry, but at 6.40am when the plane leaves I’ll probably want breakfast. So the honesty box at work came to the rescue. For $1.30 (which is the usual price at the cafe at work – I have debated whether it’s OK to put in less because it’s old food) I bought a leftover date scone. I’ve put it in a plastic bag ready for eating tomorrow.

The date scone that I'll eat for breakfast tomorrow

The date scone that I’ll eat for breakfast tomorrow

I read somewhere that a guy did some research on honesty boxes and found that people were more likely to be honest the day after pay day and more likely not to pay the day before pay day. I guess it makes sense. They used to have a chocolate box at work with an honesty system but they had to remove it because people were basically stealing the chocolate bars. I for one am a happy customer today!

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Library sale

One book and three magazines cost $5.50.

One book and three magazines cost $5.50.

This week was the central library book sale and even though I arrived a few days after it started I still got a book ($4) and three magazines (3 x $0.50). I was particularly pleased with the Women’s Weekly as it had a whole article on blogs that focus on saving money, which I checked out when I got home.

I’m also a big fan of the Readers Digest, although the ones I bought from the library are large print so not as easy to carry in my handbag. They’re also American rather than from New Zealand (or Australia – which tends to be the case here).

I’m not sure how much of the Suze Orman book I’ll read, but I figured the worst that happens is I try and sell to a second hand bookshop  for $5 and get my money back plus more. All in all a good shop for $5.50.

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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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Quick, easy fingerfood

Before I moved to New Zealand, I had never heard of the Edmonds cookbook. It happens to be the country’s greatest selling cookbook, and was initially designed to sell Edmonds products like baking powder and Champion flour. It has great, easy recipes and one I’ve used a bit lately is for cheese straws. Whenever I’ve taken a plate, they always get eaten!

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

Ingredients - note that I used pre-grated mozzarella cheese. I don't eat much cheese at home, so buy the cheapest grated one and freeze it.

Ingredients – note that I used pre-grated mozzarella cheese. I don’t eat much cheese at home, so buy the cheapest grated one and freeze it.

1 cup plain flour

1 tablespoon icing sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of cayenne pepper

25g butter

1/2 cup grated cheese

3 tablespoons milk, approx

Sift flour, icing sugar, baking powder, salt and cayenne pepper into a bowl.

Yep, that looks like breadcrumbs to me!

Yep, that looks like breadcrumbs to me!

Cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix in cheese.

Dough

Dough

Add just enough milk to form a stiff dough.

Don't forget to use a little flour when rolling out the dough to stop it sticking!

Don’t forget to use a little flour when rolling out the dough to stop it sticking!

Knead lightly and roll out to 2 mm thickness.

Cut into 4 cm squares and place on a greased oven tray. Prick each square with a fork.

A little bit of dough goes a long way...

A little bit of dough goes a long way…

Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes or until lightly golden.

Makes 25.

A plate full of yummy goodness. I got lots of kudos at bookclub for baking rather than bringing store bought goodies. Much cheaper too.

A plate full of yummy goodness. I got lots of kudos at bookclub for baking rather than bringing store bought goodies. Much cheaper too.

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