Tag Archives: shopping


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?



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

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?


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

Today’s bargain – goldfish!


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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It pays to shop around

The corner store with nectarines and peaches at $10.99 per kilogram

The corner store with nectarines and peaches at $10.99 per kilogram

So I’m on holidays in Sydney at the moment, and I wanted to buy some groceries. I’m staying in Waverton and there’s a local IGA just up the road. I needed a few basic items, like milk and bread, but I also liked the look of the fruit and veggies. So I bought a nectarine and a peach. Together they cost me just over $4. Not cheap!

I just wanted to shop somewhere close though, and didn’t want to drive – so I walked to the IGA, and thought it was worth the additional expense.

The larger store with much cheaper prices

The larger store with much cheaper prices

Today I went to Woolworths in Northbridge, a much larger supermarket, and amongst other things bought three nectarines and three peaches. Check out the receipt! Nectarines were $3.98 per kilo and peaches were $4.98 per kilo. That’s a big difference. I got six pieces of fruit for $3.65.

Yum! Three peaches and three nectarines for the price of one of each.

Yum! Three peaches and three nectarines for the price of one of each.

Yes, I paid for the petrol to get my car to the supermarket. And yes, the fruit was a little bit smaller at Woolworths than at the IGA,  but the difference is phenomenal.

I guess it’s not really rocket science, but it just goes to show how much you can save on simple groceries if you shop around. And if it hadn’t been for writing this blog I may not have noticed just how much I’d saved!

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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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The perfect gift…something you already have

It was my Mum’s birthday in October. Unlike my Dad, she doesn’t get too worked up about birthdays, so I just sent her a card. I wanted to give her something nice though, because she’s really been there for me this year.

I was going through my wardrobe and came across a Max leather jacket I bought when I first arrived in Wellington. I hadn’t worn it in over three years, so I was going to try and sell it when I remembered how much my Mum loved it when I showed it to her when she’d visited Wellington. She loves grey leather things, and they’re very rarely available. It was also three quarter length sleeves which suits both of us,  because we are both short with little arms!

I bought the jacket on sale, and being three years ago I can’t remember exactly how much it was, but it was probably about $100.

Perfect! Rather than buy her something she may or may not like, I decided to bring the jacket to Sydney as a belated birthday present. I’m happy to say, she loved it. She reminded me that she’d even tried to buy one for herself when she was in Wellington but the shop had sold out. Happy belated birthday Mum!

The leather jacket I gave to my Mum as a belated birthday present. She loved it!

The leather jacket I gave to my Mum as a belated birthday present. She loved it!

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

It pays to visit op shops regularly

I love op shops. I love the anticipation. The real thrill of finding a bargain. Each time I visit the Salvation Army or St Vincent de Paul shop I wonder what I’m going to see.

About a month ago I stumbled across these:

The almost brand-new campers I found at the Salvation Army for $20

The almost brand-new campers I found at the Salvation Army for $20

They were hiding on the bottom shelf in amongst the shoes. All I saw was the colour and the over-sized stitching. When I pulled them out, I realised they were practically brand-new, and they were Campers. I quickly looked at their size, and they were a 38. I’m usually a 39 but in Campers I generally take a 38. I looked at the price. Only $20? Could this be real?  I tried them on, and they fitted! I was ecstatic. I’ve worn them a bit and I thought I’d hate the ribbons, but I actually like them. Not sure how long the ribbons will last though, they already seem to be tearing a bit. But for $20, who cares! Score…

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