Sad Sally's escapades in the supermarket (in the latest newsletter) really made me laugh. I just can't believe what a different person I am now! The thing is, I used to be just like her but I can't even imagine being like that any more. I too used to buy only the most expensive brands of everything and wouldn't have dreamed of buying 'no name' products. For starters, I thought you only bought those if you were one of life's unfortunate souls and secondly, I actually believed that if they were that much cheaper than the other brands - well, there had to be something wrong with them didn't there? What a noodle. Just as Fiona said in the newsletter, we buy the boring products to turn it into fantastic stuff and that's one of the things I really love most about being a Simple Saver, is having the ability to do that. When I read about Sally picking up a jar of Chicken Tonight, a faint light flickered somewhere in the back of my memory. Ah yes - that was the stuff in a jar that we used to live on! Honestly, we used to get through at least one of those a week but I can absolutely say, hand on heart that I have not bought a single one since joining Simple Savings. In fact, only last night we sat down to Sophie Gray's Chicken Pie with Herby Cobbler topping. It's delicious and the kids love it but best of all the sauce tastes remarkably like Chicken Tonight - except the whole meal cost less than the price of one jar. Yes, in the past two and a half years I'm proud to say I have learned to chop up my own mushrooms like a big girl! I only wish there were even more generic products available - I will have to write to Home Brand and ask them to make Pringles...
Yep, if there's a cheaper way of doing something, I'll do it. Like giving Liam a whole new bedroom for example. It's his birthday next Saturday and funnily enough, the past few weeks he has moaned several times about wanting to have his own room (never mind that last year we turned half the house around to give Ali a separate bedroom and within two months they were back in together). However, he has absolutely no idea that it's what we've been planning all along! The hard part is keeping it a secret - for example, the major item we have to get is a new bed. Buying a brand new one is an absolute last resort - I can't believe how expensive they are and most of the time the mattress isn't even included! I've been checking out the online auctions for weeks trying to pick up a bargain but unfortunately it looks as though heaps of other people have all had the same idea. Then we have the problem of hiding the new bed once we get it and making the new room impenetrable like Fort Knox so he doesn't have any inkling before Saturday morning! Although it sounds like a big present, it is actually going to cost very little. The room doesn't need decorating and I picked up most of the other things I need a couple of months ago - giant rugby posters courtesy of Rebel Sport and I got a brilliant little micro-system for half price in The Warehouse. I wasn't willing to spend much on a CD player and was just going to get him a little tinny one but I ended up getting a top brand for $49 - I had to go and check that I had read the price right! The only thing I need to do now is replace the old rocket ship curtains from when it was Ali's room with more grown up ones (and I also picked those up for a steal at The Warehouse at $26 for a pair of thermal lined ones on clearance) and get a small tin of metallic silver paint. Ever since I read a hint called 'Home made TV unit beat trendy prices' I've been wanting to try this out. I inherited a small shelf unit from my mum and over the years it's been all manner of things - a book case, a home for CD's, even stored rolled-up towels in the bathroom, until I ran out of uses for it and stuck it under the stairs. However, it's about to get dragged out and given a new lease of life! With a coat of metallic paint, my old cream coloured wooden shelf is going to look trendy and fantastic in Liam's new room with his CD player and other bits and pieces on it! I just hope the paint's not too expensive but if I get it from a Resene retailer I can use my VIP card and get a great discount!
Do you ever find that you're kicking yourself when reading new hints in the Vault? Or worse for that matter - ones that have been there for ages and could have saved you a bundle if you had read them earlier? I know I do! Take yesterday - there I was browsing the 'Recent Hints' and straight away I found myself groaning, thanks to hints like 'Freshen up pillows in the rain'. At least I'll know for the future but I could have saved myself $47 on two new pillows less than a month ago. After all, there have been days and days (and days and more days) of rain I could have tried this tip out! Then I spotted 'Keep leftover party bags for lunchboxes" and mourned for all the trendy Spongebob and Cat in the Hat sandwich bags my boys could have had, if I had not chucked them away a couple of years before - along with the tarnished mirror I also donated to landfill instead of thinking of this brilliant idea 'Give tarnished mirrors a new look'. Ah well, we live and learn and one thing I have found with Simple Savings - you never stop learning! At least I don't get it wrong all the time, I really enjoyed reading 'Home mini makeover saves on decorating' as this is what we have done recently in our efforts to accommodate Ali's new pool table. As described a few weeks ago, Noel and I swapped our office around with the kids' playroom and once finished we wondered why we had never thought to do it years ago. Our old office was way too big and everyone just used it as a dumping ground. Now both rooms have a new sense of purpose and as the contributor says 'it makes you love your home that little bit more'. The biggest bonus I have found though, is the fact that just swapping these two rooms around as totally slashed the amount of time I spend cleaning these days! Who would have thought a small change like that could make such a big difference?
Miss Minnie is awake and preparing to create havoc but before I rush off I want to say a BIG thank you to all the SS Wonderwomen who motivate myself and others every day with their acts of brilliance in the Forum. Thanks to the Pride Challenge, I am feeling more confident and better about myself than I have in a very long time. I'm experimenting with new outfits, utilising garments that have never previously seen the light of day and am treating every day as a day to dress up. You would not believe how much better I feel! Somehow, feeling good about yourself seems to make you do everything else that bit better too. Simple Savers are proof that we CAN do it all - if you don't believe me, check out this great thread to see what some of us have already achieved today. Wow guys - you lot make me feel lazy!