This issue includes:-
Happy New Year! I hope you have had a great one! The stream of visitors has subsided and the Simple Savings team are all back at work.
This year Simple Savings will be officially opening in New Zealand. We are getting ready for the launch. It is going to be exciting!
Helping people is so much fun. Your letters are beautiful. They really mean a lot to us.
"Thank you for a fantastic site. I have recommended it to many friends and family!" (Karen Croke)
"Just wanted to compliment you on your service. I found the site whilst searching for info for our clients who have no income and have a mental health component. We are constantly trying to find info to help our clients." (Jill Hopgood-Clark)
"I would advise people not to join any other online savings clubs! After my Simple Savings membership expired recently, I decided to try another money saving site, (which was also more expensive) only to find that I have not discovered a single thing on this site not already covered in Simple Savings. I have requested a refund, but have still not heard anything back (surprise). So it looks as if I have wasted $37 and am also missing out on my Simple Savings fix." (Sharon Kamphuis)
"Thanks again Fiona for a wonderfully informative letter as always - you amaze me with small children that you have the time to do this for all of us who appreciate it so much." (Hazel K)
"Many thanks from a Mum to five, who stays at home quite comfortably, not in the least deprived, due to your great site!" (Sharon Miller)
Have a wonderful month!
PS. If you have a friend you think may enjoy this newsletter, please forward it to them. The more the merrier.
Sad Sally and Happy Hanna were seated at the same table at a co-worker Joanne's wedding reception. "Well", said Sad Sally "This must have set them back a small fortune. I know from experience - decorations, food and venue hire aren't cheap. I can tell you."
Happy Hanna chuckled "You really think so? I'll let you in on a little secret then - the whole thing only cost $2 500!" Sad Sally spluttered into her bubbly, "You are joking - that's impossible! Everyone knows you're looking at $25,000 at least for a decent wedding. My dress cost $2 500 alone!"
"Wow, that is a lot," Happy Hanna agreed, thinking to herself "I bet she's still paying it off."
"My wedding was big", Sad Sally continued. "It was beautiful. I had everything. No expense was spared and we even honeymooned in the Caribbean. The bank gave us $45,000 and I spent every last cent - it was so much fun!"
"Ours was lovely too - in fact, it was a lot like this one," remembered Happy Hanna. "A really happy, friendly atmosphere, lots of people and heaps of laughter. I remember looking around the room and thinking 'Wow - we really got this right!' Everyone was looking relaxed and having a great time, just as we wanted. Then we borrowed a friend's holiday house for our honeymoon."
Sad Sally got really touchy. "Well - I'm going to have another drink and please don't talk to my husband about it."
"Oh. I'm sorry - OK." apologised Happy Hanna.
Sad Sally, "It's a sore point. He says we are still paying it off now. He reckons we owe $20,000 but, that is impossible - our wedding was ten years ago!"
Who are you most like? Hanna or Sally? Which person would you like to be?
Summer is the most popular time for getting married and becoming engaged. With a bit of planning and frugal know-how, you can have a fantastic wedding without putting a financial strain on your new marriage. Here are a few hints to get you started. There are heaps more stories of how subscribers spent their special day in the 'Weddings' section of the Vault.
I asked a creative friend to decorate my bridal table for me. I bought some of the things she needed, but the rest she contributed in lieu of a wedding present. It was a beautiful surprise to see when we arrived at the hall. Other family members decorated the hall for us.
Look in formal shops for your wedding dress. I bought my dress in a formal shop for $280 and got a dressmaker to alter it for $40. The total cost was $320 for a perfectly fitted, elegant, new wedding dress. A similar dress in the wedding shop was $900. (We saved a total of $580.)
We decided to have an afternoon tea rather than a banquet dinner. First, we found a menu we liked, which would serve 18 pieces per guest. Then we asked many of our friends if they thought this would be too much food; they said that they would probably only eat nine pieces each. So we contacted the caterers and asked if we could book for 76 guests at 18 pieces per head, but have the food served so that 140 people could have approximately nine pieces each. The caterers were only too happy to do so.
It worked out perfectly on our wedding day and cost us only $11 a head. This saved us more than half what we would have paid for a banquet dinner ($23 a head), not to mention that everyone said that the food was delicious. (Thanks to Cater Force for the good work.)
You can buy half price wedding cakes from lots of ladies that like to make wedding cakes as a hobby. Some of them advertise in the local community paper and they do lovely sugar work.
You can also ring the cake decorators association of WA or equivalent in your state. They are listed in the Yellow Pages and can refer you to a local cake decorator.
It's cheaper having your wedding reception between Mondays and Thursdays, and during off-peak seasons, at most reception houses. We saved almost $30 per head by having our reception on a Thursday night (in early December) as opposed to Friday, Saturday or Sunday night. With 80 plus guests, we saved around $2 400!
A wedding with meaning! When organising your wedding, why not draw on the talents of your friends and family who will be attending. If friends are known to be excellent behind a video camera, great speakers, artistic, musicians, beauticians, or if they own nice cars and so on - ask if they would participate in your wedding (as opposed to bringing a gift - if bribery helps)!
They could become photographers (saving you up to $3 000), chauffeurs (car hire can be $500 a car), beauticians ($35 a person), Master of Ceremonies ($350-$500), and so on.
This will save you money, your friends and family will love participating, and it will add special meaning to your wedding day!
If you want to kick off the New Year with zest and renew your image, you don't need to spend pots of money in order to do it. All the magazines I've seen lately have been harping on about self improvement, you know the sort of thing - "New Year, New You!". Sadly, a lot of the ideas involve much of your hard earned cash. Here is how to thin your hips without thinning your wallet.
Do you need to lose weight but can't afford a gym membership? Try delivering local newspapers or advertising leaflets. While it doesn't pay a huge amount, I think of it as being paid to exercise! Plus, as you are committed to doing it, there is no ' I just can't be bothered today'! On the days when there aren't any deliveries, I can spend the money I have earned on admission to the local leisure centre to swim and use the gym.
I have developed my own home gym. After recently giving birth to my son, I want to lose around 30kg. Trying to save money but keeping fit at the same time is hard. The costs of gym fees are so high that I just cannot afford it.
To make my home more like a gym, I went to our local waste management centre, where they have a recycle store and bought an exercise bike, treadmill, dumb bells and a bench press, all for $40. I got the chain of an old push bike we had at home to replace the one on the exercise bike. They may not have been in top condition but they do the job. I went to our local reject shop and bought a gym ball for $15. My husband already had a punching bag and he has made me a stepper out of wood which cost him $5. I have taped aerobics from the TV so I have a variety of workouts and with the things I bought I have set up a circuit class. In total I have spent $40 on my own personal gym and I invite friends around to work out with me. Better than paying at least $50 a month at a gym. Great savings huh!
I recently joined our local RSL club for a tiny fee of $5.50. Not only is the food good value at the cafe and restaurants, but they provide gym facilities free to all members. There are no aerobics classes, but gym equipment and weights are available, as well as a qualified gym instructor. All of this is included in the yearly membership of just $5.50! You could not get into a gym to use the machines for that price! You might just be able to hire a locker for that amount!
Our RSL also offers five year memberships for $16.50. Yes, less than half a casual entry fee at Fitness First! It is worth having a look at your local RSL and seeing what they offer!
It is very expensive to have your teeth whitened at the dentist and the strips and pastes you buy from the chemist can cost $30-$40. Here is a cheap and easy way to do it yourself at home:
Mix together a small amount of bicarbonate of soda and salt in a saucer. Add a few drops of peroxide to make a fairly thick paste. Spread the paste on your teeth using your toothbrush and gently clean for a few minutes. Rinse out your mouth. Repeat twice daily. In no time you will have nice white teeth for a cost of around $7.
Most of us consider massage to be a luxury that simply doesn't fit into the family budget - ever. I have discovered numerous colleges dotted around Australia offering massages by final-year students to the public, so they can gain practical experience. Many colleges don't charge, and others charge a nominal fee.
My weekly massage used to cost $60 an hour. Now, I pay $10 an hour in Stones Corner, Brisbane. It is every bit as good and I don't feel anywhere near as guilty for having such a pleasure in my life. This is a saving of around $2 500 per year, which has cut my annual massage expenses down to $500 per year as opposed to $3 000. There are natural therapies colleges everywhere - you can find them by looking on (www.citysearch.com) or by phoning your local council.
All women love to treat themselves to facials or general beauty treatments, but when scrimping and saving this expense can be difficult to justify. For the last 12 months I have had my name listed at our local TAFE, where they have a hair and beauty school. So far I have had a couple of pedicures for $3 each and on Saturday I had a two-hour facial for $9! This is absolutely fantastic - very comparable to the top-price versions, if not better. They also do manicures and acrylic nails, waxing, piercing, hair treatments and colours and even cut and blow-dry hair. The savings are huge!
Making your friends smile is fun. So we have designed a great range of 'love notes', which are free to download and can be used all year round. You can use them as thank you presents, birthday gifts, anything. Anytime you would like to surprise your favourite people - parents, grandparents and other family members, special friends who may need cheering up. There are all kinds to choose from, so have a look and start thinking about who you would like to see smile!
To view and/or download the love notes: www.simplesavings.com.au/freestuff/
Win a 12 month membership by telling us what is the best and worst value items you have found in the supermarket. We are giving away 5 memberships this month on top of our usual 'Hint of the Week' competition. We will announce the winners in next month's newsletter.
Here is an example of a 'Best value' item.
Check the prices of your Spices. I wanted to buy Whole Pepper and Hoyts Brand was $3.47 for 25 grams. I then looked at McCormicks and they were approx the same price, but for 50 grams. Then I found Garden Fresh at $2.49 for 100 grams - a much better buy.
Here is an example of a 'Worst value' item.
Zovirax cold sore cream costs $14.42 for 2 grams of product. That equates to $7200 per kilo. No wonder it comes in a fancy box!
To send us your entry go to: www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
Last month Tanya Bond asked:
"Tasmania was recently shown to have the highest cost of groceries and petrol among Australian states. Are there any general ways of living more cheaply in Tasmania that your members could help with, e.g. bargains on petrol, groceries, etc.? How do others get by with such high prices? Unleaded is 117 cents, LPG is 65 cents, and groceries seem to go up almost every week for no reason."
Thank you to all those from Tasmania, or with knowledge of the area who have responded. We sincerely hope these will be of some help to Tanya and any other Tasmanians out there wishing to make savings or find a bargain!
Big W sells 48 rolls of Wondersoft toilet paper for $19.99, as well as bulk washing detergent and other necessities. I would recommend ringing Big W in Hobart and asking about such items (if you live out of the area) and make a monthly or bi-monthly trip to stock up.
As I'm originally from Tassie, and moving back there in the near future, something I plan to do is save enough to catch the Spirit of Tasmania to Melbourne once or twice a year and shop around with Pam's factory outlet guide. This can save you heaps on household items, clothes and so on. Much of the research can be done by phone before you get there, or perhaps some retailers will post to you.
I estimate that I save at least $10-$15 a week on bread goods and about the same on greens. That's a yearly saving of over $600! My tips relate to saving on general groceries and although I live in Qld, I believe this tip would help out wherever you live.
I recently started making my own bread. It costs only around 75c for a kilo of generic plain flour, and $1.70 for two kilos. Out of a two kilo pack, plus salt, dried yeast ($3.00 for a cylinder that lasts for ages) and water I get: one large loaf, two Vienna size buns (or a large foccacia), two large pizza bases and several small dinner rolls. Lots of breakfasts, lunches and dinners covered for very little outlay and it is very satisfying and easy. Once you try it, you will wonder why on earth you pay nearly $2-$3 for a loaf of gooey, cakey commercial bread!
The other tip is to invest in a few seed packets and grow your own herbs and spinach as well as salad leaves. These are all necessary for a healthy diet and can be grown indoors in winter in those states that are subject to frost. They are also ridiculously priced items at the supermarkets and the quality is often questionable.
I was shocked at the high price of everyday groceries when I moved to Tasmania. There is very little relief. However, if you are in Launceston, cheaper vegetables are available direct from a grower next to the University. Just next to the Newnham entrance to the University you will notice some greenhouses and up the driveway you will find they have a little store where you can buy their produce.
Last year my shopping was over $1 700 a month - this year the highest has only been $800. I estimate that is a $10 800 saving per year!
If you live near Launceston, shop at Yound's Vegie Shed and bulk foods place near Kmart, or down the coast near Burnie. Also, if you check out some butchers and ask how much a side or whole beast is for your freezer you'll save heaps. I buy brand names where possible and have a vegetable garden and hot house. Check with your local council, there could be a community garden near you that may need new members. Where I live, there are three or four good friends that buy in bulk then spilt their items up. For petrol, there is Woolworths. If you buy $30 of food and get petrol coupons. Take in a receipt from any service station to IGA and you get 4 cents off your food bill. I have a Roberts card which also gives us discount.
Make what you can at home if you have the time. It doesn't have to be fancy and take hours to prepare. I find the family just likes good home cooked meals. Woolworths have the lower price items. My boys like custard for school lunches and I buy a 16 pack for about $4 or $5.
I'm a fellow Tasmanian so I know what you deal with re expenses. I found you can save a lot of money with groceries by going to the supermarket about an hour before it closes; there is often bread or pastries or even cooked chicken which are all perfectly fine - they need to get rid of them as they won't be able to sell the next day so they're really cheap.
Petrol is a problem if you must drive a car, but if you shop at either Purity or Coles and spend enough you can get one of the petrol saver vouchers; you don't save much but it does add up. Also, public transport is a lot cheaper, especially if you have a concession card and purchase a metro ten, as you save even more.
This month Emily Morrison has asked:
"Is it just my imagination, or are grocery items being sold with smaller quanities for the same price? I was wondering if other members have experienced the same thing and what items to be specifically wary of."
Please send in your ideas to help Emily: www.simplesavings.com.au/donatehints/
My friend and I have saved thousands by purchasing our household appliances at auction houses. We keep an eye out for advertisements in the paper.
My friend saved $1 500 on a brand new oven, plus another $400 on a stainless steel oven for me, and a further $500 on a third one. That gave us a $2 250 saving in one trip!
I also saved $650 on my fridge by buying this way. Don't be scared of auctions. The staff are usually nice and friendly. Just get in there and grab a bargain - I'm never paying retail again!
We have managed to furnish half our home from the local tip, thanks to the environmentally conscious garbage disposal in our town. It has a section called 'Trash and Treasure', where locals put their unwanted household items and such, for others who may be able to use them.
We only take home things that are in optimum condition, or can be easily repaired. Some of the things we have brought home so far include:
Far too many others to list - we even got our Christmas tree from there! The most any of these things needed were a bit of a wipe down.
We live in Brisbane and are amazed at the things people throw out that they no longer want. If you live in a town that has a recycling unit, I would strongly suggest you get resourceful and go see what you can find!
We have saved many thousands of dollars over the three years we have been doing this and have a very comfortable, stylish home as a result!
Joining the Savings Vault costs less than 8c per day. This is half the cost of a local phone call. It is equal to 1/20 the price of a can of Coke, the price of a single cigarette and only 1/50 the price of a sandwich. That's pretty cheap!
Becoming a member of the Savings Vault is easy! The main advantage is instant access to over 5,000 savings hints in our massive archive. This means you won't have to wait for us to cover a topic in the newsletter to learn how to save. You can just go to vault now and start slashing your bills. If you change one tiny habit and it saves you $1.00 per week, that is $52 per year and a near 100 percent return on your investment.
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.
To become a member 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.
© 2005 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.