This issue includes:-
Happy Easter! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. Only three weeks left until our next child is due. All is going well and we are preparing for the new arrival.
It is so much fun managing Simple Savings and preparing the newsletters. My favourite part is when subscribers send in beautiful thank you letters. It makes me go all tingly.
"Just wanted to say thanks for your website - it's great. With my partner and I moving out for the first time it's a bit scary financially but with your website it has made it all that much easier to save and still have food on the table. It is such a relief to have people out there who want to help." (Suzanne Giblett)
"I just want to say that I LOVE your website. It's fantastic for poor students like me." (Briohny Flynn)
Have a great month!
All the best,
P.S.S. If you think your mum would like a membership to the Savings Vault for Mothers Day, buy one early and we will deliver it at 9am on Mothers Day. All you have to do is fill in the "Mother's Day" section on the order form. We will process the order right away and send your receipt - but the gift email to your Mum will be held until Sunday May 9. To order, go to: http://www.simplesavings.com.au/order/
Here are some cheap and fun activities you can have hidden up your sleeve for the end of the holidays when the kids start to whinge "I'm bored, there's nothing to do". These are just my favourites - there are other ideas in the Children's section of the Savings Vault.
Last holidays I bought a $2 bucket of sidewalk chalk from Go-Lo. My daughter, son and their friends drew pictures on the driveway for hours. They had a ball.
There is a great site for kids run by a nine-year-old who teaches basic magic tricks. All your kids need are a pack of cards and a couple of household props and they will learn how to be a magician.
Save even more on school library bags by buying plain unbleached calico instead of printed fabric and let the children decorate it themselves using their ordinary wax crayons. Put the finished product between two pieces of brown paper and iron it until the wax has melted and just the colour remains. For more intense colour, recolour parts that need emphasis and iron a second time. It saves money, keeps the kids occupied during the holidays and produces a product that says 'creative artwork' rather than 'homemade'!
Extra information: Calico bags are 65 cents from ALDI. You can get wax crayons from most $2 shops.
If you live near the water, a great outing is to take your kids for a trip on the ferry. I have a friend who gets on at her local wharf, takes sandwiches, drinks and nibbles, and stays on the ferry until it reaches her local wharf again (a round trip). The whole trip takes three hours and is very relaxing.
Hold your own dress-up day. You can even peruse the op shops for your outfits - the funnier the better! Create your own hairstyles to suit. Take photos and add them to your photo albums so that you can laugh at each other for years to come! The opportunities are endless and are only limited by your imagination.
You can make pavement paint by mixing cornflour with enough water to make a thin paste. Add food colouring and mix well. When used on concrete, it dries to a chalk-like finish, and can be hosed off afterwards.
Easter has just been and Mother's Day is less than three weeks away. Mums deserve to be spoilt, so we have made up some great new poems and "I promise to ..." vouchers for you to give to your mum.
This year we have made up some special presents for all our subscribers - 12 NEW "Roses are red, Violets are blue" poems that you can print and give to your mum, grandmother or wife. There is no charge. The only thing you have to pay for is printing. I hope you really like them. To have a look at, print or download the poems go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/freestuff/
There is also a great free collection of "I promise to ..." vouchers for you to print out and colour in. There are 30 vouchers in total. To have a look at, print or download the vouchers go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/freestuff/
Here's a great gift idea for mum on Mother's Day: make a box of love for her. Cover a shoe box with decorative paper and fill it with envelopes containing recipes, poems, vouchers, things to do, inspirational stories from magazines, personal notes, etc. Let her know that when she is bored or feeling down she can select an envelope and have a lovely surprise every time.
Earlier this month I asked subscribers if they know of any good coupon sites. The results were outstanding. I'm very impressed. There are many, many sites offering discounts. The quickest way to find them in the Vault is to use the search box and enter the keywords "vouchers" or "coupons".
If you live in Bayside, the Gold Coast, Mt Gravatt, Logan, Sunnybank or Western, you can get coupons online from Clever Coupons: www.clevercoupons.com.au
Voucher Bank is sponsored/run by Perth Radio Station 6PR (96FM). Lots of vouchers are offered and if you are on the emailing list, you will receive one each day. Vouchers may be for a restaurant - buy one meal, receive a second free - or even a car service at a discounted price and are offered by businesses in the Perth metropolitan area. The vouchers are free and terms and use-by dates are stated. All you need to do is print them! www.voucherbank.com.au
Have a look at the website for Hot Dockets. You can print out dockets (the same as those on the back of shopping dockets) for all sorts of things all around Australia and they are just as valid as the real thing. http://www.hotdockets.com.au/
You can get vouchers for everything from restaurants to videos from the Kapow website, which covers Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The website isn't fantastic, but a few members wrote in to say that being on their mailing list is pretty good. http://www.kapowadvertising.com.au/
Last month Michelle Kovic asked:
"I use Clinque products as I have sensitive skin. I am aware that Estee Lauder owns Clinique and every now and then they have, I think, sample sales or allow people to go to their sales. I want to know:
"If anyone can help me, I would really appreciate it."
Here are some of the responses.
There are a couple of Estee Lauder corporate stores in Sydney (city and Rosebery) but these are by invitation only. They are open to employees of Estee Lauder and its subsidiaries. The range of stock varies frequently, but generally includes both make-up and skin care, with discounts ranging from 40 to 90 per cent. Estee Lauder periodically opens up their membership list (contact them for details), but the best way to become a member is to be nominated by an existing member.
I once rang Estee Lauder and they said you could only shop at their store by invitation. I work for National Australia Bank and we now have an invitation to shop there. We pay $25 for their card, which lets you shop for a discount. When you are finished with the card you receive the $25 back. I learned of this arrangement because my friend worked at MBF and she was allowed to shop at the Estee Lauder shop because it is inside the MBF building on Bathurst Street in Sydney. They have skin care products and perfumes. Products are substantially discounted.
We called Estee Lauder's head office and they said applications to the staff shop closed at Christmas and they are unsure when they will reopen. So keep your ear to the ground and if you hear about new applications get in quick.
There are two other tricks Michelle could use: Mail order from Norfolk Island and Strawberrynet.com in Kong Kong. Few people know that you can buy duty-free items from Norfolk Island. Australia Post considers Norfolk Island part of NSW, so the postage is quite cheap. Strawberrynet.com are based in Hong Kong and sell top quality products below Australian RRP. The products take about three days to arrive and the postage is free.
This month Michelle asked a really difficult question:
"I have a question about how to deal with conflicting goals in relation to simplicity. My husband believes that it's important to look successful, have loads of money, a new car all the time, etc. I have just started to take an interest in simple living and saving money. He thinks it's OK for me as long as it doesn't affect his spending money or his image! I am at a loss, but he has always been this way, and he is quite happy and loves and cares for his possessions.
"How can I simplify my life to achieve my own happiness and still let him have his fun? At present we are 'double income no kids' but I'm hoping to change that!"
Do you know anyone who has faced and overcome this kind of problem? How did they do it? To help Michelle please go to:- www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
(We have hundreds of emails coming in each week. To help Michelle, please type your tips into the web form on the donate hints page so we do not lose your tips in the flood of email. The web address is www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
Simple Savings is an Australian website that helps people save money by shopping smarter, improving their habits and becoming savvy consumers. There are loads of simple ways you can improve your life and your bank balance.
Poor shopping skills place a huge unnecessary strain on people and relationships. We built Simple Savings because I hate seeing people fight over money. Why should relationships be placed under so much unnecessary financial stress when there are such simple solutions? Keep your money in your wallet!
The Simple Savings web site has two main sections, free and paid. The free subscribers receive five newsletters each month containing around 30 saving tips. Paid members get access to the Savings Vault, which is a massive archive of over 3,500 saving hints. (Membership costs $47 per year.) It is paid members who save the most money. It is very common and pretty easy for paid members to lower their bills by $3,000 per year. The membership fees pay for the site maintenance, editing, staff, etc.
To become a member go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/order/
Saving $3,000 per year is a lot easier than you think. Little amounts add up very quickly. If you change the products you buy at the supermarket, you can lower your bill by $20 per week; if you change the way you buy meat, you can save $6 per week; if you change the way you buy petrol, $4 per week; if you change the way you clean, $2 per week; if you change your telephone habits, you can save $10 per week; if you improve your eating habits, you can save $10 per week; if you change the way you buy clothes, you can save $5 per week - you have already saved $3,000 per year. And there are a lot of areas we haven't even touched yet - gas, electricity, gifts, parties, alcohol. It is amazing how people waste money all over the place and then wonder where it has gone.
Seventy percent of the information in the Savings Vault is relevant to everyone. It doesn't really matter whether you live in the country, the city, the USA or New Zealand. You only need to use one or two of the general hints to get your money back - and pocket a nice bonus.
The Savings Vault is built from subscribers' contributions. Subscribers tell us how they save money and we share their tips to help others. The hints are simple things our subscribers apply to their lives to give them more time and money.
If you want to check out the Vault, but are afraid it is something you may never use, we have a no questions asked refund policy. You have a full year to ask for your money back. I want you to get excellent value every time you shop. To join go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/order/
If you have encountered a problem with our newsletter, please email me. I will give your comments immediate attention.
© 2004 AL Consulting Pty Ltd. This publication may be freely redistributed if copied in its entirety. Portions of this newsletter may be reprinted with written permission.