Posted April 2nd, 2008 by Penny Wise

As we speak I have two dead mice and one dead rat deposited in my laundry, waiting for Ali the brave one to return from school and dispose of them (that'll cost me I bet). I've come to the conclusion that my five cats are not very good Simple Savers. If they're going to go to all the trouble of bringing these delightful presents home, you would think the least they could do is eat them and make some valuable savings on cat food, but oh no. Mind you, usually I'm only treated to one at a time, not three but I think the fact we have finally had some decent rain has made everyone in the animal and bird kingdom go crazy. Yes, it's been RAINING! Real, proper rain for the first time in six weeks! Consequently all creatures great and small are coming back out of hiding and it's lovely to see them, although preferably not on my laundry floor. I've been too scared to go into the orchard and vege garden since Susan the cow ate half the trees but I couldn't resist going to see how everything was looking after the rain and you know, it's not bad. Unfortunately Susan did a much more thorough job on the trees than she did on the grass and we really need another sheep to keep the orchard grass down but alas, Stan the fugitive sheep disappeared and has never been seen again. The pomegranates are nearly ready and there are some yellow cherry guavas too, although I'm not entirely sure how one is supposed to eat them. The vege garden looks surprisingly good too, although the fact that silverbeet of all varieties is occupying pretty much every available space probably helps with that. There are still plenty of butternuts, potatoes, celery, tomatoes and no doubt all sorts of other things that Noel knows about that I can't find. Very helpful for our $21 Challenge week!

Yes, the cats might be rubbish Simple Savers but I can proudly say hand on heart that I am a fabulous one lately. This No Landfill lark is proving a piece of cake! Since reading the newsletter I have been recycling every bit of plastic I can find using Vonnie's bag washing system and when there are no dead things in the laundry I love to use my home made washing detergent. I honestly can't imagine going back to anything else now and it makes me feel so smug every time I use it! I'm also making a big effort to use my crock pot more as now Liam is at intermediate school he gets bogged down with mountains of homework. What with that and three rugby training nights a week about to start I'm sick to death of not getting dinner ready until 8pm by the time we get everything done. I've got an NZ recipe book called 'The Crockpot Cookbook', which I've had for years but never done anything with until now. The recipes are delicious but of course top of my list of new dishes to try is Mimi's Crockpot Greek Lamb that all the members are raving about on the Forum. Will let you know how that one turns out!

I've made it my mission to take advantage of as many freebies as possible - there are so many around which I'm just oblivious of while other savvy members are scoring great deals left, right and centre. The thing is - where are they? I recently had to write a column for That's Life! about where to get online freebies and samples. For Australian members it was easy - there are tons of tips in the Vault and Forum on the subject but from what I can see us Kiwis are sadly lacking in the decent freebie department. I did manage to unearth the following ones but to be honest I don't reckon they're much chop so far. They are:

Our Free Stuff

My Savings

WinStuff - which would be very good if it wasn't by 'invite only' - pah!

Free Stuff


Compared to the Aussie versions I reckon they are sadly lacking - we don't even get Freecycle! The one time I did write away for a free sample was for Ecostore washing powder and I never did receive anything *pout*. I'm too stingy to buy magazines to try and win things and now I have a column in That's Life! I can't win any of the puzzles either! So if any members know of any decent places where you can get freebies, please let me know! On the positive side, Telecom rang me up this morning to congratulate me for being a loyal customer for 15 years and tell me they were rewarding us with a free cordless phone. That was very nice of them, so I didn't like to tell them we already have two!

I'm still super duper motivated from catching up with Mrs No Spend Tara Holland recently so I decided to take a leaf out of her book and do something I have never, ever done before. I'm extremely proud to announce that I - after three years of Simple Savings - FINALLY got around to taking cash out at the beginning of the week and making it last, rather than making Eftpos transaction after transaction. I know, I'm sure most of you already have the savvy to have been doing this for years, but I never have! Daft I know - all those extra fees I've been paying; I've just never been disciplined enough and it's actually a real pain in the bum not carrying cash. All those times when the kids need money for school fundraisers and so on and every time I'm turning my bag upside down or scrabbling on the floor of the car in the hope of finding some spare coins. So this week I got out enough cash to last me for the week. What an unusual feeling that was, tucking a whole wad of notes into my bag. I felt like Loadsamoney! Better still, I withdrew that money smug in the knowledge that there was still $200 left in my household account untouched. If I can get through the week with all that intact (which one would hope so being a $21 Challenge week and all) - what a great start to the next week that will be!

PS: Ali came home from school and refused to remove aforementioned vermin for anything less than $25. *Sigh* - if you want something done, gotta do it yourself!

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