Posted January 30th, 2007 by Penny Wise

I seem to be doing everything back to front lately! For example, last week when I took Tui into the vet, I was horrified when I got home two hours later and caught sight of my reflection in the mirror. My multi-coloured t-shirt was inside out AND back to front, with two labels flapping underneath my chin - no wonder the vet kept looking at me strangely! Then yesterday I was filling out my daily 'harvest diary' and realised I had written every entry so far as January 2006, not 2007 - doh! Worst of all though, I have been going back to front with my money - spending instead of saving. I couldn't help groaning to myself when my SS newsletter came through this morning and I read Part Two about Sad Sally's classic shopping errors - it sounded just like me, except I was even worse, at least Sad Sally bought her stuff in the sales. What was it Fiona said? 'The only way Sally is going to turn her finances around is to start guarding her wallet and stop buying luxury goods. This covers new clothes, trinkets around the house, new appliances, semi-prepared food, new lunchboxes and school bags, beauty products, 'feel good items', anything that isn't necessary for survival.' Which somes up just about everything Pathetic Penny splurged over $200 on at the weekend. Yep - while Noel and Liam went out fishing, Penny and Ali decided to visit The Warehouse and bought:

Three new light fittings (which need to be installed by a qualified electrician, another expense)

A pair of Super 14 boxer shorts for Liam

Two WWE wrestling figures for Ali

A WWE branded duvet cover for Ali

A Super 14 cap for Liam

Three wrestling posters for Ali

A Bratz doll outfit for a birthday present

Some vegetable seedlings

In other words, with the exception of the vege seedlings, a complete and utter load of crap which we needed none of. Why, oh why did I do it? Out of some stupid desire to 'finish off the boys room properly'. Having only just finished decorating it, I decided that it needed stylish new light fittings, another new duvet cover and a few more posters to complete 'the look'. Isn't it awful how we talk ourselves into 'needing' these things?! I am still kicking myself for such a needless splurge and Noel was none too impressed either, particularly in his current holier-than-thou frame of mind (he will have been smoke-free for two whole weeks tomorrow!) I felt pretty down about it for a while, but then I reminded myself that we all make silly mistakes now and again and it was now up to me to recoup some savings elsewhere to make up for it. I also realised I had been spending more on food lately than I needed to; this was due solely to falling off the menu planning wagon over the holiday period. I came to the conclusion that I just cannot manage my food bill properly without my menu planner, so much to Noel's delight I dusted it off, filled it out, wrote myself a shopping list and went to the store for the items I needed. The entire grocery bill for the week came to $38.50 - now that was more like it! The remaining $140 of last week's money in my household account was transferred into my savings account and I haven't needed to touch a cent of this week's grocery money yet. Thank goodness for menu planning!

Another SS printable I decided to resurrect was the kids' Payday Scheme. I looked around at all the new things that the boys had acquired since Christmas and realised that they hadn't done a single thing to earn any of them. Time to crack the whip! The boys' job sheets came out and were filled in with all kinds of jobs from feeding the dogs to getting the washing in to helping me cook dinner one night each per week. I decided to laminate the job sheets using a new hint I had been really keen to try out ever since I saw it - Laminating without a laminator. It worked a treat! I do recommend to other members that want to give this a go to do exactly as the hint says and keep the iron setting LOW. Patience is the key here if you don't want to end up getting wrinkles! Wrinkles or no wrinkles, our home laminated job sheets look the part and are perfectly functional. Ali does all his jobs nicely without even being asked and Liam still needs a rocket occasionally but already we have all noticed how much easier it is to keep the house tidy - and more importantly, how much more time their Mum has to spend with them doing fun stuff instead. Liam and I spent hours yesterday making a board game based on one of his favourite Dragonball Z Playstation games. It was all his idea and we had great fun together printing all the 'good and bad guy' characters from the Internet, cutting them out and pasting them on to cardboard to make stand-up figures and setting up the 'battlefield' on a large piece of card. It looks really good too and because he has been so helpful around the house, it means we have plenty of time to play it together - even if I don't really understand the rules! The rest of Liam's blood test results came back yesterday and it looks as though he is not allergic to gluten after all, which is great news. The doctor told him he can eat whatever he likes - if only we could get his old appetite back, he doesn't eat enough to fill a bird these days! Unfortunately while his temperament is stable and he is back to hs sweet self, there are still definite psychological issues which the doctor believes may well stem from the car accident we had 18 months ago and he is going to need a bit of extra help to get over his worries and move on. So he has been referred to a child psychiatrist and I guess naturally I have mixed feelings about that - fear of the unknown I suppose - but we have to do everything we can to help the wee chap and get him enjoying life again. Besides, there are still plenty more homeopathic remedies to try - there really is a remedy for everything you know!

It's not all bad on the savings front either this week. I saved $80 a few days ago by getting my trusty hair clippers out and using them to groom both Dudley and Tui. Her soft cocker spaniel hair shaved off like a dream and she looks so sweet! She must feel a heck of a lot cooler in this heat too without all that fluff. I also used my Simple Savings thinking to make huge savings on a digital camera. My other one packed up ages ago and I had put off getting a new one for long enough - besides, Ali's beloved Brumbies play at our local stadium this weekend and he wants to show off his new beanie to Stephen Larkham in person! I had seen several brilliant hints in the Vault about helpful Australian companies who do all the shopping around for you in order to get the best price. It really annoyed me that there didn't seem to be anything like that I had heard of here in NZ, but I decided to do a little Internet research and found a great one for Kiwis, yay! I went to Google, typed in 'best price for digital cameras in NZ' and came up with a website called Price Spy. This site gives you a constantly updated list of the best prices among retailers on items such as computers and accessories, gaming consoles, MP3 players and digital cameras - in other words, mainly technical stuff. I had done a lot of research into the camera I wanted and was already impressed with the $144 savings the site showed compared to the original quote I received from a leading retailer. After a lot of thought, I decided to bite the bullet and take advantage of the savings as I had never seen a better price anywhere else, so I checked out the website again - and found it had been updated and now showed an even better price from another competitor. A total saving of $175 on the RRP! Needless to say, I snapped it up and made the most of the savings and the free delivery. My new camera should arrive in plenty of time for the big game on Saturday!

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