Archive for January, 2009


Getting married on the cheap

January 28, 2009

Two friends of mine are getting married soon.

Their wedding will take place at a camp ground in the country. They have saved their meagre funds to pay an excellent local band and pay for their guests to stay overnight. Instead of gifts, they have asked guests to bring a dish for a pot luck supper.

I know for sure that as a musician, I’ve attended a lot of weddings, and I’ve never noticed any more happiness at a posh hotel reception than at a primary school hall. My own idea of a good do involves a lamb on a spit, a keg, and a ceilidh, in someone’s back garden. Since Kathy is a vegetarian, I suppose we’ll have to make some felafel or something too…

If you are going to get married at all, this strikes me as far more sensible than sticking a house deposit’s worth of money into the hands of caterers and dress makers and other hangers-on.

Have you been to a good cheap wedding?


Carnivore alert

January 25, 2009

I see that Moore Wilson Fresh has brisket at $7.95 kg again. Just the thing for stewing and freezing in meal sized portions.

Eggy extra: in Variety, I see they have trays of 20 free range eggs at $7.20 ex GST, which works out at $4.86 for a dozen inc GST. We’d go through that in a week and a half, so it’s totally worth it, or you could split a tray between households.


Australasian wine glut: an opportunity for the frugal tippler?

January 25, 2009

It seems that the good stuff (and indeed the bad stuff) is cheaper than it has been for some time.

Massive grape harvests on both sides of the Tasman last year, the prospect of equally big harvests this year, and a softening of international demand due to the weakening world economy mean winemakers are having to slash prices to clear stock.
Simon Templeton, the wine buyer for liquor chain The Mill Liquorsave, said the deals the company was being offered were “the sharpest in history”.

He estimated the average price the chain was paying for wine was down by about a third on a year ago.

A typical Marlborough sauvignon blanc which would have been a good special last year at $9.99 was selling for $6.99 this year through the company’s internet wine store vineonline.


I suppose a really frugal person wouldn’t drink at all, but I find my quality of life is improved by modest consumption to a wholly justifiable degree. As a matter of interest, where do you heavy drinkers go for the best price/quality ratio?


Stockpiling chocolate

January 21, 2009

Kilbirnie Pak’n’Sav has all kingsize Whittaker’s bars at $2.98 each. Expiry seems to be at least September 2009, so no worries there. I’m particularly fond of the Dark Ghana myself.

I think I should be buying up large, don’t you? I’ll have to adopt rationing of course to ensure I don’t eat more than usual just because it’s there. It takes me a couple of weeks to get through a king sized bar, so logically, I could easily stack a couple of dozen bars in the cupboard. After all, it’s good for me. It’d be an investment in my health.

Wouldn’t it?


Save money up-front by reading your power meter yourself

January 13, 2009

We have become quite frugal users of electricity, so we often get estimated power bills where the estimated usage is far more than our current reading.

I was excited to discover the other day that our power company has an online form. You can submit your own reading, and they will send you a new correct bill.

In our case, the estimate had got so out of whack that a correct reading turned our bill into a credit! That certainly made a difference to the month’s expenditure‚Ķ

Even if your power company doesn’t have this particular facility, a phone call may do the trick just as well.


Using common sense at Common Sense Organics

January 11, 2009

I buy all my legumes at Common Sense because their stock isn’t heat treated. They have bulk bins, but they also have nice little packages of the bulk stuff pre-weighed and labeled. I was a bit taken aback when I noticed today that the beans and lentils I was about to buy were several dollars per kilo cheaper at the bulk bin than in the packages…


Branding and high street rents account for 75% of the price

January 5, 2009

knock offs

I like sneakers for my various exercise activities: both lifting and capoeira are best served by a thin flexible sole and a low heel.  (Actually my dad will go on at length about how when he and his mates trained with Arthur Lydiard, they pounded the streets of Auckland in sandshoes, so maybe I should use them for running too).

Anyway, back in the old days you could go to Para Rubber or maybe Hannah’s and pick up some sneakers for very little money. You can’t get Bata Bullets any more, but I totally resent how their still-available equivalents (All Stars and Keds) are mega-expensive for what they are.

The shoes pictured cost $15 from the Warehouse. I compared them to a pair of All Stars which I got on sale a few months ago, and they are nearly identical. Apart from the star device on the ankle, the only difference is that there are no grommets in the side, and the fabric lining is slightly coarser. I bought two pairs while the buying was good. The branded versions are going for about $80 at the moment.

(Does anyone know of a Wellington retailer that stocks No Sweat sneakers? I’d buy them if I could find some, but nobody seems to have them).

(And Happy New Year! May it be better than the last.)