Tag Archives: 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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Sometimes saving a few bucks isn’t worth the effort

The flyer with a membership deal for movie tickets

The flyer with a membership deal for movie tickets

Today I saw a flyer  headed “How do I get $9.90 tickets and a ticket for free?”.

Wow, that looks good, I thought. Particularly because I really want to see The Life of Pi in 3D.

Then I checked the fine print. First you have to buy membership for $5. Mind you that is 50 per cent off, but it’s still a cost.

Then you get a free movie ticket and until 24 March you get movies for $9.90. Unless you want to watch a 3D movie. Then there is an “upgrade fee” of $3 plus $1 for each pair of glasses.

That’s still cheaper than the price of 3D movie tickets ($24.50 including glasses), but there’s one more catch. Presumably you need to print off the membership form to take in with you once you’ve paid $5.

I’m up on the Central Coast today with my parents and the only printer we have is packed up in storage. Then I’ve have to download the drivers. And I’m not even sure we have paper to print on up here.

The other issue is, if I bought membership, I’m so rarely on the Central Coast, I wouldn’t get value out of it.

It still taunting me, I’m trying to work out how I can use this voucher. In the end though, it’s probably just not worth the effort to save a few dollars.

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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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Today’s bargain – goldfish!

Fish

Today my Mum decided to buy four goldfish. My parents have a pond in the outside courtyard where there is already one fish they’ve dubbed Nemo. Mum wanted some more fish to keep Nemo company so we went to a pet store. We were eyeing some beautiful coloured fish, but the store attendant came over and told us which fish can live outside, ruling out a lot of the more exotic fish. In the end we chose four large Comets.

The great thing was we thought the fish were $8.50 each, but when we got to the counter we found they were on special for $7.50. So we saved $4. Isn’t it great to get a bargain even when you’re prepared to pay full price?

 

 

 

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Credit cards aren’t all bad

I’ve read a lot of budgeting posts which say that credit cards are bad, and that cash is the only way to go.

I disagree. I use my credit card to budget for the month, and I get frequent flyer points as I go.

I always pay my credit card off in full though when it is due. And I think that’s where the problem lies. If you only pay off the minimum, you can get into serious debt.

I buy everything on credit. Even my $4 coffee in the morning. I’ve even been known to put $1.50 on my credit card.

I have a limit each month and if I’m getting close to that limit, I wait for the next month before making any purchases that can be put off.

By putting things on credit, I can keep my money in the bank for an extra month, earning me interest. Better in my pocket than in the bank’s!

And because I always pay off my card every month I have a really good credit rating, which meant I could get a mortgage without any problems. Credit cards aren’t all bad.

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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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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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