Tag Archives: thrifty

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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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

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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Filed under Bargain, Budget, Saving money

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

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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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 🙂

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Filed under Budget, Frugal, Saving money

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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