Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Boxing Day Savings - Where the real bargains are!

One of my favourite traditions over the past few years is an early rise on Boxing Day to go to the sales.  I love it!  The panic and frenzy of scrounging through merchandise to find a bargain.  Sure half price is nice, but when its more than that, my heart rate rises and I feel a sense of achievement and victory. 

There are a few extra things that can save money at these sales. 

1. Arrive early to get parking without driving around for half an hour looking for a spot.  You are more likely to get some shade if you arrive early, as the Australian Summer sun, can be horrid for your car.

2. Take a sports bottle with some water.  It will save you money on buying a drink, and be much healthier than buying a can of softdrink. (Every cent counts remember)

3. As above, either take a couple of biscuits or a museli bar to prevent impulse buying of snacks.  If you must, buy something from the supermarket, rather than a donut shop or bakery.

4. Take frequent rests, unload your purchases into the car when you are starting to tire, and make sure you drink some more.

5. Make a rough list of what you want/need and then shop around.  Even in sales there is a great different in prices. 

6. Use your imagination for birthday/next Christmas gifts, you can find some great bargains that are a bit different.

7. Always forrage through the 'clearance' bins, you never know what you could find there.  I purchased some items marked down from $15 each to $5 each and others from $5 each to 0.20 cents.  That's the sort of bargain you want. 

8. You could take your lunch from home, but I think you deserve a little luxury on Boxing Day.  Take a nice rest, have something to eat and then replenish to find more bargains.

9. Try to use your gift vouchers on bargains, that way you are getting more value for something that didnt cost you anything in the first place (assuming you received those vouchers as gifts)

10. If you make an error in a purchase, return it if you can.  This year I bought something that does not suit, thankfully I have the receipt, so will return this.  No use wasting money on something I cant use.  Many times in the past, I have just thrown this stuff out, but why when I can get a few dollars back to use elsewhere.

11. In a bargain bin, often identical items can be marked at different prices, so watch out for this and buy the cheapest item of course.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What to get the man who has everything?!?

I have found that the hardest person to buy for at birthdays and Christmas is my husband.  While he has many interests, somehow he manages to be fully kitted up.  Apart from really expensive gear, he has all he needs for windsurfing, cycling, kite surfing, soccer, basketball, camping, swimming, fishing.  Sometimes, I might find something that he would like, but I have given many presents that have either not been used, were not liked or just took up too much room.  

This year, we are trying to get our finances into order after the house purchase and renovation, so its not going to be a frivolous Christmas - a good thing.

A month or so ago, when the weather was divine, I took our toddler to the beach for a picnic and took some photos.  I decided to paint one, as the Brighton bathing boxes at the beach are special to us.  It is where my husband proposed to me.  So this year for Christmas, using acrylics I will paint our son sitting at the beach with the bathing boxes in the background.  This will also be special as we are moving interstate in a couple of years and this will remind us of our time spent in Brighton.  I already had all of the supplies as I was going to use them for a project that I never started.  I must add that I am no artist, but I enjoy painting on occassion which is why I will give it a go.  To go with the painting, I can spend a few dollars on something token that my husband will enjoy.  Perhaps a second hand game for his Xbox that is cheap (i.e. under $20) or alternatively I could make him a blokey leather necklace with some beads.   I already have the leather and ends to make it,  just need to spend a few dollars on the beads.  You dont have to spend a lot of money on gifts!  I promise.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The $21 Challenge completed

I will count as a success, my challenge for last week, as I only spent $19 on extra food items, except for milk.  We actually drink 12-15 litres of milk each week, and while I cut down by not having cups of milo, I would not cut down for my toddler, and its my husband's drink of choice, so I wouldn't deprive him of that.  Most of his workmates go home and have a few beers, some of them smoke too, so that is an expense we dont have to worry about. 

This week's meals were tasty and different, things that I had forgotten about cooking, we had chilli con carne, bbq chops, chicken kiev with roast vegies, beef stew, lamb shank soup, and I baked some Anzac cookies and some brownies.  It was amazing to realise that I had so many ingredients already stocked up in the pantry and freezer.  Also, a couple of the meals, I was actually able to make enough for additional meals to freeze.

This week, I am back to stocking up the pantry again, but rather than spending my usual budget of $200 I am aiming to spend $150.  I'm sure it can be done, even with a few of my supplies running low.  I need more meat, so will shop around for the best deals.  I will also cook a satisfying vegetarian meal that will save some cash.  I just have to use my imagination.

*  Butchers are often cheaper than the meat section of the supermarket
*  If you shop at the supermarket, go in the afternoon when the price of meats are marked down to move stock.