Penny the plumber

Posted September 22nd, 2006 by Penny Wise

I am a savings legend in our house at the moment. My husband looks at me with awe. I'm pretty impressed myself actually and it just goes to show the lengths I am prepared to go to these days in order to save money. My tightfisted actions have once again saved on calling out a plumber. Our toilet had been blocked for several days. Noel was convinced that flushing it as often as possible would do the trick and force the blockage through, but on the contrary all it did was fill the bowl up even more until it was very worryingly close to overflowing. Luckily we have two toilets so we were able to ignore it for a while in the hope that the problem would magically go away, but at last Noel had to admit defeat and suggested I call a plumber. In my Sad Sally days I would have picked up the phone straight away, but not this time. I really didn't want to fork out for a tradesman and pondered the subject all day. The clincher came when I was picking the boys up from school and I saw not one, but two plumbers doing the local rounds. I could have stopped either of them there and then and asked them to call in, but I was still too stubborn. I decided upon arriving home that I was going to try and tackle the problem myself first. I had read plenty of hints in the Vault of savvy women who had made some brilliant savings through attending DIY courses at Bunnings and so forth and I thought I would have a look online for some information. I went to Google and typed in 'how to unblock a toilet', which brought up all kinds of helpful links.

Top of the list was a website called The Ultimate Handyman. Just what I needed – plain English with diagrams to boot! I was amazed to learn that far from the technical procedure I had envisioned, my friend the Ultimate Handyman told me all I needed to do the job was a plunger and a pair of gloves. Sounded straightforward enough and I gathered up my tools of the trade. I confess to being somewhat apprehensive. I mean, if it all went horribly wrong – well, it wouldn't be pretty! So I plunged away as well as I could (and without gagging I'm pleased to note) and before too long, bingo! The problem was fixed in two minutes flat. I was dead chuffed I don't mind telling you. To think we called a plumber out to do the exact same job three years ago and paid him $80! Noel was most amazed at my new-found plumbing skills when he got home and I had great satisfaction in telling him he had been doing totally the wrong thing in trying to flush the blockage away and that the majority of the time there is no need to call a plumber out at all!

You might think there was no need to be so smug and I probably wouldn't have been had he not been so full of himself when I asked him to pick up some shopping a few days before. 'I'm a better shopper than you!' he crowed. 'Look at all my bargains – I got everything on special! It's not always the generic brands which are the cheapest you know?' I'm not sure what he thinks I've been learning the last year and a half – I guess these days I must just take my Simple Savings knowledge for granted. At one time I would have been impressed at such frugal shopping skills, but instead I found myself thinking 'pah – that's basic stuff!' Good on him though – at least we're both doing our best. I also discovered when paying the bills that we had been charged for two items instead of one, so had great joy in deducting $35 from the statement. I can't believe that less than two years ago I would have just paid that without even checking the bill properly. We're on a roll!

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