Never know until you try

Posted November 5th, 2006 by Penny Wise

Wow, I can't believe I've got all my Christmas shopping done already (with the exception of immediate family)! It's such a good feeling and an even better one to know that I managed to stay within my budget for all of them. I don't even have to write any Christmas cards out this year because (how miserly is this) – I wrote out 60 of them last year and then broke my leg so couldn't post them, so they're all still addressed and ready to go this year! The main reason I have got my shopping done so early is that the overseas dates for economy post are fast approaching. The cut-off date to send gifts from NZ to England is this weekend and Australia isn't far behind. There's nothing more annoying than having to spend more on postage to get the gift to its destination than you spent on the present inside in the first place! Anyway, I'm pleased to say that for the first time EVER I will have made the deadline for the economy postage rates and thanks to some smart shopping they shouldn't be too horrendously heavy to post either.

The last week has been quite a productive one for savings. I was finally brave enough to try out a Simple Savings hint which many people swear by but have never been able to bring myself to do it – replacing fabric softener with white vinegar. I know it's daft, but I couldn't get past the thought that my washing would reek of pickled onions! However, when I went to wash the bed sheets the other day and discovered I had run out of fabric softener I decided to take a chance and give it a go. I couldn't believe the results! Just one capful of white vinegar left my washing far softer than any expensive fabric softener had ever done – and not a whiff of pickled onions to be had anywhere! There's no way I would use anything else now – one more item to cross off my shopping list!

I cannot believe how few potato chips we go through in our household these days either. Ever since I jazzed up two small containers with stickers to put the boys' lunchbox chippies in, I hardly ever have to buy any. A family pack can easily last us ten days, where as before I was going through at least two multipacks a week. I'm also going to start making a 'freezer inventory' to stick on the lid of my chest freezer, so I always know how much I have of everything before I go shopping. Although I save heaps by buying things in bulk and freezing, I'm still guilty of buying the odd thing and coming home to find I already still had two or three in the freezer. At least I have never reverted back to my Sad Sally days of always having at least 18 half-empty packets of frozen peas abandoned in the murky depths. Instead of checking to see if there was a bag already open, I would just buy a new one and open that instead – duh! Sorting out my freezer will also make room for me to freeze some of the delicious sounding

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